AWP Round Up

9 Mar

This is the last full day for me here at the Assoc. of Professional Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) in Boston, and it figures that the 2-day relentless blizzard has finally moved off the coast. But…at least I have a bit of time to walk the city and snap photos of the amazing brownstones off Commonwealth Avenue. I imagine the likes of Frederick L. Olmstead and Arthur Gilman at the end of the 19th century having a spot of brandy and a cigar in their drawing rooms in these beautiful homes lining this majestically engineered avenue

I have been to this part of Boston before, but the humbling element of history—something that often is destroyed and rebuilt in modern-day America—gives this city a timeless quality. Walking around, I could be in Montreal or Toronto, for all I know; or London.

It’s been definitely an…interesting experience. First and foremost, I am amazed at all the writers here who are nothing more than pretentious hipsters. The bits and chunks of conversations I’ve caught these last few days are horrifying. If these people are MFA-program products, universities need to re-evaluate what they’re teaching, and what they’re letting loose out into the world. More  horseshit slung about I haven’t seen since spending my boyhood summer days in my grandfather’s village in Blagesti, Romania. I get the feeling these kids know nothing about the amount of energy and concentration needed for sustaining a long-term project like writing a novel. How could they? Literally every 5 seconds they check their smartphones. I found myself in conversations with some of them in which I was constantly being interrupted by their texting or scrolling through timelines of useless information. I seriously doubt these people have the ability to drive or merely think in prolonged chunks of time, much less write a book or even a true short story (10K words +).

That being said, the flipside is: I met up with a handful of really good people. I took part in two off-site readings that I think were extremely successful, and sold a small number of books, literally gypsy-style: carrying them with me in my bag and exchanging them for Benjamins. Ok, not Benjamins, but Andrew Jacksons. Ok, not Andrew Jacksons, but  a Hamilton and a Lincoln. You do the math on the retail price of “Gears.”

Via a face-to-face meeting, I have finally de-mystified the mystery of xtx33, but I have been sworn  to secrecy so you won’t get anything out of me. Plus, I’m bad with names and faces, so basically I’ve forgotten what she looks like, so I’d be of no help to you, even if you waterboarded me. Ok, I haven’t de-mystified anything; I’m still working on that crop circle I stumbled upon in Akron, OH in 1981.

Will I see you in Seattle next year? No. I’ll be armchair quarterbacking the event from my sprawling mansion in Chapel Hill, North Carolina…one that I intend to purchase with the royalties from my book.

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2 Responses to “AWP Round Up”

  1. Fuck Mulligan 09/03/2013 at 7:27 PM #

    Bitterness is not a good look, guy. And anyway, in the heirarchy of obnoxious people at AWP, the dude hawking his self-published books is MUCH worse than the clueless hipster MFA students. At least you didn’t buy a whole damn booth for your self-published novel. Can you believe that guy? He’s a joke, but so are you. The truth is, if an atom bomb were dropped on the Hynes Convention Center yesterday, no one of any great cultural significance would have been harmed. The MFA “kids,” as you call them (whatever, Dad), might even have a clearer sense of their own place in this whole little ecosystem. They’re not there yet. They know it, as much as they might try to cover it up with bravado or aloofness. They have no illusions about their own importance. Unlike, say, you, you outsider rebel guy sticking it to all those uptight sheeple who think they’ve got something so unique and special to say, right? You with your totally unique perspective that needs so desperately to be shared that you’re salting the book fair with your writing like Johnny Fucking Appleseed. You totally unique and important new voice. Right? Sure. Might want to do something about that plank in your eye, bud. Though it does go well with the chip on your shoulder.

    Sincerely,
    Another Asshole with a Manuscript

  2. Lx 09/03/2013 at 8:51 PM #

    Bitterness is the new James Franco.

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