It's taken me a week to get over it--the exhaustion, the excitement. It's taken just as many days to process it all. And that process leads me to this: my favorite moments of the AWC 2012, in no particular order.
A Moment with Old Friends
|Wayne Sharnick and his camera. Never shall the two be parted.|
Seeing Mary and Wayne Sharnick again. Mary is a dear friend, and was the first person I saw after hearing that my first book was going to be published. I was on a break from my day at Chase Collegiate School where Mary and I worked, and where she chairs the English department. I took a call from my agent, got the good news, and stumbled out of the break room like a car-struck deer...right into Mary's arms. We jumped up and down together and tried not to scream. But I DID scream when I heard Mary's first novel, Thirst, was going to be published, not only because it was a dream come true for her, but because it meant she could come to the Auburn Writers Conference as an author.
A Word About Book Sales
Hand-selling R.A. Nelson's Days of Little Texas to everyone I met. I'm such a fan of this novel, which was introduced to me by fellow writer Ashley Parsons. Ash and I had great fun telling everyone about Days. We may also have fan-girled all over R.A. himself. A little.
An Inspiring Talk
Listening to Robin O'Bryant's publishing story. Here is an indie publishing endeavor gone right. Robin told the AWC audience about being at the conference last year, on the verge of releasing her collection of essays, Ketchup is a Vegetable, and feeling as if she might come apart from nerves. She couldn't have imagined herself being a speaker at the conference just a year later. I am so thankful (there's that word again) to Robin for sharing that story.
My Face Rocked Off
Marshall Chapman. Oh, my goodness. How did I not know about Marshall Chapman? She's a singer, songwriter and author, and she absolutely rocked all of our faces off on Friday night with a concert I will never forget. I may be singing "Call the Lamas" forever. Transcendental (if you were there, you know that word means more than you think;)
Beans in a Pressure Cooker
I was so pleased to meet Cecelia Rodriguez Milanés, a fellow Cubana and poet. She is a delight, and read her poem, "Hombre, Hambre, Hembra" along with a maraca, shaking the little instrument to mimic the sound a pressure cooker makes when cooking beans. It was the sound of my childhood, of my abuela's Cuban kitchen, and took me back in the best kind of way.
Meeting Judith Ortiz Cofer.
|Judith Ortiz Cofer and Alabama Public Radio's Don Noble|
What can I say? Judith Ortiz Cofer is one of my heroes. She was warm and lovely and supportive of the conference and the other writers there. She also gave a magnificent keynote speech, tailored to the AWC and our theme. I am honored and humbled to have hosted her here, and so very glad I can call her a friend.
I could go on, of course. There were so many amazing writers and participants involved, and each conversation was a treasure. I sat in awe of my new colleague, Keetje Kuipers, as she read a beautiful essay about fear, I listened to some of Amy Weldon's terrific stories, and got to give Myra McEntire a hug, and hung out with Debra Moffitt, Barbara Brown Taylor and Nick Taylor, and well, like I said, I could go on.
There have been meetings this week for next year's conference, Artful Crossroads: Where Literature Meets the Arts. And we're cooking up new ideas for 2013. This is the kind of work that doesn't end, and I don't really want it to.
Until next year's AWC.
Oh. And everybody? Thank you *hugs*