blogger's note: this is the first and only time I have ever, or will ever [hopefully] write a title entirely in capital letters
The AWP Conference starts tomorrow! I'm packing.
Actually it starts today, but I'm not heading in to Chicago until tomorrow morning early.
I have little to no idea what I'm going to do once I get there. Let me rephrase. I intend to show up, check into the hotel, walk six blocks south, check in to the conference, and attend as many freakin readings and panels as I can. I have the phone numbers of several people in my program who will be there as well. But other than that, I have no idea what to expect.
The uber-jaded instructor I had class with last semester described it as a place to drink and get laid. He says that, but I'm betting it has a lot to do with the crowd you hang with. Team-beer-pong for example.
My friend who attending last year said it was essential in her choice of MFA program and that the panels were amazing. That it was eye-opening to see the (minimal) size of the writing community.
I don't know what it will be like for me. I intend to go to as many panels as I can and to go to the ones that interest me. That I'll be friendly to the person sitting next to me and hopefully all will go well.
Barrelhouse has their guide to the conference. They claim that as a newbie I should take their hand and let them show me around. That. Is. Not. My. Style.
Meanwhile, I'll be doing my part for the Obama administration: spending money. Wait, I mean, stimulating the economy. It turns out that the extra teaching gig I picked up covers approximately the cost of attending both AWP and the Kenyon Review workshop this summer. At this point, it's worth it. If it wasn't I wouldn't be spending the money.
On that note, I've decided not to go to Prague this summer. Western Michigan hosts the program and some of the faculty there is WMU regular faculty, some of the faculty there is special to the program but still listed on WMU advertisements (Stuart Dybek I'm looking at you). Not picking up the credit hours might hurt me eventually, but I don't have 1) the cash to get over to Europe and 2) any desire to be mugged. Maybe "mugged" implies too much violence. I have no desire to be pickpocketed.
Other than that, I hear the program is wonderful. People rave about it. They can rave all they want; I'm going back to Kenyon.
As the week winds down, I don't know how much day-to-day blogging I'll be doing at the AWP, as I'm not planning on taking my computer with me but I will report after the event. Next year the AWP is in Denver. And it's in April not February.
I've always wanted to go to Denver. Actually, I've always wanted to take a train out west even though it would kill a whole week travelling that way. Hmm.