Archive for February 7th, 2008

2/6/08: Capital!

Word count: 125114 | Since last entry: 2206

I am in Washington DC, touristing about before the “ACDC” square dance fly-in.

First off, I finished the first draft of novel #2 on the plane. I typed THE END just as the pilot was telling us to shut down all electronic equipment for landing. I am right chuffed about that.

After we landed we had an amazing dinner at Bistrot du Coin, a fabulously authentic French bistro in Dupont Circle. Excellent food, not pretentious at all. Our hotel is the funky and character-filled Tabard Inn, which doesn’t seem to know if it’s a hotel, a restaurant, or a bar, but it works.

Today we started off with a visit to the Eastern Market, which is unfortunately under construction and has been temporarily replaced by a small, characterless stand-in. We also got a quick visit to the Supreme Court, which was not in session, where we were accompanied by a crowd of attractive college-age young women, all with long dark hair, and most with the Ash Wednesday cross on their heads. (Who were they?) I have never seen so many ashy forehead crosses as I saw today; I guess it’s true that Portland is one of the most unchurched cities in the country. Then we joined local fan Colleen Cahill, a librarian at the Library of Congress, who treated us to lunch at the Senate Office Building and then gave us a whirlwind tour of the Library.

We got to lunch, half a mile away, via a bewildering series of tunnels, stairways, elevators, and little trains and passed through at least three security checkpoints in each direction. At one point I had to eat part of my luggage (okay, I had a Clif Bar in my belt pouch, and ever since the anthrax scare, food cannot be taken into the Capitol by tourists). Lunch was very nice, but we did not sample the famous Senate Bean Soup. Back at the Library, we got to see the Great Hall, a view of the Reading Room, a keen exhibit of the Bob Hope vaudeville collection, and the even more keen vault and backstage areas of the maps section where Colleen works. She took great delight in showing us many old maps of Portland. We also saw a group of Chassidic Jews, who I realized after a bit were all deaf. (Two had cochlear implants, and they were all signing to each other; I don’t know if it was ASL or Hebrew sign language.)

After that we were exhausted and took a nap. Dinner was at Heritage India, upscale versions of Indian street food. Much was unlike anything I’ve ever had before, and by selecting various small dishes we had a very nice meal for not very much money.

And then I got back to the hotel and checked my email, and found that artist and writer Darin Bradley has posted the cover design for Space Magic, which I have been aching to show you ever since I first saw it. Is it not gorgeous? Here’s another link in case you didn’t click on the first one.. I also got to see Bruce Holland Rogers’s introduction to the collection, which is amusing and very complimentary (he spends the whole introduction urging the reader to stop reading the introduction and read the stories). It’s almost a real book!

No writing today. Probably not tomorrow either. Still a good day. A capital day, even.