Monday, March 5, 2012

AWP Redux

Little A and I had four glorious days in Chicago for the AWP conference. We went by train and felt oh-so-much-more civilized than traveling by plane. My mom met us in Chicago so that I could attend panels, meet friends, and drink and eat without having to worry about my three-foot companion getting plowed over in the riot of writers.

And a riot it was: ten thousand writers, editors, teachers, publishers, and their ilk descended on two hotels. I attended one panel on which my friend Kate Hopper and four other mama writers shared their thoughts on negotiating motherhood and the writing life. Take home message: jotting down little notes while waiting in the carpool line and at sporting events is key. Also: Hope Edelman eloquently conceded the ways in which writing can take away from mothering but thoughtfully dissected all the things that writing brings to motherhood.

I listened in on another one for first time memoirists, where I found that other writers struggle with the same issues of reportage versus personal story and finding the balance of the two.

But most importantly, I got to meet some new friends and see a few old friends from my Columbia MFA days. We sat down over drinks and food and talked about writing and reading and life and teaching. I realized how much I've missed the intensity of being surrounded by writers, of accessing a shared vocabulary to talk about craft and narrative and sentences and books. I realized I've been going along feeding the fire with tiny bits of kindling and scraps of wood and then this weekend came along and brought with it a barrel of kerosene and two cords of wood.

Now to keep the writing fires burning...

6 comments:

  1. Hi Rhena! I just wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog...and your writing. I like seeing the little update on Facebook so I know to click over. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Tonya! I'm so glad you like it. I'll keep posting reminders on Facebook...

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  3. Nice blog. You might like this poem about mothers. http://caroleschatter.blogspot.co.nz/2011/12/random-quotation-spot.html

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  4. Thanks for the comment and for the poem. Off to take a look!

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  5. Hi Rhena. What a great PR spot about the AWP. Maybe each of you Literary Mamas who attended should share a paragraph for the blog? I'll send a question out via the listserv to solicit thoughts :)

    And what a great mom you have! I remember my mom helping me out in similar circumstances. Not only is it good for the mom, it's great for the grandchild/grandparent relationship!

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  6. Karna, that's a great idea. Yes, my mom is fantastic. "Go out and just do whatever you want to do!" I was spoiled.

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