January 7th, 2010

Spain

Learn to Write Good

Judging by the emails I receive, there are a lot of aspiring writers among my readership.

I wanted to make mention of a couple of summer writing programs that might be of interest to you.

First, the legendary Clarion workshop, which began with Damon Knight in Clarion College, Pennsylvania, and is now in scenic San Diego. An intensive six-week writer's boot camp that will make you, break you, maybe change your life. I will be one of the instructors at this year's Clarion, along with Delia Sherman, Dale Bailey, Samuel R. Delany, Jeff Vandermeer, and Anne Vandermeer. For more details, check out

http://clarion.ucsd.edu/

Applications for Clarion are being accepted now, and will close on March 1... so if you've ever wanted to have me read and critique your work, and learn the secret handshake and the diagonal relationship, speak now or hold your peace until the next time I do a workshop (which probably won't be for a few more years).

[[ I do NOT read unpublished manuscripts that are mailed or emailed to me, so don't even think that. I do my teaching and critiquing only with a workshop context. And sorry, no, I won't be your mentor.]]

Clarion has been helping to turn out professional SF and fantasy writers since the 60s. Maybe you're the next one. You'll never know unless you apply. But be warned, only a few are chosen. Admissions are extremely competitive, with only one of five applicants getting in.

For writers who are already published, but are looking to take the next step in their careers, there is the Taos Toolbox, founded and run by my friend Walter Jon Williams and held right here in scenic New Mexico.

http://www.taostoolbox.com

Walter Jon's pitches his Toolbox as more of a "graduate study" program, for writers with a bit more experience. Graduates of Clarion, Clarion West, and Odyssey, neopros with a few sales under their belts, even journeymen looking to improve. I am not connected with the Toolbox, but I did a guest lecture there a few years ago, and it struck me as a great program. This year Nancy Kress will be assisting WJW with the teaching, and Carrie Vaughn (of Kitty and Wild Cards fame) will be giving a guest lecture. And when you're not writing, reading, critiquing, or listening to lectures, hey, you'll be in Taos.

Clarion Workshop and the Taos Toolbox. If you want to write, check 'em out.
Spain

Wild Card Weekend

Wild Card Weekend is almost upon us. No, I'm not talking about SUICIDE KINGS this time -- although this weekend would be a great opportunity to go out and buy it -- but about the NFL.

The Giants are out, but the Jets are still in it (it's good to have two teams), travelling to Cincinnati for a rematch with the Bengals. Needless to say, I'll be pulling hard for this game to turn out the same way as the last one. Cincy will be playing all their starters this time, so I expect the game will be closer, but I do think the Jets have an excellent chance of winning again and advancing to the next round. Let's Go Jets!

That's the game that matters most to me, of course... but it's no fun watching a football game unless you care about the outcome, so I'll be rooting for certain teams and against others in the other three wild card games as well.

I hate Evil Little Bill, so of course I will be cheering for the Ravens to upset the Patriots and eliminate them from this year's tournament. I have mixed feelings about the Ravens themselves. I don't much like Ray Lewis, but I've always been fond of Bawlmer, and of course I am an Edgar Allen Poe fan. But I'd cheer for almost anyone against the Vile BB.

I also hate the Philadelphia Eagles, but not as much as I hate the Dallas Cowboys, so I guess I have to cheer on Donovan McNabb and company. If the Cowboys get eliminated, extending their long drought of playoff victories, Jerry Jones will probably fire Wade Phillips and the Cowboys will start all over with a new coach, which always causes a certain amount of chaos.

So here's hoping the Eagles win. (Then next week I can cheer for someone else to beat them).

In the Arizona - Green Bay game, my feelings are mixed. I think Green Bay treated Brett Favre shabbily; but then, I'm more a "loyalty" guy than one of those "it's a business" guys. On the other hand, I love the Green Bay fans, the history and tradition, and the fact that the team is publically owned, rather than being the personal plaything of some asswipe billionaire like Jerry Jones. (More teams should be publically owned). On the Cardinals side, I like Kurt Warner, who was a class act when he was with the Giants, as a mentor to Eli. But I don't like the Bidwells, or the fact that the Cardinals still refuse to give up the championship they stole from the Pottsville Maroons. Tough call... but Pottsville takes it. May the curse endure. Go Packers!
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