All this week I am teaching Clarion West in Seattle. Eighteen students are spending six weeks writing stories, critiquing, and learning from six professional writers, one per week. This year they are Paul Park, me, Margo Lanagan, Minister Faust, L. Timmel duChamp, and Charles Stross. Here we are, hard at work in our classroom, which the rest of the year is part of a sorority house: Each Clarion has its own group personality. This one is affable, well-mannered, dedicated, and determined. Most of them attended my reading last night at the University Bookstore, where I read "Eliot Wrote." The next morning, there we all were back at the big table, improving each other's fiction and producing such memorable statements as:
"But there is no blood in bread."
"I was pleasantly surprised that I understood some of what was going on in this story."
"Being British, I did understand why you just summarized the sex scene."
"I am totally Team Pillow!"