Dear Butler University MFA program, Booth, Hilene Flanzbaum, Rob Stapleton, and Andy Levy,

Thank you. Thank you for sending me to AWP 2013. As an expression of my deep gratitude, I offer this wee token of my affection and appreciation for you and your commitment to your staff and students.

So. Let’s recap.

AWP is to socially awkward people as Jasper-Pulaski is to Sandhill cranes.

Michael Martone may be stalking me.

Eye contact can be excruciating.
Eye contact may be excruciating.

Book fairs bestow upon writers superhuman powers of extroversion, taking the edge off, if only for an hour, the pain of engaging in conversation.

Beer helps.

Poets and writers, they do love their Robert Pinsky.

Permission to use profanity granted by “Christian literary” panelists representing Rock and Sling, Word Farm and Image.

This guy wins Sweetest/Cutest Boy of AWP. (Isaac Fitzgerald, holding hands with his dad in the Copley Place mall—Feels!)

No. Really. Cheryl Strayed is all that.

Roxane Gay is Katherine Hepburn pretty, easier and harder to talk to than you might expect, and has an adorable hint of a lisp that makes you want to pull her up into your lap, give her a peck on the cheek, and read to her the Eric Carle canon.

Craft and talent without empathy is FeS2.

Pixar’s Cars is just like Pride and Prejudice.

Stephen Elliot scares me but probably doesn’t mean to.

If Rick Russo were a toy...
If Rick Russo were a toy…

If Richard Russo were a toy, he’d be a stuffed baby penguin.

The age of thirty is “late in life” to become a writer.

It is possible to stab oneself in the eye repeatedly without losing one’s eyesight.

Michael Martone has clones, all of them engineered with the affability of the original.

It might be too late for me.

You can dance if you want to, you can leave your cares behind.

If the whole writing thing doesn’t work out, Joe Sacksteder should consider a career as an orthodontics model.

Writers are a helluva good time to watch on a dance floor after an hour of open bar.

“Christian” and “literary” aren’t mutually exclusive, necessarily.

It’s the Puritans’ fault.

It’s official: I have reached the age of sexual invisibility to every man but the only man who matters, which ain’t so bad.

Peach Maud Newton has a photographic memory for names and faces.

Binge writing is perfectly acceptable, especially for moms like (Dear) Sugar and me—checking into hotel sans kids strongly recommended.

Some poets may be hot to the touch.

It’s not too late for me.

I can do this thing, but only if I write like a motherfucker.

All my love,

Write like a mofo.Beth

Published by Beth Bates

Writer, writing coach, book editor, CNF instructor, connector, mom, wife, and lover of fresh air, grass, trees, birds, waves, sand, mountains, stories, and travel Let's be friends on Twitter @bethbates

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