Sunday, March 01, 2020

It's Coming - AWP #20 blogging

The annual AWP writers conference is coming at us with the speed of an asteroid. The annual event brings together writers of all genres from across the U.S. and beyond.

AWP #20 will occur in San Antonio, starting on Wednesday the 4th. I can confirm that I have already experienced a bit of the typical anxiety associated with the pilgrimage.  Each year there are generally 12,000 or more in attendance. If I recall correctly there were like 14,000 last year in Portland.

I have somewhat introvert tendencies, although at times I may break free of the chains. As long as I am able to retreat and recharge from time to time, I can deal with it.  For me the stressor are being away from home, being in the midst of a crushing mob (slight exaggeration),  meeting people I am in awe of and being fearful I appear to be a complete goofball, and meeting complete strangers and feeling. my first impression (and lasting one) totally sucked. It is my hope to report/blog from the conference maybe a couple of times a day.

WHY EVEN GO?  Good question.  I think it has to be personal for each attendee.  For some it is seeing friends that you may see only once or twice a year.  Or it could be meeting  publishers.  Crisscrossing the book fair (always enormous) in search of bargains, newly published material, author signings, or readings. Both onsite and offsite. It could be learning more about the craft at panel presentations, or ideas, learning about marketing or working with publishers, agents, etc.

This year, I am focusing  on a couple aspects of craft. Seeing some friends, attending some readings and doing a reading myself. I want to springboard from the conference into a greater energy in my writing. I have a manuscript I am trying to finish and this could help push me over the finish line.

I always make a list of those I hope to see. Some for the first time. Some friends I'd like to hang out with for a bit.  It's a challenge to see how many of these people I  can catch up with given  because everyone has their own schedule and we often become like ships passing in the night.


There is something  looming overhead as we head to San Antonio. So much talk of the coronavirus has added a new level of anxiety. So many questions about how ready we are for an outbreak in the U.S. have created a legitimate concern.  I am impressed with AWP leadership for tracking the CDC daily and reporting on efforts to proactively implement ways to make the conference as safe as possible.

AWP has been tweeting messages like this-  Fewer handshakes, more smiles, louder greetings, thoughtful nods! At #AWP20, we’re in close communication with the conference center & City of San Antonio, & watching news fm CDC closely. We’re increasing hand sanitizing units and will have Lysol wipes in every meeting room.

I have a reasonable level of confidence that all will go well, but this is in large part because I believe the leadership of the conference is doing what it can to protect us all.  I have way more confidence in their leadership on this than I do the federal government.

Anyway, I am busy getting ready this weekend. Hopeful San Antonio will be a great conference. I am a veteran of 4 previous conferences - this will make 5.

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