As I’ve mentioned before, I’m participating in Borderlands Boot Camp in January. The fine folks at Borderlands, in an effort not to overwhelm its participants with the enormity of their task, have already forwarded all the materials that we’ll be asked to critique over the course of the weekend in late January and I, being the non-procrastinator that I am (sometimes, when I don’t put it off) have already finished going through nearly all of it
I’m not going to talk about that process just yet. What I’m going to say is that I have NOT received my stuff from grad school yet. I won’t receive it until sometime around November 11, giving me just less than a month in which to read and critique it, along with all the other stuff I’ll have to wade through. Given the ratio of the caliber of material to the cost of the program, I would expect the stuff in the grad school packet to be four times better than anything I read for Borderlands. That’s a tall order, because some of the Borderlands stuff was pretty good.
I feel like I’m at the end of a long line of people waiting to jump off a cliff. I can look up ahead and see what’s in store for me, but I can’t jump just yet. I’m nervous. I’ve spoken to quite a few folks who have all said “I’d like do to grad school, but I just don’t know where I’d find the time.”
But here’s a thing that I’ve found: wading through the stories I’ve got to read for Borderlands was a little tough the first time. Every story is new, and it’s like going to a new place. Slow going, not sure that the place I start out from is where I’m going to end up. I read every story through the first time without making any marks or comments. Most of the stories needed work. A couple were really good, a few I thought were beyond redemption. The second time I read them, it was to make notes. And the second time, every story I read was better than I remembered it. The good ones had sparks of incredible genius. The so-so ones were almost there, just a few patches over the rough spots. The worst ones had something redeeming about them, nothing that couldn’t be brought out. It turned out that the very worst one just wasn’t finished yet. Another couple hundred words and it really would be something worthwhile.
Now I’m curious to see how the rest of the gang judges my submission.