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When You "Don't Know What to Write."

One of the best holidays I ever had was a side trip to Washington, DC, in my early 30s, while doing research for my PhD. 

I spent my days at the University of Maryland in College Park, less than an hour from Washington. After hunkering down for eight hours a day in the bowels of the library perusing microfiche copies of essays and journals, poring over delicate, sepia-stained letters and papers, and examining every details of caches of old photos, I reserved the final three days of the trip to be a tourist. 

I had conferred with friends and checked out a few books and websites (this was just before the days of Expedia or whatnot), and booked a room in the Marriott, in the heart of downtown. 

Ricki back in the day

On my list of “must see’s” were the White House, the VietNam Veterans memorial and the Museum of Natural History, but had no ideas beyond those. After a week of isolation in the university library, I was itching to get to the city. I...

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