After all the effort it took to get ready for AWP, designing merchandise, promoting the program, seeing if people needed rides, etc, AWP itself was an absolute blast. I went to a bunch of fascinating panels and readings on everything from literary SFF to new ways to think about plot to how to critique students who are working with religious material in workshop. One of the poetry readings had me absolutely dying on the floor with laughter. And the book fair was pretty awesome as well: I got more than 20 pounds of free literary journals, subscribed to three more, and bought myself nifty tee shirts and a mug with a slot in the handle for a cunning little spoon. And in between panels, I decompressed with Trai, Stephanie, Susie, Leon and Mark. Even though we’re always together on campus, it’s been such a stressful semester that it’s the first time I’ve gotten to talk to some of my friends in ages.
I was staying with friends of Stephanie’s in a lovely little house in the suburbs, so we’d take the light rail into downtown Denver in the mornings and go back late at night to crash. Downtown Denver has some amazing restaurants; I had the best thai eggplant I’ve ever had in my life, deep fried burritos, lovely salads and dessert at the cheesecake factory. Wow. I gained five pounds, but it was totally worth it.
The alumni party was also fantastic. I got to see a bunch of people that graduated last year and I also got to let my hair down and relax, which is pretty rare for a worrywart like me. Several people just blinked at me and said, “You’re in a skirt? And you’re drinking? Were you abducted by aliens?”
And I actually led a panel, because the presenters for the last panel on the last day never showed up. So after ten minutes, I just went up to the front of the room and said, “Look, we’re all here because we care passionately about this subject. I don’t see why we can’t have a conversation about it just because the presenters didn’t show.” So I moderated discussion for an hour and we all had a blast. It felt like a really good harbinger for next year: if I can get up in front of strangers and respond to their needs with no prep whatsoever, I’m going to be a really great teacher when I actually get to prepare beforehand.
And now I’m back and pounding through homework at lightspeed, trying to make up for all the work I’ve missed, but I wouldn’t change a thing.