Last week, a friend invited me to a publishing event in the American University. I felt motivated after hearing authors speak about their process, literary careers, preference for agents, presses, etc. To get there was a mission on its own, since I needed gas; my car was all but depleted, and searching for parking was confusing, since I wasn't trying to get lost in an underground parking lot, eventually finding street parking. I parked my car near some houses and walked towards the school campus, which was mixed into residential streets. In a block or two the buildings changed, and the grassy patches became larger. Most of the buildings were beige and drab, but at least the fall trees were swooning over the windows. There are probably prettier buildings elsewhere (this was a specific section). I spotted colorful animal (bears, cows, maybe?) statues outside some buildings to brighten the neutral colors.
After seeing the map, I had a sense of which way to walk, towards a building with a dome. There wasn't a name in the front, but according to google the place was here. When I entered an older lady appeared from behind me, asking if this was the place, "I guess," I said. She asked some college students and a white dude with reddish hair confirmed it. I told her the floor and room number and the lady thanked me, as we got to the elevator and made our way up there. I saw the arrow for our designated room, and alerted her, since she was going the wrong way. We heard voices from the front door and people sitting near a podium, and wondered if there wasn’t a better way to enter the room, not disrupting everyone. A girl walked past us with a giant backpack and went toward the back door. It was an aha moment, so we followed her and snuck through the back, so as not to come in like elephants.
On the way out I debated about going to Glen Echo, versus going to a coffee shop which was my original plan. I walked around a bit, feeling the temptation of a balmy fall afternoon. I chanced on two strange stone statues, Dol Hareubang, normally found in Jeju Island, in South Korea. They're seen as guardians of the island that ward off danger and harm, offering protection and fertility.
Also, the other day I went to an Inner Loop event and heard some poets and writers read their work. We heard Abdul Ali's poems (from Trouble Sleeping and other works) that paint vivid city streetscapes, birds, and memoir-like reveries, and Suzanne Feldman, who's short humorous story The Witch Bottle about a strange neighbor lady captivated the audience. She didn't finish the story entirely, so I was aching to find out the ending. She kindly gave me a copy, and I'll be reading that next.
In the end, I decided to drive to a coffeeshop and work on some short stories until evening. The outside world beckoned me to stay, but I longed to sit somewhere quiet to write.