I’m sitting in my living room for the first time since Tuesday night and already, I hate the silence, that I lack wine and a store in which to get wine at this time of night.

My second year at AWP was good overall, partially because AWP was in one of my favorite cities (Chicago) and partially because I get to hang out with writers I’ve met and meet writers/editors I work with through the Internet and I met quite a few folks, including my bosses over at NAP and Specter Magazine. I also didn’t get to see some folks based on my schedule and budget at the conference and I hope to see them sooner rather than later.

What I dislike about AWP is that you don’t get what you pay for from an official perspective. You pay for AWP to gain access to the panels and the book fair. During the one and only panel I attended, I liveblogged about the concept of panels. I almost went into another panel about building literary communities on a dime then removed myself from it because I’ve done that in Orlando for eleven years and didn’t need to be lectured on it by strangers. Other than those panels, I didn’t go to any others while I was there. If you’ve seen a lecture based panel, you’ve seen them all. The book fair is my favorite part of the conference because you get to network with so many presses from all over the country. It’s just a shame that for all the money you pay to go, you only get a tote bag. If I could pay a book fair only pass fee, I would gladly. Next year, I will find a way a table at the fair and/or actually make a panel but approach the panel concept from a fresh perspective.

For the first time, I co-hosted an offsite reading with Lindsay Hunter, a combination of Quickies and There Will Be Words called There Will Be Quickies and it was a blast working with her and Mary Hamilton. Most of the offsite readings are meat markets, shoving a lot of readers in your face and this format can be very hit-or-miss depending on your readers and your venue. The Quickies rules unmercifully make writers stick to a four minute time limit. Failure to adhere to this time limit gets you whistled off the stage. It was quite the breath of fresh air. I’m already planning another offsite show for 2013, hopefully working with Burrow Press, Specter Magazine, and NAP in putting it together, just not in the Quickies style.

I was in three offsite readings this year and I read fiction only, two stories from the latest collection (available through here), and then one as my Teen Paranormal Romance Novelist persona, J. J. Curry Ford. All of the readings were great and even though I got to read with Chloe Caldwell, Joseph Riippi, JA Tyler, and Daniel Nester, the Happy Dog Mom Lit Journal Reading was my favorite because it was incredibly talented writers so self-aware at what bad writing really is, all of that bad writing really shined.

Another big highlight was catching Amelia Gray and John Jodzio on Saturday, John especially. He’s twisted, brilliant, funny, and a wonderful reminder literary fiction doesn’t have to be all serious and full of dead babies and broken marriages, dying leaves falling everywhere.

I miss you all already.

The novel is now over 26,000 words. Holy shit.

I’m doing this deal where you can get three chapbooks from me for $17 while supplies last. The chapbooks are The Serial Rapist Sitting Behind You is a RobotHow Esmeralda Estrus Got Her Revenge, and We Will Celebrate Our Failures. They all come signed and I might treat you to a bonus or two. PayPal the cash over to senryujournalist at gmail dot com and I’ll get it right out to you.

This Saturday, I’ll be here. You should come see me.

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About J. Bradley

J. Bradley's is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominated writer whose work has appeared in numerous literary journals including decomP, Hobart, and Prairie Schooner. He was the Interviews Editor of PANK, the Flash Fiction Editor of NAP, and the Web Editor of Monkeybicycle. He is the author of the poetry collection Dodging Traffic (Ampersand Books, 2009), the novella Bodies Made of Smoke (HOUSEFIRE, 2012), and the graphic poetry collection The Bones of Us (YesYes Books, 2014), illustrated by Adam Scott Mazer. He is the curator of the Central Florida reading series There Will Be Words and lives at iheartfailure.net.

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performance calendar, performances, self assessment

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