The end is nigh.

I receive my exam questions in five days, then turn in two papers the following Monday.  I meet with my paper second reader at a coffeeshop tomorrow; I have no idea what revisions she’ll expect.  But at this point there’s not much cramming can be done; either I know my stuff, or I don’t.

So, instead of giving myself an anxiety aneurysm, I took a few days off this weekend to go to AWP, which was conveniently located in Chicago this year.  Spent Thursday attending panels and hanging with old friends from my NAU days, which was splendid — so cool to see what all people are getting up to, some four years after we all graduated and went our separate ways.  Then Saturday I brought ye olde superdorky wheelie bag to the bookfair and filled it to the brim with sample copies — any journal that might potentially take fabulist memoir, I snagged a review copy.  This is a promise to future-me that once exams are over, I’ll make time to write, and then I’ll make time to do my market research instead of slush-bombing willy-nilly.

Met Roxane Gay, Brian Oliu, and Okla Elliot, and got to be gushy in person instead of merely internet-stalking them — bought books from all three (well, except Okla, to whom I have promised a review, as he kindly gave me a review copy of his story collection…very excited to read his book and write about it).  Went to Starcherone‘s offsite reading.  Attended four panels, one of which included my MA professor Ann Cummins, who I miss muchly.  Man, that MA was good times…  Favorite panel was on experimental fiction, with Steve Tomasula and Anna Joy Springer (who is absolutely brilliant.  I’m sad I didn’t know about her work when I was at UCSD for Clarion; she teaches there).

I feel like I barely scratched the surface of AWP, compared to all the things I wanted to see: I missed my friend’s Breadloaf reading, and the 826 reading at the Boring Store, and poetry brothel costume funtime, and I didn’t even make it to one of the evening dance parties.  Oh well.  Given that I’m five days out from PhD exams, I’m just happy I got to witness some of the excitement.

Picture of all the loots:

Anyway.  Likely as not, my next blogpost will be post-exams, pre-Argentina.  Wish me luck!  Happy AWP to all, and to all a goodnight.