Nina Gaby

Essays, art, and healthcare

Generalized writer conference anxiety disorder


Off to AWP today. The largest writers conference in probably the world. I am
very anxious as I am voluntarily putting myself in with 11,000 strangers in a
Boston conference center. What if there is a fire? That’ s my first thought.
not, OMG I get to hear Seamus Haney, or what if I meet the agent of my dreams?
Or find incredible contributors to my anthology? My second panic thought
is…where can I recharge my iPad and my iPhone in rooms full of 11,00 people
competing for sockets?

My friend Alexis Paige is blogging for the on-line literary magazine:

BREVITY edited by Dinty Moore, (who recently almost published a piece of mine)

comparing her panic experience at AWP last year with her
systematic approach this year. How does one navigate 500 workshop choices? Old
poets hitting on you? ( fine with me, actually, as I am old too.)  I am riding
down with her and will hang on her every word. But then I worry, what if she
doesn’t want to hang out with me? I know exactly one other person besides

As I peruse the schedule, all 104 pages of it, I note that there
is a lactation room open every day. Is it like a meditation room for attendees
who spontaneously begin to spout milk out of sheer panic or is it a place I can
sneak into to hide, breath mindfully, and recharge my appliances?

2 thoughts on “Generalized writer conference anxiety disorder

  1. It is easier to hide in a room of 11,000 than a room of 11 — just keep moving. I like that picture in my head better than the one of you cowering in the lactation room under a hooter hider.

  2. The anonymity is stunning. No problem, no cowering.

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