Clarion West 2010: Week 0.

Rather than processing, I think I’m going to give myself permission to log or list experiences, feelings, goals and images, instead of crafting a narrative out of them. I don’t think I’ll have time to process until post-Clarion, and my storytelling powers will be focused on the weekly deadlines for the workshop.

The few days leading up to the workshop were jam-packed with project management at the day job. I think I had one of the most productive work weeks of my life! Friday afternoon was devoted to a last minute scramble to run last minute errands, and to spend 20 minutes traversing at Rockreation as a loving farewell.

We went to GameBoy’s end of the year concert on Friday night–it’s amazing to see his progress over the years!–and were pleasantly surprised when Alana sat down next to us. We all decided (including GB) to skip Pomp and Circumstance, and snuck over to ice cream with Tim and Meryl right afterwards. As close as I am to my online friends, having good friends who live in your neighborhood is a treasure.


I woke up at 4am on Saturday morning to finish packing. Er, actually, to start *and* finish packing. I then woke everyone up and forced them to go to breakfast with me. πŸ™‚ It’s amazing to realize that you are friends with every member of your family, and that we can have a flow of brilliant conversation, with everyone an equal participant. I think we touched on physics, pop-culture, creativity, politics and body humor in one sitting.

Parting was difficult. I’ll leave it at that.

When I got to the gate, I saw my classmate @StephanieDeniseBrown waving at me. I think we annoyed everyone else in the room with our enthusiastic, non-stop, 90-minute convo. She is a wonderful, considerate human being, and it was the perfect way to begin my Clarion experience. On the plane, I worked out goals to put my workshop into perspective, and got half-way through a long overdue critique for a friend (which I am determined to complete before my first assignment).

Owly Images

Side note: I’m probably not going to talk much about my classmates on the blog, out of respect for their privacy. But I may exercise judgment and make occasional exceptions. And I’ll use the short hand by which they made themselves available to the public–in this case, twitter handles.

The Seattle natives who were accepted into the workshop have been wonderful resources, shuttling us from the airport to the house. Another ‘mate was holding onto Jana’s cousin’s bike for me at his place in Ballard, and after a laughter-filled dinner with other students, he gave me a ride to his place, and I rode the four miles back to the house, over a HUGE hill (Google Maps, why did you deceive me with your deceptive 2D?). But not before I discovered that this shrine was only a few blocks from his place:

Temple. I will come here to worship.

Tell me, my friends, is this of God, or of the Devil?

Stone Gardens Bouldering Cave

I woke up before six this morning, and the house was pretty quiet. I yelped four cafes that had free wi-fi and were open on Sunday morning, and came right to Herkimer Coffee on “The Ave”, just a block down from a vegan pizza place, another vegan cafe, and a community garden. I walked in and found myself surrounded by pictures of Todaiji and Itsukushima Shrine, two places that I visited on my last pilgrimage to Japan. And I’m sitting under a picture of a shrine to Inari, who is someone I obsess over, and an important presence in a couple of my stories:

Owly Images

Battery on the laptop is dying, so I’m going to finish my exploratory ride of the U. District and check out the outdoor rock wall by the Husky stadium. Not sure when I’ll get to B-log again, but stay tuned!

And thank you all for your encouragement! πŸ˜€


  1. I am incredibly proud of you John. Good wishes for a successful and productive workshop. Despite all the work (and I know it will be a lot of very hard work), have fun with it. Because, you know, even though writing is hard, it is also fun.

  2. Loving your twitter updates and being jealousβ€”not because I want to go but because I know you’ve been wanting to go for so long. Sounds like you’re having a blast and I hope you get a lot of out it πŸ™‚

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