I’m guilty of the phenomenon my CW classmate Jenni describes in her post about Clarion West; that of the blogger who returns home, says they’ll post more about the workshop, and never, ever do.
So not writing about Clarion West after you’ve come back to your other life is a kind of shield, or maybe just a good guard against writing overly emotional blog posts
I actually never thought my theoretical Clarion West blog post would’ve been that emotional; I just haven’t had a clue what to write. Don’t get me wrong. I have feeeeeelings. Lots of ‘em. It’s been very hard to live in a house with seventeen people you grow to love and then pack up and move five thousand miles away, alone on a continent. I spent the entire last day in tears. It was not my finest moment; at one point I caught a look of myself in a mirror and very much wished I hadn’t. (I cried some more on the plane, when I exited the airport in Amsterdam and saw my mom picking me up, then when I was home on the couch, freaking out the family who’d come to welcome me home. This is… not normally me, y’all.)
What was almost worse is the way life went on, to the point where it felt like Clarion West might as well not have happened. Everything is as it was before.
So I just didn’t know what to write; I can’t talk about how I’ve been changed, because I don’t know if I have. I can’t talk about how much I’ve learned, because I’m still processing. I’m neither hit with bursts of inspiration or the dreaded dry spell. I have not gotten married, divorced, lost a job, gained a job, moved houses, or had any of the other major life changes so many graduates talk about.
But what I do have are memories that, over two months after, still make me teary sometimes. I have stories that I would never have written otherwise, friends that still make me laugh in e-mails because I can imagine their voices with every word; I have the knowledge that I succeeded where I was so, so desperately afraid I’d fail.
I wish I could go back.
Jenni put it perfectly:
How do you leave Clarion West? You don’t. You kind of get taken away from it.
And then you cope.