Conference rule #1: Stay in the conference hotel. Otherwise, you have to think about walking-appropriate shoes as well as the fact that your route, unless you go blocks out of your way, takes you near, very near, the homeless shelter. Not that there's anything wrong with that. On Saturday morning, I got going a little earlier and found myself walking to the conference about a half a block behind a guy who clearly had checked himself out of the hospital only moments before. My route also took me past several bars:
Yes, that marquee does say the Strokes. For what it's worth.
The benefit, however, of staying in the non-conference Marriott was that I could hear music coming from the clubs in my vicinity. It was cool--around nine p.m. each night that I was in my room at that time, I could hear and see the party going on. If I had been at the conference hotel, I would have had the advantages of the conference hotel bar, where clearly the action was all happening.
Conference rule #2: have a conference buddy. I don't find this to be necessary for the 4Cs, which I feel like a pro at attending. However, AWP always makes me feel like a geeky amateur in every possible sense. If you check out Dr. Write's post, you can see the advantages of this conference strategy.
Conference rule #3: avoid all sessions at which you will be encouraged to reverence the Word. This could just be me, however. I find myself allergic, actually, to such sessions.
All in all, I had a good conference--I got a ton of great stuff out of the sessions I attended. (I'll post my notes on my website and post a link here later for anyone who's interested in hearing about this.) I also took an afternoon and saw a very cool collaborative installation at the Austin Arthouse, as well as an interesting and even inspiring show of various Christo drawings, models, and documentaries (made by Albert Maysles et al).
best reading I heard at AWP: Donald Hall.
when I was ready to come home: Saturday afternoon.
when I did come home: Sunday morning.
second best reading I heard at AWP: Cornelius Eady and Mark Doty.
number of NYTimes crossword puzzles I worked while at, or enroute to, or coming home from, AWP: four.
what I really, really want to do now at my place of employment: start a publication lab.
what I feel a lot more motivated to do now as opposed to before the conference: send my work out.
what I imagined and in my heart of hearts believed that Red River street smelled like on the morning before I left: beer and urine.
number of books I bought at the bookfair: six.
number of times I admired my own work now appearing in Caketrain!: just once.
inspiring meals I ate: two.
books I read: three (but they were all books of poetry, so factor that in).
A few more relevant photos:
The trees were starting to bloom.
Slam poet, kidding him or herself.