Miss Snark Meets the 202

Miss Snark has survived her foray out of the 212.

Normally Miss Snark travels by sedan chair but the 202 is a bit too far even for her devoted footmen. Therefore Miss Snark purchased a ticket and climbed aboard a public conveyance and found herself viewing trees! grass! and something that looked suspiciously like the set for The Wire.

Five hours and one crying child evicted to the checked luggage section later, Miss Snark found herself in Washington DC. Consulting her trusty map, she knew it was not far to her destination so, being a true New Yorker, she decided to hoof it.

Now, I'm not sure what goes on in Washington DC that they've decided they need this but every pedestrian light is accompanied by a timer that shows how many seconds are left before the light changes from WALK to DON'T. Here in New York of course, such things would be a joke. There's exactly as much time left as I need to get across; you wanna argue? Fuggedaboudit! And despite all this technology, there were about six people on the street. The cars! My dear dog, the cars!

BEA is of course strange and wonderful. It's entirely possible to stand next to a Very Well Known Author as you both wait for the barrista to pour the elixir of life and say nothing other than "damn, I wish they'd hurry up".

There's always someone with a toilet; this year was no exception.

The people with the most hustle and energy are almost always the guys in the small press row who've self published something. I admire those guys. I wish they'd leave me alone, but I admire their drive.

The best very very best moment was passing by the big ass Author House booth and seeing it empty empty empty. And hearing their booth staffers talking about the Kansas libel decision. Miss Snark refrained from laughing in their faces...but she was smirking hard by the time she cleared their air space.

Bat Segundo is a madman and should be kept on a leash. Edward Champion is a cutie pie and Miss Snark is glad she met him.

There was a lot of food this year; or maybe I just noticed it. Everytime I turned around someone was rolling out ice cream or hotdogs or choccies. No one was serving gin. Miss Snark is filing a grievance.

Best bags by far were from F+W.

Weirdest swag was a handheld fan on a tongue depressor. Forced to take it, Miss Snark wondered why anyone would think this a clever giveaway in an air conditoned building when everyone's hands are full anyway.

Best visual: the guys from ThrillerFest talking mayhem under the banner "Harlequin Romance".

Second best visual: the girls in swim caps, swim suits, sunglasses and sandals handing out flyers at the door.

Saddest effort to hitch self to DaVinci Code: banner claiming "Jesus drank. Judas repented, and God divorced his bride: Christian non fiction".

Worst Miss Snark moment: the escalator going UP was stalled and behind me, I heard a voice say "oh no, I'll never make it up those stairs". I thought "clearly not a New Yorker; we scoff at stairs". I turned; it was a librarian pushing twins in a stroller. Ohhhhhhh ow ow ow, the hot pincers of shame clamp down on the sneer.

Best DC moment: walking back to the station, turning around, seeing the dome of the Capitol bathed in light. Yowza.

Worst DC moment: getting very very lost, flagging a cab to just GET there; giving the driver the address, and the look as he paused, slowly turned to face me, and pointed to my destination...across the street. Fastest taxi trip ever: $5. Pitying look on driver's face; priceless.

Best NY moment: there are no bad ones. Ever. I love this town, and thank all dogs, BEA is HERE next year.


the green ray said...

What a nice surprise, Miss Snark. I didn't think there'd be a post till Monday at the earliest, so after missing you the whole weekend, just thought I'd try my luck late Sunday night - and lo and behold, new fixes for my Snarkling addiction! Welcome back. I wish I appreciated New York as much as you do. I'd rather be in London or Paris.

McKoala said...

Great vacation report, add another 'A' to your tally. Grandma Snark is going to be proud come school report time. But please explain 'there's always someone with a toilet'?

McKoala said...

Oh, yes, and what exactly did Bat Segundo have to say to you, or is it x-rated? In which case, obviously, we really, really want to know.

M.E Ellis said...

I'm so glad I don't do your job. As a hermit writer, I'd quite honestly poop my pants having to do what you've done.

Outside world?



archer said...

Nobody warned you: You have to understand my home town. It consists of five simple elements, all working together in loving harmony:

(1) The federal government, which consists of what you read in the papers and a bunch of white buildings nobody pays any attention to.

(2) The white middle class, which consists of any address ending in "N.W.," the Maryland and Virginia suburbs, and the Metro.

(3) The minority underclass, which consists of 80% of the population (if your address ends in S.E., S.W., or N.E., you're a member) and which controls the so-called local government.

(4) A couple of corn-swilling Mississippi senators on the Senate District Committee who have black plaster lawn jockeys on their big Clevland Park lawns and who actually call the shots; and

(5) Tourists.

The fun stuff all has to do with the rich people who have come over the years to hang out with the powerful. Hence, e.g., Georgetown, the Philips and the Corcoran. The boring stuff is boring beyond belief; and if you're there on a professional convention that's what you get--some hotel (I hope yours was the Sheraton, which is passable) and a pamphlet that might as well say "Good Luck."

