Sunday, April 11, 2010

How Oliver de la Paz Ruined My AWP Experience, or, a Final Letter for Eduardo C. Corral

dear eduardo,

because oliver posted on facebook that there were all these problems with transportation to the airport, i rushed here, and now i'm stuck here with about three hours to my flight. the good news: now i feel no guilt about giving him the cold shoulder in the hotel lobby. he needed to be take down a notch.

but enough of that. i have time so i want to supply you with some guidance for next year's awp. this is some stuff i learned and i think it might help you. i've never met you but you strike me as a sensitive person and i always feel the need to take care of sensitive people. i'm good at saying the obvious so a lot of this is obvious but that doesn't mean you should be any less grateful. here are some of the things. i don't mean any of them figuratively. all of this is literal, what actually happened, so don't think i'm trying to wax poetic:

1. you can be 34 years old and still be disappointed that you didn't get invited to the cool kid's parties.

2. the next morning after that kind of stuff happens, you'll go to lunch with your best female friend and tell her of this, and she'll say, "stop whining. think of yourself as rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and you'll feel better." and you will.

3. what matters is what's on the inside not the outside

4. if you make one special friend during the conference, thank god. usually, a special friend takes years to make. and make sure you stay in contact, you'll regret it later.

5. don't cut in line to get to the airport faster. as they say disney world, line-jumping is prohibited.

6. if you hear that one of your heroines would like to meet you and you're too shy to go, don't feel bad. somethings you've got to do when you're ready. take losing your virginity for example. and that really is ok. move at your own pace. ignore the peer pressure.

7. don't worry if you don't get to meet someone super popular, they have plenty of love and you'll meet them sometime later in life or the next.

8. don't tell people you spent time in a ward when what you really meant was an emergency room. they'll get the wrong idea.

9. don't listen to people who don't like awp. all it is is a lot of people getting together to share their words and try to convince other people that their words matter. yeah: people may be underhanded or not very nice or rude or backstab, but it's really ultimately no big deal. all anybody really wants at awp is love and sometimes you try to get that love in dumb ways. no one is building a nuclear bomb or commiting an act of genocide. they just want to be told that they're special. and they are. but sometimes you need to hear it. and that's not a bad thing.

with love,


  1. ♥ Great post! It was lovely signing books with you Steve. I'm looking forward to reading your memoir.

  2. Learned all that and more in gay clubs.

  3. #7, #8, and #9 are my favorites

  4. You shouldn't listen to me. Hell, I don't listen to me.

  5. Regarding #2 & #9 -- some poets on FB were joking about having their own little anti-awp and I asked, "Am I welcome?" Joseph Massey replied, "No Alan. You're not welcome." I think the irony of trying to be cool about not going to AWP and then having a little exclusive FB club is totally lost on people like him.

  6. I'm sad that you avoided me the whole time.

  7. Hi Charles--

    I am ultimately so homophobic. I've had so few gay friends my whole life that when I'm in a situation where there are more than one, I want to disappear. I've always been a flop at being gay.

  8. But I'm only Gossip Girl gay, not poppers-and-Special-K gay. And not throwing-shade gay either.

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