As I wait to leave for the airport, taking advantage of the free WiFi in the hotel lobby, I’m going to spend about 15 minutes trying to gather my general thoughts on the AWP conference. This will be an unedited rough draft, so here goes (I will write in more detail about some of the sessions in the coming days).

My main takeaway at this point is this: Without being able to cite specific statistics or prognostications, I am surprisingly heartened about the future of writing and publishing.

Maybe it is being in the company of so many word lovers, whether novelists, poets, non-fiction writers, writing teachers, or primarily readers.

Maybe it is the realization that I attended three days of diverse, smart, informative sessions and readings, only one of which included a PowerPoint presentation (and that one was creative and enhancing rather than distracting).

Maybe it is the dozens and dozens of presses at the book fair, large and small and every size in between, that are eager to find new writing talent to publish.

Maybe it is the subtle advice (backlash?) repeated in session after session to trust in the process, or, to paraphrase Andre Dubus III as he quoted his father, to keep the writing work and the writing career separate in our minds and hearts, and not to focus too much on the latter.

Maybe it is the delicious slowness of the conversations that developed between sessions, or the lack of obsession (at least in the sessions I have attended) during the question period on publication and the focus instead on the act and craft and art of the writing itself.

And maybe it is simply wishful thinking, since I truly cannot imagine doing anything else with my life.

In the end, maybe that’s all the answer and affirmation I need.

There is nothing to wait for. Let’s write.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad