Last crits were on done on Friday. Lots of Mafia played and movies watched over the last 24 hours. Nikki coordinated the making of an impromptu chapbook as a going-away present for Kelly Link; everyone got a copy and there was a mad signing party over pizza. Clarion 2004 T-shirts showed up. When I have a little time I'll transcribe the quotes from the back. The keynote quote, from the front, reads, "How can I get my word choices more better?"
Six of us have left already, two more are leaving this evening. Jeff Ford left this afternoon. Most of the rest of us are leaving tomorrow, Grace, Peter and (of course) Amelia are hanging on until Tuesday.
I am feeling inexpressibly sad. It is an almost physical sensation in my chest, and a weakness of my limbs.
I wandered into the crit room -- the Kappa house's formal living room -- this morning, stood, and looked around. The circle of chairs was still there, empty. No more crits, ever. No more group, no more voices offering praise, correction, encouragement, hesitation, voices of other writers, who think my thoughts, have my dreams, struggle with my problems. Whatever happens to us now, Clarion is over, forever. Brynna, Al and Tenea came in. We just looked at each other for a while.