Sadly, I won't be going to AWP. I've made a commitment to Better Day Buddies at the University of Rochester, Strong Memorial Hospital. I'm part of a team of teaching artists (Young Audiences) working with the children who are in outpatient cancer treatment. My first session is February 13, 2009.
The one and only time I went to AWP was years ago in Albany. Must be at least 10 years ago.
I remember enjoying the panel discussions and readings, and bought a lot of books/journals at the book fair. Go with an empty suitcase because it's hard to resist.
I remember sadness. I overheard it waiting in lines and sitting on the bus that took us from our hotel to the conference center. The whispered desire (sometimes doubt) of hidden selves. The expectations of meeting poets and writers who love what you love best to everything, and the opportunity to share a meal with a chosen few, where the conversation is the fuel not the food.
This past November, I saw some writers (Michigan) that I had met at Albany's AWP at Winter Wheat Fesitival (Bowling Green) and we immediately fell into a conversation, as if no time had passed. No awkwardness at all. That's amazing, right?