Ten Quick Notes from AWP

The conference so far:

One blood orange margarita at Frontera Grill

Two meals with great writers and fans of Mama, PhD: Elline Lipkin and Elizabeth Coffman

Three sighing, meaningless invocations of the word “craft” (in one panel!), as in
Question: What makes this writing stand out?
Answer: Well [long pause], I’d say, really, well, it’s just … the craft.

Four (out of five) speakers on the Fictionalizing the Family panel who don’t have children, and so advised “Write as if everyone you know is dead.” Kill your darlings, indeed! I can’t write like that.

Five speakers on the fabulous Writing as Parents panel — Kate Hopper, Jill Christman, Shari MacDonald Strong, Sonya Huber and Jennifer Niesslein — who spoke much more relevantly to me. I loved all their presentations, and am thinking this morning particularly about Sonya Huber’s anecdote expressing the whiplash of talking with small children. Her son asked her one day, “How many days until the day we die?” When she responded, “We don’t know,” he asked, quite reasonably, “Why don’t we ask the one who made all our parts?” And then, as she was still struggling with her answer to that, he tossed her a softball, “How do you spell Chewbacca?”

Six more meals until I head home.

Seven readers at tonight’s Literary Mama reading at Women and Children First bookstore; if you’re in Chicago, please come!

Eight panels today that sound interesting to me, so many that I may not make it to any.

Nine times I laughed out loud during Art Spiegelman’s brilliant, funny, keynote talk, a swift survey of comic strips and his place in them.

Ten minutes in the bookfair before I was weighed down with free chocolates, pens, and subscription forms.

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