AWP #15 in Minneapolis is over! Five glorious days of crazy, chaotic, anxiety producing, joyful, hysterical fun are behind me, and now it’s back to the grindstone.
But before the experience slips by, here are some of my best memories, in words and pictures.
On Wednesday night, the Festival of Language reading was hosted by Jane L. Carmen, who also premiered her new press, Lit Fest Press, which includes books by some great authors such as Bill Yarrow and Joani Reese. I read three new short pieces: “What Lies Ahead,” “No Face World Champ,” and “Keep It, Curt.”
Karen Stefano read from her new thrilling book, The Secret Games of Words. (middle photo)
And, Meg Tuite read her astonishing work, introduced the moment she walked into Brit’s Pub from her flight!
That evening, we ate at The Hyatt, in the Washburn room. A lovely game ensued in which we all chose one short story from another writer, and read them aloud. Here is Bill Yarrow taping Len Kuntz reading a Meg Tuite story:
Thursday morning we had a meeting with the Literary Orphans staff at Muffin Top Cafe. Mike Joyce and Scott Waldyn, the current editors were on task and organized. There were twelve of us present. I currently serve as member of the Advisory Board.
After lunch at Pinq’s, Len and I took in about half of the Book Fair. It’s vast, overwhelming and can make one wonder what am I doing in this sea of talented writers! And I met/saw these illuminati: Jim Ruland (Forest of Fortune), Wendy Ortiz (Excavation), Sean H. Doyle (This Must Be the Place), Antonia Crane (Spent), Brandi Wells (This Boring Apocalypse), Marie Howe (What The Living Do) and so on, and so on…
Friday was the HEAT reading, proceeds donated to VIDA: Women In Literary Arts. Championed by Anna March and Anna Short, and emceed by Antonia Crane. The room was lowly lit, jazz music played between sets of readers, a full bar in the corner. Was quite the speakeasy ambiance! In the first set, Extie Ecks, and Wendy Ortiz slayed it; and in our set, Richard Peabody, Matt Bell, Meg Tuite, Len Kuntz and Bill Yarrow all dazzled.
I read two short pieces: “No Face World Champ” and “Keep it Curt.”
That evening, we took in the stellar Sara Lippmann, reading from her amazing short story collection, Doll Palace, with other Dock Street Press readers, including host Dane Bahr who is editor-in-chief (right), and Robert James Russell (bottom):
Saturday I was on my first AWP panel: Literary Orphans Presents: Desire, Grief, Joy, Shame, and Fear. An Intimate Exploration of Identity. I was graciously asked to replace another writer who had taken ill, and was unable to make it to AWP. Our host, Mike Joyce, introduced us. And moderator, Anna March was superb. The other panelists included Zoe Zolbrod, Antonia Crane, Marie Lee and Brian Spears- they were all terrific, insightful, brave and inspiring. We had a packed audience, and the entire experience was transformative:
After we wrapped up our q & a, I blasted over to hear Meg Tuite on her Flash Fiction panel (The Flash Fiction Marketplace: What Editors are Looking For) with Tom Hazuka, Kim Chinquee and Lex Williford). Meg was fantastic, had so many insightful points about craft and read a story by Sara Henning called “My Grandfather’s Photographs” which is terrific. Originally published by Connotation Press (where Meg was former Fiction editor): http://www.connotationpress.com/fiction/2423-sara-henning-fiction
Overall, the entire AWP #15 was outstanding. Saturday, I finally had a chance to see my publisher, Michael Seidlinger at the Civil Coping Mechanisms booth. He told me that Addicts & Basements sold out, as well as most of the other CCM titles. Fantastic news! Can’t ask for more than that.
And AWP is also about friendships, and writing community comrades:
Unforgettable memories, great moments. Thanks everyone for another truly remarkable experience. Los Angeles- here we come!!!