Les Semaines

July 4, 2004

what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: old journal

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Second Week of Clarion West 2004

Wild, busy week. Monday was my last day of my day job till September (yay!) and so now I can concentrate on Clarion West and on writing for the next two months.

This was Kelly Link's week. I really enjoyed getting to know her and her partner Gavin Grant a tiny bit better, and it was wonderful to see them in the classroom. Kelly is a smart, perceptive reader with an uncanny ability to see into a story's potential, and to share that wholistic vision of the story. Gavin is smart, witty, and an incisive critic. Kelly was there as the week's instructor, and Gavin sat in for the last three days. They make a good team, though Kelly was great, of course, in the workshops when she was on her own. I'd only met Kelly briefly before and while I've long been a fan of her writing--she's an utterly brilliant short fiction writer--I didn't know she'd be as impressive a teacher as she is. I didn't know Gavin at all, and found him delightful. Like Pat, they spent a lot of time with the students. I'm surprised they're not exhausted. Kelly is off for two weeks teaching Clarion in Michigan, and Gavin is off for a reading tour.

The class is still doing great. A really fun party on Friday night. And Kelly gave a terrific reading on Tuesday. I enjoy her stories so much.

Our dear friend John Barton (with whom I did my reading tour in 2001) is here visiting for the long weekend. He recently moved from Ottawa back to Victoria, B.C., which is where we met 20-mumble years ago. He's currently the editor of The Malahat Review, a journal founded by our mentor, Robin Skelton.

Even though I'm really tired and absorbed with Clarion West work, we've had fun with him here. We had an early birthday celebration for Jim at Tamar's Saturday night. She made us a wealth of sushi, and I bought Jim's favourite white chocolate strawberry cake from Simply Desserts.

We spent the fourth drinking red wine (iced tea for me) and watching The Triplets of Belleville as the world outside our house pop pop popped.

last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing

Listening

No much time for focused listening, though Jim has been playing DJ with John here, enticing him with Bjork, Jim Moray, and Keith Jarrett.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Jan Siegel's The Witch Queen is the third in her series that includes Prospero's Children and The Dragon Charmer (see my July 30, 2000 and February 16, 2003 entries respectively for comments on those). Again, it's hard to comment on this without spoilers for the previous volumes, but I can say that it's an interesting novel and I enjoyed it. It's probably a little less fresh than the previous two where the author establishes her world. This is a fine story, but since I know the world already I didn't feel like I learned much new, and I was the slightest bit disappointed in the end.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

My Dear Clarion West Shadow Workshop Write-a-thon sponsors:

Sorry this is a day late. I was not a day late meeting my goal, but I was a day late (I blame the holiday) in writing about it.

The second week of the write-a-thon has ended, and I did manage to get all the way through Chapter 6. The revision continues to be a little bit awkward for me (I wish word processing programs had an automagical way to change from first to third person--only of course when I want it to--and to change point of view). The chapter ended up by coming together well, I think, which is a very important thing as this is the first major crisis in the story, and is the place where everything changes for my main character and she is forced to make major decisions that she has put off before. She has reached the darkest part of her life. I consider this the end of the first section of the book, and is the last of the group of chapters I've spent a lot of time revising in the past.

This chapter is 34 pages in typescript.

I do wish I could get started earlier in the week so I wouldn't have to be in quite so much of a panic on Saturday, but life is busy and procrastination in my middle name.

Next week, chapter 7.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

The Retrospective Journal is still on hiatus.

last week's old journal § next week's old journal

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