|From Raygun in Iowa City.|
All you people who didn't come because you felt insecure or underpublished or worried that people were going to be competitive and size you up (what? at Iowa?), it was in fact so not like that! It was so friendly and relaxed, no résumé checking at all. No one murmuring disdain about your last workshop disaster or cackling over Conroy's lacerating one-liner. No velvet rope or VIP rooms. Just a big loose-knit party. Here are my ramshackle notes from the weekend.
1. The best thing in Indiana is Joyelle and Johannes, who opted not to reunite with the masses but graciously fed me lunch.
2. First stop after checking in with my excellent hosts Kembrew and Lynne and new tiny Alasdair: Marilynne Robinson at the Englert. Choice quote TK when I find my little notebook.
The Justice of Riga (name of an actual sword!)
The Executioner's Son, or should it be Daughter?
The Leper's Guide to Sanitation.
|Says the blackboard: THE ESPRESSO MACHINE IS ACTIN A FOOL. SORRY|
6. And then off to some panels with grandiose titles. (What Makes Literature Immortal? How Realistic is Realism? etc.) And the Golden Microphone goes to: Allan Gurganus, hands down. Thank you for your bracing sardonic wit and appropriate irreverence. ("Back then, 'diversity' meant admitting a Quaker from Maine. Who wrote prose poems.")
I took hardly any pictures of Official Events, but the Christian Science Monitor has a long thoughtful article. (At the end of the slideshow of famous and famous-ish writers is a nice shot of a group of us chatting on the museum steps--captioned, appropriately, "other alumni.")
|The Dey House, partly, its massive new addition too large and luxurious to fit in the frame of my 50mm lens|
9. Anyway. Iowa City has gotten a little fancier. There are more coffee shops and restaurants. The Record Collector and Daydreams Comics are still going. The public library is much fancier, and the new workshop building is stunning, replete with sumptuous wood-and-leather library. But mostly it still feels exactly the same. For example, La'James College of Hairstyling is still in business,
I paused to let myself miss them, our time there, my sweet little Iowa life. Then I picked up the pace and hurried to meet my friends. There was a wait for a table and the morning was chilly, but I didn't mind. All nestled together on the outside bench, we stayed warm.