Last weekend, my weekend of Charles de Lint, has come and gone. I’ve been hesitant to write about it, because how can I put it into words? It was wonderful! Friday night’s book signing was fun, of course. At the outset, he took pictures of the audience to share with his wife. Then we got to hear him read a bit from Little (Grrl) Lost, one of his two new books that just came out this month. More importantly, we got to hear him talk—about books and writing and music and himself. This is one of those instances where you just want to absorb every word, every gesture, every look into yourself so it will stay with you forever. And it will, but it will soon be not so immediate. And that makes me a little sad.
Sunday…Sunday was incredible. I left at 6:15 a.m. to drive to Seattle, headbanger music blasting all the way, singing at the top of my voice to keep myself awake. And I didn’t even get lost! I found the place on the first try.
After introductions and bit of chit chat, we wrote for thirty minutes. Then we each got to read our piece out loud to the group and get feedback. I say “got to” as if it was a privilege, and it was, but it was intimidating, too. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been in a writers’ group, so I haven’t been reading things to people or even having them read my writings. To do it out loud in a group of strangers with Charles de Lint as part of the group…Yikes! But I did it, and it was a good thing to do. I want to be back in a group where we read to each other and talk about the work. But I digress…
My piece got a lot of good input, including from CdL. He said that I don’t actually need to use many “he said/she said” tags, even though they tend to disappear on the page, because the way I wrote my characters’ voices made them easily distinguishable. I was very proud of myself. I’m trying not to preen. Okay, actually I’m not. I’m preening. I’m very pleased with myself, especially because what I wrote was completely off the top of my head. I didn’t have any plans when I got there, and my piece wasn’t part of a story I had already started or had plans for. (Actually, this part is kind of silly. I have no idea why I didn’t have an idea ready to go along with the myth I took with me—somehow it didn’t occur to me that we were going to be writing in the workshop! Dumb, I know, but I was probably overly excited and not thinking straight.)
So…at lunch time, I went down to the corner coffee shop. CdL was there with two women from class, and we all chatted for a bit while we waited for our coffees and soups and things, and then we walked back to the class together, just chatting as we went. CdL talked about Harlan Ellison and being on the phone with him one time. Just normal, you know. “Oh, I was talking to Harlan once…” He knows all of these amazing writers personally, so he can just say things like, “Last time I was talking to Midori [Snyder].” Or “I was on a panel, sitting next to Jane [Yolen].” Or “Terri [Windling] and I were sitting around one day trying to come up with a name for this type of fiction.” I was star struck. I was, it’s true.
At the end of the class, his wife, Mary Ann Harris, joined us to talk about things like first readers and about acting as his editor and agent for a while. She’s really great, and hearing her take on his writing life was inspiring. Makes me realize what sort of first reader relationship I would like to have.
It was just an amazing, incredible time for me, and these words, little black and white blobs, just can’t do it justice…I think I’ll just write a story instead.
Oh yeah...this is cross posted for those who read more than one of my blogs.