At the end of the conference, all that is left are the brochures and handouts.

At the end of the conference, all that is left are the brochures and handouts.

BY KATHRYN KYSAR

By the time I emerged from my room at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, the crowd in the lobby of the Palmer House was thinning out. Booted women wrapped scarves around their necks and rolled their black suitcases toward the hotel door where the smoke from shuttle-waiting writers wafted in. The efficient staff quickly picked up stray coffee cups and newspapers as people gave each other final hugs and said farewell.

Our community now disperses, the magical festival over. We retreat to Facebook, Twitter, and our caucus blogs, disappear from literary view back into our usual lives of laundry and paper grading, grocery shopping and commuting, house cleaning and committee work. The best of us will file and organize the piles of book fair fliers we bring home, submitting poems and manuscripts to advertised contests, writing e-mails to newly-met publishers, following up on possible speaking engagements and jobs, and drafting panel proposals for next year.

The rest of us will pile the papers on our desks where they will sit until summer, deadlines passed, connections forgotten, our good intentions set aside by the demands of our daily lives.

Meanwhile, the small, energetic, and devoted staff in the Carty House at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs get a bit of rest, then turn their attention to Boston, site of the 2013 conference, preparing for us another magical gathering.

Kathryn Kysar is the author of the poetry books Dark Lake and Pretend the World and editor of Riding Shotgun: Women Write About Their Mothers. She served on the AWP Board of Directors from 2007-2011.