Thursday, July 17, 2008

Clarion, or, why sleep is irrelevant.


I haven't been writing here, mainly because I am very lazy. I am incredibly lazy. Supremely lazy. Extraordinarily and over-the-top lazy. Writing in any kind of journal is one of those projects that are doomed to fall by the wayside for me.

However, right now I'm at the Clarion workshop in San Diego, and since I have been a horrible friend and fallen behind on all phone calls, I thought I'd write a bit here, make it a big letter of sorts. Six weeks is a long time, especially when you're drenching yourself in an unfamiliar world, and I feel like I've crammed in more new thoughts and ideas than could possibly fit.

So. Clarion is kind of fantastic. Right before I left for San Diego, I got really unenthusiastic about the idea of spending six weeks writing instead of dancing. I even thought about pulling out so that I could spend the summer in the studio doing boring physical therapy and moping about (when I look back, I'm not sure why this seemed so tempting, but dancers are crazy). But then I told myself to get it together and go. At least I'd be able to find out whether writing stories was really as fun as I thought it was.

It turns out that, not only are stories fun, they're also fascinating, frustrating, and addictive. The way you can create a version of a truth out of all the loose scraps rattling around in your head is interesting to me. In dance, you can't really stand apart from what you're making, so having something that sits outside of you when you finish working is really odd, but wonderful to me.

A recommendation to all of my bookish friends: try some Kelly Link. Kelly was our instructor for week one and I hadn't read any of her work before I got accepted to the program, but I'm now a solid fan. Her stories are flat out weird, but they're also intensely honest. Sometimes I don't understand what is going on in her stories, but it doesn't matter because, somehow, they slip in and make sense in all the shadowy, dreamy parts of your head. She introduced me to the term "night logic," which is now my favourite way of saying, well, that was weird, but I completely got it.

The people here are wonderful. I won't describe them now because it will take too long and it's so beautiful outside that I want to run out there and take a walk while it's still afternoon. Just take my word for it and know that they're great. Except for when they tempt you into staying up all night and going into workshop the next morning on zero sleep. Just say no. It may be fun, but the words start to come out of your mouth in the wrong order.

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