About two years ago, I was limping around grumpily after having surgery to replace a ligament in my knee. I was going to physical therapy for endless hours of twitching my quadriceps or attempting to ride a bicycle, making close acquaintance with my sofa, and generally feeling sorry for myself.
One day (while sitting on the sofa), I read the following on Neil Gaiman's blog:
I'll also be teaching a week at Clarion -- more properly The Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers' Workshop at UCSD -- this July (rather nervously, I suspect, as I've never taught before, and have no idea if I'll be any good at it). But you've got people like Geoff Ryman and Kelly Link and Nalo Hopkinson who know what they're doing teaching as well, so even if I'm rubbish it'll be okay.(You have four days left to apply for Clarion, if you've been putting it off.)
I had never heard of Clarion before, but Neil had written some of my very favourite books, some of the ones that I reread during my many hours on the sofa because they were comforting (not necessarily comforting in the warm and fuzzy way of comfort, but because they're the kind of stories that convince you that nothing else matters while you're reading them). That sounds like it could be fun, I thought. And I was getting tired of feeling sorry for myself, so I wandered over to the Clarion website, in a vague sort of way, and then wrote two short stories, thinking that it was at least something to do, even if there was hardly a chance I would get in.
At the end of June, I went to San Diego for six weeks. It was an experience that rearranged the furniture inside my head. It made me want to tell stories. It introduced me to some of the kindest, most intelligent, brilliant, strange, and wonderful people I have ever met.
The 1st of March is the deadline for applications for this year's class. Write those two stories, send them out, and open the door for a crazy adventure.