Here's the place to head when writer's block strikes: the book store at the Writer's Center.
The Book Gallery offers contemporary fiction and poetry, much of it published by small presses with no distribution in main-line stores, plus plenty of anthologies and reference books of use to working writers. One section features work by authors who have taught at the center, including Moshe Dor and Patricia Browning Griffith. The shop also stocks a complete selection of national literary journals, so students can see just what gets published these days.
The Writer's Center holds more than 200 workshops in every genre annually. The book store is no fancy operation with flavored-coffee aromas or foam-filled sofas to distract you; it is a former community center, with a coffee pot and a Coke machine, vinyl floors and cinderblock and brick walls -- a few of which are designated as the Book Gallery. Writers, editors, small press publishers and graphic artists support the nonprofit center, located on Walsh Street in Bethesda, Md., two blocks north of Bradley Boulevard and Wisconsin Avenue.
Several titles co-published by its press, Writer's Center Edition, are available at the Book Gallery. Members receive a discount on books and may sell their own work on consignment.
One last inspiration awaits you by the check-out window: Watershed Foundation audio tapes of readings by poets such as Joy Harjo and John Ashbery. Now, write!
-- Margaret Hutton