Lessons Learned at AWP 2014

Cheesecake, Musical Theatre, Video Games, Chewing Gum


  1. Airbnbs are the way to go when visiting a new city. You can stay in a whole house for just a little bit more than you’d spend on a hotel. Then you’re in a neighborhood and close to your fiancé’s friend from college that’s lived in Seattle for five years.
  2. The best bars have a giant polar bear lit up from the inside.
  3. When talking with a friend you haven’t seen in awhile, it’s best to compare the highs and lows of high school theatre experiences, praise Stephen Sondheim, decide which members of the The Baby-Sitters Club you are, create a Fiddler on the Roof medley for her to sing at your wedding, and make fun of what you wore in high school. While drinking double gin and tonics.
  4. You laugh louder and longer and more than you have in…you can’t remember when.
  5. Camping out in one area of the convention center of book fair is a guaranteed way to see about 90% of the people you want to see while at AWP.
  6. You will not feel judged for going to The Cheesecake Factory for wine and cheesecake. This is, in fact, encouraged.
  7. You can visit a brick wall covered in a thick layer of used gum. The still-brilliant colors of the gum put you off and makes you worry about the ingredients of said gum. This wall is also in a supposedly haunted alleyway.gum wall
  8. Your fiancé is damn fine reader of his own work, especially when it’s about John Starks, NBA Jam, and Michael Jordan. But you already knew that. sal reads
  9. You taste something called chaider, which is a combination of chai tea and apple cider, and it’s apple-sweet and black-pepper spicy and all things good.
  10. When you see the Aviation cocktail on a bar menu, you jump at the chance to try such an old-fashioned drink. You’ve never had crème de violette before, and after sipping the concoction, you decide you don’t ever need to again.
  11. Your fiancé did all this research on video game stores in Seattle because he’s really really really into retro video games. He has 400 Nintendo games and many others for other systems. His latest obsession within the obsession is 2D shooters on the Sega Saturn. He drags you and other friends to three of four locations of a store called Pink Gorilla. He buys a Japanese import game and Sega Saturn controller he didn’t even want. He only bought it because the clerk tripped on the stepladder to get it down for him.
  12. For the second year in the row, you decline the offer of a shot of whiskey from the Hobart table at the book fair. No matter how you try, you are not a whiskey person. You like gin. But you appreciate the offer, and your friend takes a shot. You buy two of their journals.
  13. Your flight home is canceled, and you meet up with other stranded folks for an extra day in Seattle. It drizzles, and you’re tired, but you drive around more of the city, watch the Oscars in a hotel bar, and sleep the deepest sleep.
  14. AWP is about the people. You see people you never get to see, like your friends living in San Francisco, in Austin, in Lewisburg, in Phoenix, in Tuscaloosa, in Pittsburgh, in DC. You know people all over this country, and you couldn’t feel luckier or happier.