Why I Was Scared Shitless in June 1991

Journal excerpt, 1991:

I got into Clarion. It’s a highly intensive writing workshop for writers of sf and fantasy. 

Has me scared shitless.

Five Reasons I Was Scared Shitless (An Incomplete List)

1. Even though it was only an hour away from where I lived, it would be the longest I’d been away from home. I didn’t know how my absence would affect my relationships.

2. I didn’t know any of the other students. What if they didn’t like me?

3. I didn’t know what the instructors would expect. What if they didn’t like me?

4. I desperately, desperately wanted to be a writer. What if they didn’t think I could be a writer? What would happen to my identity?

5. And speaking of my identity: I’d only recently begun to understand that I was queer. How would others react if I came out? Should I come out? How would I feel if I didn’t? How would I feel if I did?

…I wanted to remind myself what it was like to be just about to be a student at an intensive writing workshop, because now I’m just about to be an instructor at one: the Genre workshop at the Lambda Literary Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices.

Here are a few excerpts from the notes I took in 1991. (Yes, I still have the notebook.)

From a Tim Powers talk:

Writing is WORK and CONSTRUCTION don't confuse MOTION and MOVEMENT with action.

writing is WORK and CONSTRUCTION don’t confuse MOTION and MOVEMENT with action

What another student wanted to see in one of my stories:

more mayhem!! ever-increasing mayhem!!

more mayhem!! ever-increasing mayhem!!

From an Ellen Kushner talk:

SENSUALITY I CAN USE THIS -- especially pain, strong emotion, petty emotion

SENSUALITY: I CAN USE THIS — especially pain, strong emotion, petty emotion…

Note to myself with an idea for a story I did not end up writing for reasons that may rapidly become apparent:

story, what happens to your brain when you're fatigued

story, what happens to your brain when you’re fatigued

A reality check from Karen Joy Fowler:

Karen says: no agent til novel LEARN TO LIVE WITHOUT REASSURANCE

Karen says: no agent til novel LEARN TO LIVE WITHOUT REASSURANCE

And another one from Kate Wilhelm and Damon Knight. I think I can call myself a case in point:

SURVIVAL OF THE PERSISTENT

SURVIVAL OF THE PERSISTENT