AWP17

I won’t lie. I wasn’t too eager about going to D.C. for the writers’ conference this past February. I had whiplash after November, and hadn’t processed all of the stages of grief. I spent very few days in denial, not that recall if fear is part of the stages, but I will admit to being afraid and since I am not a thrill-seeker, I don’t do well with uncertainty.

 

I enjoy going to AWP for all of the right writerly reasons. I like the community, the workshops, the engaging talks and if I’m lucky I see old friends and make new ones. Normally, I wait too long to make reservations, the hotels are all sold out but this past year, I acted quickly. The conference hotel option was gone but I managed to score a deal in a nearby hotel on Embassy Row.

I unpacked my bags,  got organized and decided to let D.C wash over me without any orange crumbs and to make the most out the conference.  It turns out that AWP soothed my uncertainty  and I had a blast.

 

Highlights

Lodging

Hotel: The Fairfax hotel on embassy row: Not too close to the venue, but the price was right, the hotel room super big and the metro ride was super easy. My stop was in  Chinatown which was super vibrant at all hours

 

BTW- What I vowed to never do again: Rely on Apple’s maps! Having said that, I also vowed to spend less time trusting any map other than a paper map. I walk way too fast and sometimes the corrective response of the map doesn’t go as quickly as I want it to. Next time I am grabbing one of these crumpled maps

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Sessions

Here is a common problem for me: Cool sessions happening at the same time.  Since I haven’t figured out how split myself in half, I normally pick my top 2 and go to my first choice. If for some reason the first one doesn’t work out the way I thought it would, I duck out quietly and make my way to choice number 2.  I’m mentioning my favorite ones.

Solo en Español

Wow! how it gave my heart alegria to hear only Spanish read in the literary form. The essay read by Lupita Vargas-Strathman, about identity, language and place,  was nicely relevant during this political climate.  Right before the conference I watched a series based Sor Juana Ines on Netflix . I was especially inspired and still in my mother tongue’s language embrace when I sat in the audience for this session. When I was younger I read  Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz’s poetry only to have the memory languish with the sediment layers of my daily english speaking life. Guess what I have on my endless to read book pile? I am going to read her plays

 

The panel’s readings and conversations unearthed for me Spanish words and terms that were not permanently lost by any means,  but suppressed.

Solo en Español: An All-Spanish Reading and Craft Discussion. (, , , ) This reading and craft discussion celebrates work of the Spanish-language, multi-genre anthology, Corazon y Una Lengua Peregrina. It features work by Latino Writers Collective members living in the Midwest who have roots across the Americas and Spain. Esta lectura y discusión celebra el trabajo de la antología en Español y múltiples géneros, Corazon y Una Lengua Peregrina. Nosotros presenta la letra de miembros del Colectivo de Escritores Latinos con raíces a través de las Américas y Espana

 

Powerhouse Conversation

Reading and Conversation with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Ta-Nehisi Coates, Sponsored by the Authors Guild.

I had missed the opportunity to hear Ta-Nehisi Coates in person, when a Harvard conference (Universities and Slavery: Bound by History) booked up quickly. I taught his book and his essay A Case for Reparations, last semester and was motivated to join a packed house (no hyperbole) for this important dialogue. I managed to get in before the previous session ended and caught the tail end of the Emma Traub and Ann Pachett session so I secured a seat and got to hear a delightful conversation about independent bookstores and advice on reading and writing characters.  I had a great seat, and as the venue filled out and more people tried to come in I was relieved to stay put. The reading by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was amazing and I seem to be the only person in the country who hasn’t read Americanah. So, guess what’s waiting on my endless to-read- book- pile?

 

Writing the Dual Self

Every once in a while you happen on a session where you find yourself saying “get out of my head!” over and over. This was one of these sessions. Writing about self when so much of the outside world has expectations of who you should be has been a specific challenge for me. Once, in AWP Boston I attended a session of writing across diasporas. At the time, although the authors were all East-European I latched on to the vocabulary and language of the experiences of those, who like me, call other countries home.  This session had solutions and honest perspectives. In this panel all the speakers were intuitive and articulate. Props to Sonya Larson from Grub St. who makes everything she touches radiate pleasant clarity.

