AWP Report.


Do get tripped out, in a good way, by Matthew Simmons’s forearm tattoo.


Don’t be a weirdo when you meet Matt Bell for the first time outside the Mercury Lounge. Yes, it’s strange when meeting internet friends i.r.l. for the first time. That doesn’t mean you can’t be a sociable human being.


Do enjoy the shit out of everyone reading at Vermin on the Mount, especially Amelia Gray. Favorite line of the night: “Speak softly and marry a big dick.”


Don’t be scared of this man even though he’s scowling at you from a hundred feet up.


Don’t tell everyone that you caught the early flight out so you could be there for the reading. It makes you sound like an obsessive nerd.


Do feel okay about this and realize that you are an obsessive nerd in a sea of obsessive nerds


Don’t feel bad when Aaron gets his whiskey taken away. He’d been warned.


Do form a band called The Crucible of Science and have this as album cover artwork.


Don’t be scared of Zach Dodson’s mustache. It’s a perfectly natural thing.


Do meet up with old friends.


Don’t try to understand this. There is nothing to understand.

Do learn that Peter Cole, Matt Bell, Tim Jones-Yelvington, Roxane Gay, Ken Bauman, Adam Robinson, Erin Fitzgerald, Jim Ruland, Lauren Becker, Alex Coates and everyone else you’ve met for the first time in real life turn out to be super rad people.

Don’t be depressed about the smallness of this world within which you dwell. If you wanted to make money you’d be at a real estate convention. If you wanted to be famous you’d be in LA.

Do realize that you do not want to be famous.

Don’t question yourself as to whether or not it was worth it.

Do realize that it was worth it just to meet people whom you respect and admire for the words that come out of their heads. It was worth it to feel the buzz of kinship that is diluted over fiber optic cable.


  1. Matt Bell says:

    This is great. And you were by no means weird when we met (although I was apparently getting a little rumpled by that time of night…) I actually felt like I was the one being weird/awkward, mostly because I’d been at the Mercury Lounge all day, since I did two readings in a row there. That was the oddest restaurant I’d ever been there, and my bellyful of vegan food and beer was starting to take its toll on me. I’m really glad we got a chance to meet, and hopefully the many writers I sent your way at the conference stopped by to check out Annalemma and to meet you.

  2. heavener says:

    Hey Matt! I’m a chronically bad at first impressions, often spending entire relationships working my way towards representing myself properly. So I’m always checking myself, making sure I’m acting okay. Which makes me act weird. At least in my head. Glad to know I’m not coming across as a sweaty loser.

    Thanks for sending folks my way! We sold almost everything we brought thanks to you.

  3. Being a “nerd” is the new “cool” i’m ok with it. Also, I think people just get starstruck when they meet you…duh. Hence, the akwardness. I get like that every time we all hang out :)

  4. Roxane says:

    I enjoyed meeting you! The first AWP is always interesting. Trust me on this, the second one is much much better. Nerdz unite!

  5. chris heavener: i love this post. you are, likewise, super rad! i was really happy to catch up with you during the final moments of the nerdy nirvana that is the awp book fair. i felt kind of stupid about my tomato comments so i’m glad you liked me anyway.

  6. I forgot to come back and buy the latest issue.

  7. chris says:

    Roxane: It actually WAS my second year, but I consider it the first year after becoming entrenched in the online writing community. It felt like the first real one, anyway.

    Lauren: While I didn’t necessarily agree with them, I respected your tomato comments. No need to feel stupid.

    Matthew: Yes. Yes you did. But if I may direct you to this link you’ll find Issue Six available for purchase on this very website!

    p.s. I bought A Jello Horse at the HTMLG table and read it on the plane home. It is amazing. Well done, sir. Someone needs to make a movie out of that story.

  8. aaron says:

    oh man. i’m all kinds of happy you got a picture of me getting my whiskey confiscated. i didn’t even know that was documented!
    awp was good, fun times. for sure. and the new issue is amazing. as has come to be expected.

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