May 2, 2012 8:00 AM
Posted by Jei D. Marcade
To the enduring surprise of no one, a very dear camerado will be joining the bright and shining ranks of the Clarion Class of 2012. I started drafting him an e-mail to share my pearls of wisdom as a venerable West alumnus, then decided to follow in the footsteps of my esteemed colleagues by posting it in a more public forum for incoming Clarion and Clarion West students alike:
- Travel light. Remember that you could potentially be amassing up to 18 hard copy crits each week. (Though if you run out of luggage space, media mail is your friend.)
- Don't forget to play. Wander about the neighborhood, go on outings, take weekend trips, join your classmates on myriad adventures. Basically, peel yourself away from your computer from time to time; your eyeballs and your arse will thank you.
- You have a captive audience devoted to making you a better writer; take advantage of it: test drive the unfamiliar, the uncomfortable, and the downright traumatizing. The results may not always be glorious--you may, for instance, be accused of being a morally reprehensible shell of a human being--but these reactions are important to note.
- "We're all a little mad here." Enjoy it. I was fortunate in that all of my classmates were perfect in every way, and while I hope that you find yourself in the same situation, six weeks of cohabitation with strangers may not be all joy. Just take a breath and remember that ye're all crewing the same ship. But as you are vastly more charming than I, I'm sure you will be perfectly capable of defusing messy situations. (Otherwise, aim for the eyes, throat, and groin.)
- Empty your cup.
- You can sleep when it's over.
If anyone else has additional advice to share, please feel free to drop them in the comments! ❤