23 November, 2011

Invitation to the Ball — er, Conference

Not even imprisonment keeps invitations to shindigs from being sent my way. To wit: the full-color glossy brochure that shouted at me, from today's mail, to register for yet another writers conference. This time, it's the 2011 AWP Conference & Bookfair in Chicago. So many literary luminaries will be present! Philip Levine! Margaret Attwood! Edward Hirsch! Hundreds of panels and readings! Dozens of receptions, dances, and unofficial off-site events.

Yes, dancing. My envisioning of a writers' dance is a grown-up analog to the fifth grade end-of-year school formal I once endured, only with crowds of other rigid, pallid killjoys jockeying with me for elbow room at the sidelines. I wouldn't expect rug-cutting prowess to be common among my writerly peers, but, then again, I lack a posteriori knowledge in the matter. What I do know is that Chicago would make for a nice shake-up.

I adore Chicago. Oh, look. The brochure says accomodations are to be had at the Hilton Chicago, on Michigan Avenue, where I stayed on that last deleriously fun trip to the Windy City. It was an unremarkable room, a great view of downtown. Can you hear me sighing wistfully?

I'd love to phone up and register, to again visit my favorite US metropolis, to network with others whose passion is the written word, to eat pizza with a fork, to be wooed by agents wanting to broker my book deal, to stay out in the Loop impractiaclly late, to court editors from literary journals left and right, to ride the El around until my backside ached. Alas, someone at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs must have missed the memorandum — I have a previous engagement. Maybe next year I'll be able to think about it... even if it's not Chicago. Keep me on that list.

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