Beautiful News: Love Fest, AWP Style

It’s Monday morning, post-AWP, and I am limping, like a lot of writers I know,  into the week after returning from Minneapolis and the wonderful chaos of our yearly shindig. Exhaustion spiked with that yummy pleasure buzz, the kind that comes after the second but before the fourth finger of bourbon (when it turns into something else, entirely.) or in the moment you finally, on the last day, spot one of your beloveds roaming the fluorescence of the book fair. Five minutes of embrace is inadequate but exactly what you needed. A booster shot of love to power you through the rest of the insanity.

I had a great time. The Chatham MFA students are a terrific crew, and they helped me keep The Fourth River table operating without a hitch for four days. Our offsite event was packed and full of great energy. I loved getting to hear our contributors read their powerful work. I saw some panels, bought some books and spent time with some of my best friends in the world. And then cried openly over my solo breakfast on the last morning, thinking about how much I’ll miss them between now and when we meet next year under the palm trees in LA.

So it was a surreal string of days, and the pinnacle of that surreality was getting to see my book out in the wild! The fine people of Tiny Hardcore scrambled to get Beautiful Nerve to the book fair and arranged an author signing for me on Saturday. It felt pretty damn great and I’m told they sold out of the copies they brought along.

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Signing copies with my publisher, Roxane Gay, of Tiny Hardcore Press.

Is there a way to bottle this moment, this feeling of relief and delight?

Thanks to everyone who bought a copy and asked me to sign it. I hope I wrote something heartfelt or witty and suave, but if instead if came out as incomprehensible scrawl, please know that I was nervous and delirious. But I was also overwhelmed with happiness and entirely grateful.

Consider this my standing inscription for all of you:

To the people who have supported me in this book and in my life–
Thank you. You live inside my heart.

Love, love, love,
Sheila

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