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So the photo isn’t great folks

Writing the Dual Self: Opening Spaces for Hybrid Identities . (, , , , ) Writers with dual ethnicities or hybrid backgrounds often struggle to find ways to tell a nuanced story of identity and community. Five writers with diverse racial, ethnic, and gender identities share experiences of the struggle and strategies for forging a space for the dual, hyphenated, multiple self—one that does justice both to our art and our ancestors, working through the liberatory possibilities of writing and to resist the urge—or to market’s demand—to self-stereotype.

On essays

The Assay Journal has a nice comprehensive recap of the session. I am particularly interested in the form of the speculative Essay because of it’s open-ended form. The ideas of a speculative essay, far from being wavering, ask pertinent questions and invites the reader to inquire along with the writer. Just like a solid essay in the speculative form, the session peered into questions of author’s responsibility for voice and for truth, ideas of self and belonging through Emerson and Thoreau’s writing, origins and intent of the essay and impressions of the form. I came out of the session with a nice reading list, and while trying to find the subterranean location for the session,  met the super-cool author Michael Tager.

 

The Speculative Essay

Many essayists have employed speculation throughout the form’s history, relying wholly on speculation (relating nothing verifiable) rather than engaging “fact.” Virginia Woolf’s “Death of a Moth,” for example, does not require a verifiable moth to achieve its power. But what are the limits to speculation? Must essayists always signal their speculative intentions? Can an essayist delve into the traditional realm of the fiction writer, overturning traditional notions of point of view in the essay?

Immigrant perspectives

An important panel exploring the responsibilities and perspectives from the immigrant writer’s voice and experiences. The timeliness of the session in the midst of conversations about the freshly instituted travel-ban gave the panelists plenty to discuss.

Immigration: Cultural Binding, Creative Chaos, and the Survival of International Writers

How does immigration affect a writer’s creative pursuit in another country? There are many success stories of immigrant writers, but there is yet another side of their stories to tell their challenges after migrating to another country, either by choice or in an event that forces a migration. Immigration not only results in binding of cultures, but also leads to a creative chaos in want of proper opportunities, recognition, and an environment to be creative and productive. A much-needed debate!

Also

Around Bookfair

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Randos

 

About the pieces in the Convention Center by artist Donald Lipski

Also

The Latino X Caucus Meeting-  Check out the FB page. The Latino X Caucus continues to develop and expand. New initiatives, ideas and focus need your help. Get involved!

Off site

Wonderful authors reading great work  but none best than my dear amigote and talented  Chicano Noir writer Ito Romo. His reading was the most entertaining and engaging I’ve seen-ever- . Seriously. Check out his exceptional work.
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Join the editorial staffs of Grist and Iron Horse Literary Review as they present several of their recent contributors at the 2017 AWP Conference. The Mulebone offers regional Southern-American food with craft cocktails. Their appetizers: corn maque choux, Texas shrimp & buttermilk biscuit, pickled fried green tomatoes, and the “script board” with Virginia ham, biscuits, deviled egg, pickled veggies, and pimento cheese.

Writers Resist

Candlelight vigil in front of the Whitehouse:
Excellent recap here from Ivoh.org
I was glad to be there, a brief moment standing on my tiptoes trying to get a glimpse at the speakers. I couldn’t see well, but the signs, the tempo of the voices and the candlelight reaffirmed messages of love, determination and the beauty of words.

 

Article in Publishers Weekly

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Just planning ahead

Future Conferences

So that’s it until we meet again in AWP18. I think we’re going to a sunnier spot.

Tampa, Florida

  • March 7 – 10, 2018 | Tampa Convention Center & Marriott Tampa Waterside

Portland, Oregon

  • March 27 – 30, 2019 | Oregon Convention Center

San Antonio, Texas (Hooray!)

  • March 4 – 7, 2020 | Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center

Kansas City, Missouri

  • March 3 – 6, 2021 | Kansas City Convention Center

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • March 23 – 26, 2022 | Pennsylvania Convention Center

 

 

Prompt Writing Nights

A nice habit to develop.

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The second PWN was simple and effective. We got down to business quickly and shared our work effortlessly. What amazed me the most is how out of practice I am. I am creaky and achy. All of the writing I have been doing has been all in my head. My material has been trapped, forgotten, swept away, and ignored. I am hungry for more opportunities to write and these PWN’s are just the thing.

Word prompts we used:

  1. Garbage
  2. Basement
  3. Stung
  4. Call me

The prompts  came from from Lynda Barry’s explosively cool inspiration-source book   What it is.

Art of the Yearly Birthday Dinner

The perks of having lovely friends who like you even when you don’t stay in touch that often.

