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  • Writer's pictureToby

Top 20 Highlights of AWP

20. Mountains. With Snow.

19. The brand new Seattle Summit Convention Center building is G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S.

18. Seattle weather. Yes I know it was cold and rainy the whole time. But it was nice to feel cold before we have to swelter for 3 months.

17. The smell of the ocean. Pacific cold water smells really different from Gulf warm water.

16. Seafood. Cold water also makes for very different tasting seafood.

15. Public transportation. It's cool to be in a place where it is plentiful and convenient.

14. Flannel. So functional. Like the 90's never stopped in Seattle.

13. Foliage. It seems like Texas and Louisiana have the same 10-15 plants. The PNW would have 10-15 species in one block.

12. Coffee. Even diner coffee was tasty.

11. People are friendly. Like Southern friendly.

Alright you got this far. When am I going to start talking about the conference itself? Here we go:

10: This haul. I know it's not nearly as much as other writers have posted, but seeing as how I told my wife I'd only buy two, I feel I pushed my book buying problem to its outermost boundary.

9. In the pic above I got both Fire and Water and Acadiana from the same press: Black Lawrence. When I was buying I shared I'd submitted to their contest in 2018 and was a semi-finalist. I was shocked to hear that not only did the fiction editor remember the submission, she said she voted for it. She went on to say she is always interested in someone who "writes Louisiana well."

8. Being around that many people all creating worlds, rectifying worlds, naming worlds, and deconstructing worlds. With a conference that draws thousands, that's a lot of worlds.

7. Getting to see Maurice Carlos Ruffin on a panel about linked short story collections. He was even larger in life that I thought he'd be. I tried to get a chance to meet him, thank him for his work, and get a picture, but the line was too long.

6. I entered a raffle by following the Writing Roots podcast and won a sick Alice in Wonderland themed gift basket.

5. Going out for drinks during a huge lit festival brings a whole new vibe to every bar. I recommend.

4. Finally getting to meet my publisher, Unsolicited Press. Summer was even more lovely in person than via email.

3. Getting to meet my sibling authors at Unsolicited Press. As I got to know them and hear their work I kept wondering how I'd managed to be counted among them. They were so incredibly welcoming and thoughtful. And funny.

2. Getting to speak to Cornerstone Press (who may or may not have something to do with an upcoming work; stay tuned!) and get excited about different things we are working on. I was even invited to come and speak to a class about my writing. So there's a dream to mark of my life's list.

1. I'm such a delayed processor. I feel things in the moment, but never understand what they mean until well after. It took me until yesterday to appreciate that I'd read from a novel I'd wrote, with other published writers around me, at the biggest writing conference in America. Take a look below (graciously filmed by Amy Baskin, upcoming book Night Hag available for preorder.) Thanks for reliving this with me!

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