Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Tomorrow will be total bliss. It will be like spending the day at the beach in Hawaii, reading and taking cat naps in the sun. It will be like rolling out bed at noon to a plate full of delicious vegan French toast and knowing that my only obligation that day is to my television set.

It will be that good even though it’s going to be 44 and cloudy and I’ll have to get up earlier than usual because of a longer commute that involves changing trains downtown. And why will it be that good because I’m going to Story Week!

Story Week is a week-long literary festival run my alma mater the Fiction Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago. It’s basically the Lollapalooza of the book world. Tomorrow there is a publishing bootcamp breakfast and a panel on Guerilla Marketing for Authors. Then I get to meet up with my friend Hillary Carlip who is a featured author this year (that’ll be me next year, yay!) and hang out and catch up and she’ll probably give me boatloads of advice ‘cause she’s awesome like that. Then, I’ll hide away somewhere and spill all the inspiration I’ve gathered onto the page until it is time for Hillary’s reading at 7:30 at Women and Children First (you should go if you can, she is amazing!)

Yep, people, that right there is my dream day.

Plus I get to be downtown in the South Loop. I miss working in the South Loop. The guy that sold Streetwise and addressed you in Shakespearian-sounding sonnets was way the hell cooler than the lazy Jehovah’s Witnesses who try to shove their propaganda in your face through the window of the car while you’re freezing your ass off walking from the L. I mean, yeah, I see weird shit around the old and new County hospitals on the way to work now. I see helicopters take off. I see dirty syringes and large chunks of someone’s weave on the ground after the snow melts. I see three guys standing outside the hospital, one in a hospital gown, one with a huge bandage wrapped around his head and the other, uninjured, wearing a Misfits shirt and yaking into his cell phone. All of them are chain-smoking. I didn’t know they let patients step out of the ER for a smoke. They don’t show that on Grey’s Anatomy. Then there was the guy set up selling peanuts in front of the hospital in 10 degree weather like it was a gorgeous spring day at Comiskey (grr, I’m sure US Cellular Field). I imagined he was trying to pay off someone loved one’s bill.

See, that’s the thing, my walk to work is depressing. I know I saw some depressing shit in the South Loop too, but mostly I was just happy being surround by the big buildings, catching the breeze (or gust, more appropriately) off the lake and being a part of the heart of Chicago.

When I first moved back home to attend Columbia, I always spent my lunch break and journaled pages and pages. I was full of unending ideas and unending energy to write them with. The place was inspiring, but most of all it was the people.

We went to the kick-off Story Week event on Wednesday and man, it just made me so happy I almost cried (well, I had had a couple glasses of wine), seeing old friends, hugging them, and most of all just listening to damn good stories. I need that. I thrive on it.

And the world I found at Columbia was the place I was always trying to find. In high school, I found cool people, but I never felt like I really fit in. I was on the outskirts of all these groups, feeling excluded for some reason or another. But the Columbia fiction writing community… I’ve never felt more myself and have never felt happier than I do there. It will be so good to just relish in it this week and not to mention learn tons, which I promise to share with my blog readers.

God, I just feel like I’m going home again. I miss being surrounded by the writing vibe so constantly. My office job pays the bills but it’s draining and uninspiring. Please please please let me sell enough books that I can go back to doing stuff at Columbia and bartending (and I will be guest-bartending on Saturday I think, but more on that when it is official).

Anyway, tell me about the place that feels like your real home and/or the things you like to do so much that devoting some serious time to them feels like vacation.

Yay, bliss!

1 comment:

keri mikulski :) said...

Wow, Stephanie.. Enjoy!!

Hmm.. You're blog was so heartfelt. I know what you mean about not really feeling like you fit in. I always felt 'right' on a field. Whether, soccer, softball, basketball, whatever the sport. I could truly be myself around other athletes, playing sports. :)