Next time--if there is one--hit the Philips (somewhere around 18th and Q Sts. N.W.) and hit the stores in Georgetown (start at Wisconsin Avenue and M Sts. NW and walk around--Cobblestones, gated stables, so-and-so slept here with Dolly Madison, etc.) The Metro--infinitely superior to the IRT-- makes all possible, and makes cabs a relic.

LJCohen said...

Miss Snark,

This post had me laughing so hard I almost snorted my coffee. That cab ride story--yes, priceless. I spent my formative years in and around the 212. I remember my shock upon moving to Boston to find that the T shuts down and they roll up the sidewalks by 1 am. Hell--you can't get a slice of pizza in my new home town after 10 pm. And don't get me started on the lack of good deli food. Please just stand outside of zabars for me. Sigh.

Bernita said...

Whay IS the message/logic of the toilet, btw?

jta said...

Actually, that cab ride was a steal, Miss Snark. I don't recall ever hearing about anyone getting out of a DC cab that cheap. It's the infamous zone fare system--and DC hacks are famous for their creativity and virtuosity in deploying it. In reality, you saved yourself about twenty bucks and a two or three hour idyl in the free world's (second) worst traffic.

Actually, the cabs are OK. If there were only somewhere to go...

BTW, was that YOU canoodling with Bat by the fountain?

yossarian said...

"Fastest taxi trip ever: $5. Pitying look on driver's face; priceless."

This happened to me in Italy. The cabbie took us merely across the bridge, and I'm not sure how much I paid him, because they weren't using Euros yet and everything cost thousands of lire, and all those zeroes on those colorful paper bills were confusing. He seemed happy.

Anonymous said...

Lol Archer! Great advice!

*Sort of* my hometown too - well, except that I'm from the white middle class NoVa 'burbs - now transplanted west of the Mississippi.

Still read the Wash.Post daily and here is an article about the BEA.


lady t said...

Sounds like you had quite a time there,Miss Snark! Oh,and that fella with the Jesus Drank book got a mention in the NY Times article about BEA this morning. Yep,he's self published but hoping to make it big with exposure at the convention.

The article also highlights Kathleen McGowan,another self published author,who got a nice deal for her novels about Mary Magdelene. I'm reading her upcoming novel,the Expected One now and it's pretty good.

Ken Boy said...

As an alum of Einstein Sr. High School (aka "Crimestein") in the Md suburbs, I must take exception with Archer on one point.

There is a very large and thriving middle class of minorities in the DC area. It ain't just white folk in the burbs and NW, and some of the neighborhoods in NE aren't too bad.

And Greenbelt, in PG County, remains the only place I was ever called "honkey" in anger. ;)

MY best DC moment: in high school (late-1970's) two buddies and I went downtown to do some research for a class project. After a while, we decided to take a walk around the capitol building. I don't think we saw a single cop, and we wondered the halls eventually finding ourselves outside the Speaker of the House's office. His Washington Post lay on the floor outside his door, and I'd have taken it if I wasn't afraid it was an FBI sting or something.

kathie said...

There's always someone with a toilet? WTF?

December Quinn said...

I has almost the exact same cab experience in London once! Except the theatre I wanted was right in front of me, on the corner, with its name in lights.

lizzie26 said...

Yeah, I third or fourth that: What's with the always someone with a toilet?? Do they carry Port-a-potties on their backs??

Bernita said...

A lovely write-up, Miss Snark.

M.J. Rose said...

If you saw all of us... that means as one of the ITW Thriller I saw Miss Snark and didn't know it was you.

Jillian said...

Worst DC moment: getting very very lost, flagging a cab to just GET there; giving the driver the address, and the look as he paused, slowly turned to face me, and pointed to my destination...across the street. Fastest taxi trip ever: $5. Pitying look on driver's face; priceless.

Miss Snark -- this is fabulous. Truly funny. My first real laugh of the week!

S. W. Vaughn said...

Oooh! What was in the F+W bags?

All hail F+W Publications (right after Miss Snark, 'a course).

Seems my word verification read this post too:


Corn Dog said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
booksquare said...

And if Miss Snark was hanging with the Segundo, possibly near Dupont Circle, it's possible that we passed in the night as well. Though knowing the Bat like I know the Bat, that anyone survived is a miracle.

ann said...

The fan on the popsicle stick sounds like the kind of fans found in Midwestern and Southern churches and camp meeting grounds. Especially if it's a freebie from teh local funeral home. Wonder what vendor offered those and why. Kind of a curiosity.

Bella Stander said...

At a recent BEA (2005? 2004? they all blend together) there was a guy walking around with a toilet on his head to promote his book.

Claire Kirch said...

Ms. Snark: I am the PW correspondent who broke the story on AuthorHouse's losing the Kansas lawsuit last week. Since then, a lawsuit has been filed against AuthorHouse in Minnesota. I went over to the AuthorHouse's big and empty booth Friday afternoon and asked CEO Bryan Smith questions about both cases. I wonder if you walked by then? If so, I am sorry to have missed you! And by the way, the highlight of the convention for me was meeting Meg Tilly, the actress, who's pubbing a novel this fall with a hybrid publisher!

