It was slow on-site (mostly a lot of giving out directions and apologizing for running out of everything). During lunch, I released a book in the penthouse. There were lots of books on the bookshelves, so I slipped a Margaret Atwood book on there. I wonder if it will ever be found and journaled?
After lunch, we packed up and closed down. Turning in my Nextel (aka Netflix) was cathartic and freeing. Getting out of my suit was even more-so. I wish I’d remembered to put on the long underwear I’d bought, because it was snowing and windy and freezing cold as I walked around for three hours. But first I took a taxi to the Newberry Library. After reading The Time Traveller’s Wife I’ve wanted to see that place. Sadly, it closes early on Saturday, so I only got to see the outside, the special exhibit, the entry hall, and the book store. Still, it was a fun little visit. And look at what book was on display in the bookstore: TFIOS!
After that, I walked around a bit, trying to find some snarfs I’d written down the night before. I didn’t have a map, so after the second snarf, I got all mixed up and discombobulated and started walking in the wrong direction down West Chestnut instead of East Chestnut, looking for a Michigan Avenue that wasn’t there. I found about a dozen snarfs I didn’t get during my 2009 visit to Chicago, so that’s fun. But I also found a lot of beautiful and interesting parts of the city. I found a Blackhawks store and stayed in there for a little while, watching the end of a college hockey game. I found a sports radio station. I finally visited the Water Tower and walked around the gallery inside (also found a very Narnian fountain in there). And I got a better photo of Eeyore by the Art Institute lions. But my favorite part was the Chicago Tribune building. There are tons of stones and bricks and such embedded in the building that come from famous places all around the world. I was amazed at it all the different places and kept going back to touch the rock from Flodden Field.
I went back to my hotel simply freezing. I couldn’t feel my thighs and thought I’d never be warm again. I even wore my jacket to the evening event I attended, because I was way too cold. I went to the “Literary Rock and Roll!” event. The Ronnie Baker Brooks band performed and authors read from their works. I was especially excited to hear Audrey Niffenegger (who read a short story sequel of sorts to her graphic novel The Night Bookmobile) and Irvine Welsh (who was amazingly vulger and read a bit from the highly anticipated prequel to Trainspotting about shite. Kind of amazing how even that sounds GOOD when it’s said with a heavy Scottish accent LOL). I was kind of amazed at the facial expressions of the bass guitar player in the RBB band, and the music was very good. Just what I needed on the last night of the AWP Conference & Bookfair.
After that, I headed up to my room. My eyes were literally burning. I was feeling so tired and dehydrated. I managed to pack up and then crash bigtime. No way could I make it up to the staff party. Farewell Chicago!