Monday, March 19, 2007

We're Baaack!

Why is going back to school after Spring Break so hard? Is it the numerous margaritas you drank? Is the whole week of structureless fun? Is it the fact that it's dark at 6:30 in the morning? Is it the dog's ceaseless hacking?
Or is the fact that so few students show up you wonder if you are in the wrong room/school/life?

It is probably all of the above. For a minute I thought we only had four weeks left. No. Not true. We have six weeks left. How can that be?

I will post some Spring Break pictures later. They will include Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, children who don't care at a baseball game (only 99 degrees!), and my mom's backyard.

I did do a lot of crossword puzzles, read one book (The Last American Man), watched Idol (I don't even want to talk about it!), saw one movie (Dreamgirls, two thumbs up!), and, as previously mentioned, drank more than one margarita. And I'm doing okay on my bracket. My alma mater is still in it (Go Ducks!!).

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Why I Loved AWP: a list

  1. Intellectual Stimulation: In my day to day life I often forget that I did love graduate school and why. I was surrounded by people who were reading and thinking, and most importantly, talking about what they were reading and thinking about. I was one of those people. I used to read more and think a lot. In my regular life, I am most preoccupied with what is for dinner, how I am going to get to work out, and feeling guilty about not writing. Being at AWP reminded me of the best parts of graduate school. Talking and thinking. And drinking of course.
  2. Friends: In my day to day life, I see Middlebrow and Son. If I'm lucky, I see one of my colleagues. Maybe once a month I see someone else or do something social. Maybe. AWP is like my whole life packed into one weekend. I got to hang out with Hightouchmegastore, I got to see lots of friends from graduate school, I got to see a friend from Chicago, I got to see friends from my town that I never see in town. Why do I never see my friends in town? Well. I'm glad I got to see all of these people and more at AWP.
  3. Rock Star Writers: I got to see writers who are, in my mind, rock stars. These include: Michael Martone, David Kirby, Walter Moseley, David Shields. (I feel like I should list some women, but I didn't really see any. Who would qualify in this respect? Maybe Brenda Hillman. Anne Carson, definitely.)
  4. Being Not-Me: I got to pretend I was someone other than the boring, normal person I am. I wore red pumps (but only in the hotel where I wouldn't have to walk too much). I hugged a person I'd never met before (okay, I might have been a little drunk). I accidently networked. I pretended I was a mover and a shaker. I was, for a few brief days, a mover and a shaker.
  5. Free Drinks (self-explanatory)
  6. Readings: mostly good.
  7. Accidental encounters with beloved people: mostly Peter Covino. But also Terrible Mother. And David Hamilton. And friends from grad school. And Janet Holmes and Alvin Greenburg.
  8. Seeing nice publishers who remember my essay (Ninth Letter).
  9. Seeing Ralph Berry from FC2, and maybe reminding him of how great I am (accidently).
  10. The Book Fair: By the last day, I can't stand it, but in general it's where you run into the people you want to see but can't find and where you find all kinds of things you can't live without and must buy. High Touch was better on this score, buying all kinds of small press cool things. I tried to restrain myself and bought only 4 books. I consider it a small victory.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Home from AWP

I made it home, exhausted, and perhaps a little worse for wear. I was a bit ill when I left for Atlanta, and the fun, excitement, not to mention the rain, probably did me no good. But what the hell! It was fun!
The highlight of the trip, as it always is, was the dinner with Utah friends, some of whom do not live in Utah anymore, and one of whom never did, save the week of Writers at Work. We cabbed from the Hilton to Fuego, where we enjoyed Sangria, $1 tapas and regular sized/priced tapas (~$6). The food was great. Hard to say what was best, but the mussells were good, as was the pork tenderloin with sweet potato mash. And the tuna. And the grilled asparagus. And the wine. Very good. All of it.
Then we decided to walk the two miles back to the hotel, and we got to see a bit of Atlanta. We stopped on the way at a wine bar Felicia had seen earlier that day, Eno. We sat at the bar and shared a bottle of wine. It was a fun outing, including having a kind stranger pull Felicia's pump out of a grate on Peachtree Street. Good stuff.
We returned to the hotel, surfed the receptions, where we had our share of free beverages, then went to the Michael Martone & John Barth reading. I didn't talk to either of them, but it was a good reading.
Other high points: Meeting David Kirby at the bookfair and telling him I used his poem in my theory class. The real high point of that was when he thanked us "for our adjectives" and told Hightouchmegastore as we were parting, "Email me!"
Attending the FC2 reception, which turned into a tribute to Ralph Berry, who is stepping down as publisher. I met Lance Olsen and talked to him for awhile. I also got to chat briefly with Michael Martone, and thanked him for sending me his book, Seeing Eye.
I ran into numerous other people, known and unknown. I saw David Hamilton, who may be the sweetest person ever. I got to see former professors and current friends.
The best panel I attended was on structure and included a handout of "The Things They Carried" by Samantha Chang. Michael Martone did an amazing collage essay on "In the Heart of the Heart of the Country." The whole panel was really brilliant, and will be helpful to me, I think, in my writing and my teaching.
I also got to see Steve Fellner and bought his book, Blind Date with Cavafy . It's so amazing, sweet and funny and sad, and I'm so happy he found a publisher. It gives me a little hope. It's a great book, and he deserves to get more attention for his writing.
Regrets: because of my illness I did not get to run in Atlanta. I also didn't get to use the pool, because it was a little too cold. Also, I only got to see Terrible Mother once. I think my lack of a cell phone is really hurting my social life. It may be time to get a cell phone.
And then Middlebrow got a dog while I was gone. For more info on that, see his blog. For pics of the trip, etc., you can click on my Flickr badge.
I'm glad to be home.