The Clarion West Narrative: Eight Crazy Things Clarion West Made Me Do

This ongoing narrative thread about Clarion West is less coherent than I’d like, but I’m starting to think that’s symptomatic of the experience. My brain is so full of memories, sights, sounds, faces, places and ideas that the story is coming out in a jumble. A rough draft that I’ll clean up as I go, at least in my head, as I rewrite my life story.

One way I want to address some of the story is to drag it out of my past and into the present moment.

The welcome packet I was given warned us that we’d return home changed people, and in my case, the advice was dead-on. From very basic things (I started chewing gum to stay awake and developed a habit) to major shifts in self-concept that I can’t yet articulate, the workshop was transformative.

I developed an almost paranoid relationship with my laptop and still feel uneasy if it’s not where I can see it. I’m addicted to Twitter. I drink too much coffee. I’m aggressively protective of my privacy and free time. I can’t sleep (yet) on an Eastern time schedule. I returned to veganism with a passion. But, HEY! Results may vary.

I also learned to think and work like a professional writer, which is a good thing, one hopes.

This last part may seem a little juvenile, but when I came back, I also had a burning desire to be a bit funkier, to make my outer appearance match my changing inner self-concept. After some careful thought, I made a big change.

So, here’s my new do, some of which is blue. I feel fabulous and more comfortable in my own skin. I can’t sufficiently explain why this was important to me.

At my age, you’d think I’d be past little things like appearance. But I’m becoming a person I’ve wanted to be for quite some time, and it feels totally right.

5 thoughts on “The Clarion West Narrative: Eight Crazy Things Clarion West Made Me Do”

  1. "I feel fabulous and more comfortable in my own skin…But I'm becoming a person I've wanted to be for quite some time, and it feels totally right."

    And that seems like reason enough! On top of that, you are a writer and a creative–you're trained to express your innermost self to the world. You look great in both photos, but I'm glad that you've opened this window into yourself.

    I plan to follow suit, in time. 🙂

  2. Major changes in self-concept:

    One is pretty straightforward to me: I came home more convinced that I should follow and fight for my passions, instead of just letting the world and the status quo swallow them whole.

    But there are also a couple of strange internal changes, that seem strange for a writers workshop. I think I squeezed out the patriarchal religion (Mormonism) and allowed myself to become spiritual again.

  3. I think the workshop is intended to be a kind of bootcamp that strips us down to the barest center of our reason and passion so that we can actually see what that consists of. Then we can take that back into the world with us, if we choose, and do the work that needs doing.

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