Saturday, February 5, 2011

Writers' Bloc.

A convention hotel is, to misquote and half-elide a friend of mine, a humorless place. Good Saturday morning to you, then, friends and fans of weather, from the edge of Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC, home of this year's beret-and-cheek-kiss festival of penmanship. A writer's conference. This you want no part of. Witness the six quasivirginal boys downstairs wearing semihispter t-shirts staring at the grad school girl who's come down for breakfast barefoot and wearing a tiny tank top and still tinier shorts. And we know who she is already, is the problem: She's the one who's already been in the program a year by the time you get there, the one everybody falls for, the one who leaves a kind of scorched earth in her wake. Students, teachers, teachers' pets—she's equal opportunity. You know better. Everybody does. Doesn't matter. She knows who you are, too: You're the next one she's trying to shock. As another friend said over an eight-dollar hotel bar beer last night: The less people pay attention, the bigger it gets.

That girl—the tank-top-in-winter girl—writes stories with talking giraffes in them. Or maybe that was me when I was just as dumb. Could still be me. We do not know.

You want weather for your Saturday morning? Back home it looks like we got all the rain there was, but here we wake up to a persistent 35-degree mist and a little breeze, wet dog weather, coffee weather, as good a day as any to be holed into a hotel room trying to see if these seven chapters are in fact seven chapters. Look: pretension is never far from the conference. Let me badmouth it and then wear a fucking scarf to the coffee shop across the street—I'm too good, I guess, for the Morning After Cafe here in the hotel—and then skulk back here to talk about The Book. Plus I drove the hell up here to be here. On purpose. On my second try I did manage to get a hotel room with working HVAC. And they did give me a cookie on my pillow last night. With milk. I slept until 8:30. Not all is humorless, perhaps.

I don't know a thing about DC weather except to tell you that it certainly looks set in out there. The picture window in the hotel room doesn't much help things in that regard. There is rumor of some restaurant nearby with lamb kebobs and red wine, though, and that's something to hold out for. And an empty morning to do work. And another sentence fragment.

Valet-park your rented Hyundais, people. Hang on to your chits and your key cards. Don't lose the schedule. Don't mind the panels—just finding the second conference hotel, the other one, The Hiawatha Room, The Pin Oak Ballroom West—measure out a day like this according to the smallest possible success. And maybe don't come downstairs in your Victoria's Secret sweatshorts. Maybe save that for the happy privacy of your own room.


Kathryn Frances Walker said...

wowzers. this is good. this is also why i never go to those things. just as i imagined it.

TC said...

Sounds...interestin. I'm liking the cookie on the pillow idea; one giant leap up from the usual mint. Why anyone would want a mint on their pillow right before bed I have no idea. Nope, cookie and milk is definately a better idea.

JB said...

Awesome. Really well done.

Renaissance Girl said...

A beautiful piece of writing, about a dismal scene, all the more dismal here for being spot-on.