Sunday, April 20, 2014
Sunday, April 13, 2014
Today's hike with the Ramblers was in New Jersey, starting in Montclair and ending in Summit. About half of the 16 miles were roadwalking and half were hiking.
Much of the scenery was more gently pretty than whomp-you-over-the-head (although Hemlock Falls is nice), but it was exciting to see that spring is finally here. The day was warm - in the 70s - and we saw the first wildflowers.
Monday, April 7, 2014
Spring is finally arriving, and this weekend the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park trail crew started up again. I spent several hours Saturday uprooting invasive wineberry. This is a good time of year to do it, since the plants don't have any leaves yet. It's easy to spot the wineberry, which is a relative of the raspberry from Asia. Like kudzu, it was brought over to be ornamental, but it grew out of control.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Near the north end of the sanctuary, there was clear evidence of camping - increased litter, trash bags, many small trails, and a guide rope up the hill to the sidewalk. Riverside Park used to have a significant homeless community. While it has been mostly gentrified, apparently the effort hasn't been completely successful.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
I was surprised to be completely rejected by both workshops. To be clear, I didn't expect them both to accept me - I didn't even expect one to accept me. I wasn't convinced my unheralded genius would bring the readers to their knees! But for those of you not familiar with the workshops, each has three possible responses: yes, no, and almost. Clarion gives you an "almost" by putting you on their waitlist, and CW does it by rejecting you with a more encouraging letter. Both gave me the plain no this year.
To the extent I was surprised, it was because when I applied for Clarion previously, they waitlisted me. As my writing has gotten better since then, I didn't expect a lesser outcome. I could say, "Oh, I don't know why they rejected me," but that's not true; I was rejected because at least 36 other applicants submitted better stories than I did. There is no mystery or conspiracy there.
As I said, by today it was no surprise, so it was a relief in some ways. I could go back to planning my summer trip to Colorado (which couldn't have happened if I'd been accepted) and my hiking trips to the Catskills. I took the chunk of money I'd been saving and lobbed it at my credit card debt. And, yes, I put in today's minutes toward my current story.
The thing is, I'm still discovering what needs to be fixed in my writing. As I continue to uncover problems and work towards solving them, my writing is getting stronger. It'll improve this summer whether I'm at a workshop or here. And maybe that's the best explanation for why I wasn't accepted. If my writing is still in a state where I can diagnose and treat its ailments, I don't really need Clarion yet, and I couldn't get the most out of it.