Trip to AWP LA 2016, Part I

The post below is from years ago, when I using this blog to take notes on my experiences in graduate school. It’s been a long time since I’ve attended a writer’s conference… I wouldn’t mind going to one next year.

This year though, our focus is on the wedding, and I imagine next year, it’ll be on adding another primate to our family.

I’m hoping I’ll revive more of my old posts in the future. I have 100+ of them cataloged, waiting for review.Every time I do a {tooltip}major site revamp{end-text}(like the one in January 18), I flip all my posts to review as part of my blog clean-up…and I’ve never gone back to do the cleaning part. Oops.{end-tooltip}

Once Upon a Time 💕 AWP LA ’16

The Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference happened in Los Angeles in 2016.I’m in attendance. But I missed Wednesday and Thursday because I had to teach; also, I went to a printmaking critique.

I kind of like that I arrived late. When I went to my first AWP,  back in Seattle, I was tuckered out by Friday.This time, I’m not so exhausted. This makes Friday and Saturday all the lovelier.

But after missing the Thursday panels, I decided I had to go to a panel for every. time. slot.(Sans the 9AM slot. I don’t like waking up early.)

Listing 💙 Today’s Itinerary

  • 10:30AM-11:45AM – Fulbright Grants in Creative Writing
  • 12:00noon-1:15PM – Embracing a Poetics of Joy
  • 1:30PM-2:45PM – The Author as Entrepreneur
  • 3:00PM-4:00PM – Yoga for Writers
  • 4:30PM-5:45PM – Philip Levine Prize Winners

Compliment Sandwich 🖤 Los Angeles

As I was trying to work the kiosk on the public bus,(I haven’t looked at a pay kiosk on a Southern California or Central California bus in ten years,) I told the bus driver, “I’m not from around here,” which was an odd way for me to say, “This crazy metallic gizmo doesn’t operate the way it did when I was younger.”

Then the bus driver looked up at me and harrumphed, “I know,” like what I actually said was, “I’m not from around here.”

I’ve never liked Los Angeles.I know, I know. But for me, Los Angeles is like that ornery big brother of Orange County. I was born in Orange. When I think Southern California, I think of Fullerton, Anaheim,…not Hollywood and Greater L.A.

Even though I know Los Angeles is the true, world-renown, over-populated heart of Southern California,(and not really Orange County,) (and not really San Diego), all I see is the dilapidated north side of my stomping grounds.

And I struggle with seeing Los Angeles as-is—which, for many people, is this vastly spanning historic site of architectural and cultural significance—; I have a hard time giving Los Angeles a chance to open its arms, breathe, and establish its identity beyond the biases I’ve already developed.…at E3s, at trying to drive from Fresno to Anaheim without Los Angeles traffic wrecking the operation, at the time I visited an old friend at UCLA and could not find a parking spot to save my life.

I’m not from L.A. Not at all.

But I can appreciate how super-urban people could dig it here. I can see how everything so compactly congested, sometimes layering businesses atop businesses…and atop more businesses… just to make it all fit—to many, this is charm.

Listing 💙 Fulbright Grants

I almost went to a reading that was also happening at 10:30AM, “The Chapbook Across Genres,” because I just love cross-genre work—and also, I love chapbooks—but my gut told me I wanted to learn more about Fulbright.I’d looked into a Fulbright grant before, for studying in Ireland, yet I shied away at that familiar feeling of the unknown, the undertaking, the unfathomable. (See: misguided fears of Los Angeles.)

Thanks to the panelists, including poet and hybrid writer Robert Strong, Janet Holmes from Anhinga Press and Boise State, Oonya Kempadoo, Michael Larson, and Nathan Goldstone, my hesitance about Fulbright is dispelled.(Wait, were there that many people on that little stage? Because I was sitting on the floor, in the far back, where I couldn’t make out the tops of any heads.) I’m just not sure if I can dedicate myself to Fulbright anymore.

Maybe you can, though. Here are my scribbled notes:

  • You can call or e-mail Fulbright with questions;
  • It’s a good idea to make connections with the university you’ll be studying at; then that university can let Fulbright know they’d like to have you;
  • It’s okay if you’re in between universities, so long as you don’t have a PhD yet;
  • If you’re published, this proves you’re a professional; (I forget the context of this note, but I’ll throw it in there anyway;)
  • It’s fine if you’ve never been to the country before (they like this, even,) but the Fulbright listing says it requires a foreign language, you best know the foreign language enough to take care of yourself;
  • Competition for applications vary by country (some countries requested two students and only received one application, while others could have a hundred applications for two spots,) and finalists for those competitions are notified in January, with results for each country trickling in by spring;
  • Don’t propose multiple projects to them; if you’re applying via project, you should have one distinct project, and this country should be relevant to that project’s completion;
  • Some countries have accommodations for family and children; varies by listing.
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