Nathaniel hurt. His head pounds, a fissure threatening to crack along his jaw if he moved too suddenly. He had been kicked in the head, punched in the gut, and put in a bone-breaking armbar. The attack had been relentless and unforseen.

The week has been relentless. Valleys and peaks that have been explored only in small quanities in the past. The experience is hard to describe. Beaten down, picked back up. Pardon the cliche, but a roller coaster.

I’m ready to go home. The catch, of course, is that two days at home I will long for Banff, the people I’ve met, and the environment where my dream is actually treated like it’s important. Real life doesn’t exist here.

I had no opinions on Robert Sawyer when I first arrived. Why would I? I had read some of his books and seen him in some interviews but I didn’t know him as a teacher. I’ve known him for a week…so is it possible to say that he almost feels like a mentor in that short time? Because that’s what he’s doing: jamming a year’s worth of mentoring into a week.

And sometimes it hurt.

Robert Sawyer could be considered one of the most successful Canadian authors. Not just sci-fi…but cross genre. This guy is a professional. 16 books, winner of all the awards, options for movies…you get the idea.

The first critique in the week he let loose with a barrage of verbal punches that nearly knocked Bev back a decade (of course, looking back, she was one of the lucky ones).

Rob doesn’t pull punches when it comes to the art of writing. Sorry, not art of writing…the art of getting published.

The punches flew with my manuscript. Yes, my most perfect creation, the same manuscript slated for publication by Gardenia press. And he tore it apart, hammering away it, kicking Nathaniel when he was down, inflicting more punishment on my hero than even the Bounty Killers were able.

But the amazing thing is that Nathaniel is resitant. He’s dumb so he doesn’t know how to give up. Just like when he lost 5 Crates of DragonRoot. He picked himself back up, dusted himself off, and got back to work. Of course, he then had to deal with the Crucifiers, the Pariahs, the Syndicate, Creed, and Black Swan.

So perhaps my route is a little easier than his.