Before moving to Boston and visiting New York, I didn't understand why anyone would want to live in Chicago-- a big city with crime and traffic and every other terrible thing as-seen-on-tv. When we moved back to Wisconsin, I thought, well, at least Chicago is nearby-- we can visit sometimes and it will be good. But when I drove down last week for my great-grandma's funeral, the closer I got to the city, the more it felt like home, and I began to miss it as though I'd lived there. And at the wake, the more stories my family shared about growing up in neighborhoods of the city, the more I missed it.
So, I'm excited to be in Chicago next week with people I haven't seen in awhile. I have a list of books I've put off buying so I could get them at the bookfair from the people who made them, and maybe even meet the people who wrote them. Even though I told myself I'd go to very few panels this year, I've filled out the little planner on the AWP website, and have a schedule of conversations I'd like to hear and parties I'd like to stop at... we'll see how that works out.
If you're there, I'm manning the Ploughshares table at the bookfair on Friday from 1:15-2:45 and on Saturday from 10:15-11:45. Stop by and say hi! Also, stop by the Cimarron Review table (I'm sure there'll be one?) and grab a copy of the Winter issue to read the great work in it, including my poem, "Itch!"
Oh-- And I'm super-proud of my round-trip Megabus ticket for $5.50. I mean, sure, I have to wake up by 3:30 am and I'll arrive at 7 in the morning, but that's fine. I'll have plenty of bus-nap time and a whole extra day in the city ahead of me...