I'm going to Clarion West! This isn't news, exactly. I found out I was going in early 2020. You know, 2020, that year when nothing unprecedented happened at all. Because of COVID, the Clarion West organisers wisely rainchecked our year - I believe it's the first time this has happened in the history of the workshop. So my cohort became variously known as the 'Ghost Class' and the 'Plague Year', and entered a holding pattern that, for most of us, lasted over two years.
After the 2020 cancellation, all our places were held with the hope that we'd be able to go ahead in 2021, but when the time came, vaccines weren't yet widespread - unlike the pandemic. So when the 2021 workshop went ahead, it was online-only. We were given the choice of doing it that way, or waiting it out another year to see if an in-person workshop was a possibility in 2022. I don't mind telling you I cried when the 2021 decision was announced. Clarion West felt to me like the next logical step in my career, and an opportunity to develop my craft in ways I couldn't alone, and a chance to meet the writers I'd now been working with and sharing critiques with for a year, and to have all that put on hold again was heartbreaking.
But here we are! It's 2022! The workshop is going ahead - in person! I have more publications under my belt (including the story that got me into the workshop, which is a nice coda). I have... well, zero savings left, which is a problem, especially with a nine-week lead time between confirmation CW 2022 is going ahead, and the actual start date - argh! (Friends, I am working my ARSE off, but due to current life circumstances, it probably won't be enough. This will be the subject of a different update.) And all the anticipation has build up a mighty compulsion to be locked in a building with some brilliant brains for six weeks, hopefully turning out some of the best fiction of my life.
And I have some mixed feelings. In the past two years I've become close with some of my cohort, and I'm beyond excited to finally meet with them and work with them. But half of them, I'll likely never get to meet. Some opted for the 2021 online workshop. Some took a final raincheck to 2023 due to changed life circumstances. We are a cohort divided, and I suspect that's part of the reason a lot of us Ghosts describe ourselves as 'Clarion West 20/22'' or "20/21", throwing both years in the mix. There's the year we went, and there's the Year That Never Was. There's our cohort, and then there's our Ghosts.
But as the kid from the Sixth Sense said (probably, idk), "Por que no los dos, baby!"