The AWP conference has been an overwhelming adventure thus far, especially with the line-up of authors. One of the readings I attended on Thursday featured Sandra Cisneros and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop panel. The group read from their upcoming book, “We Wanted to be Writers”, and debated the pros and cons of academic workshops versus independent study. At the end of the reading, I met with Cisneros and had her sign a copy “The House on Mango Street”.
On Friday I attended a reading by Carol Joyce Oats. She spoke of the untimely death of her beloved husband due to pneumonia and read from her latest book, “A Widow’ Memoir”. As a volunteer for hospice, I’ve worked with death, the dying, and the families that they leave behind. Oats’ words were emotional yet simple; beautiful yet comical. She read directly from her book, added anecdotal information, and provided wisdom and advice for those coping with loss. I have read countless pieces about death and loss and this reading was truly heart-felt, and as Oats put it—“a widow’s handbook”. Being the literary geek that I am, I also had Oats sign my copy of “The Coalminer’s Daughter”.