albionidaho: (Default)
The more I get back into my normal life after Clarion West I'm discovering that I've forgotten some skills I've been using for the past twenty-some years. So far, I've forgotten how to cook and how to read music. Okay, so I haven't completely forgotten how to cook, but as of week two I was starting to become pretty clueless and it's not as intuitive as it used to be, and whatever I make doesn't come out as it used to. I also haven't completely forgotten how to read music, but I've sat down a few times to play the piano (as it's the instrument I'm most comfortable with), and am having a hard time remembering what a lot of the notes correspond to, particularly in terms of the bass cleff. I'm considering picking up the guitar and seeing if that's any better.

I only played the piano once whilst at Clarion West (which was probably stupid of me to not play more, but who had time?... and anymore making music is a very personal thing for me anyway...) and that was at the very beginning. So, I'll have to listen to someone play Debussy for a while instead of really playing it myself. But I'm going to continue to work on the cooking thing and the music thing. I'm determined both will come back.

During Week 4, Connie Willis talked to us about memory and learning and how it's possible to "forget" skills when information is being transferred from short term to long term memory. I figure that I learned so much and am processing so much intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically that my brain forgot certain things I do all the time. Or used to do all the time, pre-Clarion West.
albionidaho: (Default)
And the readjustment continues.

Things that have helped:

1) Having people that needed me here (i.e. my children)/having things that need to be done.
2) Roaming and adventuring (as much as one does when one is a mother and may or may not have a six-year-old with her) through different parts of Southern and Southeastern, Idaho, and going to those places that help center me. I went to the closest rez, for example.
3) Reflection/Introspection (which, thankfully, has usually been one of my strengths).
4) Being with people I could be completely honest with.
5) My friends and family who have been worried, for perhaps the first time ever, and have reached out to me and loved me, no matter what. Some have listened and some have given great advice, and some have been honest back, which was incredibly helpful, as well.
6) Actively maintaining contact with classmates. I've had some wonderful e-mail and phone conversations.
7) Making plans: For the hour, for the day, for the week, for my writing, for my family, for myself, and to see classmates again. I need to make some actual, concrete plans to see some of them.
8) Loving other people when they need it.
9) Taking care of myself physically.
10) Katie and Zane (the dog and cat).
11) All the raspberries on the canes in my backyard.

I'm used to being independent and taking care of myself. I tend to prefer it this way, as a general rule. But sometimes there comes a time when it's okay to let others look out for me, too. And here we are.
albionidaho: (Default)
Since November of 2004, one of my favorite pieces of writing advice has been the following from Neil Gaiman:

As a solution to various problems you may encounter upon the way, let me suggest this: Make Good Art.

It's very simple. But it seems to work. Life fallen apart? Make good art. True love ran off with the milkman? Make good art. Bank foreclosing? Make good art.

I've been spending a lot of time writing this week. I am spending time with my family and the other sorts of things that need to be done, but there's been a lot of words written.

The first time I implemented this was the night one of my friends tried to kill himself (again) and then admitted himself into the hospital. After he was admitted there was nothing I could do for him but write.

I've taken this advice again and again, and it's always good advice.
albionidaho: (Default)
I took the kids to the park last night. There was a little girl there with pale bleached hair, gray eyes, and a kitten named Shadow. While my kids were brachiating and throwing themselves down on the grass, I sat watching and thinking. I sat there trying to center myself. To focus. To breathe. To try to grasp some idea of how to take all the disparate aspects of myself and to unify them into one whole once again.

I'm not the woman who left for Clarion West, and it's a hard road to navigate.

I'm all about being unified and whole.

Read more... )

The girl handed me her cat that she'd just gotten that day. I took it, and pet it while she told me about it, how she got it from the pound, and how her other cat had disappeared and was probably dead. (There is an age where children are so matter of fact about death.) We talked about her cat, and I stroked its head and back. And for that one moment everything so simple and so clear.

There were moments like that at Clarion West, seemingly small moments when I was writing or in class, or moments when I was with a classmate and everything was simple, easy, illuminated, and I felt alive and whole. In those moments I could focus and breathe and there were insights there about who I am and where I'm going, who I want to be and what I will do with myself.

Everything else aside, the writing is going to rock.


Aug. 5th, 2008 08:26 am
albionidaho: (Default)
My house is quiet. The sun is rising over the hills, illuminating the neighbor's houses in a rich morning glow.

