Wednesday, February 9, 2011

…AWP is long gone, not even a speck in the rearview anymore, and I am realizing--in the after-the-fact way a really great film sticks with me days later--how much I enjoyed the event. I've marked next year's on my calendar already.

…The sky is blue, white-blue, but blue and so I am. I don't know why. I even switched my music from Damien Rice to Carolina Liar. Time for some Airborne Toxic Event. I will shake out of my funk any second now. Yes, I will. I will find some kickbutt fiction to read. Until then, here are some random excerpts from speakers, readers and friends at AWP. None of it is in any order, but most of it, I think, you'll find interesting, should be you a writer yourself or not…


"The thing about AWP is that you get to see everyone you like, respect, admire, want to meet and want to avoid all at once." Roxane Gay (Monday's blog post)

"I want to smell your beard. Don't forget to let me smell your beard before you go." xTx (about anonymous)

"She's so tiny I could just throw her over my shoulder and take her home for breakfast" (anonymous about Sara Lippmann)

"If you keep kissing everyone's ass, you're bound to lose your sense of smell eventually." (anonymous)

"For a long time I've denied the existence of rejection in the same way I have denied the existence of death, writers block, airplane malfunctions while in flight, and management skills. This is one in a number of viable uses of the competency I call, for lack of a better term, denial. Rejection simply doesn’t exist. If you go fishing and don't catch anything, is it because the carp don't like your work? Of course not. They would have taken the bail but their fiction inventory is full and, well maybe the next one….
Questions have been raised in recent years about the practice of denial. In a very few cases, instances of digestive tract irritation followed by nose-bleeds and death have been reported. Patients are invited to evaluate whether these symptoms are worth the risk or if they would rather just go around being you-know-whatted all the time, and unhappy." Philip F. Deaver

"I was a florist for 18 years, but I always wanted to do something masculine, so I became a poet."
"The world is made by people who show up."
"Poetry saved my life." Gary Glazner.

"The internet can be an enormous mind suck."
"If you can write it, then it comes down to your ability to push the work forward after it's been written."
"You better get used to rejection or you'll never make it in this business." Julie Barer

"Everything is energy, even words on the page. It either flows through, off of you, or it short-circuits you." Kevin Watson

"Rejection test your belief in yourself and your work." Wendy Call

"The idea of having a thick skin is a myth. People are sensitive. Writers are. You have to be permeable to the real world, but after a short measure of heartache, you do need to get on with things."
Every rejection hurts. The way I cope with it is to acknowldge it, not deny it. "Molly Peacock

"She holds herself out like a cake topping."
"He's scraped before but never broken skin."
"He's fuming, smells like alcohol. There's a seed in his tooth." Sara Lippmann

"The scent of a lover is the hardest infection to irrigate." Danielle Bryant

mid-sized presses get an average of 1,000 queries a month.
good book sales for a small press are 1,500-10,000 copies
large presses want to be pretty certain the book wil sel a minimum of 30,000 before they'll even sign an author
Norman Mailer's, "The Naked and the Dead" was rejected by 11 different publishers, Annye Rand's, "The Foutainhead," by 12 and it now sells 12,000 a year
William Saroyan had 7,000 rejection notices reaching 30 inches high before he got his first story published.


  1. Hysterical, Len. SOOOO glad i got to meet you. Fucking fun ass time!

  2. x, yes. right back at you with big love.

  3. Damn! If I'd known you're going to AWP I'd have got in touch - I was there too.

  4. oh, nicolette!! i would have loved to meet you. crap.