Imagine 12,000 people at a convention center, every escalator step filled, rising slowly through six floors packed with hundreds of people scurrying this way and that to rooms with 400 or more writers eager to jot down tips-maybe secrets-to writing stories.
This bee hive of activity quickly led me to my saturation point after two workshops and a walk through the cavernous book fair at AWP14 in Seattle, Washington. I don’t do well in large crowds (no Costco trips for me). I needed to breathe.
An oasis to this fullness was to walk into the cool 48 degree air, down hilly Pine Street, towards the slate blue waters of Elliott Bay, earmarked with the Seattle Great Wheel on the left and the soaring Space Needle on the right. In front of me, the Public Market, home of the infamous fish tossing antics of ruggedly handsome fisherman.
Through the windows in the building, ferries slow waltz towards Bainbridge Island, Tillicum Village and on the far right, a sign points towards Pier 69, home of the Victoria Clipper, the ferry to Victoria B.C.
An array of smells met me when I wandered through the market. Seafood, leather, and lavender sachets welcomed my attention. Eyes fell on coral tulips, silvery tufts of Pussy willow branches, soft watercolor paintings of tourist sites and vendors selling handcrafted chocolate linguine.
The invigorating walk back to the conference center, through roasted coffee aromas, gave me an alertness of an espresso shot.
Back inside the Washington Conference Center, and the 12,000 writers, the escalator ride to the possibility of gleaning information to help me become a better writer awaited.