Another Writing Party

February 26, 2009 § 4 Comments

Well, AWP has come and gone. Chicago was kindly in its weather (more so than New York was, at least), but the hotel conference rooms seemed as small as ever. Why is it that the best-sounding panels are always in the smallest rooms?

There’s been a lot of talk about the conference since the conference (J. S. Tunotre shares some snark at AGNI online, and Robert Gray gives an optimistic outsider’s take on the event at Fresh Eyes Now; google “AWP recap” or some such phrase to find more), but here at Brevity we’re wondering what the nonfictioning world has to say.

So how ’bout it? What does AWP do for you as a nonfiction writer? What do you wish it would do?

I’ll go first, so as to set the tone and break the ice. I, David Grover, would like a little more “celebration” and a little less “conference” at the conference. Don’t get me wrong—I love thoughtful panels and readings, but why not do a little more word-partying? I don’t know what this would entail exactly—index cards and sharpies? dictionaries and catchers’ mitts?—but I’m sure it could be done. I’m positive that a group as clever and fun as us could do some very good celebrating of both brevity and the pick-up line (that rascal of the genre [or are pick-up lines poetry?]), could honor our forebears with a Hazlitt quiz, could toast our craft with…a toast!

I saw a panel at the last NonfictioNow that had five or six writers presenting odd short essays they’d written in homage to Montaigne’s “Of Thumbs,” each one having to follow set of strictures dictated by the rolling of dice. It was a riot. I’d be open to more of that.

So that’s what I want; what do you want?

—  David Grover, M.E.

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