I was tootling around on Facebook, stalking the pages of writers I admire, when I saw a post from poet Sean Thomas Dougherty that he would not be at AWP, and he joked about people picking him up some Boston swag, including a Red Sox hat.
I like Sean, because he’s an incredible poet, and because we share a love of playing pool, and, if I’m being completely honest, because he seems (a bit) irascible. Since I am often incapacitated by nearly pathological friendliness and compliance, I enjoy having a few friends who aren’t afraid to be opinionated, stubborn and funny in some of the most wonderfully in-your-face ways. (I will be telling you more about Sean on one of my upcoming Writer Wednesdays.)
When I read his post, I remembered seeing Boston Red Sox hats in the gift shop I passed between the hotel and the conference center. I didn’t know whether the red or blue hat represented the team better, so I picked up one of each, and realized Sean had just given me an opportunity for both a blog post and a more comfortable way to talk to strangers at AWP.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a problem talking to strangers. In fact, I find talking to strangers more comfortable than talking to people I know. But what the hats gave me was a topic, and a mission. I was happily surprised to find so many people who thought it was a fun and interesting idea. A few waved me off like I was about to accost them with religious pamphlets. Overall, it was a great experience, and each “hatting” usually led to meeting some wonderful people and great conversations about the conference and their own work. So my special thanks to all the good sports at AWP this year!
So now that it’s all over, what happens to the hats?
Hat 1 – Sean gets to choose whether he wants the red or blue hat.
Hat 2 – WIN IT!: The remaining hat will be given to one of you lucky readers who comments below. Your comment can be anything, but you get double entry if you include a quote or favorite work or a specific piece you want to read by one of the writers shown in the photos.
Below is the full slideshow of the journey of the Boston Red Sox hats.