A Year on Saturn

...is approximately 29.7 Earth years.

"A Year on Saturn" is the website of Shannon Fay,
freelance and fiction writer.

Clarion West Week Five

Posted on: April 18th, 2015 by Shannon Fay No Comments

First off, congrats to the class of 2015! Also, congrats to any future Clarion West acceptees reading this (not only for getting into Clarion but for somehow rescuing the dwindling bee population and saving life as we know it. From the people of 2015, I speak for everyone when I say ‘phew, that was close one.’)

I won’t do the whole song and dance about how long it’s been since my last Clarion West post, but I will say that I’ve been busy writing a horror story on twitter and getting my shit together so I can move to England. If anyone has or knows anyone with a cheap apartment to rent in/around London, please get in touch with me. Seriously.

Anyway, Week Five! For these posts I’ve been consulting my notes and diary entries from my time at Clarion West. Because I am lazy, and because I feel they capture that week better than any re-cap could, I am just going to type up my diary entries from week five (with a few judicial edits to protect other people’s privacy).


A lovely grey day. I pretended that I was home alone, that I was a crazy old lady living alone in a mansion of ghosts. I got a ton of work done on D-Frag [NOTE: D-Frag was the manga I was editing at the time], read stories, cleaned my room and did laundry. I even started work on my final CW story. I felt very proud of my productivity. We had our orientation meeting with CJA [NOTE: Charlie Jane Anders]. She seems super-cool [NOTE: Chinelo, our CW classmate from Nigeria, often teased us North American folks about using ‘super’ all the time as a qualifier. Seeing how often it shows up in my diary, I can see where she’s coming from]. We had pizza for supper, and after, at Marlee’s request a bunch of us watched an Australian movie.


My crit day! CJA really liked my stories, esp., The Happy Detective (called it brilliant and said she wished she’d thought of it). The crits round the table were pretty positive too- people were confused by the plot and not sold on the main character, but they loved the ideas and the world building so, so much, and I realized how genuinely proud of all my stories I am, how I actually do incorporate big ideas and themes into my stories (something I’d been wondering about lately). So basically, I’m fucking amazing.


Oh fuck. Oh my fuck. Computer on the fritz. Please God, let it live through the week. I need it just a little longer, ahh, I’ve worked so hard, why now? Why?!

[NOTE: Next part comes later, in a different coloured ink]

Ugh, now word just ate 1000 good words. I don’t get it, I don’t get what’s going on. Why?! What is up with it? I could have gone out and had fun. Wahhhh [Note: yes, I actually wrote this in my diary]. Please help me get those words back.


Sent in my last CW this morning- whoo! I wonder what John Crowley will have to say about it. It’s a dark story called ‘Other People’s Homes.’

Today we all seemed tired, broke, and broken. Neile had to help Rich and I out [NOTE: Usually it is the student’s responsibility to make sure that their story is printed out the day it’s due. That morning though both Rich and I were scrambling to get our stories printed, so Neile graciously stepped in to print our stories so we could get to class on time.] Tough day- still not over.


I dream about critiques and now I can no longer tell which things are real and which are dreams. Like, I dreamed that a story Curtis wrote was too weird for me to handle, so I passed on it. But now that I’m awake, I know this didn’t actually happen. But I believed it long enough that I stayed in bed till 10, afraid to face everyone.

So yes, that was week five. To fill in some of the blanks, basically I had brought my ancient second-hand laptop with me to Seattle and sometime around week four the screen started going out on me. It went out forever on the night before my final story was due.

To make things worse nearly everyone else was out at karaoke with CJA, having a blast, which just made the pity party I was throwing for myself at home even worse. BUT, here is the thing that somehow didn’t make it into my diary entries: my classmates are all amazing, kind people. Before my screen went out I sent out a distress e-mail. From the karaoke bar Anthony e-mailed me back offering to let me use his computer to finish my story. Curtis offered the use of his computer cables so that I could hook up my crummy lap top to one of the extra monitors that were down in the computer room. Mike helped me lug the giant monitor up to my room and then used Curtis’s cables to connect it. Alison comforted me and convinced me to keep going when all I wanted to do was lie on my bed and cry. Everyone was very supportive and helped me get through a tough week five.

Next up: Week Six!

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