You will be happy to know I am back and alive after the whirlwind of AWP.
I've been calling it a "whirlwind" since the moment I got there, because really, that's what it felt like! As you know, I'm a South Texas kind of girl. I'm used to life moving at a "South Texas Pace" which is very different from Chi-town...
I had the crazy idea to book a flight that left as early in the morning as possible... 5am out of Brownsville. Yeah, that wasn't my brightest idea. But whatever, Bruno and I, truly zombified, made it to the airport and off we went.
I arrived in blustery Chicago at about noon that Friday morning. Bruno likes to drive, so we rented a car to get around town. Gosh traffic is InSaNe! I'm not used to the hustle bustle.
Anyway, I make it to the Hilton at around 2:30. I was all jitters and nerves checking in, looking for any familiar face. None. A sea of strangers! A sea of writers. Ah, not so bad, perhaps :-)
I wander around the book fair (which was, in one word, enormous!), and finally find my table, BorderSenses. But... no one I recognize! I go up and introduce myself, and am happy to be greeted with a friendly Texas face. I pick up a flyer from the table, and point to the picture at the bottom. "I'm her!" I say, beaming with nerves and giddiness, "here for my book signing!"
Sonia, I learn was her name, tells me that my publisher didn't have my chapbook ready, but had brought many copies of my first chapbook. Great, I think to myself, AWP is off to a fantastic start... but I wasn't going to let it ruin my afternoon.
(A side note: I find out later that there was a problem with the cover art. The artist was being terribly difficult signing over the rights. It's ok, book will be coming out soon soon soon)
Anyway, it doesn't ruin my afternoon in the least! I finally get to meet Elisa Garza, my fellow blogger buddy, Mouthfeel Press poet, and panelist. I'm starting to feel better already. It's always such a strange feeling, meeting people face to face for the first time that you've conversed with a lot online.
About an hour into my book signing (and after selling a few copies of my chap!), I start to feel a bit antsy. So much exciting looking stuff going on -- I want to go and make the rounds. So I do! I stop by tables and tables, including the BOXCAR Poetry Review table and chatted up the main editor, Neil Aiken. I hope to be doing more than just writing reviews for BOXCAR soon!
I also found a group of writers called the Two Year College Caucus, which I had to join because, well, I teach at a two year college. So that was pretty neat to find! Plus, they were giving out free wine, so... you know...
As I'm wandering around the book fair, I stumble across my good friend Lau. Oh it felt so good to see a familiar face! And shortly thereafter, I find Maria, publisher of Mouthfeel Press, as well. We all gather around the BorderSenses table, and now, all feels just about right :-)
Here we are: the BorderSenses crew! I'm at the far right. Yeah, you already knew that.
We all hang out, selling books, chatting with one another, and planning for tomorrow until we're nearly kicked out for the evening. Ah well, tomorrow, tomorrow, we'll catch up some more tomorrow.
Bruno picks me up at the Hilton and I'm beyond tired. Exhausted. "No writer disco?" he asks me.
"No writer disco." I say, shuttering at the thought. Not today, no, I haven't the energy. I need some peace, some quiet, some alone time with my love. I can be that way sometimes. So that's exactly what we do.
Bruno and I cruise around Chicago, and take a late night stroll too. The snow begins to dust, and ahhh it sure was nice. We found the cutest little Irish pub, and enjoyed a few brewskys together before calling it a night. I fall into bed at about one, having been up for twenty four hours.