Nina Gaby

Essays, art, and healthcare

My Life Plus 70 Years…last day at AWP

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…”My life plus 70 years”

That’s how long copyrights last. So by my calculations, if I actually got a book deal this year, and I have at best another 30 years ( although how many of them will actually be cogent?) then in 100 years someone could actually legally plagiarize me. And I find that a hopeful fact, this, my last day at my first AWP. By some estimates, there are 13,000 attendees here at the Boston conference. I have marveled through readings by Jeanette Winterson, Seamus Heaney, Don DeLillo, Philip Lopate, and almost got thrown out while David Shields was reading his essay constructed solely from bumper sticker slogans for laughing too loud (see Alexis Paige’s Brevity blog for details.) The book fair is a stunning gallery of seemingly thousands of lit mags, each more beautiful than the next, a “salon de refusees” for me, as so many of them have rejected my work. I must say, by the end of the day, it pleased me to have a little fight with THE SUN magazine, their poster crying “submit submit submit!” And to meet Danielle Offri, grandmother of medical narrative, editor of the BELLEVUE LITERARY REVIEW, and swear I will keep trying. Meeting the crew from CREATIVE NON FICTION was indeed a joy, as they have accepted me, and reassured me that no one will sue me for anything said in my upcoming essay with them. They also told me that their fact-checking went so far as to verify that I indeed have sculptural vessels in the national collection of the Smithsonian, and that they are “so beautiful.” Everyone here has a story to tell, 13,000 writers, 700 presenters, little old me….and in 70 years which of will be worth stealing from?

Nina Gaby

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