Neile Graham (neile) wrote,
Neile Graham

Report from Week Two of the 2012 Clarion West Write-a-thon

This was an energetic, upbeat, and hard-working week for the Clarion West students as they submitted their first real stories (rather than exercise stories) and had them critiqued by the class and by the quite wonderful Stephen Graham Jones. He is an impressive teacher and a lot of fun, as well. His style was a great match for Clarion West, and also followed marvelous first-week instructor Mary Rosenblum well. He was very different from her, but in a complementary rather than contradictory way. I love watching how the progression of instructors each shapes the class and its culture.

This was a somewhat quieter week for me, so I exceeded my write-a-thon time commitment by several hours (I stopped keeping track at the end). The Freedom software, which cuts me off from the internet but not from our internal network, works beautifully for me, and is a much better solution than actually unplugging the modem. Also, for the first time ever I'm not using Word to write in. I'm using Scrivener. I've owned it for a long time but never gave it a proper try-out and I'm liking it a lot so far. It helps track things I formerly used extra Word files, paper notes, post-it notes, and the Mac Stickies (basically electronic stickies) for.

I think I finally finished tinkering on the first novel this week. I worked on it, the week's poem, and the new novel in turns. I made certain that I added a little to the new novel each day--maybe I should mention its title, since I think this is one that will stick, The Silver Bones--because I hope to build up momentum.

This week's poem is a little more whimsical than last. I made the mistake of showing it to Jim early, and he suggested (wait! I didn't ask for suggestions!) that it needed cutting, so what you have here is a second rather than first draft. And yes, Jim, I think it's better for the cutting and reshaping. He also assures me that it wasn't too cutesy. I hope you agree.

One of the Clarion West students is a medieval scholar and says she can translate my title into Latin for me. I'm going to wait to ask her until after the workshop, though.

I hope you enjoy this and thank you again for supporting my writing.




Cats Aren't From Around Here. Really.

The cats are studying me
like I might be the solution to a problem
and I don't mean the one about
tin openers. The iridescence of their eyes
means they've been cat-stepping

faster than light across universes
tinkering with cosmic mechanics.


[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.]
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