And Chase is ahead of me, I know we’re crazy to climb like this, his feet are barely a yard over my head and this whole section of the crag could come down on us. We’re free climbing in the dark, no ropes and this is fucking crazy, if Chase falls he takes us both down, or if another boulder breaks loose from the wall, and then we die together at the bottom of the gorge and maybe we get found in the morning but more likely it’s a few days and more than a few. But he can’t slow down to a safe speed and neither can I because we heard the screaming start a few minutes back. We thought it was a coyote or a cougar or something but then we heard words and it was my name, Del, Del, the voice was screaming. So we’re both trying to get up over the lip of the crag in the dark and see who it is above us that is screaming that knows my name. Chase is climbing in fucking hiking boots, he’s insane, he’s stoned, he’s always stoned so at least his reflexes are what they always are, he’s not going to go rubbery and collapse which is my only comfort just at this moment. It’s been raining for five days, today was the first clear one. The moon isn’t getting through the trees much, and he’s overhead and thus in the way of it for me. I am doing this all by feel, my hands reaching for flakes I can’t see but slightly remember from when we climbed this wall this afternoon, before the rock fall, and grabbing on. My feet (I’m in boots too but I at least know how crazy this is, Chase is always like this so maybe it’s not actually crazy for him) scrabble for anything to step up on or smear against. A rock comes down from Chase’s feet and clips me on the shoulder. It’s not big though I have to guess this by the feel because I can’t see it, and it hurts like fuck all. Some monkey thing keeps me on the wall in spite of the pain but after that my arm doesn’t work so well. “Fuck, man,” I say up to him, “Watch it, all right?”
I: have published three novels and a pile of shorter works; have won the World Fantasy Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Award, and the Crawford Award; have been shortlisted or a finalist for lots of other very cool things; teach an annual workshop for the Center for the Study of Science Fiction in Kansas; am starting grad school in the fall; own a cat; climb rocks when I don't rupture ligaments; attended Clarion West in 1987; am Clarion West's vice chair. This is my first time, be gentle with me.
"Spar," Clarkesworld: -- It's a Nebula and Hugo finalist, but it's not for the faint of heart! "26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss," Asimov's: -- a Hugo and Nebula finalist and winner of the World Fantasy Award. The Fox Woman, Tor Books Fudoki, Tor Books I have tons of fiction up on my website.
I hemorrhage words, and then I have to go back afterward and clean up the mess.
During the six weeks of the workshop, I am moving (one week), teaching (three weeks) and driving (one week), so I don't know what I can do as far as pages. But I will commit to this: I'm experimenting with voice, so I will write up a page or so playing with a different voice each week. It'll be cool, I think.
I hope you all can each kick in $10 per week that I manage to do this.