I wish I can say I was inspired to run to the page. I wish I can say I ran to my hotel and started writing in a fit of frenzied creativity.
I wish that I could say that I stayed up late to craft atmospheric sentences that boggle the mind and will crack the foundation of American Letters, leaving it broken as no other human would have write a better epic than me.
But I am not. In fact it’s quite the opposite.
The panels at this year’s AWP have left me uninspired. Sure, I have pages of notes and quotes from writers and practitioners. Of course there were panels that offered some craft notes. But none have pushed me toward a page — literary or genre, memoir or fiction.
Well, one did but I’ll write about that in a separate post.
At first I thought I didn’t enjoy the conference because of some depression residue crap. But after a great reunion with my fellow Goddard College alums, I don’t think that’s the case.
I approached the final day of the conference with a renewed sense of purpose. I don’t think I need to hear craft talks, at least for awhile.
The sessions that really turned me on were really about writing life things — finding and fulfilling your voice, small presses, how to do publicity for your stuff. I enjoyed the book fair more concentrating on what I want my writing career to be. I even took some time to write some intentions.
What they don’t tell you about AWP is that it can be a way to figure out what you don’t want to listen to.
- I don’t want to listen to another craft talk. At least for awhile.
- I don’t want to hear readings unless I’m in the mood and definitely not in panels
- I don’t stay for panels I don’t like. Or I do but I grade papers. Yes, that happened.
- If your panel is not diverse, everything you say is moot.
- Don’t call me a minority. Stop. I’m not less than.
Here’s what I did notice —
- I went to more pedagogical panels. Mostly because I wanted to bring some of that knowledge back to work but also because it was kinda interesting.
- I really liked panels where the topic was how a writer could do something themselves like marketing, or small publishing, or lit journal, or starting a community.
- I really liked anything about spec-fiction or sci-fi.
- I really liked anything genre come to think of it.
- I really, really like reuniting with so many darn people.
- Being on a panel is omg-overwhelming but I’d definitely do it again.
I think my writing is shifting. Not so much what I’m doing on the page but how I live it and approach that part of my life. I’m on the next step, off the page and how to create my writing life my way. And that feels pretty darn great!