AWP failed to cancel their enormous conference in San Antonio (5,000 attended instead of the expected 12-15,000) but all conferences over 1000 have been canceled in California, and many much smaller ones. The NBA has suspended the rest of the season! (The writers running AWP seem woefully unenlightened about the importance of curbing the spread of the virus. Almost as bad as Trump.)
My writing group in San Francisco took the unprecedented step of having a meeting via Skype last night. There were five of us, and it worked pretty well. Definitely better than just trading emails with marked-up drafts. Really, all the writers in my group are brilliant, and there's synergy in our discussions. A lot comes up that we haven't written in our notes.
Usually we meet at Alia Volz's, I've been going there every other Wednesday night for about nine years now (!) and she holds the group together. I'm so sad that her first book, years in the making, will be published next month in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and all the changes about public meetings. She's about to cancel her publicity tour and is afraid her book will be lost in the shuffle. I hope not. Her book HOME BAKED is stunningly good.
I may have taught my last face-to-face class on Tuesday without knowing that was the case. It was a great workshop discussion. Arrived home to an announcement that all face-to-face classes on our campus have been suspended. Classes were canceled today to give faculty time to get their classes online. Which will be incredibly difficult for a class not designed to be an online class. I have a feeling that mine won't be very good, as I may avail myself of Blackboard only (and don't even know some basic things like how to have them hand in an assignment via Blackboard rather than email).
I am now spending all of my time on the computer. I wish I could say I was writing, but mostly I'm doing work for CRAFT, and my class, and my writing groups. And wasting time browsing social media and the internet. Hardly any writing, though there are plenty of things that I should be revising.
Genia Blum wrote to me soliciting a flash on the theme of depression for a chapbook (folio? four writers and a photographer) for QUEEN MOB'S TEAHOUSE and that spurred me to write something that I just did with my group last night. Still needs revision.
Genia is Ukranian-Swiss, a wonderful writer whom I met online when we both had essays in UNDER THE SUN. She's been a tremendously supportive reader and we follow each other's careers closely. Genia is good friends with Renee D'Aoust, also in the chapbook, whom I met when we were both in the anthology ROOTED. Now that my world of on-ground social contact is shrinking, my writer friends online are more valuable than ever.