Our first night experiencing D.C. ran much later than predicted, and the six of us awoke in a sleep-deprived stupor. After shuffling to grab our badges and winter sweaters we stumbled out into the cold, once again looking for coffee. We returned in much higher spirits, each checking our schedules in order to pick out the readings that looked most intriguing.
I settled finally on an early reading about the necessity for accurate environmental writing, a wonderful piece that discussed how the idea of the “nature writer” has shifted from Thoreau and Burroughs, taking on a more journalistic identity. Each member of the panel (including the editor of Ecotone) discussed the need for responsible environmental writers who were dedicated to the current issues of society, while still respecting to the art that is inherent in good literature. Having a particular love of reading and writing nonfiction, as well as a strong devotion to the natural world, I was extremely impressed by this discussion. It was by far my favorite of the day.
Another memorable part of the day was the book fair. We interns had struck up an unofficial competition to see who could collect the most buttons and bookmarks, and so we took it upon ourselves to scour every last inch of the fair. Getting to see all of the other journals was overwhelming to say the least, but it was also exciting and informative. We lingered a little longer at all of our favorites; River Teeth, Black Warrior, Tin House, and Mod Cloth were among the tables that caught our attention. I was most intrigued by the visual rhetoric and design methods employed by all the other journals, and took extensive notes about which colors and fonts looked best together. By the end, there was a pretty even spread between my three columns of “looks great”, “could work”, and “definitely not”.
All in all, not a bad way to end the day. Tomorrow we are going to tour a bit of D.C. and see more than just the hotel. It will be nice to get away from the constant, high energy pulse of AWP for a few hours, before returning for the final readings.