AWP was here last week. By here, I mean DC. Lambda Literary along with some other organizations sponsored the event, which turned out to be amazing.
I remember looking around the room as people walked in. It was like the Oscars. While I didn't get to see Radclyffe who had to cancel, there were many others. Julie Enszer, for example, who actually lives probably no more than 3 or 4 miles from my house (she's getting her PhD in the school where I got my BA). There was also Eileen Myles, who my friends and I agreed: looked like a very serious professor and gave a rocking reading from her novel Inferno. Of course, I read and of course I had to end up replacing someone like Achy Obejas. But it was an amazing time.
But it has got me thinking.
Lately, for example, I haven't been able to keep up this blog as I should and/or want to. Partly it's because of my new job. Partly because my partner loss his job at the same time. Partly because I've started to really know the value of my time. On the metro train to work, instead of reading, I write in this tiny notebook that smudges my writing (it's too small and I'm left handed; the best solution I see is to write upside down and/or backwards). This rarely gets transcribed and by the time I get back to it, I don't know what it is.
Something sometimes have to give.
And I wonder if I take myself seriously enough.
Serious writers go to school. As AWP proves, it kinda pays to do so. (But AWP is kinda biased, it being the American Writing Programs conference).
But then, the question is: can you teach writing?
This has been argued on and off since the invention of MFA programs around the country. But while going to an MFA program doesn't necessarily make you a better writer, it will sure as hell give you TIME to write. Thus, this is a very practical route. You pay for time that you might no have. You disappear. You stop working, stop blogging. I mean, what real writer can you actually find on the internet? Few do. For one thing, Philip Roth doesn't keep a blog, Amy Hempel doesn't keep a blog. And would Raymond Carver keep a blog?
But then again, I was never one to go the traditional route towards anything. In terms of MFA school, that would be on hold for quite a long time. I am against the university complex--it's all capitalism and capitalism is bad and also wasn't it Tolstoy the one who said the university is obsolete because of BOOKS!--Who need a professor when you can learn from the pros? I am not quite ready to give up my youthful idealism and settle. I want to get tattoos and write when I'm drunk and get a bad drinking problem and have multiple breakdowns and attempt to climb into an oven where I'd see a light. Writers have to go through shit, I believe. Otherwise, how could you ever truly understand.
What I'm trying to say is: I have an excuse to why I am taking so long to read and review JCO's latest book. The blog isn't going anywhere--but heck I didn't get my first paycheck yet and I'm stuck there for say 8 hours a day, plus about thirty minutes each way of traveling which is about one hour a day, and I try my best to keep up with my volunteer work because volunteer work is good and helps my community and also I just signed up for a writers group which I hope would be a good place to discuss the drafts of my work as I run leg two of my editing process for my book--I believe I have finished the first draft--and what AWP has got me thinking is that I am so behind on everything I want to do (but who actually ever gets to the bottom of their to-do list?)
Which is to say: I am suffering from sleep deprivation.
Which is really code for: I wish I had enough time to do this:
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