Clarion South – Day 1

I was hot, sticky, and just a tad flustered when I was finally presented with my room (middle level – F206) and my room mates. I’m sharing the floor with Nike (pronounced Nicki), Nathan, Emma, Lily and Kenrick. All seem mature and personable but it’s early days, so I’m waiting for the feral bit to kick in.

My first task was to assemble a fan for my room. No problems, I thought! How wrong I was. In the end I bashed it into shape but likewise it gave me a fantastic Harry Potter style cut right between the eyes. Woo bloody hoo!

The facilities are typically campus style – a kinda 70s, dilapidated vibe. It’s still good fun though. My main concerns are the meals (our floor is split 50/50 vegetarians and non) and the bathroom (2 toilet stalls and 1 shower per six people). Oh well, I have to put up or shut up. I can look forward to king-size beds, comfy chairs and personal ensuites when I return home in six weeks.

On the Sunday evening, we met as a group for the first time and went through the ground rules. Everything seems to be running smoothly so far, with our internet access arranged just after a BBQ to welcome week one tutor Sean Williams. Sean appears to be a casual kinda dude but I must practise my socialising abilities a little more as I haven’t yet had much of a conversation with him (or several of the other Clarionites).

After a patchy and steamy nights sleep, I awoke at six am and dived into the shower. The feeling was good, despite the ungodly hour. I suspect this will become my routine.

The first critique session started at 9am. Three stories were up for critiquing, which should be the average for the next six weeks. Most of the comments were thoughtful and insightful and certainly highlighted the difference in the participants analytical abilities. I, for instance, am one of the most line-edity type critiquers. I read the story based on structure and less so on idea. Others were more into motivation and characterisation. Unfortunately I was far too dried out (Ifrom the medication) when I had to speak and the expected store of water failed to appear, so my first couple of critiques were slightly nervous affairs. I’m confident that my written critiques are comprehensive (and valuable to the other writers) and also that my future critiques will have more mustard to them.

After the critique session, our floor discussed food and cooking issues (salads should be the rage for the next six weeks). I then explored the campus grounds and found a number of vitally useful shops and cafes. Now that I feel more settled, I will attempt to write something of significance this afternoon. My critiques for tomorrow are already done and my next story for submitting looks like it won’t be until Monday or Tuesday next week. So I’ll jam some words together for a while and then mosey on down to the common room (which has pool table, table tennis and big but old TV) at 7pm for Sean’s pizza dinner and movie watching evening (he’s lined up ‘Throw Momma from the train’ eek!)

This whole experience could be very good or very very bad. Stay tuned.