|Three floors of books just like this room.|
I loved this conference, and, too, I love Boston. When I found out the AWP was in Boston, I knew I'd be going. I figured that it would be the last time on the East Coast for a couple of years, so I should go. Having gone, I'm actually considering going next year to Seattle. I met some people I want to stay in touch with. I feel a little invigorated with my writing projects.
Being around so many writers is surreal. People on the plane were going to AWP. Everyone in the van that picked me up from the airport was AWP. Everyone I met, bumped into, passed by in the hallway--writers.
For me, here is the best and worst of the conference.
No one called it a "con." As big and overwhelming as this sometimes feels, it's still not a con.
I saw Jeannette Winterson, and she was amazing. She has so much energy, I can't picture her sitting still to write. On stage though, she was brilliant. I saw Derrick Walcott, Rosanna Warren, Tim Seibles, Rita Dove, David Ferry, and Olga Broumas. I had dinner with my Uncle Michael, himself a playwright.
I shook hands with Seamus Heaney. Whoa!
I watched Sharon Olds read "Ode to the Clitoris."
And it snowed in Boston. At 3 in the morning, I saw a bunny jumping through piles of snow somewhere in Cambridge.
I thought I'd see people. I mean, I thought I'd run into them. I knew they were coming, and I should have seen them. Next time, I'll know to make plans to meet for lunch or dinner or whatevs. There's just way too many people to think you'll casually see them.
I saw Scott Cairns, tried to catch up to him, and then he disappeared into the crowds. I had a moment where I was standing in the middle of a thousand people, and I didn't know if I should turn into the books, go up the escalators, what. He was my thesis advisor, and I haven't seen him in years. I would have liked to say hello.
I didn't get to see Augusten Burroughs or Cheryl Strayed. I didn't get to see Janet Sylvester, but I met someone who showed me where to find her online. I met a stranger who knew her!
She's not a stranger anymore. Debra Monroe knew both Janet and Scott, and we talked all the way to the airport. We're in touch on facebook. I've bought her book. I missed Millicent Accardi, Pinsky, DeLillo, Jorie Graham. And more. So the worst thing is that it's kind of impossible to see and do everything you want to.
I'm already looking forward to Seattle 2014. I'll have to catch up there ~