I had the opportunity to take a fiction writing class with David Marusek in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1999, when I started my junior year of undergrad work at the U of Alaska. It was a genre writing class, meaning we were a little collective of folks writing mystery, SF/F, romance, adventure, thrillers, and the like.
It was a damn fine little workshop, and the first time I got to work with a real, published SF author who understood genre. David was awesome, but the turning point for me was the last night of class when we all went out to a local place and talked shop and traveling and life and etc. over cokes (for me, anyway: I was 19 at the time) and tortilla chips. David was a Clarion grad, and I mentioned off hand to him that I’d applied a year or so before and been rejected. I told him I was thinking of applying again when I was 25.
“Don’t wait,” he said. “Apply to both. Use some of the stories you wrote for class.”
There’s something about having somebody you respect who believes in you that gets you up off your ass and gets shit going.
I applied to both Clarion classes. I got into East no problem, and got on the waiting list for West. I reserved my spot at East and hung around hoping I’d make West. Eventually, when some of the Wests moved to East, I was able to get on board, so I got to spend 6 weeks in Seattle with an amazing group of folks. The experience was huge. It changed my whole life. I gained a wealth of amazing buddies. I traveled around the world visiting some of them. It rocked the house.
Now, nearly 6 years later, David’s first novel, Counting Heads, is *finally* coming out.