Every year, in the depths of winter, writers all over the country emerge from their Salinger-esque seclusion and gather in a monstrously large hotel and conference center to drink, buy books, eat way too much food, buy signed-limited-edition books, stare at perceived rival-writers who have no idea who the people staring at them are, gaze at more books with kid-in-candy-store/addict eyes, resent panels they have to attend because (a) they are speaking or (b) their boss is speaking or (c) the editor they’ve sent a manuscript to is speaking, and drink.

This year, I’m not there. Instead of sharing my half-relieved, half-disappointed reflections on having escaped (and totally missed out on) AWP, I thought I’d share some favorite moments from AWP in DC last year.

1. brunch with Kate Blakinger, Anna Weber, Ryan Weber, and Casey Wiley at 3pm on Day 2 (or 1,002?) of the conference (I remember it being my first meal of the day, but I’m not sure…things get desperate sometimes)

2. commuting from Ballston…wait, that sucked a little, though escaping to Ballston was divine after experiencing high levels of AWPoison

3. DC coffee shops! especially Tryst (ever a delicious frozen Chai latte, never an open seat)

4. seeing MFA friends at the George Mason reception

5. the Blue Flower Arts reading (Yes, I’m lame. I go to readings at AWP. On-site readings. Seriously, though, every year this is one of my favorite events.)

6. walking shyly around the bookfair on Day 1, forcing introductions with journals who published my poems (or who I wish would publish my poems) at the bookfair on Day 2, spending a paycheck in under an hour at the bookfair on Day 3

7. Ben Percy’s booming voice and his classic reading opener: I know you’re not here to see Slayer; you’re here to see Metallica. *indicates more famous author slated to read after Ben Percy*

8. ModCloth reading/party on the second floor of some bar in Adam’s Morgan, with dancing, whiskey-gingers, the fabulous Sarah Klenakis, and so many pretty clothes!

9. hipsters in ironic glasses

10. leaving a day early

What’s your favorite AWP moment?

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