post-AWP rundown

Here’s a quick recap of how I spent my days:

Wednesday: Arrive at Midway at 2:20 p.m. Take the El to Roosevelt and walk 3 blocks to the Best Western at 11th & Michigan. Check in, drop bags in room, and head back out the door to find Miller’s Pub at Wabash & Adams, where I meet 2 friends for drinks. Great pub. After a few hours, head for sushi at Oysy, where we are informed that Oysy has run out of rice. That’s right: a sushi restaurant has run out of rice. And edamame. WTF? Their shrimp cocktail was pretty good though. Collapse into bed by 10:30.

Thursday: Plan to run, don’t. Sleep in instead. Greet Donna at the hotel & drop her stuff in our room before heading to the first panel, a discussion/quick demo of videopoems, followed by a panel on the use of race in persona poems. Lunch at Yolk, the most excellent restaurant next to the Best Western. Return to the conference for a 3 p.m. panel on political poetry, followed by a 4:30 panel presentation by the New York Writers Coalition. Stop by the bookfair during the day & freak out about all the people. Hug Laura from Weave, take an adorable picture with her & Donna. Talk to the lovely woman at the Drew MFA Program table. Plan to go to a reading with Donna, don’t. Retreat to the hotel room & attempt to recover instead. Head for dinner at Lou Malnati’s for some excellent deep dish pizza and a giant-sized glass of iced tea. Collapse into bed by 10.

Friday: Plan to run, fitness center is locked. Wait for 20 minutes for it to be opened. It never is. Run outside instead, where I discover it is harder to run without a treadmill than I expected. Complete a mile (alternating run/walk, of course) anyway. Head for a 10:30 panel on youth-oriented community programs that was pretty awesome. Wander the book fair for a bit, buy Manoleria by Daniel Khalastchi on Donna’s advice, and serendipitously meet him. He is adorable and charming. Then head back to Yolk for lunch with Sacha, my friend from the Mailer Colony. Bail on the rest of the afternoon’s panels, spend a few hours in my hotel room reading, writing, and hiding. Head to the 6 p.m. NJ writers’ informal cocktail hour, then to Patricia Smith’s book release party, which was also pretty awesome. Dinner at Panera, then back to the hotel. Collapse into bed by 10:30.

Saturday: Plan to run, don’t. Spend about 2 hours watching house-flipping shows on A&E. Say goodbye to Donna, who is heading home. Blow off the entire day. Spend 2.5 hours walking Grant Park, Millenium Park, Printers Row. Take some pictures. Back to Yolk for lunch alone, then hiding in my hotel room for the rest of day, working on homework. In bed by 10:30.

Sunday: Up and on the El back to the airport by 7:30. Anxious to be home. Nearly get body-scanned in Midway; avert that crisis at the last minute thanks to a slow-moving elderly traveler who held up the line. Arrive back in Philly with minimal issues. Listen to a story about how my cat fell into the kitchen trash can and couldn’t get out. Almost crash the car from laughing so hard. Dinner at home with Donna and Karen, then bed by 10.

Oh, the writerly life.

I’ll probably blog some more in the coming days about how it felt to be at the conference, the panels, etc. It’s just too much for one entry.

In the meantime, some pictures:

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