I had the best weekend, y’all.
On Saturday, my GPS and I slalomed down the Orange Barrel Trail to Indianapolis, a trip that would have taken longer than I planned, even if I’d remembered which time zone and Daylight Savings Plan that part of the state is using these days.
The purpose of the journey was to meet up with writer friends I’d originally met online a couple of years ago, when I started hanging out in the comments section of Betsy Lerner’s blog. Four of us—Lyra, Sherry Stanley Stanfa, and Laura Maylene Walter, just to shamelessly name drop—were meeting Saturday, spending the night at the perfectly placed Westin Hotel, and then having breakfast with three other friends the next morning.
Lyra and I had hoped to arrive early in the afternoon to spend an hour of two writing and/or talking over snacklunch, but we’d both made a late start and the above memoryfail about the time zone, so we both showed up around four o’clock EST, mere minutes before Sherry and Laura.
We dumped our stuff with Christian the Concierge, who can rock a bow tie, and immediately set forth to find the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, because it closed at 5.
Unfortunately, we set forth in the wrong direction, but we found a lovely park about ten blocks down where we could stop, reorient ourselves, and maybe turn the map around a little.
We did make it in time, though and it was well worth the walk.
It’s a great place, small but high impact, with art and reading materials, displays and quotes, photographs of an astonishingly young Mr. Vonnegut—I found the evolution of his hair almost as interesting as the rest of his personal history— and also a knowledgeable assistant curator (I think?) with whom we had a great conversation about the outrageous banning of books in schools (his daughter is a lucky kid).
And a nifty little gift shop, where many Vonnegut-themed souvenirs were purchased.
I spent the rest of the evening and a good portion of the night eating, talking, drinking, talking, laughing, suddenly getting serious with the talk, moving to a quieter venue, and drinking, eating, and talking some more with these amazing women who happen to be amazing writers and, somehow, my friends.
I wore out about half-past midnight, because I am a sleep-deprived pumpkin, and collapsed into a bed so comfortable^ I would have tried to smuggle out with me—mattress, duvet, and All The Pillows—if I thought I could find my car in the parking garage and stuff everything into the trunk of my Civic before I was caught by Christian the Concierge.
The next morning, I woke earlier than I’d intended, showered, packed, wrote a very little, poked at the Vonnegut-shaped Souvenir Blister on my left foot—and so it goes—and went down to the lobby to meet Amy, who kindly helped me find my car so I could stash the mattress dump my bags. We waved at Lisa Golden, who passed by on her way to a more sensible parking space, and headed for Café Patachou, where we joined and were joined by the rest of our crew at our table, which was blessedly close to both the Self-Serve Coffee Station and the bathroom.
It was serendipity all the way through, y’all.
After a couple hours of talk both writerly and otherwise, and the eating of good food and drinking of massive amounts of delicious caffeine, we all hugged—one or two of us might have teared up a bit—and went off in our separate directions.
The GPS and I followed the Orange Barrel Trail west for five hours and a good portion of Laurie King’s Garment of Shadows, arrived home, passed out leaf-shaped bars of hotel soap to my children, who are not Vonnegut fans (yet), and collapsed on my own pretty-darned-comfortable mattress until dinner.
It was a very good weekend.
We need to do it again—soon!
*I was later told that the others came into the room twice to get beer and snacks from the cooler, and when I woke up the next morning, Lyra was sleeping in the other bed, but I don’t remember a thing. That’s serious comfort. Or serious exhaustion, anyway, which is easier to fit into a Honda Civic, so whatever.