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When Mr. Belm emails out a ‘save- the- date’ I get giddy that we’re still on the list. The Belms were in my husband’s life before they were in mine but it only took me meeting them once to understand their tight connection. As much as we like one one another somehow we only see each other once a year during Mrs. Belm’s birthday dinner.  We’d like to see them more often but being on the invite list, regardless of our lack of communication, almost makes up for being out of touch.

Mr. Belm is an accomplished chef. He’s mastered the elegant precision of the basics and embarked in the truly experimental and creative. Mr. Belm doesn’t just cook us dinner,  he choreographs a stunning feast to celebrate his wife. I imagine that the preparation starts early on with deliberate planning and since he’s a scientist; some kind of experimentation. It was during one of these dinners when I first learned about (and tasted) molecular gastronomy and the precise alchemy of Sous Vide.

On the evening of the dinner when I come into Chez Belm, I head straight to the kitchen to hug the chef and scan around for unexpected equipment (hint: there’s usually a somewhat unrecognizable gizmo). There’s always a neat assembly setup and light conversation. Some of us go to the living room for Prosecco, and a damn good cheese platter until it is time to eat. As we sit down to the first course Mr.Belm makes an appearance at the head of the table wearing  meticulous chef’s whites. He describes in way of  charming stories, why will be eating what will be eating,  and then we toast the birthday girl.

 

What stays with me, after the sumptuous dishes, the flawless wine pairings, and the guests’ lively  conversation is the unmistakeable love story.  The yearly birthday dinner is about exquisite food yes, but it is also a tender valentine from Mr. Belm to his charming Mrs. Belm, who is obviously appreciative. My husband and I spend time with a lot of couples, and we admire them all for different reasons. I take particular delight in seeing partners who demonstrate, sometimes effortlessly how much they genuinely ‘like’ their partners. The Belms embody this notion of reciprocal like. They are clearly smitten with each other. 2016’s dinner was another knockout and I can’t wait to get our ‘save-the-date’ for 2017 (no pressure at all Mr. Belm).

You can read  it all about it from Mr. Belm himself.

AWP2016 Los Angeles style

Panel session report

We’re on the Road to Somewhere: Approaches to Managing the Writing Life.

Another effective session. The panelists were all super candid about what works and doesn’t work  trying to manage a writer’s life. Heavens knows this is a tough management area for me. I need unbroken stretches of time, not only to write, but to fully embody my self as a writer. If I don’t get that space I am just walking around wishing that (insert blank here about writing). It’s not a pretty sight.

Description:

There are no shortcuts when it comes to writing. Sometimes, the challenge isn’t getting started—it’s sticking with it through criticism and rejection; doubts and confusion with the material itself. In this inspiring panel, successful writers discuss their own winding paths to publication and offer practical suggestions for building a creative and professional life in a variety of writing fields—including editing, blogging, and screenwriting—while managing a writing life over the long haul.

Cast of Characters: ,  ,  ,  ,  

Austin Bunn spoke about coloring outside your own lines as a writer. He discussed his experience  expanding his writing to include direct interactions with his audiences by creating collaborative synchronicity through screenwriting and immersive theater. He’s a super cool guy, smart, and funny. His approach of incorporating writing and expanding into other genres and mediums has allowed him to produce exiting work. Check him out.

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“Art did not require a remove from the material of life; if could actually seek to dissolve the boundary between the two.”

Brag note about Austin: He wrote the screenplay to the excellent film  Kill your Darlings.

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Leslie Pietrzyk

Leslie’s energy is contagious. She spoke about the long road of being a writer and pointed out what you can and can’t control. She’s the winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize for her novel This Angel on my Chest.   Thanks to Leslie’s suggestions  I am starting a local writer’s group. Here’s her essay for AWP around the writing group idea.

that kept her going a

Here’s Sonya Chung making one of her points in this interview from The Days of Yorea damn great blog about writers and artist in their ‘early days.’ A little inspo to keep you focused and reassured.

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“My answer is persistence; hang in there. It takes awhile.”

