On conferences

This post was written by regular Friday blogger Annie Reid.

The thoroughly delightful Kay Ryan writes an eminently quotable report on her experiences at the AWP conference here in Vancouver, which I managed to miss, despite living six blocks from the hotel. That’s how things go around here. I would have gone for the totebag, but no matter.

Ryan’s not a person who tends to go to such things:

Once, when I was about twenty-five and not yet entirely aware of the extremity of my unclubbability, I did try to go to a writers conference. Thirty minutes into the keynote address I had a migraine. It turns out I have an aversion to cooperative endeavors of all sorts. I couldn’t imagine making a play or movie, for instance; so many people involved. I don’t like orchestral music. I don’t like team sports. I love the solitary, the hermetic, the cranky self-taught. Make mine the desert saints, the pole-sitters, the endurance cyclists, the artist who paints rocks cast from bronze so that they look exactly like the rocks they were cast from; you can’t tell the difference when they’re side by side. It took her years to do a pocketful. You just know she doesn’t go to art conferences.

Really, I felt like quoting the whole thing, so just go read it here. For more about Kay Ryan, if you are as charmed as I was, go here and here, particularly the part where she says, “Years ago I wrote a poem that went on too long but started well; it began, ‘If a fairy makes a fist/ who’s impressed?/ How can lightness insist?'”

Is this Kay Ryan vying to be my new girl crush, or what?

In more conference news, Moorish Girl Laila has started her Bread Loaf diaries.


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