Reflections on Viable Paradise

Summer’s holding the door for autumn, and this time last year I was looking forward to Martha’s Vineyard and my first ever writing workshop, Viable Paradise.

Now, one year later I’ve been thinking a lot about VP and my class. I’ve been thinking about it because I feel a little like I’ve let the side down – no professional-level publications to date – but also because it’s getting cool and it’s about the time of year I started to think how am I actually going to get over to the east coast? and because I learned far more than I realized when I was there, and those lessons have taken some time to percolate through the limestone of my skull, but they’ve made it at last, almost twelve months on, and I think they’re worth sharing.

Everything Tam says is true.

I had had four jobs in a year, if you counted my stint as a freelance blogger, and had collected the trifecta — quit, laid off, fired. I was unemployed at the time. Like Tam, I planned to walk from the ferry to the Island Inn. I wonder how many of us were in that same place, standing on the dock at Falmouth. Alone. Vulnerable. Receptive.

It’s easy to descend into hyperbole about these things. Like Tam, I haven’t had anything professionally published. I’m holding down a job not related to fiction writing, but I’m happy there. I don’t know that I can say that Viable Paradise changed my life, in the rapturous way that’s usually meant. But in that moment, it made all the difference in the world. And it’s still making a difference. And that’s enough.

2 thoughts on “Reflections on Viable Paradise

  1. I’ve been thinking about VP, too. I’m excited for the new class going in, and I miss you guys. What an amazing span of personalities meshed into one focused group. I enjoyed the time I spent with you.

    Comparing the sales thing though is just a bad idea. I started to earlier this year, but we have some people in this class who are ahead of us and that’s okay. That’s how we learn from each other. Without the help of one of those people, I wouldn’t have made my Bards and Sages sale. I too benefited from the hand up.

    And you will as well. Just keep writing, keep submitting, and don’t let rejections bog you down. Send your stories EVERYWHERE. And if you want to swap stories anytime, let me know. Even if it’s just to say hey, loved your story, you’d better submit this. Because I will.

    • I enjoyed the time too! And I’ve certainly appreciated the lessons and perspectives everybody brought and continues to bring.

      I do keep writing and submitting — slowly, as always, but I do it. Keep throwing myself against the wall until one day, finally, I get up it.

      I appreciate the story swap offer, and the same goes for you. The current thing has been workshopped to the point where I need to put it in the mail already. (There, it’s sent.) But the next thing, definitely.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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