AWP 2010 quick recap

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.

Christmas and new blog

Well it’s been a crazy month-and-a-half since I last posted. Joel moved back to Michigan, I spent two-and-a-half weeks at home, then came back to WA for my next-to-last quarter at EWU. And it was straight back to work with thesis meetings, a new class (nonfiction workshop), and lots of Willow Springs work.

Katie and Sophie

Sophie trying to escape my clutches in November 2008.

Being home was fantastic. I made friends with Sophie (!). She still barked at me every morning when I came upstairs, but by mid-afternoon she was jumping up on the couch with me. Other than my dog befriending activities, I spent a lot of time relaxing. I think I did five 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzles. I also got hooked on Dollhouse. For Christmas I got so many books I couldn’t bring them all back to WA. And a sweet digital camera that I can’t wait to start using.

Back in Washington, the end is looming. My thesis looks way closer this side of Christmas. In nonfiction workshop I’m facing my fear of writing essays meant to be read by other people. For Willow Springs, we launched our new blog, and it took way more work to have ready than I’d expected, but it’s going fantastically well so far. I post on Mondays, so you should all go check those out. This week I talk about Amazon’s decision to pull all Macmillan books from its site. You can still buy the books, but only through third party sellers.

Willow Springs 65 Galleys

Tonight was our last round of galleys before sending Willow Springs 65 to print. It’s been a long two weeks looking for comma splices, debating the usefulness of each and every hyphen, and researching the correct spelling of various proper nouns. And let me say, this issue has some good stuff in it. This might sound weird coming from me, but I really enjoy the poetry.

Then, after the meeting, the management team went out for pizza and beer and we had our last meeting of the term. We’ve got a great staff this year, and I had a great time. We’re moving Willow Springs forward, and it feels wonderful to be a part of that movement.

But now I am officially on break.