Lady Toppers Literature in Pittsburgh

Last year at the Sigma Tau Delta Convention in St. Louis, MO I was excited about this year’s convention because it was to be in Pennsylvania. Which city? Oh, last March I was having too much fun to worry about details. Besides, Pennsylvania obviously meant Philadelphia . . . right?

Well, no. It meant Pittsburgh, and what’s there to do in Pittsburgh?

Again I found myself misled, gladly so. Venturing around the downtown delta, we found concert halls and delicious restaurants, museums and interesting people; there was lots to do. After attending a reader by former US poet laureate Kay Ryan, we ventured onto Pittsburgh’s subway to Station Square, riding one of the inclines up an Appalachian hill. Steel workers use to frequent these inclines to get from their homes on top of the mountains to the steel mills, located on the banks of the rivers. It was cold, the wind whirling and wiping around at the attitude, but the view was worth it.

The Andy Warhol Museum—who knew he dabbled in so many medias—and the Frick Art Museum were our local culture intakes.  And you know you’re acclimated to an area when people stop and ask you for directions better yet when you can answer them correctly and with confidence. By Friday afternoon, our second day up north, I was exuding this kind of confidence. I hope this means I’m getting the knack for navigating cities!

Down to business though, there were five of us presenting on the trip, accompanied by Professor Rutledge. Everyone read a creative piece, and in addition, I read an analytical piece about Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Allow me to admit on my blog that I have made dominating progress in my presentation skills. My Shakespeare session, including two other papers about gender issues concerning the English Bard, produced the best audience-presenter conversation I have ever been apart of. And my short story presentation went well; I felt confident in my acting of dialogue and my dramatic pauses. If I’ve learned nothing else through creative workshops and multiple book readings, it was delivery.

Oh but wait, my bragging continues. At the final banquet, there are awards given in each category, and Western Kentucky University’s Creative Writing program brought home first and third: Jennifer and Audrey. Given that our Sigma Tau Delta chapter is more relaxed than others—we don’t sell items during the week, don’t arrive early, don’t run for regional offices, never win Outstanding Chapter—we represent ourselves with impeccable strength in the area that really matters—the writing. Congrats to these girls, especially to Shawna for her excellent play, in which I played a 60s housewife who poisons her husband, and to Nikki and her nonfiction piece. Girl, if you were only a man.

The weekend had its hold ups, such as the GPS dragging us around in circles. And it had its laughs such as Professor Rutledge telling a guy on the elevator we were his five wives, finding (of all things) a Kentucky Wildcat’s fan in the hotel bar during the UK-Ohio State game, and my rendition of Sweeny Todd’s Little Priests while waiting for the train.

I guess, no matter where I am, I always manage to make a fool of myself and to find a good time. Hoo-rah!

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