Clarion Epilogue: Health and Motivation
August 15, 2006

First off, a hearty congrats to Livia for being the first Oh-Sixer to make a pro sale with a Clarion-workshopped story (and just ten days out from Clarion no less)! That's one down, 119 left to go?

Finally getting over my sore throat and cough, but I'm still struggling to get my momentum back post-Clarion. At the workshop I was never satisfied with either the amount of work I got done or the quality of the very rough drafts I was producing. Now I'm not satisfied with anything. Still a few days away from being able to talk normally without coughing, but I'm feeling well enough to pretend that this is behind me already.

Though Clarion was a great experience and I'm glad I went, it's rather frustrating that I interrupted a moderately successful workflow, ostensibly to improve it. And ten days later I'm still producing at Clarion-levels (at best) rather than where I was in early June. Yes, I know I have unreasonable expectations for myself. That's my charm.

Writer friends have told me that it's normal, and that I shouldn't worry about getting back into my routine (or starting a new routine) so soon after Clarion. Even a year's worth of non-writing is "normal," post-Clarion. But I don't think they've seen the kind of asshole I turn into when I'm not writing. We all have our ticks, and this is the way I manage mine. That's my other charm.

But it's not just writing that's lacking the motivation. I have so much work on Telltale and other projects that I'm feeling too lethargic about to get a move on. I know I can blame some of it on the sickness and/or Dayquil. And obviously I can't do any narration until my throat's working again. But I'm even feeling lukewarm about running after two lousy thirty-minute attempts last week. I need more perspective before I make any major decisions, but there's plenty I have to do that just can't wait.

Not that I haven't been trying though: I've already revised and sent out the easiest of my Clarion stories to fix. I did a lot of cleaning. Fixed (or paid someone else to fix) the various things around here that broke while I was gone, including the car, the Tivo, the toilet paper holder, and my protein-starved, under-exercised body. Renewed my driver's license and car registration. Processed some of my last-week Clarion experiences in this journal. Accompanied Jen on a short business trip to a place neither of us ever want to visit again. Attended my own surprise party on Saturday and had a great time (Thanks to Jeremy, Megan, and Jen for organizing it, and everyone else for coming out!) even with the cough and sore throat, though I hope I didn't make anyone else sick. And yes. I was completely surprised and would have been even if I'd been in full-health.

As for the cause of the sickness: I don't know. The East Lansing tap water? I was raised on well water, so I'd have thought I'd be immune to any water problem in existence. But water-as-culprit would explain why even the vegetables of the salad bar didn't agree with me. And I did start to feel better when I switched to bottled water exclusively for the last few days. The cough was there since Clarion's week two. I had at least minor digestive issues for all but maybe four or five days at Clarion. The cough drops didn't help the stomach issues, and the eating-nothing-but-toast-and-soup for a few days to settle my stomach: that probably just robbed my body of the nutrients I needed to get better.

I don't think I spent too much time around Clarion friends when they were smoking. I spent less time in bed than usual, but I don't think the quality of sleep was too much worse than my insomniac-butt gets at home. Exercise was a real struggle; I probably went for fewer than ten runs total in the six weeks I was there, and none in the last two weeks of Clarion. And my metabolism/health just isn't naturally good enough to let me float that long with such a sedentary lifestyle.

A week back on organic food has done wonders for me. I'm certain that the quality of protein I was getting at MSU just wasn't cutting it for me, because I've been craving meat every day since I've been back. Doing my best to limit that meat intake to organic (and local when possible) meat. The selection between Earth Fare, Whole Foods, and Weaver Street is amazing and this is the first time in more than five years that I've actually cooked red meat at home. Yesterday ate the best burger of my life: a half pound of organic ground chuck with garlic, topped with a bit of fromage d'affinois (like Brie, but even creamier) on a spelt bun. I've even finally found an organic BBQ sauce I like. I sometimes teased Sean about his high-protein diet at Clarion, but with the amount of muscle I lost over these six weeks, I think it should have been him teasing me.

