Pre-conference quiz

1. I am attending AWP 2020 because:

a. I am legitimately excited about sharing my book, seeing literary friends, and hearing strong writers talk about what they do

b. As a former board member amazed I ever carried that load, I’m glad to support the current board members and the organization’s great new leaders, all of whom work super-hard with a budget much, much smaller than that of, say, the MLA

c. I would feel tortured by book-promotion-guilt and FOMO if I avoided it

d. All of the above

2. I feel stressed out about AWP 2020 because:

a. The conference is gigantic, overwhelming, and bound to make me feel like a crumb on the fancy-pants of life—and will anyone really show up for my book-signing?

b. Events run from morning to night and while I AM scheduling in rest this time, historically, I haven’t been very disciplined about taking that rest

c. It’s not like work stops—in fact, my teaching/ committee load before and after the conference is MORE intense because I have to make up for being away

d. All of the above

3. I’m lucky to attend AWP because:

a. It’s freaking expensive yet I can more-or-less manage the cost despite having already used up my university conference allowance, in part because my kids are pretty independent now and worrying about their care is no longer a big complicated thing, especially since my spouse and I are going together

b. I’m more aware than ever of how many friends can’t manage the conference due to cost, disability, and caregiver obligations—travel is hard, never mind the intensity of such events and the difficulty of navigating huge conference centers when your mobility is limited

c. Really, look at a. and b., I really ought to just calm down about the stress already

d. All of the above

So I score a “D” on this quiz, what else is new. I’m still having a good week. It’s February break, just after our midterms, because we start so early in January, and I managed to take an actual weekend off, which did me a lot of good. And to my amazement, ARCs of my novel just came, and they’re beautiful and terrifying! I think this is one of the best moments of publication—there’s no immediate obligation attached, it’s the culmination of a ton of work, and damn, they’re just really gratifying to look at. Thanks to all the people who have already expressed interest in reviewing it or my new poetry book; let me know if you’d like to be added to that list and receive a free copy. I’ll be back with some post-AWP reflections one of these days…  

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