Another year, another AWP. It was a good one this year, kids, so good I’m still hurting today. Altitude, dry air, endless boozing and the endless boozey hand shaking, a book fair that needed a zeppelin hanger it was so huge, way too little sleep, way too many old friends and new friends with whom to get into trouble with… If I had stayed in Denver any longer I’d have irreparably damaged myself. Anywho, here’s my three-point recap that you might profit without having to slog through the long list of who I drank with and what panels I attended. Giveaway for the strong.
1. DOGZPANK rocked. We packed our wing of Forest Room 5, made fast friends with our bartender, Duke, heard some truly great writing from some truly beautiful people, and recorded the whole thing for posterity (Roxane will undoubtedly be posting it soon, I’m sure). Look for the camera drop in the second act (preexisting condition + alcohol + altitude = hope you’re feeling better, L.). Special thanks to Â our readers for burning it down: Â Matthew Salesses, Â Erin Fitzgerald, Â Kathy Fish, Â Pedro Ponce, Â Lauren Becker, Bill Barr, Maggie Glover, Â Nicolle Elizabeth, Â JA Tyler, Â Molly Gaudry, Â Beth Thomas, Â Jac Jemc, Â Aaron Burch, Â Angi Becker Stevens, and Tim Jones-Yelvington.
2. Our panel, The In Sound From Way Out, was well attended and discussion had to be cut off at the end, so there’s that. We had a couple of early evacuations during my intro when I announced to the audience that what they were largely going to hear at AWP amounted to a bunch of white hot lies, but that our panel was there to deliver them from evil. One writer in particular, I’m told, may have muttered the words “pompous ass” as she fled, or something to that general effect. I guess she took it less joke than hubris, but I vow to never again take our earthshatteringly important literary work so heedlessly light. Shame on me. That said, she should of stuck around because Jen Woods, Aaron Burch, James Grinwis, Margaret Bashaar, Roxane and myself had a really great conversation with the audience about the ins and outs of little magazine publishing. Thanks to all the panel members and to the aforementioned generous audience, wherever they may be.
3. The book fair was in a zeppelin hanger. I mentioned that, right? A tad overwhelming. I live in a cabin in Liminga, MI, and that’s not a euphemism for something else. Thousands of nerds come together for the literary equivilant of Comic-Con (don’t think for second AWP doesn’t have its costumes) ain’t generally my style of socializing. Yet I persevered, salved my social anxiety at the AWP wet bar (and with Hobart’s whiskey shots), and found myself pleased to be able to finally put so many faces to so many names and to meet so many new bright and shiny people. Plus, PANKsters, we moved every piece of merch we took to the conference, including a giant box of PANK fortune cookies that Roxane sold someone for $40. Sold out, brothers and sisters, amen.
And here you are at the bonus offer. Thanks for sticking to it. You thought daddy would come home, all this way, to his most beloved kids, empty handed? No way, my little bunnies, you’re the best. Send daddy a six-word story in the comments section below by Friday at midnight. I’ll pick my eleven favorites and the winners will receive one of the following in the mail: The Lumberyard 5, Redivider 7, Eleven Eleven 7, Versal 7, Agriculture Reader 4, Booth 1, Burnside Review 6.1, Fractions 2, Hobart 11, Artifice 1, or Annalemma 6.
And look for us next year in D.C. We’ll see you then if not before.