Monday, March 3, 2014


…So I’m back from AWP.  It was an absolute blast, getting to hang out with dear friends I only see once a year, and meeting others. 
I did two readings where I think I did okay and one where I just couldn’t go on beyond the first paragraph and thus abruptly stopped.  Not real cool to do, especially in a very cramped hotel room with 50 other writers I admire, but if I’d kept on it would have been a mess.  Sometimes I just shouldn’t read or even attempt to.

There were some 14,000 writers at the conference.  Often it was quite overwhelming, if not also intimidating.  My friend, Karen, said it’s an attack on the senses, which is a good way of putting it.  So many things ran through my head: do I belong; look at all these other writers who are so much better than me; how assertive should I be?;  is that person saying they really like my work just being nice?; am I being paranoid?; I’m probably being paranoid and insecure; did I really push myself enough to get as much out of this experience as possible?
And on and on… But so, yeah, my insecurities roiled quite a few times.

It was fun to have AWP here in Seattle (next year it’s Minneapolis and last year it was Boston).  Having nice weather helped show off the city.  So many people fell in love with Seattle, saying they wanted to move here, even people from places like San Diego.  I wonder, though, how they’d hold up with all the long bouts of steady rain.

So my mind is still swirling and clogged with events of the past four days and I’ll be back to normal shortly, or hopefully so.

Here are some people I met for the first time, though I know I’m forgetting some, and if you’re one of those reading this, I’m sorry: Bud Smith, Meg Pokrass, Joani Reese, Aaron Dietz, Mike Joyce, Michael Seidlinger, Kelli Russell Agodon, Jen Knox, Indigo Moor, Jamie Iredell, Adam Robinson, Sam Snoek-Brown, Dorothy Tunnell, Janey Smith, Kyle Minor, Mia Arvamut, Larissa Schmailo, Peter Tieryas, Dena Rash Guzman, Art Edwards, Emily Stern, Shainel Beers.

…These are a few things I like for the start of the week:

"Writers are very often miserable people: some thrive on unhappiness, others don’t. But few are immune from feelings of deep and avid dissatisfaction. We write because we are constantly discontented with almost everything, and need to use words to rearrange it, all of it, and set the record straight." Avi Steinberg

“And in the end, we became our stories.” Margret Atwood

"Pa, he always said a man had to look spry for himself, because nobody else would do it for him; your opportunities didn't come knocking around, you had to hunt them up and hog-tie them." Louis L'Amour

“There was a time when I thought I loved my first wife more than life itself. But now I hate her guts. I do. How do you explain that? What happened to that love? What happened to it, is what I'd like to know. I wish someone could tell me.”
―Raymond Carver, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love"

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