Blame writers for me not writing. There were thousands of them. The hallways were like an airport. I did not make that up; I stole it from another writer*. Writers steal words. It’s true. Imitation is for the weak at heart. Full scale plagiarism is for people who let google do their work. If I sound wacky, it is because I am very tired. Not tired of writers, but tired of airports, real and stolen.
I will tell you what I am talking about. Three little letters: AWP. This stands for eleven thousand writers boozing and shmoozing and handing each other free poetry in some cold, offseason city. This time it was Boston. AWP is the place you meet your ex-professor’s mother. It is where forty people cram into a 23rd floor hotel room at ten PM on a Friday night and your friend reads them poetry until someone calls security. It is the kind of place where hungover people squeeze on a classroom floor at ten AM the next morning to hear people talk about novel structure and three year olds ordering Chinese food. It is the only place I have ever seen writers shell out eleven bucks for a glass of wine. Cheryl Strayed is the queen of that place, as she should be, and so are a bunch of poets whose names I don’t know, as I must assume they should be. There are panels and readings, if you want them.
But mostly, there are writers, streaming up and down elevators and stinking up the entryway with their archaic cigarettes. And these writers? They aren’t writing. They are talking to each other. It’s great.
*Ken White. He’s a poet with a book you can buy and some serious wit that you can’t. You can only steal it.