Takeaways:

  • Some of the suggestions I am running with, like creating a writing group.
  • Other ideas dealt with fighting demons of envy and despair and instead refocusing our the work to be real and concrete.
  • Working with what’s in front of you is also a huge leap of faith.
  • Hit the ball from where its at. It’s okay to go for low-hanging fruit.
  • One only has control of talent, hard work and perseverance, the rest is luck.
  • Yiyun Li, who is also a scientist motivates herself by uttering the words by Elinor  from Sense and Sensibility: “…Exert yourself, (dear Marianne).” She notes that in Science you don’t wait around for inspiration. You experiment. Do the same with writing.
  •  Josh Rolnick “There is virtue in abandoning something. Let it die a crypt death.”
  • Take your writing life forward in small steps.
  • Little victories matter.
  • If you’re wondering if you’re writing from a dark place or not, then you’re not writing from a dark place. It’s important to write from there.
  • Create small writing hacks, reward yourself  and writing partner with outrageous rewards or punishments. Did you write? Yes or No? Simple. Set a timer!
  • The question from the audience the panelists didn’t work hard to answer; ” How do you explain the necessities of the writing life to your spouse or partner?

AWP2016 Los Angeles style

Panel session report

Creative Writing and Resistance in the Classroom: Helping Students Write Social Justice.

An importatant discussion on  confronting  writing about  issues of social justice writing  in our classrooms.  I struggle finding open and effective ways to teach my students rhetoric based content that reflects important sociopolitical  issues. The panel gave examples of writing exercises and practical ideas to implement in writing workshops.

 

Creative writing students compelled to write about social justice may
be intimated by the challenges of shaping art, craft, and social forces in
their writing. How do teachers encourage students to explore political
inequality and injustice, while crafting narrative art? Panelists discuss
specific pedagogical approaches and techniques that both respect
students’ backgrounds and beliefs and encourage their exploration,
examination, and literary engagement with our complex world
Cast of Characters:  Hayan Charara,  Achy Obejas,     Nan Cuba , Ellen Meeropol,
If you have a moment check out Hayan Charara reading “Out, Out” by R. Frost
Takeaways
  • Creative writing that is grounded in good craft provokes conversations about social justice and diversity and gets recognized as literature.
  • To over come resistance of writing about social justice issues: Use rhetoric for argument, counter argument and debate. Use creative writing for empathy
  • From Achy: Take a story like Indian Camp, by Hemingway, where the Indians never speak.  Come up with a set of questions. Why suicide? Why is the doctor unprepared?  Why does George vanish? . Reconsider the story by recasting it.  Tell the story from a different character’s POV and ask the original questions. They seem different now.
  • Teaching social justice takes empathy and courage. In order for this to work you need to
    • assume responsibility
    • anticipate the resistance
    • question the canonical texts
    • understand that it is challenging to write outside demographics.
    • good to ponder what we know and what we don’t know
  • Challenge students notions about scene in dramatic story. Ignore facts, and extract drama from a minor character.
  • Change a major element of the narrative, either age or gender, change a dominant version as reality.
  • An exercise which can help students write and read about experience and then apply to their own realities: Choose 3 images which evoke a sense of social justice,  and have students write on the place, composition of the images and then work on the Fabula. Then choose 6 words or less for the titles.
  • Hayan- There’s a resistance in the classroom to so called “political poems.” Some think they are propagandist poems to sway the reader.  However, If one is an Arab is hard not to live politically. The personal is tied up in the political.  Check out the creatively charged space program in the University of Houston where Hayan teaches.

AWP2016 Los Angeles style

Panel Session Report

Rewriting the Iconic West: Native and Latino Writers on
Crafting Change.
In trying to do the right thing or in acting out of lazy tropes, some writers tend to rely on the obvious cartoons seared into years of collective misinformation and misattribution. These authors set the record straight by relating experiences in their own writing and perception of the work they should or shouldn’t be producing.

Description

From the cowboy on horseback to the detective on the dark city
streets, the fictional icons of the West loom both familiar and large.
Their stories have the ease of familiarity, but what if the stories
you want to tell shift the vantage point? What if your hero is the
one shot by the cowboy, the man turning the corner to avoid the
detective? A diverse set of writers discusses strategies for telling
the West’s iconic stories through a wide range of viewpoints and in
diverse cultural contexts.
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Tweet by @thepoetmendez  capturing  Ito Romo’s advice: A profound sentiment about owning your narrative
The talented cast of characters:  (Stephen Graham Jones couldn’t make it)
Check out the work of these fabulous authors:
Takeaways:
  • Working against stereotypes is the job.
  • As a writer work to create a reality of ethnic characters that don’t have to play to a rule of expectations.
  • It is crucial to understand what is already embedded in history and literature about characters of color to tear apart and give truth to. There is a prevalence of misconceptions seared in the mind of the readers.  Tim Hernandez spoke about “Terry the Mexican girl.” Bea Kozera, was her real name and her life story had been miscast, unbeknownst to her, in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Tim found Bea (Terry). You can read the incredible story here published after Bea’s death at the age of 92.

