As promised, I’ve tried to gather my initial thoughts about my experience at Clarion West this summer. I’ve been home for about a week now, but I don’t feel like I’m back quite yet. I don’t quite have the words.
All week people have been asking me, “How was it?” My answers have been short: It was fun. A lot of work. Completely exhausting. There were so many cool and talented people.
Blanket statements, I know. But writing workshops are a very individual experience. They are the sum of little moments; inside jokes, small victories, instances of crushing self doubt, moments of growth. Though we were all part of the same class, if you asked each of us what the last six weeks were like, you’d get 18 different answers.
Another popular question has been, “Was it worth it?”
For me, yes. I learned tons from listening to other writers’ talk about their viewpoints and methods. I loved the exchange of stories – the ones we wrote for class and the ones we told around the dinner table. I discovered some blind spots in my critiquing skills and was floored by how supportive and generous people in the community are. I wrote six new stories in six weeks despite being a slow writer. Best of all, I met some stunningly talented people that I hope to be friends with for a long time to come.
Was Clarion West necessary for my writing career? Probably not. Was it life changing? I have no idea. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
Yeah, it’s hard to describe.