With Daulton's passing, this online journal is now ended.
Thank you for reading. And thank you, Daulton, for years of laughter and beloved tyrrany.
So, I probably have stated before how much I am haunted by my Clarion 2006 experience. Dispassionate instructors, grown men and women reduced to high school antics and cliques, the focus on speed over quality, first drafts used as a measurement for whether or story is viable. All these are terrible, terrible aspects of Clarion. Six weeks of stranded in Hell. I still think Michigan is Hell. With ice cream.
All that said, there is one benefit to going to Clarion. The only benefit I can see (after all, it's been six years, do I remember much of anything the instructors had to say?) that occured was one of association and relationship.
I'll cover the second, the more relaxed and congenial, first. By relationship I mean, going to a long-ass writing workshop encourages you to be social. If you're an introvert, avoid Clarion. If you're an extrovert, you'll probably earn a "reputation" (synonyms for this include: asshole, busker, and pompousness). When people use the term "friend" they often really mean good acquaintance. To my mind a friend is someone you reveal intimate aspects of your life to and listen to the same from him/her. A "better friend" (sorry for all the scary quotes) is a person who would bail you out of jail or would literally give you the shirt off his back on a blistering sunny or freezing chill day. At Clarion you will make acquaintences much like one does in a good day-job work environment. You also have the chance to make friends, possible even ones of the better-class. Writing is a lonely craft/pursuit/business. Many writers have family that encourage but do not understand. Many writers have family that don't encourage because they really do not understand how trying and arduous it can be to turn imagination into cohesive and expressive words that do not suck. Having a friend who is also a writer is terribly important. Now, this friend need not be a critique buddy--that is a different sort of relationship, and neither is every friend willing or able to offer constant and honest feedback nor should it be expected of her/him.
The other benefit I see in Clarion is association. This is sort of like Linked In for writers, editors and publishers. I happen to be all three. The fact is, I am very familiar now with the writing of a score of people. I can approach them with offers that I feel would interest them. For example, I am in the midst of editing for Prime Books two anthologies that deal with historical fiction (zombies throughout the ages and American Civil War ghosts). Chris Cevasco specializes in historical fiction. So I knew I wanted to invite him, that I could count on him for decent, solid work. And, yes, I have bought stories from him for both. He sold stories. I enriched an anthology.
By association, I knew Livia Llewellyn has written and sold a number of stories that were explicit, powerful and horrific. An easy collection-in-the making. So I approached her about publishing through my press. She benefited. I benefited.
The two examples above have happened multiple times. I have bought stories from almost half of my Clarion class (the largest one, I believe, on record). I have published collections from two of these authors.
Invariable, after Clarion, some writers will find themselves in positions where they could acquire fiction or essays. Whether they are reading slush for a magazine, editing anthologies, or working for a publisher. And they will quickly recall the work by people who spent the six weeks in Hell. It's not survivor's guilt that will make them share the wealth, but an intimacy with an individuals style and interests.
Both association and relationship experiences develop with other writers through conventions and seminars, which is another reason those that can handle the social pressures of being out in public can benefit by attending such events. And "a" and "r" can be infectious (or sticky, to use an old Champions term), as I have met individuals through others. I assume this is much how Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling know who to invite for their anthologies.
And that's all I have to say today.
So I'm still open to reading new stories for the zombie chronology anthology I'm editing for Prime Books. Deadline is January 1st. I'm no longer interested in tales that take place after 1800.
I would really love to read a story where Archimede's heat ray or claw was designed to kill zombies. Or that was the rationale behind Zhuge Liang's primitive land mine.
Or perhaps something with the fallen Colossus of Rhodes - imagine a broken gigantic body that is infested with zombies. Symbolic?
Or in Antigone, Polyneices rises from the dead as a zombie because of necromancy.
I want Antiquity. I want Dark Ages.
TOCs TOCs to date:
Where Thy Dark Eye Glances: Queering Edgar Allan Poe
-Poe the Man-
Mathew Brady, The Gallery of Illustrious Americans by Daniel Nathan Terry
The City and the Stranger by Seth Cadin
-Poe’s Prose and Poetry-
The House by Ed Madden
The House of the Resonate Heart by Lauren L A Fields
The Raven and Her Victory by Tansy Rayner Roberts
The Lord’s Great Jest by Satyros Phil Brucato
For the Applause of Shadows by Christopher Barzak
The Death of Beautiful Men by Jeff Mann
Seven Days of Poe by Richard Bowes
Lacuna by Matthew Cheney
Suffered From the Night: Queering Bram Stoker's Dracula
The Tattered Boy by Lee Thomas
Seven Lovers and the Sea by Damon Shaw
Unhallowed Ground by Seth Cadin
both books are open to submissions till the end of the year. And while the author need not be gay, obviously the story does.
I really would like to include a story set during 5th or 6th century B.C.E. for the Zombies anthology. The base pay for original work is 3 cents a word, but, for something brilliant incorporating Charon's obol, I could go higher. No word limit. Preferably, myth would be more of a backdrop - I don't want a high fantasy tale with Greek trappings but a dark fantasy story. I'd want to see the story before Dec 10th though.