- finally meeting Kenny Coble who pretty much won the conference. to meet him is to lurve him
- seeing ALL MY BOOKSELLER FRIENDS from ALL OVER THE COUNTRY
- realizing this was my fifth Institute, which explains why i couldn’t go two feet without finding someone to hug/high-five/exclaim “oh my god your hair is different!” at
- having a weather-induced anxiety attack that resulted in my spending half the Author Reception on the phone with American Airlines in order to change flights and avoid the incoming storm (jk, that was NOT A HIGHLIGHT)
- the many happy birthday wishes (and cupcakes)
- conversing with Sherman Alexie and Kent Wascom about literary brawls
- seeing all the lovely authors and in particular meeting Anthony Marra and Alex George and Jessica Brody and Ru Freeman and Morris Collins and Kent Wascom, and remeeting Alexander Maksik and Sherman Alexie, and half-meeting Matt Bell whose book comes highly recommended
- the many many pages of notes i have to bring back to my coworkers. IDEAS, I HAVE SO MANY.