“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” –Virginia Woolf
While I’ve written some of my best work absolutely broke sitting in a library full of people, I think there’s something to Virginia Woolf’s concept that every woman deserves freedom and personal liberty.
There is nothing more free or liberating to me than taking off on an adventure.
As a writer, I strive to live a life worth writing about, and my trip to the Midwest was chock-full of adventure. From snowstorm white-outs to cheese curds and beer, from roadside sex shops to independent bookstores, we saw, ate, read, bought and drank everything we could get our hands on.
Here are some of the highlights:
A Room of One’s Own – Madison, Wisconsin
Named after the famous Virgina Woolf quote I referenced above, this independent bookshop is known for being a beacon for women authors and readers. I was ecstatic to finally get to see it, and the adorable touches did not disappoint. I especially liked its well-stocked, well-curated LGBTQ section.
“Then may I tell you that the very next words I read were these – ‘Chloe liked Olivia…’ Do not start. Do not blush. Let us admit in the privacy of our own society that these things sometimes happen. Sometimes women do like women.” – Virginia Woolf
Lion’s Den Adult Superstore – somewhere in the middle of nowhere off the freeway
I judged a book (sex store) by its cover (massive and on the side of the road) here, assuming that I’d get some seedy place full of bad toys, bad porn and worse customer service. I was happily wrong! The woman at the counter was very friendly (and possibly queer), the products they carried were mostly body-safe, and the atmosphere was clean and body-positive. If you live in the MidWest and can’t go to an independent store, this is a better chain than most I’ve visited.
Subterranean Books – St. Louis, Missouri
I know I’m going to like a place if the first thing I see when I walk in is April Flores’s boobs on Carlos Batts’s photo book Fat Girl. This cozy yet comfortable bookstore featured many books I had never seen before and many more books I wanted. I bought some great cards for friends and had a wonderful conversation with the sales clerk. It was a great find on our walk, and a nice respite from the cold.
The Donut Whole – Wichita, KS
Looking for a place to eat unique treats, drink coffee while reading, and check out the local Kansas queers? The Donut Whole is the place for you! Covered in kitschy art, this colorful place made me want to stay for hours.