AWP Day One

I’m back at the hotel after a very long day. I was a little dissappointed by the seminars at the AWP Conference. I was expecting structured lectures and most of what I went to was either question panels or a panel reading essays they wrote. I was really excited about the lecture on coming of age, but the authors mostly read personal essays. I wanted instruction on types of coming of age stories and how more modern narratives are structured.

On the plus side, I got to hear Leslie Marmon Silko read and I broke through my writer’s block. Something about being in a creative environment always seems to help. The seminars are fifteen minutes apart and are sometimes on the other side of the conference center or across the street in the Hyatt. It felt like the first day of school, where I didn’t know where anything was and didn’t have much time to get place to place.

There was a seminar on publishing but I left because they only had one room and it was standing room only. I would think, in presenting information on what to do after you publish your first book, they would know to use additional rooms. I’m mostly grumpy because the woman behind me was extremely rude.

I’m not 100% sure I’m going back tomorrow. Traffic was hell. We almost got hit twice trying to turn left on Cherry Creek, we even had a turn arrow. I really hate driving in Denver. Being here brings back my romantic writerly notions of living in a cabin in the mountains. Well, I already live in the mountains, I just want more seclusion. Of course, that’s probably like my other romantic notions in that it wouldn’t live up to expectations.

I did start developing some ideas regarding mythology and landscape. I know there’s a whole set of myths about living in the West. As I prepare to take a trip to the deserts of the Southwest, I couldn’t help but wonder what myths I believe about that area. I’m trying to do some prepatory writing so I know how I want to approach the trip. It also helps me to establish the persona I want to write from. Coming to the desert in the hopes of finding myself would be a different story than coming to the desert to observe native cultures and question post-colonial America. Each story would require me, as a narrator, to write the story differently. Interesting stuff. I might just stay at the hotel, eat junk food, and write tomorrow.

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