Everybody is at AWP now. But me!
I debated going. Should I go? Should I not go? Given my experience last year, with terrible panels and being the only person at the conference who did not know that Denver makes you much, much drunker than usual, was it worth it?
Granted, nothing says, "I am really making great connections and am sure to crush the literary scene at any moment," like running from a Nigerian with Leigh and having absolutely no recollection of it.
Still, in the end, I decided I would not go, that it wasn't worth it. I was going to go to a conference about young adult writing in January. That conference probably would have been very useful and worth it. But I didn't go. And if I couldn't go to that, I figured there was no way, money or time wise, I could justify AWP, considering my life's earnings are in no way connected to poetry and considering I have children who tend to miss me when I leave them.
I'm sure some people will say that I am cheapening poetry by saying that it holds less value for me because it has no monetary value. But I'm not really saying that, of course, and you know that. Or maybe I am and what if I am.
I'm sure some people will say I'm cheapening the value of poetry by saying it holds less value to me than my children. But that's because some people had parents who did not love them and still don't, and for very good reason.
Speaking of children, why doesn't AWP have childcare options again? Remind me? Is there no grad student who could get a discount to AWP for watching some kids for half a day? I always feel like such a square pointing these things out. Like I'm not bohemian enough to just dump my kids with my spouse for three or four days (or not give birth to them in the first place) so I can go to poetry conferences. I am not bohemian enough. The square cat is out of the square bag.
I will make it to AWP next year. It will cost me $2.25 to get on the El, and I'm saving up, so I will be able to buy at least a five ride by then. If not, I can walk. The Hilton is walkable from my place. Two years ago when I went with my friend Mel, we walked there. We were going to walk home, too, but by night, alas, it was not walkable. Somebody poured grain alcohol on Randolph and it grew, longer and longer, wetter and wetter, into a river. So we got into a cab and floated down the river to the Fulton Fish Market. Hello there fish we thought. The thought sounded like, Hrble thblr fble.
Everybody's freaking because of this blizzard. I love blizzards. I love apocalyptic weather in general. I like blackouts in the summer, too. I liked how during that blackout 10 years ago Mayor Daley got on the news and he was so pissed at Com Ed, he couldn't even speak, he was like me, talking to the fish. Also, I love how everybody feels compelled to tell you exactly how the blackout personally affected them.
"AND I HAD JUST BOUGHT TEN POUNDS OF CHICKEN FROM DOMINICKS! WELL!"