Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monster Plant as Metaphor....

....for AWP: Impossibly large, spectacular, and also a little bit freakish.

Much good can be said about this year's AWP--it was wonderful to meet Diode readers and contributors, and the Diode/Blackbird reading was stunning. The flight over was one of the easiest I've ever had. Direct flight: Doha to DC, 14 hours going, 12 hours back. If I could, I would turn my life over to Qatar Air. From the time you arrive at the business class lounge until you are set gently down at your destination, Qatar Air pampers you with satin bags plump with comfy pajamas, lovely toiletry bags stuffed with lotions and perfumes, hot towels, and more food, drink and chocolate than one would ever consume in a normal 12/14 hour time period. Word of warning: if you want any chocolate chip cookies however, don't travel with Lauren Maas because she will eat them all, leaving you stale, crumbly shortbread. But back to AWP. Though I loved AWP for the readers and contributors and the off-site reading, and I loved seeing so many friends I hadn't seen in a long time, some since last AWP, some for almost a decade, it wasn't my favorite AWP. I spent most of my time at the book fair, and the room Diode was in was insanely loud. It was so loud that it was almost impossible to have a conversation. I didn't like the lay out of the book fair in general, it was too maze-like and sprawling. I also didn't like that, once again, there was no wifi in the book fair leaving online journals at a distinct disadvantage. I think most people thought that Diode is a company that makes pins and stickers.

The freakish part? Where to start.... Overheard: "The odor of poet angst and ambition in this place is like, WOW, you know?" Experienced: The man who lurched up to the Diode table at 10:00 am with a mini-bar sized bottle of Jack in his hand and asked if Diode accepts poems telepathically. I said "Yes, but if accepted, they will be published telepathically." No reaction. The man then picked up a Diode pin and asked "Diode? What the hell is Diode?"

Monster Plant as Metaphor....

....for this semester: See all those buds? Clusters and clusters of them? They represent all the stuff I have to do, most of which was due yesterday. I love my job--truly, madly, deeply, love my job--but every semester gets exponentially busier. Check out VCUQ's home page. See all those events? At least 3 a week, with a couple major ones thrown in just for fun, like the week long design conference next month. Well, behind all those events is usually an exhausted committee that somehow, and usually at the last minute, made it all come together. Throw in teaching, a serious research push, and mix with even more committees, mostly of the search variety, and it makes for monster plant as metaphor. Would I have it any other way? No. But man alive, did you see all the buds on that thing?