Thursday, August 18, 2011

Girls in White Dresses, Boys in Museums

On Tuesday morning John surprised me by staying home from work due to construction in his office.  Of course, Jack decided to wake up at 6:30, but I was so excited for a day with my boys.  John's plan was to take Jack to the museums while I stayed home and wrote, and while I really appreciated the thought, I decided I'd rather spend the rare day off with my boys than write all day.  So, around 8:30, we set off for the metro and D.C.

IV and V at The Castle

Our first stop was the Smithsonian Institution Building, more commonly known as "The Castle," which opens earlier than the other Smithsonians.  There's not much to see there, although I came across a piece of petrified wood (18-65 million years old or something, which John thought was a ridiculous range) that was absolutely beautiful.  Fortunately, the Natural History Museum is right across the Mall, so we headed over and stood in line for a few minutes before the doors opened at ten.  It's funny.  As a kid, that museum seemed enormous, but it's really not that big.  That elephant in the foyer is still impressive, though.  I was convinced it wasn't real because that thing is freaking HUGE, but apparently it's cast from a real elephant.  Jack enjoyed a tarantula demonstration and the hall of mammals, which is always a little depressing for me.  Those same animals have been there forever, getting dustier and dingier with age.  The little pink fairy armadillo breaks my heart every time.  But a gorilla, stuffed or otherwise, is always bound to get Jack's attention.

After that we had lunch and a cupcake from a food truck, took the metro home, and then I still got in my ten pages of writing.  Later in the evening I picked LNRB up and we headed to northwest DC for a book signing at Politics and Prose.  I read about Jennifer Close's debut novel, Girls in White Dresses, on Chick Lit is Not Dead, who gave her a rave review.  When I Googled her and saw that she had a signing coming up I invited a few girlfriends to come with me.  I bought Close's book, although I haven't read it yet, and I'm looking forward to it.  Girls in White Dresses is a collection of short stories about a group of women in their twenties and their experiences with love, friendship, and weddings.  Close has received a lot of praise for creating relatable (“We've all been there”) characters, but as I discussed with LNRB, I'm not sure if I'll be able to relate to the book.  Close was very charming and funny at her reading, so I think I'll enjoy it, but my twenties simply didn't feature that many weddings.

The cover of Girls in White Dresses.  Pretty fabulous, huh?
I was the first of my friends to get married (Close read a part of her book about this very subject, about how your friends, who have no experience with an open bar, will try to drink as much as possible in as little time as possible, how bridesmaids will go down on the dance floor, etc.  That part, I can relate to), and most of our military friends were already married when we met them.  The few girlfriends I have from high school and college have gotten married one by one over the years; I've made it to some of those weddings when money and geography permitted, and missed others.  I've never been a bridesmaid until now.  Who knows, maybe I'll read the book after Shauna's wedding and find I can relate.  We'll see.

Close reading from her debut novel, Girls in White Dresses.

Politics and Prose, which I'd never been to before, is a great little independent book store that apparently hosts lots of author signings.  I managed author signings in a past life, and I'm happy to say this one was quite lovely.  Cupcakes and Persecco were a fabulous touch, and Close, wearing an adorable white dress, was great at taking questions (I even got up the nerve to ask one – not good for my blood pressure, I tell you!), and she took a few minutes to chat with everyone who purchased a copy of her book.  I'm not one to spend twenty-five dollars on a novel these days (I've got my Kindle, the library, and a stack of paperback books from my mom to get through) but I like to think it's good author karma to support not only the author, but one of the few remaining independent book stores in the area. 

All in all, a great day of family, writing, books, and friends.  Thanks, honey! 

1 comment:

Shauna said...

Let me know how you like the book afer you read it, sounds cute. Agreed the cover sure is fabulous!