Our first real day of workshop — and that photo above really was what greeted me first thing in the morning — is led by Karen Joy Fowler. She’s fantastic; I love her work, and happily direct you, dear reader, to What I Didn’t See, her alternately harrowing and enchanting new collection of stories. She’s even better in person: wise, funny and totally candid, especially (ulp!) about rejections. If I remember correctly, it was Sarah Canary that was rejected 20-plus times until it finally found its way into the right hands. (Later, Fowler also does one of the best readings of the day, from an upcoming novel: a hilarious and tense face-off in a high school cafeteria.)
We’re off to a good start: a couple of science-fiction pieces — one set way off (Fowler said it was too way off) in the future, another the beginning of a post-apocalyptic saga that starts in the Salton Sea. I dig the fact that one’s a social worker and another’s a lawyer — again, regular folks like me. “Too many adjectives,” the class practically agreed about the latter piece, except that I didn’t. In my head I figure they’ll all slam my piece later for being overwritten and hyperbolic.