I blogged my first day of AWP (the arrival), but I didn’t manage to blog during the rest of the conference. Disclaimer: I’m sure to leave someone wonderful I met or some amazing event I went to out.
Each day of the conference I had plans to attend a few panels, but I didn’t actually attend any (except for the one I was moderating) until Saturday! Instead, my first day (Thursday the 7th) was marked by a love for the book fair. I wandered the huge first floor and the smaller second. I talked to lots of wonderful people. I went to three book signings with breaks in between to snack on my Trader Joe’s food back in the room. It was also easier to walk all the way across the conference center back to the hotel where I was staying instead of waiting in lines at the bathroom. There was even one male bathroom converted to a woman’s. Yes conference hall designers still don’t realize you need more stalls for women.
In the evening I read a poem as part of Queertopia and had a mild drink at the insistence of one of my publishers soon to be husband. How can you turn that request down? It was also my first gay bar. It was, in short, pretty awesome. I zoomed by the Queens MFA meet-up at another bar. No drinking there because I was trying to get back for the Charles Simic reception and reading at 7. It was too packed. I instead wandered back to the Prudental Center (mall attached to the hotels and convention center) and found myself staring at the menu of restaurants. Another AWP’er was there and we just decided to have some wonderful seafood together. That was my splurge dinner, and I made a new friend. (Those of you who know me IRL know how much of this is already completely outside of my comfort zone).
The next day I worked at the Sibling Table for about 4 hours (while the boys went and got married! and delayed by the bad weather slowing down even the T). I also gave out some free books and postcards from Folded Word. So many compliments on the cover design for “Paper House.” I loved working the table. Not only did I get to tell lots of people about Sibling, but I sold books. I also, through more random conversation, realized that one of the publisher of Brooklyn Arts Press and I were in undergrad creative writing workshops together. Small world continues.
I went to two more book signings. Tupelo press has the sweetest writers! I went to several signings and they were just AWESOME. I was a glow during my panels presentation. They did such an amazing job. We even had a decent turnout for a pedagogy panel with about 20 people. Good questions, and then being taken out to dinner by the amazing Rose Auslander? Wagamama had awesome food, and we had wonderful conversations.
Saturday was my day for panels. I attended four. I went to “Navigating the Non-tenured Position,” “Document Based Inquiry for Poetry,” “Video Games, Fan Fiction, and Comics as Narrative,” and “Hating Your Writing: A Love Story” (all these names aren’t exactly correct. Each of these panels was particularly wonderful for where I am at in my multiple lives as writer, teacher, editor etc. I can go into more detail about each of them. Feel free to ask away with the questions.
After the panels a bunch of us met up in the lobby area and had California Pizza Kitchen for dinner, and then we tried to sleep before the evil of Daylight Savings time and the need to get up early for trains, planes and subways. I took the T to the airport and lazily checked in my overheavy bag (I bought about 12 books!). I had chats with mostly Greensboro area writers as we waited for our flight including the young man sitting next to me on the plane. He is a Biology major and an editor of a lit mag who dabbles in some creative writing. He is why I love how my different worlds collide.
Now. Can I afford 2014 in Seattle? Pose your questions on anything you want expanded on. I’m not even going to try to mention everyone I met right now. It will probably all come back to me, but one of the best was spending time with my co-editor of “Referential.” We are real!