Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

About #AWP17

So, Monday morning brought news that lots of writers were waiting for—outcomes for panel proposals submitted for the program of the 2017 Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference which will take place in Washington next February. I’ll cut to the chase: The proposal that I organized was rejected.

I wasn’t all that surprised. (At this point, I’m much more surprised when one of my panels is accepted.) Of course, it’s entirely possible that the rejection is a matter of sheer mathematics and the fact that far more proposals were submitted than could be accepted. I’m not going to speculate whew about any other reasons why the panel wasn’t approved.

But I will say a couple of other things.

To begin: In all likelihood, I’ll still go to Washington in February. My relationship with the conference has changed over the 15 or so years since my first attendance. At this point, if I’m not on a panel, I don’t register for the conference. I travel to the conference city for two reasons: to see friends, and, with the help of a day-pass (about $100 less than a full registration), to visit the Bookfair. And as much as I adore both, I don’t typically make the effort or go the expense of the journey if the conference is happening on the opposite coast from my home (sorry, Seattle and Los Angeles). The panels and on-site events themselves—a huge draw for me back when I was new to the entire literary scene—no longer compel me to invest in the full registration if I’m not also among the presenters.

Moreover, I’m seasoned enough by now not to take the rejection of the panel as a blanket rejection of the idea. All is not lost for this particular panel—we’ve begun to mull over possible off-site options/strategies. Please stay tuned!

New Byline

As always, there is life (and writing) beyond AWP panel-proposal verdicts. So let’s move on to one of the brighter spots of the past several days, shall we?

Faithful readers may recall that I’m a big fan of The Little Prince. So I’m especially pleased that my latest byline is connected with the new film.


(It’s not such a “secret history,” but it is a poignant story. You can read it over on the Forward‘s website.)

Fun fact: With this assignment, I shifted from the experience of receiving advance copies of books to write about to attending an advance screening of a film! New milestone in my writing practice!

Let’s Hear It (and Raise Some Money) for the Pajama Program!

Finally, this week brought my latest foray to the wonderful Pajama Program, where I participated once again in one of the delightful “reading parties” that the Program runs.

I also took some time over the weekend to launch the page where I’m raising funds for this exceptional program. If you’re not familiar with it, the Pajama Program delivers warm sleepwear and nurturing books to children in need. Although it’s a national organization, the center in midtown Manhattan is where regular reading parties take place: “Our Reading Parties begin with circle time introductions and then we dive into reading in pairs or small groups. During the Reading Party, the children receive a snack, a new book of their choice, and a new pair of pajamas. The age range of the children is from 4-12 years old.”

The fundraiser—a “Sleep Walk” across the Brooklyn Bridge in late September—is intended to raise critical funds to support this superb program as we approach the fall/winter “Danger Season,” when the temperatures begin to drop and many of the children whom the Pajama Program serves go to bed without something warm to sleep in on cold nights.  I hope that you’ll consider a contribution to my campaign; I’m grateful for your support!

3 thoughts on “Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

  1. Beth Browne says:

    Beautiful story, very moving. Can’t wait to see the movie. Thank you!

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