Editor’s Note: Originally posted on Nov. 4, 2011.
I live in the country, in case this is the first time you are reading this blog. In economic tough times, we have to multitask any resource use, so when I drive to the county seat, I try to combine tasks. I book events and meetings then schedule others around them. This is what I did yesterday when I spent the better part of five hours near the intersection of Market and Linn Streets in Iowa City.
Riverside Theatre and my volunteer ushering for “The Cripple of Inishmaan” was the anchor event. I scheduled a student meeting for 5:30 p.m. at T-Spoons and planned to have dinner and browse the used book stores before I had to be at the theater at 6:45 p.m. I ordered a hazelnut roasted coffee with a shot of hazelnut syrup. My coffee was ready by the time he arrived and he had nothing to drink since he was enroute to a class. We talked about the project and then he left for his 6 p.m. class. I reviewed someone’s resume while I finished my coffee in a faux leather chair.
There are lots of restaurants near the intersection of Market and Linn. Long established ones like Pagliai’s Pizza and Hamburg Inn No. 2, and newer ones like Oasis Falafel, Blue Bird Diner and Linn Street Cafe. I decided to read menus and look inside to see how crowded they were. I ended up going into Oasis: The Falafel Joint where I ordered Falafel, Babba Ganoush, Red Cabbage Salad and Madjadra with pita bread. I sat in the window and ate the tasty meal. It was enough food for two meals, so I took one home in a clam shell, leaving it on the floor of my nearby pick up truck before I going to the book store.
At the Haunted Book Store I asked the attendant for directions to the poetry section. In my current life, I view poetry as an indulgence the same way a smoker views a pack of cigarettes, for consumption and an addiction. It wasn’t always that way. There were many shelves of poetry in the store, and not many people: one gent with a portable typewriter was writing on it at a nearby table. I found Ode to the Cold War: Poems New and Selected by Dick Allen and read a couple of poems. For $4.95 it went home with me. I also picked up An Inconvenient Genocide by Alicia Ghiragossián about the conflict between Turkey and Armenia for seven bucks. Stopping by the Iowa section, there was a copy of a 1918 bibliography titled Iowa Authors and Their Works by Alice Marple. I bought this Historical Department of Iowa book for ten bucks to add to my collection of bibliographies of Iowa authors. Thus far, the evening was a success and it I had not been in town 90 minutes.
Stopping by the truck again, I left the books on the seat, stashed my mobile phone and headed to the theater across the parking lot. I took tickets and got to meet all of the theater-goers. The performance was very good.
Why do I write about this? Partly because other writers have done as much near the corner of Market and Linn Streets, and I hope I too will be famous for my writing. Too, this district of Iowa City is part of my personal history. I lived a few block away on Market, went on dates here, saw politicians and plays, did research for my writing, had meals and coffee with people who are important to me and browsed Murphy Brookfield Book Store and Haunted Book Store (and its predecessor) countless times over the years. I write about it because it is part of who I am and hope that is reason enough.
~ Here’s another post about Market and Linn Streets if you liked this one.