Monday, August 16, 2010

The Clarion West Narrative


Finally back at home, after some training and travel unrelated to writing (more on that later, perhaps).

Many people are blogging about the workshop experience, and I know why (here's a superb example). I've written for newspapers, but this isn't reporting. This is grieving and restructuring the narrative of our lives, post-CW. At least, for me it is.

I don't have adequate words to explain how much the workshop experience impacted me and changed me. I'm opting to tell the tale more thematically after a failed draft attempt to break down my Clarion West experience into week-by-week description. The bottom line is, the week-by-week stuff all blurs together, even if you take extensive notes, like I did.

Having said that...

Arrival at the workshop, Saturday June 19. Palpable excitement as classmates arrived. Lots of hugging and thrills of recognition from forum and blog posts, photos shared online in our Google group. Threw luggage into my room. The admin folks, who are lovely people, left us to our own devices to get acquainted. We went out for Indian food on University Avenue, the smorgasbord of ethnic cuisine yum-yums.

Imagine showing up to a beautiful house filled with people who share your fondest hopes. They've read some of the same books you've read. They speak your language. They laugh when you make reference to Babylon 5 or The Princess Bride. They're wearing t-shirts with geeky sayings on them. I breathed deep, in spite of my jitters. These were MY people.

The most precious thing about the CW experience for me? Friendships. This was also the toughest part, as the workshop drew to a close. Not only did we get an extraordinary chance to learn from pro writers, we also got to share our own talents and passions with other new writers, and the combination of these factors makes for some seriously powerful bonding.

Now, some of us are working hard to stay in touch, which is professionally smart but also fulfilling in other ways. I miss them terribly. This matters so much to me that words fail here, but this aspect of the workshop was huge. I'm sorrowful, but so very grateful.

Heartfelt thanks to all.

2 comments:

JohnR said...

I'm so glad you took notes! I took none, except in class, and in retrospect, it's the one thing I regret not doing each day. (thanks for the link and the compliment, btw!)

But ditto everything here. I definitely am grieving and restructuring. And friends.

We were definitely among our people. I miss our class. I miss you.

*hugs*

Utopiana said...

The notes are mostly class notes, unfortunately. And I'll get around to talking about some of that because I think hopefuls do want to know about the "magic bullet" (there isn't one). But we did learn a great deal of practical information.

The transformative aspects of the workshop are tied to the class experience but not solely of it; I want to express the entirety of the impact but fear I cannot.

Friends are a large part of the change, so I started there, however inadequately.

Infinite hugs.