Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My First AWP

I got pretty lucky and got free ticket to AWP.

I remember hearing about it a year or so ago and deciding I would never go.

Then it was in Seattle this year and I was offered a free ticket.

I helped out with theNewerYork selling books. It was  super fun and theNewerYork people were all really nice and interesting.

The cool thing about the tNY anthologies are that they look so nice that they basically sell themselves. It was a lot of 'Hey will you look at this?' and then you could tell within about thirty seconds that someone was into it or not.

I put in two ~10 hr days and one 12 hour day when I had to help set up for a reading.

I hardly ate and I mostly just drank coffee and alcohol.

Most people were pretty nice. I met people from: curbside splendor, Hobart/SFLD, Paris Review, Lapham's quarterly, NOON, Fence, Lazy Fascist, CCM, and a few others. It was amazing how many generic literary magazines there were. Like these people sit there and don't have too much to say about their mag. It was pretty impressive how uninterested people seemed about writing in general. Maybe it is something you develop after years and years of being in literature or something. I don't know.

The MFA programs too were impressively uninteresting.

Being (currently) fairly anti-academic myself I was a little worried I would end up at one of their booths and meet some really awesome people with a really awesome program but really I was just generally unimpressed. I talked with two programs but they basically said the same things (great funding opportunities, we bring in interesting readers, blah blah) and did not seem that into the programs that they were trying to get people to pay thousands upon thousands of dollars to attend.

The tNY reading went well. We got people to show up.

I only attended two readings outside of that: this Lazy Fascist/CCM/Riverhead one which was pretty good and the APRIL lit party which was really good with Amelia Grey killing it. I guess AWP seemed mostly like a social event outside of anything else which is totally fine, I guess I just don't know that many people though so it was mostly a selling event for me.

I wasn't sure the numbers but we were selling between 400 and 800 dollars worth of merch (books, posters, t-shirts) a day. Apparently we made the shipping back. I ended up spending some where around $170 myself.

Also I tried Malort which was pretty cool, this Chicago based herbal liquor that lots of people hate but which I thought was pretty decent/good.

The whole event made me feel cynical toward people in general and the literary group in particular. Everyone seemed so average and uninteresting. Most people seemed to have little to say about literature. It is very possible that that I had unreasonable high expectations or I ended up burned out after being around people for so long.

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