Monday, March 2, 2009

Problems peculiar to the undead. And spec fic writers.

It was the first week of Clarion, still pretty early in that week. I think. (Time was pretty stretchy there. The first few weeks lasted for months, maybe years each. The last week was over in a breath.) We were in workshop, critiquing a story where the main characters were zombies. Not the trendy, shambly sort, who just want to eat your brains, but pretty much people who just also happened to be the walking dead. This is an important distinction, not only for the quality of the story (excellent), but also because, well, one of the characters had impregnated the other. While he was a zombie.

The question was raised as to whether or not a zombie might have the blood pressure to make this possible, or if that was the sort of occurrence that would throw a reader right out of a story. This point was discussed, quite seriously, around the table. I do not remember whether consensus was reached -- these were, after all non-traditional zombies.

What I do remember is the feeling that I was exactly where I was supposed to be at that moment.

I spent last weekend visiting Clarioinites. Marking the end of something, and celebrating new beginnings. And in between catching up on our lives, we pondered the zombie apocalypse, and whether that mangy pigeon in Union Square was its harbinger. We looked for Daleks in sculptures while talking through plot problems (well, lack of plot problems, mostly. One has to have a plot before one can have problems with it.) Made up odd stories about the tentacled plant in the conservatory. Half-fun, and full earnest. I realized how much I missed conversations about the sex lives of zombies, or how to block a fight scene that had tentacles in.

When I got into Clarion, one of the things Nnedi told me was that it was a place I would find my family. She was right. I mean, I got lucky with the family I was born into. Really lucky. And I've been lucky in the family I have been collecting for myself. But I found my writing family, seventeen other students, and six fabulous instructors, this past summer in San Diego. It was exactly where I was supposed to be, at that moment.

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