“I’ll remember your name.”

After church on Sunday I met a friend for lunch. It was the sort of lunch that excluded spouses and children because we both needed to divulge feelings and thoughts without self-editing. I needed to tell her that I’m feeling low, like a dark cloud is coming and I’m well aware of it, that I knew this road would be long and hard but it’s feeling longer and harder than I anticipated. The things I said had no logical basis. It’s all feelings, which we know are unreliable. But that’s what friends are for – to listen to the irrational and offer comfort.

When our lunch was over we parted ways and I went to a local independent bookstore to peruse and daydream. I found a couple of used books as well as the 2014 Guide to Literary Agents. A dead giveaway, if ever there was one.

Union Ave Books

As I placed my findings at the check-out, the man at the register raised his eyebrows.

“Are you a writer?” he said.

I paused, then said, “Yes.”

“Well you know we like to feature local writers here, so when you’re published and want to do a book reading or signing, let me know,” he said, scanning my books and tallying the cost, as if what he’d just said didn’t shake the whole Earth.

My eyes welled with tears but I blinked them away.

“That would be great,” I said. “Here’s hoping.”

He looked at me, tilting his head so his long gray ponytail shifted.

“That’s humble of you,” he laughed. “That’s unusual for a writer.”

“I’m a realist,” I said, handing him my debit card.

He scanned the plastic and read my name.

“Jennie Miller,” he said, “Jennie Miller. I’ll remember your name.”

He swiped the card and handed it back to me as I choked down the breakdown I wanted to have in his bookstore.

“Thanks,” I said with a grin. “I appreciate it.”

Then I bolted out of the store and cried all the way back to my car. From his mouth to God’s ears.

The Lantern and my favorite banned book

There were two things on my To See list in Washington. The first was the Library of Congress and the second was The Lantern, a small shop for used and rare books. It’s run by volunteers and proceeds go to support the Bryn Mawr College scholarship fund. Win, win.

The Lantern is in Georgetown, and since we took a ferry ride on the Potomac from Alexandria to Georgetown on Friday, I anticipated floating back up the river with new books in hand.

The ferry ride was part of the pre-wedding activities, so the boat was full of family and friends. From the week, this is my favorite photo of Corey and me. Anchors away, my friend! So glad to be on the journey with you. ♥Corey and me 9-19-14

The bookshop was modest but organized, and if I had an extra hour to kill, I would’ve purchased a lot more than I did. Independent shops like these are my favorite, but only – and I mean only – if they are well-kept, thoughtfully categorized, and clean. The Lantern was all of these things. I browsed the stacks as quickly as I could while Chuck and the boys waited for me outside. God bless them and their endless patience. Since we had a ferry to catch, I couldn’t peruse too long.

The Lantern Bookstore

These were my finds. I spent a whopping $11:

The Lantern books

Finally, in honor of Banned Books Week, I’m posting a photo of my favorite banned book. No reader should be deprived of Nurse Ratched and McMurphy:

Banned Book Kesey

What’s YOUR favorite?