Idaho really is beautiful, if you're used to it.

Have I mentioned how suburbia makes me itchy?

Avadore and Fox are still asleep and I think Rice is downstairs checking his e-mail or whatever it is he does now downstairs before he goes to work.

If I were at Clarion West I'd be getting ready for the day before doing my final crit of manuscripts for today's class. Soon I'd be downstairs for breakfast, still critting, and Kristin would arrive soon to eat her own breakfast. We'd have a great conversation, and eventually others would arrive: Shane to eat his morning donut, Caren for her coffee, [ profile] pamrentzfor her tea, [ profile] chris_reynaga for his tea, composition book and crits in hand. At this point I knew I had about 1/2 an hour left before class.

I'm feeling uncomfortably numb, and I think it's because if I let myself feel I'll crumble again.

I have never been this raw and fragile for this long. I am excited to move forward, I am excited to take on this new adventure, but somehow, when I look out my front window, it seems as if it were all a flash from another time, another me, and this is all there is.
albionidaho: (Default)
[ profile] raven_radiation, one of my Clarion West '08 classmates, crashed here last night with one of her housemates. It was great to see her, if only for a short time. It was hard to say see you later, but easier than it was to say goodbye to [ profile] chris_reynaga Saturday morning. This was one of the hardest things I've ever done -- he was the last to say goodbye to, and he became a very dear friend during our six weeks in Seattle. In any event, things are getting easier, and I think this means I'm settling in.

I still miss my classmates and the sorority house and all the lovely people involved with my Clarion West experience, but I'm ready to move forward with my writing career. I'm ready for the adventure and the hard work. And I will see them again.

Today I wrote, and am working on critting a story, spent a lot of time with my kids wrestling and playing, slept, and spent a lot of time with Rice, talking and bonding. Oodles and gobs. Which is what one should do when one comes home from Clarion.

This doesn't mean the tears are over, or the sad times, or that my heart misses them any less, but life goes on if we're ready to accept the challenge.
albionidaho: (Default)
I woke this morning to a room I did not know.

This is the opening line to the last official completed short story I wrote while at Clarion West, and this is what happened to me this morning.

It feels like a dream now, the sorority house, getting up in the morning and wandering through the maze to go to the kitchen for a cup of tea. My classmates wandering in and out of rooms, laughing, sharing jokes no one who wasn't with us will ever completely understand. It's the best dream I ever had and I wish I could jump back into it, but when I go to sleep that's not where I go.


I may be blogging about the post-Clarion West experience a lot. People blog about Clarion preparation and the class itself but people rarely talk about going home. I want to write about going home because this is how I move through to the other side. And I'll write about it in my fiction. I want to start a story right now, but there are other promises to keep.

Anyway, Rice tells me my breakfast is waiting. That's one benefit of going away for a while -- now he cooks for me ;). And it's hard to see the screen through the tears. I have never cried so much since I was a baby. I'm not a crier, but I just can't stop.

i am home

Aug. 2nd, 2008 11:02 pm
albionidaho: (Default)
But my heart is in Seattle; Vancouver, Canada; Vancouver, Washington; Oakland, Anchorage (though eventually in Los Gatos), soon Iowa, on the way to Minnesota, in Portland, soon to be in Australia, in Chicago, in New York, in Georgia, in Texas, in Boston...

But I left part of it here in Idaho, too.

It was good to see my family and friends, my beautiful children. LD (perhaps now known as Fox) didn't seem to notice he hadn't seen me for six weeks. Avadore was less clingy than he was when he visited me during Cory Doctorow's week.

I was glad to see my house. It's a good house, and it's clean. There are flowers in my flower garden, lettuces, tomatoes, peppers, basil...

Had dinner with family and some old friends tonight when I got into town. It was good to see them all, but my Clarion West classmates haunt me.

I was in the airport for a while before my flight, waiting, and all around me were people whose voices reminded me of my classmates. When I close my eyes I see my classmates before me. At the airport I huddled up by a wall to get some privacy and cried. And I cried on the plane. And I cried at the airport in Idaho. When I finally slept on the plane I dream of them.

My MIL thought I cried because I am tired. And I am tired, but there is no way to understand how this feels, how bittersweet this is, unless one has gone through the Clarion experience and fallen in love with seventeen other classmates, some significant others, six teachers, and the administrators.


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January 2012

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