Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Confession Tuesday - AWP Edition or Sylvia in My Midst

Dear Reader:

It's been one round-trip flight to Tampa, Florida, 35990 AWP Steps in 4 days, one out of body experience involving Sylvia Plath, the discovery of mini-moon pies, one cortisone shot, a pack of steroids, a lot of new books, and two weeks since my last confession.

This year was my third AWP. My second in a row. I skipped LA three years ago After attending my first in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I confess, some things never change about AWP. I confess that AWP is both exhausting and exhilarating. It's four days of highs and lows and it must surely mimic in some ways living with multiple personalities. Okay, I'm pretty sure that is an exertion, but you get my point. There are people you are so damn excited to see. There are people you miss. There are people you never knew, but now you do. Meeting these three poets for the first times were highlights for me:
All three of them have work that I have read, so I was familiar with them, but this made it extra special.

With Heather Derr-Smith

Before I left, (actually the Friday before) my left knee became very swollen. I stayed off of it Friday night, Saturday and most of Sunday. It went through various stages of being very painful to semi-tolerable.  I called my doctor  Monday and she saw me after work.  I received a cortisone shot and a package of steroids and the probability I would be in good enough shape to leave Wednesday morning for my flight out.

I did, and I confess the trip was not pain-free, but it was for the most part tolerable. So from Wednesday through Saturday night, I logged 35,990 steps. Now, I confess that I was exhausted by the end of each day, but that is how all of my AWP trips have been. Still, it didn't help that my knee was not 100%. Actually, it still isn't.

With Maggie Smith

I love the various swag that comes with AWP. It is always fun to see what new buttons are floating around.  New this year was a red button that read, 'Make America Normal Again.'

There was a series of Cat buttons associated with the various writing genre. My poetry Cat button is awesome. The cat has a red beret on its head.   There was a Teenage Gothic Cat who had mascara streaming down from her eyes.

The absolute best panel I attended was on Confessional Poetry.  The panelists Were Jerico Brown, Maggie Smith, Rachel Mennies and a fourth person whose name I forget at the moment. I must confess that this panel was both serious and hysterically funny in large part to Jerico Brown.

Oh, and going back to swag, one booth had Mini Mood pies in all six flavors. As a diabetic, this size is a better serving size. Not that I don't enjoy the larger size. I have already had to order some from Amazon.

I was able to meet up with two other mentees from the Writer to Writer program. Michelle Cerulli McAdams and Erin Robertson. Michelle and I attended the keynote speech and Eran and I met for dinner one evening.  My Mentor Ken Waldman was there and the two of us spent an hour at the Writer to Writer booth talking with potential future mentees and mentors.
With Rachel Mennies
I went better prepared this time. I packed light and I was able to collapse a good sized leather bag into the suitcase.  If you don't go to AWP and come back with tons of books, something is wrong.  I once packed with books for the return, this was the heaviest of the luggage I had. No contest.

Perhaps later this week I will share some of the titles of the books I brought home.

I confess that I actually wrote two decent poetry drafts while I was in Tampa. I'm in the mood for a full court press of writing and submitting.

My out of body experience as Sylvia Plath
And finally, in the spirit of fun, I confess that I entered into an out of body experience with Sylvia Plath.  I have proof here to show.

Until next time, be safe and peace!

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