Week18: What happens at AWP….def comes back home with you!

Errr, no.  NOT thinking that or anything even close to that! Geez.  Mind out of the gutter, folks.

I’m thinking things like inspiration, exhaustion, books, and lots of free stuff that I am completely not sure what to do with. Oh yes, and tote bag to add to my every-growing collection of canvas tote bags.

Tote bag.
This is what it looks like when you have a new tote bag. And ambition.

And yes, that sweet little thrill of satisfaction, that feeling of having had some experience, intangible, exhausting, some broadening of understanding that you cant quite put your fingers on. In this case, an idea, for a thing that K.K. and I have been working on for a while.  See this is what happened:

We were wandering the book fair, walking through row after row after row after yet another row, horizontally, vertically, trying our best to keep up with the manic energy of the place.  Truth be told, we were somewhat delirious, completely un-caffienated, and dressed a little too warmly. Bottom line, we needed to sit down.  So we did.  At a friends table.  This friend happened to be talking about a project he had just finished, a collaboration he had worked on with someone else.   He was talking process, the system, the way these things work, how amazing he was, how amazing his friend was…tooting his own horn really.

And then it happened…that magic moment when two people arrive at the same thought in the same moment! K.K and I had knew how we were going to make this project work.  Collaborate but then really collaborate.  On every piece!

It has occured to me, yes, that we keep making our lives more complicated.  But the way I see it, if not now, when? And if not this way, how?

Book Fair Overload
Book Fair Overload

What K.K. Took Home:

Going to AWP this year convinced me of two things.

The first thing is that a writing community is important for morale and motivation. Meeting the other people who have also committed their lives to this pursuit helps. You bond over the fact that you are all doing it, regardless of what stage of this pursuit you are in.

I almost wrote “career” but changed my mind. Is this a “career”? Obviously, a writer’s progress can be tracked and mapped as a career, though I’ve heard it said that a musician spends his entire life writing his first album. A writer, possibly, spends her entire life writing her first book? This idea comes from art as struggle to achieve something perfect with imperfect means of expression. An impossible task. An endless pursuit.

The second thing is that there are a billion more poets at AWP than fiction writers. Ok, I don’t know this to be certainly true, but Hananah and I joked that we only seemed to meet poets. I tested this theory by turning to a table of four people at the hotel bar and asked if they were fiction or poetry. Two were poetry, two were fiction. So my random sampling proved the theory wrong immediately.

But, one thing I took away is that it doesn’t matter. Writers are writers. There’s something about partying with other writers that is different than simply being at a party. Writing is usually a solitary endeavor, so being in the company of others you can talk shop with is a rare pleasure. But what’s funny is that we usually don’t talk shop. We just know we could, any time we wanted, and there’s a comfort in that.

It’s why my friendship with Hananah is so vital. She is friend, counselor, editor, secret holder, inside joke reveler. We move fluidly in conversation from life matters to writing matters to matters that cannot be separated as such. We can constantly be engaged with some of the most important aspects of our lives, discuss them, share them. There are no prefaces or explanations. For two people who have seen each other three times in the last two years, the basically inexistent need for transition when we meet up at the airport says everything. We are able to just be. And probably take a selfie. Or four.

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