Thursday, January 31, 2008

Scattered Thoughts: New York and AWP Conference

  • I honestly can't get comfortable in this city. I feel like everyone knows the moves to an intricate ballet and I happened to miss the particular dance class that taught balance and self-awareness. New Yorkers seem to have an extra sense-- a sense of movement, speed, and intuition. I try not to do the typical "stare-blindly-up" neck crane that is the international sign of the tourist (though I had to do it at the Rockefeller Center-- sorry), but I still stick out.

  • One thing that I will say about New York is that it's Jewapalooza here. My father and I were cramming down cold fried plantains at the 53rd Street Deli when this older couple sat beside us, excusing themselves in perfect New York accents. They then launched into a conversation to themselves-- in Hebrew. We stumbled into the Diamond District, running into Israelis and black-frocked men in a stunning array of wide-brimmed hats. Ah, my people!

  • I attended two seminars today. One was on blogging and its affects on writing and the teaching of writing. I found it interesting that many older people wished to set up their own blogs as a self-marketing scheme, but had little to no idea on how to go about it. It's a strange feeling knowing more than some of these venerable gray hairs, especially those who can afford AWP memberships. Exciting, actually. The second seminar was about historical fiction, which I love to read. I now have four more books that I have to buy.

  • My parents decided that I should have business cards for this event, but promptly forgot to make them. So while I was being lectured at, my father was searching for a printing service to make up some simple ones. I don't know when I'm going to use them, but it feels professional in a way.

  • The Hilton has really odd-looking chairs. I suppose that it's meant to be classy, but it would be a lot classier if the gold roping was actually attached to the chair, not suspended in a plastic sheath. It rather looks like those cheap strings of light bulbs you can find in college dorm rooms. Very distracting.

  • Unfortunately, the Hilton has a really awkward elevator system. I'm sure it works for them, but it's awful for me. So many people are waiting and the elevators are never there when you want them. When I was trying to get to the lobby, I pressed the 'down' button and waited. And waited. And waited... until finally, an elevator arrived. An older woman got out, but then proceeded to stand in the doorway, talking to someone still in the elevator. Politely, I waited for her to get by, but as soon as she moved, the doors began to close. With an undignified yelp, I tried to launch my arm between the closing doors, but they didn't bounce back like I expected. So the elevator I had waited so patiently for slid through my grasp. The lady must have heard my irritated sigh, because she apologized and beat a hasty retreat. She's lucky that I was in a bit of a stunned stupor; I might have popped her one otherwise.

  • Going to see John Irving speak tonight. E.L. Doctorow tomorrow afternoon. Will be missing Frank McCourt on Saturday, which is sad.

  • Time to pass out now.



  1. Im moving to NYC in a, you wont be the only one looking like that.

  2. It's true... NYC is Jewapalooza. Most of my friends from this area have never thought of Jews as a minority, which is totally bizarre for me--a Midwestern Protestant.

  3. What is AWP?? I have never been to New York but I am sure I would look like a horrible tourist taking pictures of everything. haha.

  4. Oh... also... I tagged you on my blog for a meme!! Hope you don't mind!! :)

  5. chelsea: That's a relief!

    l sass: lol, I'd like to take your friends to where I grew up. Our community is very small and creeps under the radar.

    abzdragon: AWP stands for the Association for Writers and Writing Programs (how all of that fit in a three letter acronym, I don't know). And New York is lucky that I didn't bring a camera with me! (PS. I love memes.)