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24 July 2012 @ 02:52 pm
Report from Week Five of the 2012 Clarion West Write-a-thon  
Hey, all--

Thank you again for supporting both me and Clarion West.

This was a wonderful, totally packed week. We had the incredible Kelly Link and Gavin Grant team teaching as writers/editors, and they brought along their lovely daughter, Ursula, and Kelly's delightful mother, Annie. It was great, but oh so busy.

So busy that for the first time ever, and most inconveniently, I have gotten sick during the workshop. Just a bad cold with a slight fever, but today I missed class and will likely be missing tonight's reading because I don't want to subject people to my charming sound effects when they're trying to listen to Chuck Palahniuk.

This means I will miss not only Chuck's reading (boo!), but the public announcement about next year's line-up. Sigh.

Because of all the busy, once again I barely managed to complete my seven hours offline. I made some progress, and the beginning of the novel is starting to feel solid. Better yet, I'm beginning to feel my way into forthcoming events, so the shadow of the novel-to-come is taking shape. Yay!

However, the poem I was working on for this week stalled out entirely. It sat there sullenly with five not-very-exciting lines until I gave up on it for now.

At the last minute I asked Jim for a number between 1 and 20. He said 14. So I went to my Child's Ballads, opened up #14, and took every 14th word from all the variant versions printed there. I stirred those words with a big stick and this is what I came up with...first draft, remember? Maybe the first word of the title is a clue to the poem, though it's the title of the ballad the words come from.

Babylon; Or, The Bonnie Banks of Fordie

fair Marjorie was an outlyer and went by the knife
but John the ploughman He taen her for life
there from his house she took her stand
"will ye rather me stand by Whan
...

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[The full text of the poem is available to anyone who sponsors me in the Clarion West Write-a-thon or who cheers me on.]