Around the Bookfair @ AWP16

Neat, Cool Booths & Discoveries

Broadsided Press

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I have a slight fixation with Viewmasters and have been smitten with them since I first held in front of my face. Pure magic  happened between my eyes and that reel. The more I pushed down on the side lever enjoying the springy sound that came from each new image, the more entranced I became.

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image by kidclassics.org

 

Someone set up a trap for me: Headphones and a Viewmaster.  I stopped cold in my tracks. In the delightfulest discovery ever, I met the delightful creator of this press: Elizabeth Bradfield. So I put on the headphones and listened to some  atmospheric sounds and music,  held the Viewmaster up to my face and began reading  poems that floated in front of me.  Here is what you’ll find is the description of Elizabeth’s vision:

“Before paperbacks and pocket books, before blogs, there were broadsides.Every day, we walk past billboards for shops and car dealers, for churches and insurance, but our streets, our daily lives among each other, are missing something. They’re missing thought. Dialogue. Opinion. Ideas.”

 

THE PLAN

On the first of every month, a new Broadsided literary/visual collaboration will be posted here for you to download. FREE.

What’s more, Vectors (this could be you!) will post them in cafes, hallways, and elsewhere. See where Vectors are posting and add your town.

Here’s the latest poem: “Spring” Why don’t you go ahead and start posting?

Here is a downloadable “about us”

 

Another Neat Sighting at the Bookfair

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I must have been living under a rock because I don’t know this cool thing exists:

Bookview Now some big-name author interviews are up and ready for you to watch.

2016 AWP Bookfair Video on Demand

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between interviews

 

 

Also:  Handy advice for AWP’ers heed the warnings my friends.

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Around the Bookfair @ AWP16

Neat, Cool Booths & Discoveries

Freewrite

I am a distracted sieve-mind of a writer. I am especially worse in libraries where I begin perusing the stacks to find marvelous shiny titles. Exhibit A:

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Lost myself in this book

Anyhoo- What do you think about Freewrite? I love the idea, typography, the type-writer thing it has going for it. I am not super jazzed about the weight, the E-ink (haven’t managed to fall in love with E-ink yet) or the manual options to work on multiple documents at once.

 

Sabbatical Homes

Are you an educator, writer or student looking for temporary housing? Check this out:  The lovely Nadege Conger, who is the super hands-on founder of  sabbaticalhomes.com spent some time explaining why she created the service. Mainly? The advantages and  affordability of a sharing economy and a novel solution for academics who often find temporary housing options to be limiting. Nadege, likes the low-key approach to her site. She wants to encourage trust and affordability.

Write.ink

The write.ink folks were giving away a free one year domain name. You sign up for a year and the opt to renew at 21 dollars per month. So, as of today I have daphnestrassmann.ink to play with!

Talking Book

In my past life, when I was 14 or so, I was producing my own This American Life kinda show, except without an audience, or Ira’s quirky voice. My tape recorder, was low-tech at best, and I couldn’t find a good way to splice the music in. That’s for another post. The thing is that surrounding a story with spoken word and sound is the best way for a large majority of readers to enjoy books.  Talking Book had a great looking booth with a nice display with a demo. Liquid-like images moved in front of you, while a comfy set of headphones gave the viewer the audible experience.

AWP2016 Los Angeles style

Panel session report

The Science of Story: Creative Nonfiction and Cognitive Science.

Someone must have developed a precise dating site algorithm to match me up with this panel. I just know it.  Each panelist spoke about topics that are near and dear to my interest in memoir and memory, and personal narrative storytelling.  I was in memoir heaven. The room was packed- sitting- on -the floor-room only. The takeaways are at the bottom of the post. One of my favorite parts was the discussion led by Jessica H. Nelson about the “exhaustion around Did this really happen? conversation.”Phrases like “time is a tenuous master,” and “emotional truth vs. higher truth” continue to define the work of narrative non-fiction.

Description

New research in cognitive/neuroscience illuminates how and why creative nonfiction works. Panelists explore why our perception of time slows during crisis and how to replicate crisis on the page (showing) and why the best nonfiction engages the prefrontal cortex through introspection, reflection, and speculation (components of telling). This panel examines elements of creative nonfiction and offers suggestions on how we can use science to improve our writing and writing lives.

