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Aftershocks

March 22, 2010

It was one hell of a earth-shaking to not make Clarion West. I thought I recovered from it pretty well, facing front and moving forward.  I haven’t done any writing since then, but that’s more a time issue than anything (I’m seriously backlogged on grades).

Then the CW networking baegan at the CW forum.  Hey, they need to network.  I want them to network.  But now I know why private forums are usually set up for groups like this.

I am very pleased to see some friends made it into CW.  Sandra I met last year on the forum.  Tracie and I frequent each others’ blogs.  KC is a fellow WotF 26 writer.  I chatted with Frank some the past few weeks.  I am proud of all of them and wish them the best.

But there’s a sinking feeling in my chest when I see their excitement and know I’m not part of it.

I don’t deserve to be at CW more than any of the people that made it.  I’m not that narcissistic.  I wouldn’t even claim to want it more than any of them.  How would I know?  Several days of 300+ hits here suggest a lot of people wanted it pretty badly.  But now I’m on the outside looking in at the people I was sharing this tension with, this buildup.

It means nothing, in the long run.  Not being selected means that someone didn’t like my story/stories.  There will always be people who don’t like my stories.

I am getting tired of a lot of the condolences being past my way.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the sentiment and the people offering them, but the cliche of it all gets old, like hearing the same line repeated in the receiving line at a funeral.

There are tons of pro writers that didn’t go to Clarion.  This is a fact and I accept it.  How many of those writers tried to go to Clarion and were rejected?  Twice?  Even dropped from waitlist to rejected?

You should definitely apply next year.  That’s basically telling me that my career will be the same place next year that it is this year, that I might as well start piling hopes in the same place they fell from this year.  I’d like to think I can get enough momentum going into (and out of) WotF that I won’t need Clarion next year (though may find it in my schedule a few years later, since I don’t expect a career explosion overnight).

I really thought you were going to make it.  Yeah?  So did I.  I guess that makes us both wrong.  That’s probably part of the problem: I was so sure I would make it.  I would never be that sure sending a story to Analog or F&SF; why would Clarion be any different?  Karma and hubris don’t get along.

So I wish the CW and C-SD crews well, but I’ve got to take a few steps back.  I won’t be visiting the CW forums anymore, at least not for a good long while.  I do want to extend a big thanks to Ken for his kind words on that forum (despite hitting most of the above); it means a lot to know that I was part of other people’s journey, regardless of how it ends.

Once again, I feel very alone as a SF writer in Tennessee.  It was nice, for a little while, to feel like part of something bigger.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 27, 2010 4:44 am

    I, for one, have followed your blog posts and been grateful for them (another Clarion reject, three times running now, after being painfully wait-listed in ’06…meanwhile, two close friends have gotten in and gone). The usual condolences apply, although as noted above, they don’t much help. Also, I give you Jay Lake, if no one else has yet, who (according to internet legend) was rejected from Clarion because he was already at a point where he could sell, and would, and did–the same place it sounds like you’re at, what with WoF and all. Persevere against all odds!

  2. March 27, 2010 9:28 pm

    Scott, I know you had your heart set on Clarion/CW but since admission into these programs is purely subjective, I would suggest trying to not get too down about it. Yah, I know, easy for me to say. Clarion/CW was never a goal of mine. But there are lots of other teaching experiences available, some of which might actually suit you better than Clarion/CW. If you’re dead-set on doing some writing career learning this year, consider some of the alternatives — almost all of which are much less time and cash consuming that Clarion/CW.

    That some of your associates are doing CW and you are not… Well, again, subjective. It’s not an evaluation of you that you should take terribly seriously. It’s not like doing CW is a magic stamp and suddenly every graduate goes on to have an instant career. Some people do Clarion/CW and that remains as their sole professional achievement in the fiction arts. Something I do not think you would be willing to settle for, yes?

    • osomuerte permalink
      March 28, 2010 12:10 am

      Good point, I would not be content with attending Clarion marking the pinnacle of my writing career. In fact, it seems a very expensive and thus counter-productive pinnacle.

      The weird thing is, I thought I would be really upset by the rejection — the rejection arrives and I managed to take it in stride — then I start seeing people make it (people I am genuinely happy for) and I start getting upset. Maybe the rejection didn’t mean anything until I saw the slots filling up.

      Anyway, I’m moving on now (see my new post) and am trying to wish the CW folks well while still avoiding them like infected zombies.

      It reminds me of Michelle, a girl I eventually asked to go to prom with me once I thought I was likely to get a yes. When she shot me down, it hurt. This was a girl I liked hanging out with, but suddenly I couldn’t stand to be around her. That’s CW right now.

      (Full disclosure: Michelle did agree to go to prom with me “as a friend”. Not what I was after, so I brought someone else. Based on how well the replacement date worked out…yeah, I’m not looking for another workshop right now.)

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