I’m very glad to announce that I’ve received the Jay Lake memorial scholarship to the Paradise Lost writing workshop in April. PL is a workshop for “neo-pros,” meaning those who have completed a major by-audition workshop or published short stories. It was originally established as a soiree for graduates of Viable Paradise, hence the name.
VP was an amazing moment in my life where I got a much-needed kick in the pants and learned a lot about writing. I’ve been wanting to do the Paradise Lost workshop for years, this year especially, because I would get to hang out with the crass and craft Chuck Wendig.
So I’m grateful. More than that, I’m honored, because the scholarship is in the name of my much-missed friend, Jay Lake. (Who the hell is Jay Lake? If you remember that, yay.)
For the five people in the world who didn’t know him, Jay was a writer who wrote copious amounts of science fiction, and also blogged through his cancer in excruciating detail. (The “who the hell is Jay Lake,” for those who don’t know, was one of his con giveaway pins, playing on the fact that it was impossible not to know him.)
Jay was a friend from the time I met him. He was always encouraging. He remembered the few pieces of my writing that he had read and when we talked about writing, he would emphasize my strengths based on what he remembered. I was one of thousands of writers he was at least a part-time mentor to. He was never fake—he was friendly and complimentary and available. He preached persistence and he lived persistence. Despite cancer, he continuted writing like crazy, battling through the depression and anxiety that came with cancer, caring for his daughter, cooperating with his ex-wife, and maintaining a robust dating life, especially for a sick dude.
I am honored to have this scholarship in his name, and maybe to contribute a little bit of good to the world in his name.