At any rate, today I finished the rough draft of my fourth Future Shock script for the British weekly 2000 AD (sent the first one in September of last year; they're usually pretty quick with the rejections). Tomorrow I'll try to make some sense out of it and hopefully send it out by the end of the week. Some cool/crazy film script possibilities coming up, one even paid. And then we'll see if I'm still as sick of writing and reading prose as I think I am.

Filed under Clarion, Journal, Well Awareness
Alex Wilson .com

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I'd actually lend credence to the idea of nutrient-deprivation if your body was used to organic foods and whatnot beforehand. (As if -I- were the Whole-Body Guru...) But I do know that the body reacts severely when it gets attacked by a bunch of microorganisms it doesn't like, and normal foods have those in abundance. Your body will fight it off again and you'll be in fighting form before you realize it. (Muscle-memory is a beautiful thing--fat as I am, when I hit the gym back in March, it didn't take long to lose my initial panic-attack when I checked out a full-length mirror thereafter).

Sickness also relates to your mindframe. The organicity of the brain is totally affected when the body is experiencing a struggle with illness. Brain = tissues in the body. Dig? Blood flow tending to one part of the body will affect the other blood supply in other parts, ie The Melon.

Dang, I'm GOOD at what I do. This is why I blog, to remind myself that I DO know stuff when I feel %1000 like I don't.

Oooh, there's something else to take away, Alex. Especially in the light of the facts.

cough*asimov's*cough.

Posted by: Alan at August 15, 2006 8:00 PM


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suddenly I'm thinking YOU should be choosing where we go to lunch on Thursday...

Posted by: Mur at August 15, 2006 9:44 PM


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I'm glad to hear you are starting to feel better.

Posted by: Aimee at August 15, 2006 9:48 PM


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I have that sore throat/cough thing too and it sounds like Casey was struck by it as well.

No idea what it is, but urgh.

Posted by: holly Black at August 15, 2006 10:01 PM


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I'd barely settled into my Clarion routine, such as it was, before we disbanded, leaving me to once again flounder to find yet another routine - which, it seems, won't be like the old routine (such as it was). I'm feeling very discombubulated and under-the-weather; and while I didn't gain any weight in East Lansing, I certainly didn't encourage the one or two muscles I had to stick around. Hopefully between the gym and a better diet, I'll bounce back to something resembling good health by September.

And thanks for the congrats! Yes, only 119 stories to go, and a good portion of them are yours. So get crackin'!

Posted by: Livia Llewellyn at August 16, 2006 8:44 AM


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Thanks, all, for the kind words and for reading the rant. I really am feeling better and these entries are helping me process my thoughts while I still have them.

Alan: No wonder all my brain's been able to process is "mmm, burger."

Mur: I'm not that fragile, and Linda's works great for me. Haven't eaten there in too long, I could use the walk, and since you have to drive you should definitely pick. (Or if this is in response to what I said I become when I haven't been writing, don't worry. I've been writing.)

Aimee: Thanks, I am. Now all I have to do is ween myself off Nyquil. It's not really an addiction if I only want a sip or two every hour, right?

Holly: I'm not big on medication (and I have a worry about overmedication) but antibiotics, Dayquil, and Nyquil ( along with plenty of non-Michgian water and tea) helped end this 6+ week issue immensely. Hope you're feeling better soon.

Livia: Yeah, I'm looking forward to not feeling like I'm in transition anymore. If Clarion was a mostly-welcome interruption of life, then life is a mostly-welcome interruption of that interruption. And if you didn't gain any weight, then no wonder your stories were so coherent: not enough calorie-rich alcohol in your Michigan diet (which I'm betting would have killed the germs for us and we'd be feeling better by now).

Posted by: Alex at August 16, 2006 10:29 AM


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by Alex Wilson. This is from an online journal/blog I kept from 1998-2009. Back to alexwilson.com.