Aug 25, 2011

An Afternoon in Brigadoon

On Tuesday afternoon a 5.8 earthquake hit the city of Baltimore. I happened to be in Baltimore but I didn’t feel it. In fact, I think the author Laura Lippman and I may have been the only two people in Maryland to not feel it. As the lady in Louise’s Bakery said, “Well, you were in a car, you wouldn’t feel it in a moving car.”

Why were we in a car? The cookies at the bakery were a factor. A beautiful day was the other. The day was so lovely the thought of going to a gym to get on a machine for cardio was uninspiring. Ms. Lippman offered an alternative. Would I like to hike her childhood neighborhood with her instead?

Laura has been one of my strongest fitness inspirations for a decade now. The last two years I’ve even been paying attention. A hike with one of my facebook cheerleaders on a beautiful day in a part of Bal’mor I didn’t know? (Yeah) We set out on a nice path; my tour included parts of Woodlawn, the babbling stream & the pond above (where Laura learned to skate), The Crimea Estate, a set of steps that led to a trail, a trail that had an incline that kicked my ass by the way. The house Ms. Lippman grew up in and the elementary school she had attended were part of our hike. The highlight was the beautiful and out of time Dickeysville. An old mill town surrounded by Leakin Park, it has a sense of isolation and promise. There’s a peace in this community. A feeling that the world can be anything you’d like it to be.

Somewhere after the incline that kicked my ass and before the playground ….

My perspective of the afternoon shifted. I was still walking with my friend Laura, but everything became slightly surreal. It was launch day for Laura Lippman’s newest novel , THE MOST DANGEROUS THING and I was on a walking tour of the novel’s inspiration. A community the writer said later that evening, “I’ve been circling for years in the books, and finally got there.” I looked at my host and admitted to her there would probably never be a bigger fan moment for me. She laughed and retorted, “Well, I won’t be doing it for anyone else today.”

I have a lot of joy in my life. I have family, I have friends, I have reading and I have a group of authors I admire and have had the opportunity to spend time with. Tuesday afternoon they all melded into one. I understand why Laura thinks of Dickeysville as Brigadoon. There was an instant on Tuesday when it became mine.

Saturday Jon and I left Milwaukee to visit with friends in Baltimore. Saturday Crimespree Magazine went to Baltimore to attend the Laura Lippman Pizza Party celebrating the release of her novel, THE MOST DANGEROUS THING. The magazine was also present at the Tuesday night launch for the book. Ruth and Jon took their friend Laura out to dinner afterwards. It’s a wonderful life (giggle,giggle,giggle).

For more on the Baltimore trip and reviews of the book THE MOST DANGEROUS THING, see the print edition of Crimespree.


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