I just got home from AWP in Seattle. For those who haven’t heard of it, AWP is this massively huge swarm of writers that descends on a different city each year. This year, AWP took over the Washington State Convention Center, an Annex and the Seattle Sheraton. Someone told me that the total number of people registered was 14,000. Unless you count music festivals like Lollapalooza and Coachella, I’ve never been around that many people in such a concentrated space.
There are oodles of writing-related panels. In fact, for every time slot, there are, oh, I don’t know, twenty or more different offerings. And then there are outside events, readings, contest winner announcements, drinking with some vague literary theme in mind, and then more panels. There’s also a bookfair, which is huge. This one was split into two separate rooms, that’s how huge it was. Booths everywhere. Books everywhere. Writers milling around booths and looking at books everywhere.
I was a total AWP virgin, open to all kinds of impression and experience.
So, here are some things I learned over the last three days:
A few years ago, I went to this amazing writers retreat weekend put on by The Sun magazine in Big Sur, CA, and during the last morning we were all gathered and talking about what we felt about the end of the workshop, and a lot of people expressed some degree of sorrow at having to go back to their real lives, and someone brought up the quote that is the title of this blog post, which I think was originally said by some spiritual teacher or something. Ever since that workshop, I think of this quote anytime I’m saying goodbye to any kind of supercool experience and going back to my regular life, and that is the case this morning.
I left Orcas yesterday morning, had a real nice ride w/my friend Trish to Mt. Vernon, (we watched Grey’s on the ferry ride, the episode where Meredith has her mom’s ashes at the hospital). Then I caught the Greyhound (oh the hours upon hours of my life I have spent on Greyhound buses) and got into Olympia yesterday evening. I’m sitting in the computer lab at Evergreen, waiting for my campus visit to start in an hour.
The cool thing is, on Saturday, my last day to get mail on Orcas, I got a package from Evergreen that I thought was going to be a guidebook or catalog, and it was, but it also was an acceptance letter! And I got a small scholarship for academic achievement to help offset tuition. So, that is good news so far! That makes two colleges that have admitted me so far (the other being Portland State, and my India program is through them, and I had to apply to get in in order to get credit/financial aid for India, so I’ve been accepted there since August). Two yeses, four to go. I guess I’m off to a good start, and it was really nice to see some payoff from all that work I put in, before I left.
This month I have made applying to colleges and scholarships my full-time job, and have actually spent more hours at it than at most jobs. I set myself a goal of 8 hours a day working on all of it, and I often went over and rarely took a day off. Yesterday I worked for fifteen hours with only a break for lunch. And now I feel totally fried.
In the last month, I’ve written 28 essays. If I have to write or look at another personal statement anytime soon I might spontaneously combust. I usually created each new essay by pulling from previous ones, and adjusting it for whatever particular purpose I needed, so it’s not like they were all from scratch, but still. And many were, because the questions were specific and not covered elsewhere. I have reached the limit. This isn’t even including all the short answer questions.
So, it’s 2009, and I’ve gotta say I’m pretty glad. I put some stock into the theory of the numerological year, that we go through these nine-year cycles. At least, I’ve found my years to fit this pattern pretty consistently. Last year I was in a 7 year – the lowest energy in the cycle, and have now entered the 8 year. Karen Cornell, numerologist once told a friend of mine, when she was entering her 8 year, that she’d feel like she’d “been shot out of a cannon!” It’s supposed to be the highest energy year, and very auspicious for success. As if that wasn’t enough positive power of suggestion right there, all the astrology books point to this being a great year for Aquarians. Jupiter, the planet of luck and expansion, has entered my sign, suggesting a golden year. I’m surely ready for that.
And the thing is, I feel it. I definitely feel the energy shift. I mean I sort of do feel shot out of a cannon. I was totally in the dumps all through December, and worse after Xmas, but then in the week leading up to New Year’s, something just changed, and I’m not going to question it one bit. I’m all about riding the wave.
And here’s another old post I’m importing from my old blog, an end-of-year survey post for 2008. Funny thing, some of the stuff I was a little coy about and hinting at? I have no idea what most of it refers to anymore, and it’s only a few years later. Kinda sad.
Anyway, here’s the post:
Well, my first reflection is that it flew by fast. I feel old. I’m not really, just approaching 28, but it feels old in a way. I remember having a discussion with friends about how people go through a major change around that age. Saturn return and all that. Oh, it’s coming for sure. My other thought is that I think this past year was sort of boring in comparison to the one before. Last time I filled out one of these things I felt present and sparky, this year felt a little blah.
So anyway, here’s my answers to the end of year survey, same one I did last year.
So, I wouldn’t exactly say that I believe in magical musical synchronicity, because t e skeptic in me doesn’t believe in much of anything, but I sort of do. Sometimes I go through phases where I can predict what song will come on next, among tons of possibilities. Sometimes the perfect song comes on, for example, if I’m writing to someone or about to call them, and then somehow the one song that really makes me think of them comes up, (and just for a reference point, I have over 11,000 songs on iTunes). Or sometimes I’ll be thinking about a song and it comes on. Or a song that just magically fits the situation. What I’m saying is, I don’t know how it happens, maybe it’s some sort of mind over matter thing, maybe it’s completely random and I assign it meaning, but I do sort of believe in something there.
But I’m getting a little off track (though I must say that one of the songs I’m planning to write about in this post just came on), what I wanted to write about was music, House and coincidence intersecting. Oh and dreams, I’ve been dreaming partly in songs this past week.