Day 3 dawned.
I was way too tired from the evening before to attend Antioch University’s alumni breakfast near the convention center. Growing up in LA, you know it goes against the laws of physics to get from Glendale to Downtown in fifteen minutes. I’m sure it was a wonderful breakfast with delicious conversation and great food, but sometimes you have to obey your brain first, and my brain said, “Minion! I require a goblet of coffee!”
I went to two panels today.
The first was on managing the writing life. It was a bit of a pep talk encouraging writers to seek out tangible opportunities for their work and celebrate each publication, no matter how small. It also reminded me not to give in to despair and envy, which is an easy thing to feel when it seems like all your other writer friends are announcing a new teaching gig, publishing a new novel, or participating in a new panel, and you’re looking at your work wondering, What the hell have I been doing lately? Eating pumpkin pie? In fact, going back to the networking for introverts panel I mentioned in the Day 1 post, celebrating the accomplishments of others was one of the themes I kept seeing in AWP for a few reasons: 1) it’s good for the soul to give praise without calling attention to yourself, 2) you don’t look like some a-hole trying to get a buck out of the audience, and 3) when it comes time to celebrate your achievements, those friends are going to want to pay back the karma. I admit that celebrating the accomplishments of others is something I have to work on primarily because I’ve been so busy lately that even retweeting can feel time consuming.
The second was on building your writing business. This was a good panel in terms of breaking down the nuts and bolts of publication. I remember my first lecture in grad school was on the publication process. It still takes about a year and a half between selling a work and seeing it hit bookshelves, and the panelists mentioned a few more PR steps that writers take on before the release date. It covered a little bit on copyrights and the key relationships a writer has to maintain – with readers, booksellers, and editors and publicists. Representatives of the Author’s Guild were there as well with a lot of helpful information on the guild and what it can do for members and nonmembers alike.
There were snack meet-ups and lunch with friends, including a return to Tom’s Urban because I required some fresh-baked pop tarts. In the evening, I went to a reading presented by The Rumpus and Rare Bird Lit that hosted by Antonia Crane and featuring J. Ryan Stradal and Rich Ferguson. You should read Antonia, Stradal, and Ferguson’s work. Antonia’s work is as beautiful as purple smoke you try catching with your hands. Stradal’s will make you laugh and hungry at the same time. And Ferguson’s reading was part-rock concert, part-poetry slam, and all-awesome!
And to top off the entire day, I actually managed to get a night of sleep! Apparently, that’s not supposed to happen at AWP, but when have I ever done what I was told?
Day 3 dawned.