Behind the Scenes
AWP through the eyes of Gena Mohwish
hello. i guess i am gena mohwish. both sam and jereme wanted me to write about my experience and post my pictures on htmlgiant, so here i am. it feels a little frightening to be writing here. my body just shook a little. okay.
**Pictures after the jump!**
i began my trip wednesday morning at rdu airport. i was extremely nervous. i looked around and saw signs that i did not understand. my flight was delayed about an hour and a half. i walked around and used the bathroom about three times and bought a small pizza for $8 at the airport and watched planes leave. my chest felt immense several times. i got on my flight. i arrived at o’hare airport around 3 pm. it was very rainy in chicago and i felt afraid to leave the airport.
christy call picked me up from the airport around 6 pm. christy is the most adorable woman i have ever seen. we bonded while circling the airport waiting for ryan to get there. christy beeped at a hispanic guy that she thought was ryan. we talked about panic attacks, being creepy, and life. we call each other “c” and “g” now. we are that fucking badass.
ryan call is quite lovely. he helped me book my hotel since i could not book it myself. when he got into christy’s car, he turned around and gave me a smile. he is kind of tiny. not in a bad way, though. i feel like i wanted to pet him like a small animal. he is a very genuine person.
when i got to my hotel, i went for a walk outside in the cold. the sky looked grey at 9:30 pm. i was afraid i was going to trip and bleed and die. but i didn’t. i meandered through the city watching life through my blurred camera lens.
jereme dean has been a close friend of mine for a very long time. he has taught me a lot about life and people. i was very happy to meet him. he has several freckles that make his face interesting. he stole my sunglasses, but that is okay. they look much better on him anyway. jereme is also a ladies man. he was trying to sell blake’s book to random women walking by at awp. i laughed several times at this. it made me wish i had not bought blake’s book so he could have persuaded me to buy it.
i did not get to awp until the afternoon of thursday. i could not get in due to my lack of an id. i met peter cavanaugh and daniel bailey simultaneously. peter cavanaugh is a very quiet person. i felt a sadness surge through me whenever i looked at him. he is a good person to take unsuspecting pictures of.
daniel bailey has been my friend for a little while. i was scared to talk to him when we began talking a few months ago. i enjoy daniel’s poetry. daniel was nice and featured me on here explodes my giant face. in person, daniel is very tall and kind of quiet, but not as quiet as peter. i felt bad when i was sitting at the noo journal table and accidentally spilled wine beneath his feet. he didn’t respond to it much, which i thought was strange.
sam pink is such an elusive person. i was walking outside with jereme and peter at awp and i heard a voice behind me asking jereme for some money. it took me a few seconds to recognize the voice. jereme did not recognize who it was. jereme almost gave him a dollar, and i said, “do you know who that is?!?” jereme didn’t. it was sam fucking pink. i kept telling sam before i met him that i would get his real name out of him. i did. sam is also very famous, apparently. a russian man named dimitri asked him for his book on the street.
jereme, sam, and i walked around the city for a little while and then went to the shedd aquarium. it was dark and calm in there. i touched the glass of some of the aquariums. i kissed some of them. a lot of the sea creatures looked very lonely. i saw a tank that looked like an abandoned prison. i wanted to crawl into it and sleep there. the japanese spine crab moved very robotically and made life feel surreal.
on friday, i got my id and entered awp. ryan somehow got jereme an id for free with the name “adam robinson” on it. everyone kept stealing adam’s name. there was a small helicopter at awp. initially, people were talking about how people were getting thrown out for flying the helicopter. i thought they were talking about a real helicopter and i felt scared. i threw the helicopter as someone was trying to make it fly. it hit adam robinson. i didn’t really know him very well. i am sorry it hit you, adam. i make bad first impressions. i tried to fly the helicopter later. i think i broke it. did i break it?
i met shane jones, but did not get to talk to him very much. i bought his book. my grandma saw this picture of him and said he was “an attractive fellow”. it made me giggle.
blake butler did not know who i was initially. he looked at me sitting at the noo journal table, sat down, and observed things. i took a picture of him without him realizing it. a few minutes later someone introduced me to blake, and he didn’t believe it was me even though it was.
adam and i decided to draw gene morgan. gene is very tall and funny. i don’t know why i thought he was bald. he helped me out a lot during my last night in chicago. he has a wife and children, which made me feel good for some reason.
molly gaudry is a striking woman. her demeanor is very sexy or something. she has a good fashion sense. i captured a beautiful moment between her and jereme. this makes me feel that life is not shit and that we all will not die unhappy.
i looked for colin bassett at awp a couple of times. i could not find him. on the way to the reading on the train, i saw a man who had hair like colin’s and i looked straight at him and he looked straight at me. i said to myself, “is that colin? nah, that’s not him.” it was him. on saturday i met him at awp. i thought i got a picture of him, but i didn’t. i’m sorry colin. you can be this turtle.
after awp, everyone went to dinner at a pizza place. it was a nice experience. the waitress was very clumsy and jereme heckled her a lot. no one else commented on her clumsiness i don’t think. it made me happy to see everyone together.
later that night, blake, gene, jereme, and i went back to gene’s hotel and drank. blake got drunk on vodka and some lambic, but mostly vodka. i got a little tipsy drinking lambic. later, i went with blake to go get ice and we stole a ton of sheets from a supply room. blake gives a lot of compliments when he is drunk. he also shouts a lot while walking in the city. i felt somewhat normal after i got tipsy, but the picture below makes me believe the alcohol was deceiving me.
friday night, there was an amazing reading on the train. i did not get any pictures of this because i ran out of film. i felt very discouraged. several people read on the train including shane jones, daniel bailey, blake butler, sam pink, and mike young. i was standing in a seat behind a lady that was uninterested in the reading. she looked at me and glared a little. after all the readings, a lot of people went to molly’s hotel room. her room was much nicer than gene’s even though it was in the same hotel. i sat on the bed and drank harbor mist and craved tortilla chips. i sang a lot.
saturday was my last full day there. i spent most of the day walking around chicago. later, i went to awp. i brought arbor mist. i needed cups so i went into some supply room and stole several. i have a bad habit of doing that. i began to drink a little wine at the table. i knocked almost the entire bottle and shattered it. i picked up shattered pieces of glass. i wanted to throw them above me and celebrate life, but that would have resulted in my death so i refrained from doing so.
before i met mike young, i thought he hated me. i do not remember why i thought this. he probably had no idea who i was before we met. i was debating on whether or not i should have went and introduced myself to him. i decided to do it. i drew a picture of a walrus-mermaid-80’s guy hybrid and i think mike folded it up and put it in his pocket. i am sure my picture has the inevitable fate of ending up in the washer and being shredded to pieces.
barry graham is cool. i bought his book from him. i have never read his work before, which made me feel kind of guilty. he gave out free condoms. i opened one and jereme blew it up and threw it at barry. there are mischievous people at awp.
after awp, everyone kind of split up. later, we went to a reading at some college, i think. it was okay. it was too formal. there was free food and i took a picture of peter eating a muffin. this picture makes me laugh a lot. this was the last time i saw almost everyone together. i got very sad and almost began crying for several different reasons. i felt alone.
i feel extremely sad after saying all of that. i will not describe sunday, the day i left, because i am afraid i may begin to cry. i do not want to cry. so i will stop here and spare you all the beauty of tragedy. please, everyone be nice to one another for the rest of the world’s existence. there is so much beauty everywhere.