As Heard At The 2012 AWP Conference

The following items were heard in or around the 2012 AWP Conference in Chicago, IL, USA, Earth.

“I am nerding out so hard right now.”

“The first time I did coke…”

“You were gently moaning in your sleep.”

“I support your sock choices.”

Cab driver: “You’re with the writing conference? I have a question for you: I don’t understand how the writing and the drinking go together?”

“She just made a Pulitzer Prize winner look like a chump.”

“I recognize your face from Twitter!”

“Writers? Oh, we like you. Lots of business. Especially the bars.”

“Don’t ask permission, just beg forgiveness later. I didn’t ask if I could give you free beer at a panel, I just did it.”

“Those things are whimsical as fuck!”

Lit journal table interaction:
– “Hey, does (former editor) still work there? He asked me for more work.”
– “No, he’s gone, but you should keep submitting.”
– “I don’t really like to submit places unless I have an ‘in,’ you know?”

“Is it just me, or are we surrounded by 10,000 people who look exactly like me?”

“That’s such a poet thing to do.”

“Was that (male writer)?”
“Hell yeah. I’d know that ass anywhere. No, I do mean his butt.”

“I am so hungover. I might never drink again.”

“He kept going on and on about theory and all I could think was, ‘Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.'”

“How are you doing?”
“I’m hanging in there. Sooo tired, though.”
“What have you done today?”
“Ate some food. Walked around the Bookfair for twenty minutes. Thinking about where to go for drinks.”

Writers at a restaurant:
“How long is the wait?”
“Well how many people do you have?’
“It’ll be about four hours.”

“How was the reading?”
“Consider my face melted off.”

Also, 10,000 variations of:

“I’ve gotta get the hell outta here.”
“I need some ‘me’ time.”
“I hate everyone.”
“I can’t handle how crowded it is.”
“Seriously, I’ve gotta get the hell outta here.”

And lastly:

“How are people in Chicago so nice? I don’t understand.”


  • Rachel Hartley-Smith says:

    My favorite is the cab driver’s quote. Last time I was in Chicago, I think I had a cab driver or two change my life – Well, there were some interesting conversations, but the one’s who had the most impact were the driver’s who made me truly appreciate being dropped off at the curb still breathing and whole.

    • Melissa says:

      Ha! None of our cab drivers were particularly alarming drivers, but I did have a really great conversation with a man who was originally from Ghana, moved to NY, and had lived in Chicago for about seven years. He was so great that I wished our cab ride had been longer. Ten minutes was not enough.

  • Monet Thomas says:

    “That’s such a poet thing to do.” Applies to so many great and horrible things.

  • leyna krow says:

    Aha! Forgot about some of these; you’ve got a good ear for the weird, to be sure. This brought me much joy. Nice work.

  • Jason Sommer jason says:

    well reported, my friend. excellent post.

    also: people in chicago are so nice because we’re super fucking awesome and yet oh so humble.

    • Monet Thomas says:

      bwahaahahaha! I just pointed and laughed at you, Jason.

    • Is it weird that the primary thing I noticed about your response was that you didn’t bleep out parts of the curse word like you usually do? Maybe I’m influencing you for the worse in the same way that I’m ruining KMac’s vocabulary and sense of propriety. I’m like the opposite of that leader who makes you stretch to meet their high standards- instead, I’m the guy who makes it okay for everyone else to act like commonfolk. Again, so proud.

  • Melissa says:

    Wait, I would like to offer a correction: the cab driver used perfectly proper English. The typing mistake was my AWP-addled brain cranking out this post and has now been corrected.

  • Katrina says:

    This is fantastic. I’d say this is a good summary of AWP Chicago 2012.

  • Cathie Smathie says:

    hahha This is such a great list! My favorites:

    “She just made a Pulitzer Prize winner look like a chump.”
    “Those things are whimsical as fuck!”

    • Melissa says:

      Re: the first one, it was a true story.

      Re: the second one, the reason you love it is probably because Leyna said it. She’s that awesome. Plus it was the absolutely only way to describe the items in question.

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