Jan Darby said...

Just fyi -- DC is notorious for enforcing the prohibition on jaywalking. The annual front-page newspaper photo of someone getting a jaywalking ticket is an almost more reliable sign of spring than the return of robins.

I haven't lived there in years, so I missed the timers on the crosswalk signs, but I'm betting it's got to do with how seriously they take jaywalking.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

Glad to hear BEA is in NY next year. Just got back from there and I LOVE the city. Had a great time. Looking forward to having a great time next year as well...

sugarland said...

Thanks, as always, for your insightly insights, Miss Snark.

I've been scoping all the blogs today, trying to find out which parties my agent was at. I hope he was one of the pitchlings pimping subrights. Baby needs a new pair of shoes.

Manic Mom said...

Here's what I'd like to know:

Tell us the potty story.

What was the best food offered?

Why was a woman there with TWINS for God's sake? Ooh, unless it was amazing Emily Giffin with her darling twin boys? Oh, and her mother IS a librarian--maybe it was Emily's mother pushing Emily's boys?!?!?!

We have those annoying lights that tell you exactly when you risk getting hit by a car here in Illinois too. STUPID.

Manic Mom said...

What's Meg Tilly got to write about that's so interesting? And how does everyone feel about actresses/musicians/supermodels deciding they're bored with their current careers making oogles of money so let's write us a book now?!?!

John Jones said...

You have footmen? That is SO cool!

I lived DC for five years (college) and then in suburban VA for another three (grad school). It's not bad, it's just... kinda vanilla. As you've doubtless discovered.

I can't speak for the gin joints but the cheap Middle Eastern food in the city is excellent.

Miss P AKA Her Royal Cliqueness said...

Yes! Yes! Yes! I'm so glad to hear BEA is in NYC next year.

Although I'm right outside of DC I couldn't make it. Had no real reason to go anyway. But I'm hoping I'll have reason to next year since my release date is a few months before BEA.

Woo-hoo. Thanks Miss Snark, I was just about to hit the BEA site to see where next year's site was.

Maya said...

I'm interested in Miss Snark's take on what the Washington Post called the cultural clash between "the technorati and the literati" at the BEA.

From what I've read in PW, it sounds like John Updike was the standard bearer for the literati while Carly Fiorina was brandishing the sword for the technorati.

Any thoughts?


M.E Ellis said...

Seriously - I'm from the U.K - who is Meg Tilly?


Mad Scientist Matt said...

Manic Mom, I think that your point about Meg Tilly may be why she went with a "hybrid" (is that a euphemism for "vanity?") publisher.

Anonymous said...

You don't know who Meg Tilly is? I saw her in the Big Chill when I was in college, she's the dead guy's young girlfriend. I also saw her in Agnes of God. She's a really terrific actress. But she stopped acting 10 years ago. I hear she left the Hollywood scene, decided to focus on writing. Her first novel, Singing Songs, came out about 10 years ago, and let me say, Manic Mom, Meg Tilly is no Madonna. She actually knows how to write. I loved Singing Songs, the dysfunctional family she described reminded me of my own family, though, come to think of it, my own family isn't *that* dysfunctional. And Ms. Tilly's latest novel is no cotton candy, it's intense reading about a sexual predator who kidnaps a teenage girl. Talk about a story ripped from the headlines, to plagiarize that line from Law & Order. I started reading it at BEA, couldn't put it down. I usually don't read books by celebs, but this one intrigued me. I say, if a celeb who can write wants to write, bully for them.

A Publishing Insider said...

Meg Tilly went with a hybrid publisher -- not vanity, more like a cooperative arrangement -- to publish Gemma (Syren, Oct.) because she wrote a scorching novel about a predator and his prey. Think Lolita -- only this time you see the story from the girl's perspective. And believe you me, it's no love affair. She could have been pubbed by any of the big boy publishers. But she decided to go with a small hybrid publisher instead b/c she did not want to water down her story, she had too many editors telling her they'd have to make it less intense, less explicit, if she wanted to publish with them. I actually respect her for refusing to make compromises in publishing a novel that's not for everyone, and refusing to whitewash anything. I wish more authors would stick by their guns. I saw Tilly at an event that Akashic sponsored Thursday night and she was one of the best readers there, if not the best. I talked to her afterwards, that's why I know the backstory of why she went with a small publisher to publish Gemma, instead of one of the big boys in NYC.

Lauren said...

You get BEA next year, Miss Snark, but we in southern California get it the year after that!!! See you there.

alau said...

Yea, I don't get DC. I've generally found that NYC lovers hate DC and vice versa.

Anonymous said...

The toilet was a display at a booth who had self-pubbed a Facts in the Loo book. Rubber duckies filled the sink and abutted the toilet.