AWP is, as I’ve been describing to non-readers and writers, is the Comic-Con for word nerds, with networking in the mix. Some people can find this networking aspect at writing conferences in general, exhausting and inauthentic. I get that. But because I’m not daunted by this at all, I always enjoy these conferences. Also, there was a book fair! I had to buy all the books (but not really, some books were free) and support not only my instructors at school but to the upcoming writers of color as well.
My AWP was a lot of fun for two reasons. One, it took place in Los Angeles, a city I have never visited (and will go back) and really enjoyed. What I liked the most about my visit is the fact that I didn’t do the tourist attractions. I didn’t visit Hollywood, Beverly Hills, walk on (or in this case, drive by) Rodeo Drive or Melrose Place, and I didn’t visit Santa Monica (among other places). I visited as if I lived there which worked so well for me. I had the best hostess ever who welcomed me in her fabulous home and made tea for me almost every day. I stayed with a fellow writer friend who didn’t feel the need to attend every workshop ‘cuz she didn’t feel like it which made me take stock in my needs and wants. Two, I had the privilege to attend AWP with my MFA cohort! When will I have the opportunity to blend my current graduate experience with the real world writing conference experience again? My worlds collided in the most seamless way and the conversations we had during, before, and after each panel allowed me to not only learn about the people in my cohort better but to feel closer to them and claim them as my literary community. I do not regret being backed up with schoolwork due to my attendance to this conference.
Upon arrival, I had the opportunity to housesit in Ashbury Heights in San Francisco which allowed me to decompress and stand still after the whirlwind that was AWP. I loved it. Then I did two interviews for different mediums. I sat at my first roundtable for a film after watching a free screening in which I met a fellow film reviewer! She was great and she also lives in Oakland. Then I reviewed an author that attended the Emerging Writers Festival at USF who was down to earth, inspiring, and so warm. I only hope the people I interview in the future are as lovely as her.
Currently, I’m excited because, wait for it, I got accepted into VONA! For those that don’t know, this is a writing workshop that is specifically for writers of color, taught by writers of color and the only workshop of its kind in the country. Due to its gaining popularity, I was skeptical that I might not be accepted. When I received the email yesterday that I will be attending this workshop in the summer, this only added to the already phenomenal year I’ve been having. Not including how I was accepted to graduate school at all (I had some instructors that messed with my ego regarding my writing capabilities) last year and will be working on my novel this summer! Filling to the brim with gratitude.
Thank you for reading!