A friend forwarded an opportunity to me, recently. It's a writer's retreat out of an organization called Sage Hill. Specifically, she thought I might be interested in their weeklong science fiction writing workshop, headed by sci-fi writer Spider Robinson. And I was. First, Sage Hill is a great organization, and their Writing Experience has been career-altering for a number of friends of mine. (If you're interested in that sort of thing yourself, I'd recommend checking them out: http://www.sagehillwriting.ca/.) Second, to work with Spider Robinson would be amazing. He's probably my favorite science fiction writer (Category: fictionalized novels and/or living) and I would absolutely love to have some one-on-one time with him. Finally, writing is a passion of mine, as you've hopefully guessed by now--you don't reach 600+ blogposts doing something you don't want to do. A chance to move professionally with writing is a dream of mine, one that I've put away for the slightly (very slightly) more practical dream of the related passion of scholarship. It's not just an opportunity; it's a huge opportunity.
I decided not to apply.
I have some reasons, and they're pretty good ones. First, it's a sci-fi and speculative fiction retreat. I don't write sci-fi. I write fantasy, as readers may recall from the prologue I posted previously. Granted, the two forms are at least kissing cousins, and there's a lot of overlap--but my writing really can't be considered to fall into it. At best, some of it's urban fantasy, which can squeak really close to speculative fiction, but the main stuff is sword swinging fantasy. And from having read a lot of Spider Robinson essays, I know that he does not think very highly of the fantasy genre, which would make the attempt even less likely. Second, judging from the utter, utter lack of response from the posting of said prologue, I suspect that while I enjoy creative writing, I am Not Very Good At It (Prove me wrong. Please?), which makes the attempt a delusion on my part that's wasting everyone's time. Then there's the financial reasons. The retreat's full accommodation and meals, so it costs a bit. Granted, there are some scholarships I could maybe--maybe--swing, but there's still the plane ride there and back. I'm a student nearing the end of his funding package; trips are not in the cards, at the moment. And last, there's the professional reasons; I can't justify leaving the dissertation to fallow at the moment, when it is finally, finally, picking up steam. (I know it's a mixed metaphor. Just look sad and move on.) And so, I decided not to apply.
Ever make a decision that you feel is the right decision, but you regret at the same time? Yeah. *Sigh.* Well, back to the Atari videogame manuals. At least they understand me.