Skip to main content

I'm going to Clarion West!


So yeah! I'm going to Clarion West this year!

If you didn't know, Clarion West is a really awesome science fiction and fantasy writing workshop that runs for six weeks in summer every year at Seattle and is usually taught by a faculty of award-winning authors and editors. Many students who attend this workshop also go on to have illustrious writing careers of their own too. I've been meaning to attend this workshop (or its sister workshop, Clarion UCSD, which is the original Clarion workshop but runs in San Diego around the same time) for years now but never had the courage to apply.

Many reasons as to why: didn't think I'd have money for the most part, didn't think I was good enough, didn't think I could leave work long enough, didn't think I could leave family behind, etc.

But something sparked inside of me late last year. I felt I should at least give it a go this time round. So I did. They requested a sample of my best work and an application essay. I sent in a short story which I was really proud of and then I wrote the best damn application essay I could. Then I sent it all in. Huw Evans (the workshop administrator at the time) wrote back saying I would expect an answer before March 31st. I shrugged and promptly forgot all about it... until 16th March.

It's funny how 16th March 2018 started out pretty much like any other day. Groaning out of bed, dragging myself to the bathroom to brush my teeth and shower, and then dragging my shell to the train station in order to go to work.

But the funnier thing was as I was brushing my teeth, I thought about how it was already past the half way mark of the month and I still hadn't received any news about Clarion West. I started thinking, yep, not getting in, and shrugged and went on with my day. You see, I'd been submitting some short stories to my favourite publications these past few months and I was getting nothing but rejections. At this point I was expecting nothing short of a rejection from Clarion West as well.

But just as I was about to step on the train, I received a call.

From Namibia.

Which stunned me for a bit. I remembered reading other former attendees of Clarion West saying that they had missed calls from them because they thought it was a random cold caller from a strange foreign country.

Was this is it?

Was this the call from Clarion West?

"Hello, this is Huw Evans. I'd like to invite you to our workshop."

It felt like everything was placed on pause. Everything around me went quiet. I was dumbstruck.

And that was it. Just like that I knew I was going to Seattle in June to attend a science fiction and fantasy writing workshop which I've been wanting to attend for... oh, I don't know, forever?

It was crazy for the first week or so because Huw had told me not to announce it publically just yet as they hadn't finalised the list of attendees. But once they did, I immediately went on Twitter to find out who my fellow Clarionites were. I actually recognised some names and I'd be lying if I didn't tell you I felt a little intimidated. I felt soooo intimidated in fact. Some of the other writers had already been published in places like Clarkesworld and Uncanny and other fabulous places. I started feeling I was going to have a huge case of impostor syndrome.

It's a bit of an understatement that I'm nervous that I'll be going to Clarion West. I'm going to be part of this wonderful family as well as a huge network of amazing writers. Not to mention that I might be fellow students with a future famous writer... heck, maybe several famous writers. The mind boggles.

I'm nervous. I'm scared. But most of all I'm excited. I can't wait for June.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

HOWTO: Get Rid of Silverfish

The bane of every book collecting person: the Silverfish. DUN DUN DUNNNNN!!!

How to get rid of them?

If one book has been infected, place it inside an air-tight plastic bag along with some silica gel desiccant. The silica gel is important to get rid of moisture, because you will now place the sealed plastic bag with the book in it inside the freezer. Leave it in there for a couple of days so that those bugs catch their death of cold.

If you're feeling particularly paranoid, (like I usually am) feel free to leave the plastic bag in there for a week. If they're not dead, then you might likely have an infestation of zombie silverfish, which is out of the scope of this blogpost.

But what if a whole colony of silverfish decided to invade your whole bookcase? Then you have to make sure you're ready for war.

Place a generous amount of silica gel (or if you can find it, diatomaceous earth) behind your books at the back of the shelves so that moisture levels remain low. Silverfish l…

Hitting 1000.

Last night Sharon quoted Raman of having said to writers when they bring him their manuscripts for publishing, "How many books have you read? Have you read a thousand books? If not, get out and go read a thousand books, then come back with your manuscript." His point being, you've got to have read a lot if you want to be a writer.

And I thought to myself, a thousand books isn't so bad. I've probably read more.

Er...Wrong.

After some quick calculations, we determined that if a person read a book per week, it would take around 20 years to reach a thousand. I'm a slow reader. I'm only 25. There's no way I've read 1000 books my whole life!

When I got home I counted the books in my house. I estimate I own around 300 books, probably another 300 left at my parents's house. That's only around 600 books that I own... and a lot less that I've read!

So with that number in mind, I have resolved to start keeping track of my book reading. I need to know …

The Water Tower.

Back in February, I heard that local publisher Silverfish was accepting submissions for their new short story compilation. I've always wanted to get into some serious writing, so I sat down and wrote The Water Tower. Then I rewrote it again for another six times. But alas, the story was rejected. Oh well. Here it is anyway. I present to you, my first short story. Enjoy! (Please?):
Suresh once asked what I loved so much about exploring.

“Seeing new things, new places. Seeing what kids in the other neighbourhoods do in the evenings,” I had said.

“The kids elsewhere do the same thing other kids do lah,” he replied.

“No, sometimes they have different activities. What they do depends on what’s around them. And what’s around them is what I look forward to finding when I go exploring.”

“What do you mean, around them? Like what?”

“Like the airport. The kids in that neighbourhood play different games than in other housing areas. I think it’s the noise. Or the planes.”

“The airport! Now that’s fun…