Chicago Mon Amour Part II

Self loves this city. She thinks it is magnificent. She loves walking south on Michigan Avenue. Today, she crossed the avenue to get a closer look at the snow sculptures. They were still unfinished, groups of men were chipping away at the huge piles of snow.

It has not rained again, not since the first night, when self saw “Desire Under the Elms,” (which, by the way, dear blog readers, was so absolutely hot, in large part due to the sexiness of its two leads, Pablo Schreiber and Carla Giugino). Tonight, self got tickets for her and Melissa A. to see “The Seafarer” at the Steppenwolf. She got the tickets half-price from the web. Self can hardly wait, since she has heard so much about this theatre company, even when she was still living in Manila. She only hopes her nerve endings will not be set too much a-fire, or she’ll be facing another sleepless night.

Last night, she didn’t get any sleep at all. That in spite of the fact that the beds in this hotel are wide and delicious, and piled high with fluffy pillows. It’s a miracle that she is still ambulatory. Spastic, but still ambulatory. She got herself out of the hotel long enough to drop by the AWP Bookfair again (Self trying to minimize her visits there, for each time she goes, she ends up buying books, more and more books, and now she has to budget carefully for she still has to pay for the taxi back to the airport tomorrow.)

But, anyhoo, self was there. And almost the first person she saw, at the Post Road table, was Ricco Villanueva Siasoco. A few tables down was Red Hen press, publisher of Joel Tan, and self was able to get a copy of his book, Type O Negative. Self was so excited to read it that she ducked into a coffee shop and started on it right away. The poetry was mesmerizing, self felt herself losing all track of time. Eventually, she did make it back to her room, and now she must attempt to catch some zzzzzs.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Snow Sculpture (a work in progress) on the banks of Lake Michigan

Snow Sculpture (a work in progress) on the banks of Lake Michigan

Chicago Mon Amour!

First of all, there is that lake (with the ice-sculpture festival going on right now, in front of the Hilton), and the fact that today the air was sparkly and invigorating (but not wet and freezing, as it was last night).

Then, there is the energy that seems to emanate from the very sidewalks.  From the trains rumbling by overhead.

And then, today featured a veritable plethora of panels.  Here are just the ones self got to sit in on:

  • Writing the Novella, with Brian Roley and two recent winners of the Miami University Press novella contest:  Cary Holladay and Cynthia Reeves
  • A Reading in Celebration of the VONA Workshop, with Elmaz Abinader, David Mura, Faith Adiele (Self was extremely moved by this writer’s reading) and Willie Perdomo
  • Bruce Jay Friedman & Friends on the Short Story (The “friends” included Derek Alger and Xu Xi)

This conference is just craaazy ridiculous.  How ridiculous?  Self bumped into Kate Brady (whom she hasn’t seen in years) on the way to the Bruce Jay Friedman panel.  Immediately after that, she stepped right into the path of  M. Evelina Galang (who invited self to have dinner with her at Little Quiapo tomorrow night).  Then, as self was heading back to her hotel (to collapse), she decided to have have a quiet dinner at a small coffee shop next to the hotel.  And who should walk in not five minutes later but Karen Llagas and Angela Narciso Torres!  Is that serendipity or what???

Self brought her chicken and rice soup over to their table, and there ensued lively conversation about:  a) Manila; b) panels attended today; c)  James Franco —  from Angela, self learned that he has just enrolled in the poetry program of Warren Wilson.  Wow, not only is the guy gorgeous, he also writes poetry!  Self simply had to share with Angela and Karen how impressed she was with his last couple of roles, in “Pineapple Express” and “Milk.”  Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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