keyan_bowes (keyan_bowes) wrote,

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Clarion 2007: The two final weeks


As I was about to post the last section of my blog on Clarion 2007, Tania, the marvelous Clarion administrator let us know there were 194 applications to Clarion this year. Given two stories for each sub, the selection team is going to be reading 388 stories...
I'm jealous. I wish I could go again this year. But I'd probably wish that every year.

Here's my blog for the last two weeks at Clarion, with the amazing Ellen Kushner and the wonderful Delia Sherman.

Weeks Five and Six: Whirlwind

Ellen and Delia brought a sense of urgency to Clarion. They themselves had a number of other activities planned, but managed to make time for more activities for all of us. They also brought a good deal of amusement.  Meetings now started with a 1930s (?) holy text, “Write to Earn!”  Brother Jerome did the readings, with able support from Sister Kari and other members of the congregation.

The last two weeks whirled by. Liz Gorinsky of Tor came and spoke with us. We saw two plays: After the Quake, and The Deception. We went to Comic-Con, exciting, overwhelming and exhausting. We met Sarah Ryan, Clarion '91, who has just published her second YA novel. We had theater exercises. We had a discussion about potential short-story markets. We had a full-moon visit to the beach, along with Dave and his wife and the cutest little puppy.

 I lent my 2GB flash drive with 1500 Clarion photos on it to whoever wanted copies. I’d been posting a selection each day, compressed. (There are some 450 photographs in the Group files…) Caleb took a marvelous picture of Nick and Justin as battling mages, and modified it into an even more marvelous picture:


Our last evening at Clarion ended with a party organized by Kari. In addition to leftovers from everyone’s fridges, we brought in some food. August 2 was Katie’s 17th birthday, so of course there was a cake with candles, ignited from the electric burner in the kitchen, using a spill made of a paper towel.

 Kater had, overnight, made a chalk drawing of My Little Perseponie, a reference to the Persephone story Katie had earlier submitted to the workshop. It had a pomegranate on its flank, with six pomegranate seeds. When the sprinklers washed it away in the morning, Kater redrew it in the 20 minutes between breakfast and class.

The masks that Kater had made earlier were a big hit. Everyone played with them: An alien with green projections and a huge number of eyes; a green man with a face made of leaves (this was by Jan); and a wonderfully eerie ghostly geisha mask.

And then there was a surprise announcement: the presentation of the Octavia Butler Award to Shweta. It came with a lovely silver pendant, a replica of one Butler used to wear, made by the same artist.

The poster we signed for Ellen and Delia showed three little girls, reading with fascination a book that had morphed into their joint work, “The Fall of the Kings.”

 Around midnight, we visited the Singing Tree. Some of our classmates had reported hearing eerie sounds late at night; but each time we went, it only played the blues. Or was sulkily silent. Nevertheless, the trek to the tree had become a late-night ritual. Matt professed to be afraid of werewolves. Caleb put on the geisha mask and made a scary ghost (later immortalized in a You-Tube video).  We returned and exchanged awkward hugs…we knew we were running out of time. There was some howling at the moon that may have been werewolves.

The next morning, there was an unusually large contingent at breakfast. Even those who had never been down before class were there for the last farewells. Then people started to drift away; there were planes to catch and schedules to keep. People helped others to pack and to move stuff. Slowly, in groups of two or three, people left.

At lunch, there were only a handful of diehards remaining, together with Ellen and Delia. And then that was over, too.

 My departure song was from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam:

                    And when Thyself with shining Foot shall pass
                    Among the Guests Star-scatter'd on the Grass,
                    And in thy joyous Errand reach the Spot
                    Where I made one---turn down an empty Glass!

 I bused my empty glass into the plastic crate, and left.


Tags: clarion 2007, delia sherman, ellen kushner, liz gorinsky, shweta narayan

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