Amidst all of the chaos at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference in Tampa last week, I actually found some time to write up a somewhat humorous piece about the whole experience. Unfortunately, that document was left behind in the haste of re-packing my bags with almost no recovery time. I arrived home to the realization that we only had a few hours to spare before leaving for Mexico this week, so I don’t recall much of that clever insight. As disoriented as I was, I’m surprised I didn’t forget the laptop.
As all of the major events kicked off last Thursday, I was thrilled to speak with Michael Gills again as we met up for our afternoon fiction reading, “The Places America Forgot.” The audience was fantastic and I think everyone had a great time, even though we certainly missed hearing from our third reader, Jodi Angel, who couldn’t be there because of familial obligations. Hope to see her next time.
Among the many other highlights of the conference, including the moonshine shots with Eric Campbell, Christy Campbell, and John Molina at the Goliad/Down & Out Press table, was meeting up with many long-time and new friends from other spectacular events such as the “Writing Bad Ass and Nasty Women” panel, which included Luanne Smith, Bonnie Jo Campbell, and Kim Addonizio. The “Literary Noir” reading, featuring Daniel Mendoza, Vicki Hendricks, and fellow LLNB contributor, Ron Cooper, also proved spectacular. I got to catch up with Steve Gutierrez and many other fantastic literary friends and acquaintances in Tampa. Unfortunately, Gonzalo Baeza and Eric Miles Williamson couldn’t be there for their respective readings, but it was nice to run into Eric’s daughter, Roz, again, and to hang out with most of Ron’s family: Sandra, Stetson, and Levi Cooper.
In all, it was a pleasant, albeit frenzied, week in the mystical city of Tampa, with countless wonderful opportunities to meet and reconnect with brilliant, like-minded, editors, writers, and bibliophiles between readings and book signings. Thanks to all who made it there to see/hear me read, and to everyone else who couldn’t make it, don’t worry: we all had a few drinks for you!