Regular blogging will resume tomorrow—I should mostly be recovered from my trip by then. It all started out quite badly. I got on the road on Wednesday morning, just a little later than I’d hoped. I was listening to a bad book on tape (I like to listen to thrillers that I wouldn’t otherwise ever read) and it had my attention. I’d gone 400 of the 500 miles to Atlanta and had just filled the gas tank. And I heard a noise. I shut off the tape and became quite concerned. A red light came on on the dash indicating a battery problem—but I was still moving so I didn’t see how that would be a concern as long as I didn’t stop. But then the noise stopped abruptly, as though something had snapped. I knew it was the fan belt even before the fan belt warning light came on. The engine started to overheat immediately and I pulled over to the side of I-85, somewhere between Anderson, SC and the town of Fair Play. No one wants all the details but the bottom line is I had to stay in a motel there, the car was fixed in the morning (new fan belt and pulley) and by around 1:00 pm I was on my way again, driving through a downpour that was associated with the deadly storm system that moved through Alabama and Georgia, all of which I knew nothing about until later.
By the time I got to the conference at about 3:30 I was too wired from the earlier events that I just walked around the bookfair—an amazing, wonderful display of journals and small presses—and began to reconnect with people from Sewanee and Bread Loaf and Queens and other literary venues I’ve visited. Then there were drinks and dinner and readings and more drinks. On Friday there were panels and the bookfair and more panels and then drinks, dinner, readings and more drinks. Saturday was pretty much like Friday. As I move through the coming week I hope to dwell on some particulars of the readings and panels, but this is about all I can handle right now. The conference next year is in New York—I’m looking forward to it already!