March is the month when people find out awards they didn’t get, colleges they didn’t get into, workshops and jobs that gave them a pass, internships given to someone else. Everyone’s depressed and licking their wounds, Spring Break is in sight but too far away, no one’s gotten enough sleep in weeks.
Third try, and I didn’t get in to Clarion this year. I am disappointed and terribly frustrated, despite the knowledge that it’s a crapshoot, taste of the judges, etc. I got waitlisted in ’06, with a story I wrote in undergrad, but I’ve been flat-out rejected twice now (’07, ’10). Now, I KNOW my writing has improved over the past five years. I got into a PhD program, ferfuckssakes. But the fact that speculative is inadmissible to graduate-level workshops doesn’t help–it’s hard to improve when all I can do is a self-crit. I want to form a speculative fiction crit group something fierce. A project for next fall, perhaps.
I woke up to an email from the summer subletter I thought was a sure thing saying that she had found another place, so once again I’m staring down the prospect of paying $1500 for an apartment I’m not living in. And this morning I had perhaps the third most awful student interaction I’ve ever had, ever. I’m going to be spending more time than I wish figuring out what to do about it, self-criticizing, replaying the incident in my head ad nauseum. One more thing I don’t need.
The (few) bright spots: I survived the insane quantity of work I had to plow through this weekend. Nothing got done well, but everything got done, which I need to learn to live with. And I got into a department reading with the shorter of my two Clarion pieces, so at least that story won’t be a wholly wasted exercise. I finished a new essay for Urrea, too, something that I may be able to turn into a memoir chapter. I like its form, even if the content is still all over the place. I’m not proud of it, but…yeah. Is done.
The mantra is basic: writing is hard. One step forward, two steps back.