Sunday, February 17, 2008


Numbers of pages revised this week: 268—247 of them novel, 21 of them essay.

Number of pages written: 21—1 of a new essay, 1 formal letter and 1 letter of resignation, 18 of comments on stories, essays, and poems.

Number of people who mooned me when they find out I was quitting: 1— both bra and underwear.

Number of calls and emails negotiating job offer: 6.

Number of concessions made of the three I asked for by new school: 3, although only the first by ½.

Number of forms filled out consenting to a background check: 1

Number of readings attended: 2—1 with Bill Olsen and Linda Gregerson, who restored my certainty in poetry and readings and 1 with me, Brock Clarke and Douglas Kearney, who bewildered me all over again.

Number of hawks sighted while returning from the University of Illinois where reading # 2 was held: 16.

Number of phone calls and emails about the transition including am I vested in my 401K, how will we sell this house in the down market, can we move our Italy trip to 2009? 9.

Weight, in pounds of fear, that all the answers will be no: 2,837.

Weight, in pounds of guilt and sadness, of leaving my fine, fine department here: 2,838 (thereby, the guilt will be redeemed when I’m punished by the resulting no’s from the 401K, house selling and Italy questions, though I’ll still be left with a pound left over).

Number of poems of mine re-published on Verse Daily: 1.

Number of times I emailed Verse Daily to make the archives reflect my current name and the first line of the poem: 2.

Number of times asked to listen to Didn’t Bring Nothing But the Baby per hour on the way to U of I: 12.

Number of hours to and fro U of I: 10. Thankfully, it’s a good song and I like Alison Krauss.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Back from AWP/NYC Many Days Ago

AWP was even more fun than usual. Getting out of here was less fun than usual. I woke up at 6, did not shower, did not make coffee. I had parked the 4-Runner in the carport because it was supposed to snow and do other bad things in the sky like freeze rain and spit sleet. So it was cold. 9 degrees. And the locks on the car doors? They were as frozen as the rain. I finally get in, but I'm 10 minutes late.
The roads are not good for lateness. I go very slow on the highway. I take the exit at a mere 10 miles an hour. I make it to the turn into the airport but when I move into the left-lane, all is ice and Lexus SUV in front of me. I slam into him. Hard. We pull over. It's just his ($3823) bumper. He says don't worry about it. But then he takes my phone number.
Now I'm really late.
I get to the parking lot. I park in a snow drift up to my hips. The parking shuttle passes me by. Another one comes before I get frostbite.
By the time I'm at the kiosk, I'm pretty sure they won't let me on but then who do I see but my colleagues, coming in after me, all unfrazzled and unworried.
Turns out the flight is delayed. No time for departure listed. I had checked at home! But the internet lies. It lies a lot.
So we wait and wait. The flight looks like it's ready. There's much cheering in the gate area.
And then there are many tears. Freezing rain is fine for this airport but it's windy in LaGuardia.
I fly out the next day.
The rest of the trip is less eventful. There's some shopping in the village and some good subway riding.
There are many good foods eaten.
First there was Lupa downtown near Prince Street that Mapmaker so kindly organized. It was restaurant week so for $24.07 we had 4 courses. I had the oxtail terrine (sliced very thinly), the pork shoulder fettuccine, pan-seared sea bass and ricotta with honey for dessert.
For dinner: random French restaurant with my good grad school friends. What a surprise to see two of them. Such great times. Goat cheese and beet salad without any beets but otherwise good.
Breakfast the next day at Astros by the hotel (52nd and 6th)--Lox and Bagels.
Lunch: Quality Meats on 58th. Another $24.07 deliciousness. Steak tartar (my first time!), shrimp salad sandwich and some dessert I don't remember. The steak tartar was amazing.
Dinner: I wasn't hungry and I felt a little broke but I really wanted to spend time with my grad school friends. So to Balthazar! A ravioli for appetizer. I had the pork belly. Others (Dr. Write) had the confit and (High-Touch) delicious fish.
The next morning? I went to Carnegie deli. Mistake. I order $20 corned beef hash. It had green peppers. I had four bites. I talked to nice people from Philadelphia though because the tables? They're made for sharing.
But another French lunch with onion soup and foie gras terrine almost redeemed the dining day.
Oh yeah, and then I presented on our panel (I moderated and showed up late because the lines to the bathroom were 100 miles long. Sorry for the stress Margot!). I also spent much time at the bookfair looking at pretty books and lamenting the outcast state of those who seemed desperate for a book. I try very hard not to look desperate but I did spend a fair deal of time and quite a few dollars at the Milkweed table. I'll buy my way into your hearts! I told them.
I also found a few good mags to submit to and some highly hilarious children's books from McSweeney's which Dr. Write also bought.
I didn't see a number of people I had hoped to because my trip was abbreviated but overall it was one of my favorite AWP's. Because it was NYC? Because it was so short?
The rest of the week was full of campus visits and other stresses to be blogged about shortly.
AWP's in Chicago next year. Feb 11-14. Can't wait to see how many flights are canceled then....