So AWP holy fucking shit.
Let me say first of all that even though I missed out on a lot what I did do was great.
Also let me say I may never go again.
I completely underestimated the depths of my anxiety. I was nervous but determined. First day of panels I got there a bit late and was in a jam packed panel.
I’m not really clausterphobic but I did start to panic a little. I went in the hall to listen and sat down to catch my breath.
After I stood in line with some other folks to say hello to Roxane Gay. Holy shit. I managed not to just start yelling HI I LOVE YOU SO MUCH and she was very nice to me and then I had to run off.
Headed for my second panel and got lost. I had that sudden new kid at school oh shit I’m late and everyone is gonna hate me.
So I ducked into a panel with CLMP, tin House and some other folks. That was cool I learned some stuff.
Now, I should confess here that when I panic I am very good at hiding it. I hate crying so it all goes inside (which is bad of course) and I was bottling a bit and freaked out.
Wandered into the book fair which was a mistake. It was so huge and a few people recognized me by name and said nice things about my work at which point I started freaking out more. By then I was sweating anxiety panic sweat and my bowels were rumbling ominously.
I saw Roxane again and fondled Pank Merchandise. I stood next to Kyle Minor for a minute at the Pank booth but was too shy to say hello.
I met some folks who have published me, some really nice presses and did some fun things including writing a postcard for another author.
And then I tried to go to another panel and got lost again and BOOM panic attack. Mine have the feature where I get glassy eyed and feel like I am going to shit my pants and I had to go home.
I went for a long walk, trying to walk off my belly cramps so I could go to the Yes, yes reading/party.
No go I went home and pretty much went right to bed.
Friday was my reading with HEAT. The morning started off with more anxiety shits, late getting out the door. We made it and I finally got to meet Anna March and I got to hug my friends Dena and Milcah. I think I spotted Antonia Crane and some other amazing folks.
We couldn’t stay because the chairs were giving us both major back spasms.
The reading part was the easiest. I was nervous and felt a bit out of place with all these other authors with books out and important things. I did get a nice compliment outside.
I had to miss another reading/party because I was supposed to be interviewed for a column writer position at an as yet unlaunched site but she left town so I dunno.
Overall I was just really not ready.
If I go again I will be properly medicated or go with someone I know who can lead me around when I freak out. My guts still hurt but I guess I sort of succeeded. I hope I didn’t look as insane as I felt. In didn’t say anything embarrassing in front of people I admire. AND I got hugged by a very adorable South East Asian writer because YAY POC.
I may or may not do it again. I’d like to give it another shot and really experience more of it. I’m on the fence.
So there you have it. Shannon went, freaked, pooped and read.