Last weekend was the annual AWP conference, and I spent Wednesday through Sunday in Denver attending. As this was my first ever conference, I wasn’t sure what to expect beyond some nervousness and a whole lot of people. As it turned out, however, I need not have worried about the first, as after about ten minutes, I realized there just wasn’t time to be nervous.
I spent about half of my time working the Willow Springs table, talking to people who came by and giving away magazines, which apparently makes people angry because we are “devaluing” the work. I think it’s always a good thing to get your work into the hands of people, though, so whatever.
After that, I spent a good chunk of time walking the bookfair, learning about presses and journals and meeting my peers. I got some leads on what I want to do when (if?!) I graduate and am going to start writing book reviews for the online journal, The Collagist (if they like my stuff, of course). My advisor walked around with me too, and that was probably the most useful hour of the entire conference, being introduced and having a long talk about the writing/editing career I’m starting on.
Finally, I attended a few sessions, though not nearly as many as I thought I would. Going in I thought these would be one of the highlights of my conference, but I learned pretty quickly that there was more to be gained by networking.
And all that was just during the “official” conference. My nights were spent attending readings and, once, a party at a bar where I was able to mingle with a group of writers who have found ways to make their art their life. Okay, so I might have pissed off Robert Lopez by not sharing my chicken and rice, but it was a great night (and he’s actually very nice). Three of our Willow Springs writers were at the event, and I got a chance to talk to all of them (two of whom I’d previously exchanged emails with).
I’m home now (actually, I’ve been home almost a week but it’s taken all that time to recover), and I’ve never felt so inspired to work. I have a bad habit of skipping days of writing (successive days, even), but I’ve done at least some sort of creation every day since. It sort of pointed out to me how real this creative life can be, and how close I am to possibly achieving it.
Anyway, this feels like a very trite blog post to me, but I’m in a rush to head out to an event for our literary festival: I’m assisting with a workshop for teen writers this afternoon, but more on that later.by