Day 2 of AWP (as well as the rest of the conference) was the exact opposite of Day 1. I had five panels lined up back-to-back that I planned on attending. By the end of the day, part of me thought, "Aw, you had a plan? That's cute."
I got to the convention center just before 9 AM. There was a panel at the Marriott on overcoming writer's block that interested me, but my coffee hadn't kicked in, so I said to hell with it and went to the book fair. There's really no way to properly describe the fair. It's packed with about a thousand tables and booths featuring publishers and MFA programs. I'd been warned that you can't check it all out and that I should have gone through an aisle or two each day. I went through half of the whole thing. It can be done, and I circled back to a lot of the tables that kept grabbing my interest, including one for my MFA program at Antioch University.
There were two panels I actually went to. The first was on networking for introverts. It got me rethinking how I use social media and better present myself in public - especially when giving readings. 'Cause here's the fact: as confident as I might seem, it all stems from me being terrified, sucking it up, and getting on with it.
The second panel was on lit crawls, which are like pub crawls but with words. This panel left me feeling just a little disappointed because I went in expecting to learn more about the finer points of getting a lit crawl off the ground. I live near North Hollywood where the annual lit crawl means this lecture doesn't really apply to me, but I was interested in learning how the whole things gets started. Instead, the panelists told us fun stories about past lit crawl events.
There was more of the book fair, and a conference party at the Monty Bar in downtown. This was perhaps the one event in the entire conference I regretted going to. I don't drink nearly as much as I did at Antioch. I've become a total lightweight for it, and being surrounded by a hundred, hundred-fifty drunken writers just wasn't my kind of scene anymore. I really should have gone to a reading where a friend of mine, Patrick O'Neil, presented a section of his memoir Gun, Needle, Spoon. You should read Patrick's work. The man's seen some shit, and expressed himself with poignant humor.
I got home fairly late in the evening. I had a slight buzz earlier in the evening from the one drink I had at Monty, but it wore off hours earlier, and the only thing I was good for at that point was crashing on my bed. And trying to sleep before the next day's arrival.