Sunday, March 30, 2014

Clemson Literary Festival

The Clemson Literary Festival came and went, and as best I can tell, it was a huge success. For me, highlights were hearing U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Tretheway read her own poems, and then driving three other talented poets--Denise Duhamel, Natalie Shapero, and Craig Morgan Teicher--to or from the airport, and exchanging thoughts on topics ranging from writing to survival to teaching to raising kids.

Why did I drive writers to the airport?

Boredom, procrastination (instead of grading or writing), and making effort to keep my job count, but I was mainly inspired by some short pieces by Jonathan Ames, where he takes on various roles for the sake of adventure, and also by John McNally's After The Workshop, whose main character survives by driving writers around Iowa City. The driving seemed to go well, and I'm rather proud of the fact that with passengers in the car, I miraculously avoided one of my usual highway routines of suddenly and desperately pushing it to an exit whereupon I park in a gas station and dash for the men's room.

In fact, just a couple weeks ago, this was exactly what I was doing when Alexander Chee's voice came on NPR to further discuss the writers residency he invented for Amtrak. Alas, then, I missed most of the train talk as well as the delicious fried chicken that Travelers Rest gas station is known for. Although I have begun to swim laps again, I'm in no condition to order fried chicken.

So that's the news. . .


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