Writer friends! Are you gearing up for AWP? Spending an hour each night on Facebook memorizing what your friends-you’ve-never-met look like so that you’ll know them when you see them? Making promises to yourself to drink enough water and not too much alcohol, to go to lots of panels but not to buy lots of books, get plenty of sleep and to get that sleep in your own room? (It’s okay, we never keep those promises, either.)
Lots of very smart people have been publishing guides on how to survive AWP. For instance:
Kelly Davio tells us how she plans to not only survive, but enjoy, AWP.
The Boston Book Blog points you to all the ways to start obsessing over AWP now via social media.
And, of course, there is the ever-clever Tin House Field Guide to AWP. Last year, we used it to spot the genres of other attendees. This year, we’re using it to pack so that we are wearing what people in our genres are supposed to wear.
But, here is the thing, nobody really talks about how to survive the toughest time of all for most of us: the two weeks between AWP and your next paycheck. So, my goal today is to help you avoid that awful moment when you realize that you’ve completed your collection of every book Rose Metal Press has ever published, but you don’t have enough money for food by sharing with you my pre-AWP shopping list.
The Pre-AWP Shopping Trip to Avoid Post-AWP Starvation:
- 1 jar of peanut butter
- 2 boxes of pasta (one spaghetti, one not)
- 1 jar cheap pasta sauce
- 1 can of chopped, fire roasted tomatoes
- 1lb dried pinto beans
- 1lb brown rice
- 1lb dried split peas
- 3 boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix
- 2lb bag of carrots
- 5lb bag of red potatoes
- 3lb bag of sweet onions
- 1 doz egg
- 1lb of the sort of grocery store cheese that you would never buy if poverty weren’t an issue, but it is, so forgive yourself and just buy it
- 2 loaves of bread (freeze these before you leave for AWP)
- 1.5 lbs cheap ground beef or turkey, divided into three freezer bags and frozen before you leave
- 2 cans of tuna
- 3 ham hocks
- 1 bag frozen cauliflower
- 1 bag frozen peas
- 1 bag frozen green peppers and onions
- 1 bag frozen broccoli
- One gallon of milk (okay, you may just want to stick five bucks on top of your fridge so you can buy this when you get back)
- Giant thing of toilet paper (more than you think you’ll need, because half of us come back from AWP sick)
My total for all of this was just over forty eight bucks, and it will (mostly) feed us for two weeks if it has to. Hopefully, we won’t come back from Boston so financially depleted that we have to live on this, but I’ve been known to just lose my mind at the book fair and it’s possible. It would be a soup-heavy, not very healthy two weeks with lots of grilled cheese and very few green things, but at least we wouldn’t have to resort to the ramen or boxed mac and cheese.
Have fun, and if you see either of us wandering around, say hello!