Friday, January 28, 2005

Clarion Auction - and a Hint of My Clarion Courtship

Reminder for sf / fantasy fans:

The Clarion Midnight Auction has started. Bids will be accepted until 11:59 pm EST on Saturday, January 29, 2005.

Click on a name below to jump directly to your favorite author/editor/artist.

Steve Berman   Michael Bishop   Bruce Boston   David Brin   Tobias Buckell

Madeleine Vinton Dahlgren   Ellen Datlow   Cory Doctorow   Harlan Ellison

Neil Gaiman   William Gibson   Nicola Griffith and Stephen Pagel   Joe Haldeman

The Brothers Hildebrandt   Michael Jasper   Leonard Kirk   Ellen Kushner

Geoffrey A. Landis   Philip Lawson   Bruce McAllister   Judith Merril

Dan Mishkin   Gary Myers   Al Sarrantonio   William Browning Spencer 

Jeff VanderMeer    Howard Waldrop   Martha Wells   Kate Wilhelm   Connie Willis

Note to Shelly and other NASA/Mars fans: one of the items is MARS EXPLORATION ROVER OFFICIAL PROJECT MEMORABILIA**

This benefits the Clarion Writer's Workshop at Michigan State University. Don't anybody bid on the Harlan Ellison book, okay? (After consultation with John, I withdraw this request.)

As promised earlier, here's the beginning of my Clarion story.

John doing...something. Clarion, 1977.Teaser: when I saw the little clipping on the office door of the English prof who was never there, I had no idea it was the first step toward finding my husband, the love of my life.

I was in high school when I first came across the James Blish Star Trek books, rather awful short story adaptations of the episodes. From there I went on to read The Making of Star Trek, and David Gerrold's two books on the series. Those led me to the writing of Harlan Ellison. Before long I was reading as much Ellison and Vonnegut as I could find, plus The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and other magazines, plus a smattering of Asimov and Bradbury and Clarke. These didn't impress me as much as The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, which got me reading and collecting fantasy novels under the Ballantine Adult Fantasy imprint. I loved Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn, and McKillip's The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, and Bellairs's The Face in the Frost. Somewhere around that time was when I started on The Tengrim Sword, which decades later turned into Heirs of Mavarin.  And oh, yeah, I joined a local Star Trek club, and edited its fanzine, 2-5YM.

Among the many sf and fantasy paperbacks I bought or borrowed from libraries during high school was one called Clarion III, edited by Robin Scott Wilson.  This 1973 book had short stories by attendees of the Clarion Writer's Workshop, and essays by some of the writers who taught there, including good old Harlan.  There was some indication, though, that Harlan and some of the other writers had no plans to teach at Clarion in the future. That was a shame, I thought.  Nevertheless, from then on I really wanted to go to Clarion.

Me at Clarion, 1977.Fast forward to early 1977.  I was a sophomore at Syracuse University, majoring in TV-Radio and Creative Writing.  Well, in theory I was.  I'd skipped out on a required TV course because it was a) boring and b) the same time as Barney Miller. As for Creative Writing, I'd done well in one such course, and all right in Shakespeare, but I was having trouble getting in to see the head of the Creative Writing department, much less get his formal approval to major in Creative Writing. I made frequent visits to the man's office door, but he never seemed to be there.

It was on one of these visits, circa March, 1977, that I saw a clipping posted on the door about that year's Clarion workshop, to be held at Michigan State University.  When I read the line-up of writers in residence that year, I think I actually trembled.  Robin Scott Wilson, founder of Clarion and editor of Clarion III.  Harlan Ellison, my favorite writer at the time. Algis J. Budrys.  Peter S. Beagle, another favorite, with the added bonus of being a fantasy writer.  And finishing up, Damon Knight and Kate Wilhelm, who had taught at most of the Clarions to date.  Well, I had to apply, immediately.  That line-up of talent seemed ideal to me, and wasn't likely to be available again if I blew my opportunity for the 1977 class.

So I got my parents' (separate) permission, and I applied. My submission manuscript was Chapter One of The Tengrem Sword.  I was at my dad's apartment when my self-addressed manila envelope came back, as thick as ever.  What a disappointment!

I opened the envelope.  A map of MSU fell out.  I let out a whoop.  I'd been accepted to Clarion!

Next time:  Harlan Ellison, Matchmaker.



ryanagi said...

Wow. I am in awe and rendered speechless!

deabvt said...

Woo Hoo!!