Well it is! It is also the land of bicycles, general oddities, no sales tax, and very high prices. (At least compared to anywhere I have ever been, ever.) BUT that does not mean it was any less awesome. Which is a round-about way of saying,
It was awesome!
I always love the Sigma Tau Delta Writing Conference. Last year we went to New Orleans. Next year they will be going to Savannah. (Though sadly I will not be accompanying them, since I am graduating. STD is the only thing I think I will really miss.) Either way, it is always a party. Plus, we have a hands-down AMAZING English Dept. here at Northern Michigan, and they pay for everything except food. YUP. I didn’t have to pay for the hotel OR travel, and I’m getting my conference fee reimbursed.
Life is pre-tty sweet as an NMU English Major/STD member.
In case anyone is like, why do you keep referring to yourself as a sexually-transmitted disease, fear not! Sigma Tau Delta is actually an English Honor Society. It is not a typical sorority/fraternity that you would think of immediately when you think of Greek Life. We don’t live together or anything like that. We go to these conferences, run English-themed events at our school, and try to raise money to act as a drop in the bucket that they spend on us every year.
Yeah. I totally recommend any English people joining, if there is a chapter at your school!
So anyway, this year’s conference was in Portland, Oregon.
I have never been so far West, so that was very exciting for me! I went to a lot more panels and readings than I did last year, but I also got a lot of tourist-y things done as well–a good mix, I think. My own presentation went well. 🙂 How it works is that you submit a paper, they say whether you’ve been accepted or not, and then you show up to read it on a small panel of 4-5 writers and answer questions afterwards.
This year was a fun change for me, since last year I presented in Fiction and this year I did a Non-Fiction piece about my sister and I. (Nothing ground-breaking, but I rather liked it. :))
Someone in our group of twelve even won something! My friend Mackenzie, who also has a blog, won the Original Fiction category with a very well-written piece, bringing honor to our entire school. (Yeah, kind of like Mulan.) She also got $600, which I’m sure didn’t hurt anything. The rest of us got a very nice dinner, which was still totally worth it.
As for my explorations around Portland,
let’s just say that I accomplished everything I set out to do, and then some! A friend of mine who graduated in December came to Portland with us, so I got to see her for the first time in a few months. Then we also got to meet up with ANOTHER friend of mine for awhile who moved to Portland around 6 months ago. She used to live in my hall when I was a Freshman, and she had a baby I’d yet to lay eyes on, so the lot of us spent some catching-up time together.
(I got to play with a baby! We took pictures of him with a giant blue pillow-mustache. It was good fun.)
I went to the Chinese Gardens, Voodoo Donuts, tons of restaurants, a 90s themed party, a super-fancy Goodwill, an expensive mall, and, of course, POWELLS. (But I’ll get into that more in a different post.) I was hopelessly lost pretty much the whole time–a lot of the buildings look the same, and there is a Starbucks on every corner–but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Lots of time spent walking in-between eating. It felt like a lot of the weekend was taken up by those two activities.
(Did I mention I also had the BEST healthy breakfast of my life?? Kure Juice Bar, which served these Frozen Acai Berry Bowls with all sorts of crazy, healthy things mixed in and berries+bananas on top. We went there twice. I wept tears at life’s cruelty when I realized there were only 2 of these places in existence, both in Portland.)
We all made it back safely, after about 40+ hours of traveling, and the dream was over. It was back to buckling down for the end of the semester, which I am trying to do with as little bitterness as possible. May isn’t very far away, in the giant scheme of things. I’m trying to tell myself to slow down and enjoy these last days of my college experience.
LIKE I SAID,
I’ll do another (shorter) post about Powell’s Books specifically, since I am a writer-type person and feel like I should. In the meantime, I hope this post wasn’t TOO boring, since it was all about me, and that you enjoy the pictures. 🙂 Also, would anyone be interested in my posting the short story that I read at the convention?
See you soon!