AWP 2012: It’s Like Christmas to Me

March 7, 2012 § 2 Comments

By Leslie Conder

There was an excitement in the air of Chicago when I arrived on Wednesday. It felt like Christmas Eve when you’re a little kid. I was too excited to go to sleep. I should’ve had a glass of wine with my fellow writers who were pooled around the hotel bar, but instead I nestled under the covers with my three friends in our one room.

The next morning I rose before my alarm went off. Too eager to sleep and too early for the first panel, I went to the hotel gym. As I rode the elevator a voice from the monitor began to speak. It sounded like a story from the Bible. Perhaps, it was the Christmas Story.  It turns out it was poetry playing in honor of the conference.

The Art of Telling A Joke panel consisted of hilarious writers telling funny stories, which induced outrageous laughs. It reminded me of the fun-loving drunken uncles and aunts in movies I’d watch every year during the holiday season. I would think to myself, that family is like my family, but with a punch. I was raised Mormon. Enough said.

After I left with happy tears from the panel I went to the main event: The Bookfair.

I felt like running through the aisles, grabbing each journal as if was a present just for me. Many Christmas’ (and one AWP) has taught me to pace myself, to really take my time to appreciate the gifts in front of me. I knew which journals I wanted and I spoke with those who had created and charged me for the gifts. I left with a sense of accomplishment to walk to another panel only to realize I had only visited one section of the Bookfair. It was a child’s dream Christmas. As for me, I took a deep breath and said, “Holy Jesus! It’s okay. I can do this.”

The last day of AWP I was completely exhausted. I needed some peace and quiet. Why were there so many damn people here? Were we the unwanted house guests who had overstayed our welcome? I went to push the down button by the elevator when a woman said, “No. No. Please don’t.” I turned around in disbelief.

“Are you going up?” She asked.

“No.” I said, with my finger still grazing the button.

She gave a full minute spiel on which elevators went where. My mouth was shut, but I was screaming, “Are you kidding me with this? You do know how elevators work, right?” I must have conveyed that through my facial expression. It was that or the fact that I didn’t move my finger from the button, either way our conversation ended with her saying, “Never mind. Do as you will.”

I pushed the button.

The next day Christmas, I mean, AWP was over. Like Christmas, I always feel sad when it’s over. Sad and exhausted, but mostly inspired. First sleep. Then write.

—-

Leslie Conder is completing her MFA at Chatham University.

Don’t Miss Today’s AWP Nonfiction Flash Mob!!

March 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

.. brought to you by Ceiling or Sky: Female Nonfictions after the VIDA Count, a special issue of BREVITY.

FRIDAY March 2nd, anytime between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. VIDA Booth, #308, at the AWP Bookfair

The feminist nonfiction sirens have sounded! Come gather, to meet each other and break it down with guest editors of Brevity’s Ceiling or Sky project. We’ll chat about the coming issue and ask what you think about the place of women in creative nonfiction today. Anyone who loves women and loves CNF is welcome!

Ceiling or Sky: Female Nonfictions after the VIDA Count is a forthcoming special issue of BREVITY, a journal of concise creative nonfiction, guest-edited by Susanne Antonetta, Barrie Jean Borich, and Joy Castro. We seek vibrant, knock-out nonfiction of 750-words or less by women, including transgendered women, that pushes back against and/or illuminates the silences, gaps, and biases revealed by the VIDA count.

Submissions are open until May 1, 2012 at: http://brevity.submishmash.com/submit.

AWP Nonfiction Flash Mob!

February 27, 2012 § 2 Comments

.. brought to you by Ceiling or Sky: Female Nonfictions after the VIDA Count, a special issue of BREVITY.

FRIDAY March 2nd, anytime between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. VIDA Booth, #308, at the AWP Bookfair

The feminist nonfiction sirens have sounded! Come gather, to meet each other and break it down with guest editors of Brevity’s Ceiling or Sky project. We’ll chat about the coming issue and ask what you think about the place of women in creative nonfiction today. Anyone who loves women and loves CNF is welcome!

Ceiling or Sky: Female Nonfictions after the VIDA Count is a forthcoming special issue of BREVITY, a journal of concise creative nonfiction, guest-edited by Susanne Antonetta, Barrie Jean Borich, and Joy Castro. We seek vibrant, knock-out nonfiction of 750-words or less by women, including transgendered women, that pushes back against and/or illuminates the silences, gaps, and biases revealed by the VIDA count. Submissions are open until May 1, 2012 at: http://brevity.submishmash.com/submit.

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.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with awp at BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

%d bloggers like this: