Well, it happened–I went over the luggage weight limit. I had 39 lbs to work with but ended up with 66. This means I picked up 55 lbs worth of books and journals at the conference (I may not be doing the math right, but it’s close enough and I’m in a hurry).
This necessitated a frantic scramble at the baggage counter. John only had 5 lbs of space in his bag, so I had to figure out a way to shed 10 lbs. I did this mostly by stuffing my carry on (I couldn’t even close it) and yes, I left behind two literary magazines and two issues of Poets and Writers at LaGuardia airport. Oh well. Hope someone out there enjoys them.
Besides all the info I picked up, attending AWP is sort of like watching your life pass before your eyes. I spent time with friends from George Mason (age 22-26), UL Lafayette (26-30) and UCA (30+). In fact, if Bill Lychack had been able to make it, I could have gone all the way back to my undergrad days.
Which makes one somewhat rather reflective, since it coincided with my turning 41 today. In one of my favorite Jim Croce songs, he sings:
If I had a box just for wishes, and dreams that had never come true–the box would be empty except for the memory of how they were answered by you. . .
My box has been pretty much emptied in the last twenty years. To wit:
I always wanted wavy hair. Now, thanks to a good haircut and the hormones of the middle years, I have it.
I always wanted someone to cherish. Now I’ve been married to the love of my life for 15 years.
I always wanted to be a mom. Now, with a little help from modern pharmaceuticals, I am one. Twice over.
I always wanted to be an aunt. Thanks to being married to someone with seven siblings, I am one. Fourteen times over!
I always wanted to spend my days with words and I never wanted to leave college. Now, I’m a college writing teacher!
I had a “friend” who once described me as someone who was “too easily pleased.” But if there’s anything I’ve learned over the years, it’s the old saw that contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want but the realization of how much you already have. And if that means I’m too easily pleased, well, I can’t help but see it as a compliment as I look forward to whatever the future holds.