This post should be the one where I tell you about the great time I had at AWP. I’ve attended since my first one in DC in 2017 and was super excited to hop on a not-nonstop flight to San Antonio to see thousands of my friends and colleagues and maybe go to the Alamo while I was at it, like a good American.
This should be the post where I say which panels I attended and what I learned; which writers blew me away at their readings; the parties I managed to get myself invited to.
This should be the post where I say I slept for three days straight after it because it was all so damn exhausting, as AWP is every year.
But, nope, this post is about how stinking funny life can be, even in the not-so-funny of circumstances.
Last Monday, when AWP decided that the show would go on, I was still keen to go. Until I saw so many other people dropping out like flies. Some people I know and love were still going, but I wanted to be a part of the critical mass that comes into a city and completely dominates and overwhelms it with literary love. I figured it would be a nice intimate gathering, but wouldn’t be quite the same: if most people were panicking about the virus, then it wouldn’t be the joyful time it usually is. So, I bowed out, too.
While I was in the shower Monday night, after I’d cancelled my flights and hotel reservations for Wednesday through Sunday, I thought about how else I could use my time. I’m still a new entrepreneur; I could work, I thought.
And then I remembered that there was an investor training I’d had to reschedule because I wanted to attend AWP. This investor training was going to be in NYC the same weekend I was going to be in San Antonio, and wasn’t this fate, now that I wasn’t going to San Antonio?
I hurriedly emailed the woman in charge of the training and asked if they could squeeze me in. She said absolutely, only that they’d moved it to Seattle. …Which wasn’t what I’d planned. But they would cover my flight, so I said yes!
My spouse was out of town, working and hanging out with friends in NYC, including one friend who now lives in Seattle. “If Matt is in NYC, his wife and daughter are probably at home in Seattle,” I reasoned. I quickly texted Matt’s wife to see if they were home and if they’d mind hosting me as a guest on such short notice, and she said yes!
With all of my new plans wrapped up by Tuesday night, on Wednesday, I packed up and headed to the airport—to Seattle. I arrived late Wednesday night and went straight to bed, and slept like I hadn’t slept in days. When I woke up Thursday morning, I quickly read the Bible on my phone like I usually do, then I thought, “Where on earth is this training being held tomorrow?” I checked my email, then saw it: CANCELLED.
I lay in my friend’s guest room, in the basement of their cute Seattle house, and I laughed. And could not stop laughing.
I called my spouse and told him what happened and he laughed, too. I went upstairs and told my friend, and she laughed.
Long story short, I spent the day in Seattle, walking around my friend’s neighborhood to admire the view of the city, going to the bookstore and coffeeshops to do work, and just being on the other side of the country with cancelled plans.
The training organizer arranged me to go back to DC the following day, Friday, and I got home late Friday afternoon. So, I spent 48 hours in the other Washington, just to come home.
All of last week was a test, not of my patience, but of my mindset. I’ve chosen to have peace and joy despite my circumstances, and even I was impressed with my ability to do so during the craziest week. I choose to believe that the world is rigged in my favor, that all things work together for my good, even when they’re nuts.
I’m focusing on the facts that I got to see my friend and her daughter, to walk around Seattle a bit, and to get some free airline miles. Things always have a way of working out!