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Mount Orégano
Sue Burke
The Clarion T-shirt: cold, cruel critiques 
20th-Jun-2018 09:41 am
Let me see..
In 1996, when I was at the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Workshop, each class traditionally made a commemorative T-shirt. (This may still be the case. I hope so.)

Ours featured a design on the front evoking a video game. The boy mannikin in the illustration had certain sentimental significance.

The back, in keeping with tradition, listed remarks taken out of context from critiques. Critiquing stories was a main activity at the workshop, and we tried to be kind and helpful, but context is everything. One of these remarks was mine by the way, and I’m not going to own up to it. One of them was about a story I wrote, and it was actually good advice.

• I would really like to say something nice about your story.
• You should use a lighter shade of foreshadowing.
• The story was dances with wolves, bears, deer, and thunderclouds.
• Spirals down into madness and incompetence in a lighthearted sort of way.
• This story is about Emily Dickinson’s pivotal role in the space program.
• What do we want? THE PRESENT! When do we want it? NOW!
• You have everything you need; it all just needs to be changed.
• I also like gratuitous incineration.
• This story is Waiting for Godot, but without all the action.
• I'm not sure that this story needs to have exactly what you want to say in there.
• What we need are some Zombie rules.
GameOverCloseup.jpg• This story is so well-written I bet you've written something I’d like.

— Sue Burke
20th-Jun-2018 03:02 pm (UTC) - Too Cruel
You said #3. Damned if I remember whose story it was.
I said none of the above, but #8 was said about one of mine, Lizard Court.
#6 was said by Lisa about Rosie's dinosaur story.
I believe the first and last were said by Jan with his editor's hat on.
Second to last was about a Mike Van Wie story, I think.
#5 was about Corinne's story.

now which one was about your story?

Oh, and I think these were all needlessly cruel. But we were so young.

Edited at 2018-06-20 03:05 pm (UTC)
20th-Jun-2018 10:27 pm (UTC) - Re: Too Cruel
Number 7 was about my story, and Aaron (Ubermonkey) said it.

I'll fess up. I said the last one about a Mike Van Wie story.

I think maybe Corrine Hawkins said number three, and it was for a story maybe by John Babson. It did have to do with Native Americans.

Cruel, maybe, but we were trying to be helpful, at least.

21st-Jun-2018 02:57 am (UTC)
I can't imagine Corinne saying that, not without squinting and turning my head to one side. It might have been about a Dan Jeffer's story. I think when the quotes were picked for the shirt that either you had said one or one was about your story for everyone in the group. So there's a triangulation possible.
21st-Jun-2018 02:23 pm (UTC)
What I recall (but that was a long time ago), a female said it, and in the context it was kind -- insightful but not nasty. But I could be wrong about who said it.

I'm pretty sure two of the quotes are Übermonkey: • You have everything you need; it all just needs to be changed. • I'm not sure that this story needs to have exactly what you want to say in there.

Again, I could be wrong about the second quote. I remember the first one clearly because he backed it up with useful suggestions.
21st-Jun-2018 06:20 am (UTC)
Haha, those are great!
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