Paradise Lost and related reflections

Paradise Lost and related reflections

In an effort to be more consistent with my blogging (I was listening, Jay!) I think I’m going to resort to a kind of template for the time being.


Writing: Two hours of mostly outlining and note-making, plus a little first-drafting. Need to step up my game, and quickly.
Fuel: Oatmeal, 1 red apple, small can of Spicy Thai Chili Tuna, six crackers, scallops and vegetables over grits
Poisons: 3 cups of coffee, 1 cup of yerba mate, and 1 glass of wine
Exercise: Two miles on the treadmill
Other Stuff on my Mind: Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost is a workshop originally for graduates of Viable Paradise. John was invited as Editor-in-Residence, which meant lecture time and critiquing. This year it was opened to grads of Taos Toolbox as well, and I got to attend as a student on that basis when Jake Kerr dropped out because he was NOMINATED FOR A FREAKING NEBULA and the Nebulas were that same weekend. It was a remarkably well-organized and spectacularly fun event. I recommend it.

I really had a wonderful time. Sean Kelley, our host and coordinator, was just fabulous and made sure that the experience was as positive as it could be for everyone. I had dinner with friends I rarely get to see, and got to make new friends who I am confident will remain a regular part of my social sphere. I was able to benefit from the wisdom and experience of Jay Lake, who was incredibly giving of his time and advice, and Steven Brust, who provided some GREAT tips on getting unstuck, which I will undoubtedly need in the coming weeks. I was so proud of John in his capacity as Editor-in-Residence, and was very happy to hear such positive feedback about him from my fellow students. I took some pictures that I’ll try to remember to post later in the week.

It was a lot of fun, and I learned a ton–some things about the business of writing, but also about the business of being vulnerable humans. I’ve spent the past twenty-four hours reflecting on things I said and whether I should have said them, and things that I should have said but didn’t, and things I could do differently next time. Much of which, strangely, comes back around to treating my body and brain better, because that directly impacts how I relate to other people. Exhausted and fragile Christie is not much fun to be around; tipsy Christie can stand up to six or eight straight hours of intense socialization and may be fun, but is also possibly more opinionated and frank than is entirely prudent; hung-over Christie is kind of a pathetic disaster and really nobody wants to see that.

So, I think I need to tweak my approach to Workshop and Convention Fun a little bit. More rest will make the liquid fortification less necessary to handle the intense socialization parts, which will then leave me appropriately tired at a reasonable time, instead of artificially pushing on and ending up wrecked the next day. It’s just a nice positive circle of consequence made possible by the liberal application of a pillow and the restriction of wine.

This isn’t like an oh-god-I’m-so-ashamed-what-about-that-poor-goat train of thought (it wasn’t that kind of party), just a reflection on action and consequence and what I could do better, both for myself and for others.

This also intersects with one of the things that Cat Valente mentioned in the article I linked to yesterday: how hard on one’s body it is to sit and pound out a novel in a short time. I would really like to not fail at this endeavor and I figure that taking better care of my body and brain can only give me a leg up.

IT’S ALL CONNECTED, MAN. ALL OF IT. All in the service of the novel.

One thought on “Paradise Lost and related reflections

  1. Tipsy and Opinionated Christie is fun. I hope we’ll still get to see her from time to time ;)

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