expanding the mind

The first week has rushed part. I’m in awe of the organisational skills of the Clarion West administrators. Their twenty-one years of experience has refined the workshop into an efficient system that emphasises writing, and respect.

Paul Park is a gentleman; an expert in the Socratic method of teaching, he wants to help you spin your ideas in new ways, and becomes animated when a different perspective intrigues him. Listening to him read is a pleasure. I’ve learned a great deal already, much more than I expected. After the opening session I navigated the labyrinthine house to my room, my mind buzzing with minor revelations, and I thought: this is just the first day!

The weather has turned sunny and hot, which is nice in the mornings and evenings. I’ve a room with many dressers that is cooled by a refreshing cross-breeze. I decorated it with cut-out photographs, a poster of a George Littlechild painting I picked up for half-price in a local book store, a cobalt blue sarong from Africa, and a orange-pink paisley pashmina. I bought a black fake-stain robe, decorated with embroidered dragons and peacocks, in one of the many second-hand shops clustered in this district. It was a bargain, and draped over the back of a closet it adds colour and interest to the room. A bunch of violet and indigo flowers purchased at the Farmer’s Market this morning brings fragrance and life to my writing den.

I look out my window and an athletic frat boy, wearing a pair of long white shorts, sneakers, and a cowboy hat, strolls past as he talks on his cell phone. It almost makes up for their noisy presence.

My companions on this journey are funny, generous, and considerate. We’re a diverse bunch, which is fantastic. Already I’m impressed with the stories, concepts and ideas, and it’s invigorating to live in this writer-rich environment.

I’m looking forward to meeting Maureen McHugh tomorrow. Her latest collection of short stories, Mothers and other Monsters, is superb (and I don’t state that because she’s a McHugh, or my instructor, but because it is true).

I’m happy with what I’ve been writing, especially since I’m generating a lot of new ideas, and not relying on concepts I brought with me to Seattle. There is huge room for improvement – you could fit continents, planets, or universes in that space. I hope to narrow that gap somewhat during the next five weeks. I’d be happy if it will only swallow a galaxy or two, and not all space and time.

Enough prevarication. I’ve worlds to explore.