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waiting for the panel to start

The fabulous cast of characters who hit the  all right notes for their audience.

Moderator: Sean Prentiss is the author of Finding Abbey: A Search for Edward AbbeyandHis Hidden Desert Grave, coauthor of Nature and Environmental Writing: A Guide and Anthology (forthcoming), and coeditor of the Fourth Genre: Explorations in Creative Nonfiction.

Jessica Hendry Nelson is the author of the memoir If Only You People Could Follow Directions. Her work has appeared in the Threepenny Review, the Carolina Quarterly, the Rumpus, and elsewhere. She teaches at Burlington College and in the MFA Program at the University of Nebraska in Omaha.

Nancer Ballard is a writer, book artist, editor, and resident scholar at the Brandeis University where she leads creative projects that combine science, humanities, creative writing, and fine arts. She’s the author of Dead Reckoning, and her work appears in numerous journals and anthologies.

BTW- Nancer had what seemed some handy handouts. I wanted some but they went quickly. She urged us to contact her and she’d email us some. This lack of materials was a peeve of mine throughout the conference. Is there an AWP conference web section for PDF’s or other documents such as copies of presentations? I shall find out. Anyhoo, Nancer will is local to me, since she teaches at Brandeis and giving a talk on  The Science of Evocation: Neuroscience and the Art of Memorable Stories, on April 19th. I shall be there.

No Bio on this presenter. He was super-funny and quite inspiring. Here’s  his site:

 Takeaways:

  • Thinking broadly about what we mean by ‘sensory details.’ When writing memoir, think about how the brain perceives time.
  • It’s fine (and thus affirming to me) to write memoir closely to the way memory works. Challenge the form! Memory can be a “tenuous master.”
  • The work that Robert A. Bjork is doing in UCLA.
  • The work of Daniel Kahneman about memory and the experiencing and the remembering self.
  • The work of economist and psychologist  Daniel Kahneman – Take a look at his Ted talk The Riddle of Experience vs. Memory.
  • A call to action (Yay! fits my memoir’s voice and structure) from Jessica to create new shapes on the page.

     

AWP2016 Los Angeles style

Bit Thoughts

I’m writing this little post having escaped from the Convention Center to get some coffee. I am on overload. Except that I’ve wondered aimlessly trying to find some coffee and wound up in the same hotel lounge I was at last night. It’s big and noisy here, but it will do.

 

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I’ll go back to and capture the dynamic sessions, the takeaways from the the past two days, but it is impossible now and my notes are so cryptic it’s going to take someone like Turing to help me decipher them. I need to spend time thinking about some of what I experienced here so far. I need to quietly allow the conversations with new and long time friends to sync in and imprint. In the mean time, here’s a list of thoughts.

  • The first day , right before picking up my badge in an interminable long line, I said  hello to the inspiring poet,  Naomi Shihab Nye. It was a brief warm interaction where I reminded her how we knew each other. She’s a dear friend of talented business woman and designer, for whom I worked in San Antonio Texas. Kathleen Sommers has a knack for creating beautiful designs and a vibrant eclectic community. What I didn’t get a chance to tell Naomi is that reading Lullaby Raft , a dreamy children’s book, was one of my daughter’s favorite bed time routines. Running into Naomi, gave me a little bit of my San Antonio back, and as we said goodbye, her genuine bright  smile set the tone for my day.
  • Ran through the Bookfair to find Lesley MFA connections. Author Hester Kaplan, who is the interim director of the program, Cheryl Eagen-Donovan, a dedicated film maker who has been working on a documentary Nothing is Truer than Truth about “A-list party boy Edward de Vere as he travels in Italy and becomes the great writer “Shake-speare.” Then, after serious attempts trying to get together in Cambridge while only blocks away from each other, I caught up with my dearest and multi-talented friend Janet Pocorobba.
  • Every once in a while I’d run into familiar faces and after stumbling a bit, we’d call out possible place where and how we might have known each other: “Grubstreet!,”  “Seattle’s AWP!”
  • Briefly met author Joey Franklin, who clued me in about a wonderful piece called,
    The Development of Autobiographical Memory.  Joey is also a professor who teaches creative nonfiction writing and has an upcoming book, My Wife Wants You to Know I’m Happily Married, which seems like a great fit for the  workshopping process, so  I am going to be reading it soon.

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