Clarion San Diego SF/F Writers’ Workshop 2014: Selected Sentences

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Ann VanderMeer and I have finished anchoring the last two weeks of the Clarion San Diego SF/Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. The instructors in the other four weeks were Gregory Frost, Geoff Ryman, Catherynne M. Valente, and N.K. Jemisin. Thanks to Shelley Streeby and Laura Martin, who run Clarion on the UCSD side, for doing a great job.

We had a great time with these students–not just great writers but also really interesting people–and we are just so happy about now sitting back and getting a chance to read all of the amazing fiction they’ll be writing post-Clarion. This is one of the privileges of teaching creative writing: to come into contact with imaginations and world views that are unique and full of life and depth.

Wednesday at our Mysterious Galaxy reading, Ann read a sentence from each student, and I’ve posted them below so you, too, can get a small sample of what’s in store for the future. Take note of these names, because you’ll be hearing a lot more from these writers.

So, congrats to the Clarion class of 2014–it was a real pleasure and honor to get to know you and be able to read your stories. We learned a lot from you. Much love from both of us.

***

Kiik Araki-Kawaguchi: And though it had been sixty years since Margaret had fed Kane, she knew instantly, absolutely his favorite things to eat were the seeds of mesquite, creosote bush and prairie broomweed, precisely the plants that were growing wild in her yard.

Martin Cahill: He descended on the town like a star from Dark Heaven, salamander six-guns shining like twin suns, a flask of firespice ringing against his hip like a bell that tolled of his coming.

Ryan Campbell: The two men at the door look like little buildings: one poorly made and beginning to crumble; the other new and modern and glassy with a smile like a receptionist.

Amin Chehelnabi: This sudden moment was three things to Ashraff: the silence between words, the pauses between breaths, and the eternal quiet of the Olympian Gods in council.

Nino Cipri: His first cellmate nicknames him Maps, because that is what Sal hangs on the walls.

Vida Cruz: Sit beneath the shade, child, and I, Saha, will tell you how the mango came to be.

A.J. Fitzwater: In the third month after the cities collide, the girls dance out of the walls.

Noah Keller: I know of a jewel of dust, in a creaking drawer in a dresser with a thousand knobs.

Leena Likitalo: Ocelia, my little sister, I will reclaim your feathers.

Zach Lisbeth: After an epic battle (which has already been approximated in several oral traditions) Maggie defeated the Boneless Emperor and his Band of Belligerent Boys (most of them turned out to be more misguided than belligerent, but such is the fickle nature of alliterative names).

Haralambi Markov: The kiss that came well before love and whose memory outlasted every definition of the word.

Manish Melwani: I digest the cosmos, fermenting star-stuff in my infinite guts.

Kristen Roupenian: She had carried her daughter home to David for safekeeping, but David—half-mad with fear, not knowing what he had—had lost her: yes, he said, please, take care of this for us, and so Lily’s body disappeared into a basement furnace and burned along with waste and needles and other unloved things, and when Anna woke up and opened her arms for her daughter, David had nothing to give her.

Ellie Rhymer: I dreamed about the moon last night, so full that it burst its seams, and you and I ate pears from orchards watered by the silver moonbeam deluge.

Kayla Whaley: Sunlight trailed in behind us, as if light could stick to your sneakers as easily as mud.

Marian Womack: One believes in mirages because there are no dreams, and one must believe in something.

Tamara Vardomskaya: And as we lie, in bed in his arms, on the carpet floor alone with the TV show still chattering empty stupidities, we seek to find our centre and we can’t.

Sarena Ulibarri: The Elders said that lightning used to follow the wires from one side of the world to the other, until the sun reached a finger across space and snapped the wires with a single flick.

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