Outstanding submissions: 13
I returned home from AWP, rolling into town at 2:30 am. I foolishly decided to check my e-mail before going to bed and found a rejection from the Los Angeles Review, a nice little form dispatch indicating that they had read my work with interest. I love parsing that phrase. Is that as opposed to reading my work with disinterest? The LAR eludes me. I bought two issues of the magazine at AWP so I will read them and meditate and see if I can crack this code. It is a really fine looking magazine.
So AWP happened.
My favorite part was the dance party on the last night. Imagine a room full of white people (and a few people of color sprinkled throughout) dancing maniacally, and often with absolutely no attention to or regard for the beat. At one point, I had a moment with a pair of black women dancing near me. We all exchanged looks and there was mutual understanding. That understanding was that yes, this was really happening. It was just so fucking excellent.
The key is to not try too hard. Walk before you run. Start with a simple sway from side to side before you try to get fancy with dance moves.
At this dance was a skinny white boy in a dress. He had long, fragile looking legs and he moved as if he were constantly in the throes of an epileptic seizure. I was really terrified that he would hurt himself. It was literally painful to watch him dancing. He also had no self-awareness and often bumped into people, didn’t bother apologizing, and then careened in a different direction.
I wish the iPhone took dark pictures more effectively. Here’s a blurry shot where you really can’t see anything important but we’re all throwing our hands in the air for some reason:
For the record, I cannot dance either. I do not judge so much as I observe.
The DOGZPANK reading was fantastic. The event was well-attended and everyone had a great time and I couldn’t be happier with how things turned out. I’ve been watching the video I recorded from the evening (coming to the PANK blog soon) and it is quite awesome. Most surreal moment of the night: an appearance by Sherman Alexie.
Here is the fantastic venue, Forest Room 5:
After the DOGZPANK reading, we went to the Mercury Café which was PACKED. The highlight was this old dude who spent the entire time tapping a random series of WAY OUT OF TUNE notes on his Casio. It was excruciating yet oddly compelling. I respect his commitment to make music on his terms.
He also played the cello:
HTMLGIANT had a party. It was really awesome. Those guys were all very nice and especially Gene Morgan and his wife Jenny. On the way there, we saw this creepy baby.
And this creepy baby:
They make a very fine gin and tonic here:
On the first night I went to a party hosted by Flatmancrooked. There was a guest list and the intern managing the list was very serious about making sure that the list was respected. (She was quite friendly, for real.) It was the first time in my life I’ve ever been on “the list.” I felt special. The party was great and I met lots of fine folks but I was SUPER shy and basically stayed with my friends and tried not to feel too self-conscious in a room filled with beautiful, impossibly thin people. Seriously, I don’t know that these writers eat but they sure do look good.
I met so many incredible people, too many to list, but I have to say that I was uniformly thrilled with everyone I met. People were so damn nice, and that was a very pleasant surprise. This year’s experience could not have been more different from last year. I don’t want to be so crass as to namecheck everyone I met or was starstruck by but I do want to say a special thank you to B.L. Pawelek (awesome, HELPFUL, funny), Ryan Bradley (hilarious, awesome, dirty), and Erin Fitzgerald (smart, hilarious, kindred). We were like a posse all week and they showed me incredible kindness, kept me company at the bookfair Saturday afternoon, etc etc etc. It was a little overwhelming to meet people who were just as, if not cooler in real life. Oh! Let me not forget Lauren Becker who had no voice all week. It was very sad because AWP requires a voice but it was still great to meet her and exchange meaninfgul looks and sign language and other interpretive acts. I had no voice today. Also, I must shout out to my Chicago peeps, Rebekah, Tadd, and Tim whom it was delightful to see again.
I’m glad my voice held out during the conference. I talked more in Denver over 5 days than I do in a whole year.
I took lots of pictures. You can look at them if you want.
I have a funny little story up at McSweeney’s. It is one of my most favorite things I’ve yet written.