Uncle Orson’s Boot Camp

Montana from the highway north


Last June I toddled off to Orem, Utah to attend Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp. It was exciting because (a) I was selected  to attend, and (b) I got to take a road trip with my best friend. (Think Oprah and Gail, complete with red Chevy Impala.)

Here are the highlights:

  1. Orson Scott Card. Duh. The man is a creative genius. I listened to him for a week pump out ideas as fast as a machine gun pumps out bullets, all by asking “what if?” (Not exactly a new technique or one held exclusively by OSC, it’s just that he was really good at it.) He is also a very nice, very intelligent man, and very real, if you know what I mean.
  2. We had to write a story. He liked mine. That was cool, considering I hadn’t written a short story in 15 years.
  3. I met some really cool people who wrote some really cool stories.
  4. The weather was warm, no, hot. I was the warmest in Utah that I was all summer.  I came back to Edmonton and froze for the rest of the summer. I’m still frozen, only now it’s winter and I expect to freeze in the winter, so it’s okay.
  5. Montana was absolutely beautiful. Stunning, in fact.
  6. The Red Iguana in Salt Lake City. Mexican food to die for. Worth going to SLC just for the food.
  7. Radio stations in Montana, Idaho and Utah suck.
  8. Americans, at least in Utah, have developed this nasty habit of saying “uh-huh” when you say “thank you.” I believe the correct response is still “you’re welcome,” is it not? I wanted to yell and stamp my feet, but I didn’t. I’ve lived in Canada too long. The politeness thing has rubbed off.
  9. Shopping, of which we did not do nearly enough.  But I got this great dress for $27.


Scott (I get to call him Scott!) had a mild stroke on January 1. He is  happily doing well enough to do another Boot Camp this summer.  Wish I could go again . . . .