So, yesterday I announced a new post series, entitled ‘Things I Love’ and I began to talk about the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop. This post is a continuation of my experience at Odyssey, and so I highly advise you to read the first one first, if you missed it.
When I left off, I had just received a truly life-changing phone call: Jeanne Cavelos had just called me to say that I had been accepted to Odyssey. I proceeded to squeal with girlish glee for quite some time.
Once I had been accepted, a package soon came in the mail for me. It contained sign-up information for room assignment, a packing list, and a couple of homework activities to be finished before attending the workshop. I should note here that one of the things that I really liked about Odyssey, from a living situation point of view, was that they were very careful about our comfort. I was matched up with my two wonderful, supportive roommates via a questionnaire asking our preferences such as smoking, sleep and work habits, and personality. I must say that it was very well done, and at both the original workshop and the alumni workshop I attended, I got along swimmingly with my companions.
Now, to the homework I was assigned. In order to have something to critique as a group the moment that we got there, we were asked to submit a short story before coming. This was rather nerve-racking for me, as I hadn’t written a short story since our construction paper chapbook unit in third grade. To build my confidence, I went out to the used book store and picked up a few anthologies, and read them, and then embarked on a science fiction reality show parody, entitled Cash or Consequences. To this day, I have never reached an acceptable draft of this story, but it had a neat concept. Basically, a group of terminally ill people compete for the public’s sympathy, and votes, in order to receive a large inheritance for their next of kin.
Since Robert J. Sawyer was our guest of honour that year, I also picked up a copy of Hominids, which had come highly recommended to me long before the workshop. Reading Hominids really opened my eyes as to the potential quality and scope of Canadian fiction. Without a word of exaggeration, Robert J. Sawyer makes Canada cool. I ate the book up, and bought the rest of the series immediately afterward. Already Odyssey was opening up my reading horizons! To this day, however, I will always find it strange that I had to drive for eight hours to meet a man who lives three quarters of an hour from my house. These are the oddities of life.
Time passed quickly as I prepared all of my house wares, office supplies and home comforts for the long haul to New Hampshire, and, during that time, I became as nervous as a cat stretched over a water bucket. I had never been away from home for so long before, even for camp. Would I be able to handle being on my own? How would I get along with the other authors? Would I make a good impression? All these things and more were racing through my brain, and stealing my shut-eye.
Up Next… I Journey to the Mystical Land of New Hampshire!