96% of Life on the Leash is fiction (I’ve talked about it before), but of course there are some aspects that are really real, like details about the setting. Yes, traffic is crap in DC and the surrounding suburbs, and yes, you’ll find super-gorgeous homes in Georgetown, and yes there is a magical bookstore in DC called Politics and Prose.
I haven’t been to P&P in over ten years, but I was lucky enough to pay a visit last weekend. It was midday on a Sunday and I was thrilled to see that the store was packed. There was a big audience for a reading, tons of shoppers, and the downstairs coffee shop was jamming too.
I had a major moment when I went in the coffee shop. I walked around like a zombie, pretending that I was doing something that normal people do, hoping that I didn’t look too weird. But I was actually framing the scene from chapter 5 in my mind, letting it play out like a movie. It’s a throwaway scene, when Cora runs into Charlie for the second time – totally no biggie in terms of plot. He was sitting at that table, right over there, and she spotted him when she came out of the bathroom, which is right over here.
After living in the word-version of that world for so long, being in the actual world felt surreal. Like I was visiting a historical site where something monumental happened. It was so real to me that I expected to see a little brass plaque on the wall that referenced the event. (Again, it’s not even that pivotal of a scene!)
As you can see from the above photo, I totally geeked out and introduced LOTL to this incredible bookstore and coffee shop (trust me, there are many more glamour shots on my phone). It was kind of magical to go back after so many years away, and pretend that my made-up people had downed a few cups of coffee and picked up a stack of books.
Because they love their local independent bookstore. Don’t you?