I'm not actually a smoker

I got my rejection letter from Clarion West a couple of days ago. (In case you don’t know, Clarion West is a 6-week writers’ workshop, concentrating on speculative fiction, that is organised every year in Seattle, USA.)

I wasn’t upset, because I had a feeling I wasn’t going to make it this year. In fact I was somewhat upbeat after I read the letter.

From the date and contents of the letter it appears I made it to the final cut. Last year I was rejected quickly, with a nice standard letter. This year, I got a different standard letter, complete with a hand-written note at the bottom from the workshop administrator informing me that she was sorry to say no this year, and “it was a very close thing indeed.”

I didn’t shed a tear, and apart from a slight sense of frustration at getting close but no cigar, I view this in a positive light. The standard of my work is progressing, and it’s being received well among readers.

That reflects my thoughts on my fiction: it’s getting better, but it’s just not there yet. It’s irritating because that cigar is so close I can smell the handrolled paper and aromatic tobacco.

Soon, I’ll be able to reach out and roll it in my fingers… and I’m looking forward to that first mouthful of smoke, and drawing it deep into my lungs.

The first one’s free. I’ll have to work for the rest.

What a rush…