Want fun, excitement, and an awesome feeling of patriotism? Just visit Washington D.C. Because of my day job as a federal employee, I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to travel there many times. Usually, I stay in the Capitol Hill area because of the location of our administrative office and it’s great because it gives me easy access to the Library of Congress, the Mall, and the White House. When not working, I’ve been able to enjoy the culture of that great city but the one place I always seemed to miss out on was the National Cathedral. Until that is, the Romance Writers of America’s national conference a couple of years ago when the host hotel was only about a mile away. A great event, I was incredibly busy right through Saturday night. Sunday morning dawned bright and mild, and all mine. It was perfect for a walk from the hotel to the cathedral. I loved it. The neighborhoods were incredibly interesting and the uphill walk excellent exercise before a long across-country flight.
If you’ve never visited the cathedral, you should. It’s glorious and for those of us who like a walk on the dark side, intriguing. High on the outside walls, 112 gargoyles look down, their eyes seeming to follow your every move. There are also 288 angels but I only had eyes for the gargoyles! Inside is just as incredible with massive walls and stained glass windows in deep rich colors and unique scenes (including the Space Window that incorporates an actual piece of lunar rock into its design). The crypt below holds its own intrigue as the final resting place of such notables as Woodrow Wilson and Helen Keller.
But it was none of these things that set my mind whirling that Sunday morning. No, that came from a very unlikely set of circumstances. You see, the National Cathedral is first and foremost, a church, and as such has services every Sunday morning. As the staff alerted those of us milling about inside the church that services were about to begin, we had a choice to either leave the nave or participate. I chose to stay and was soon impressed by the beauty, grandeur, and overall inclusiveness of the service. Even so, as I sat there, my mind began to wander far from the words coming from the pulpit and I began to ponder what it would be like if the person presenting the service was a retired vampire hunter and what if, a vampire came to her for help? By the time I caught my plane that afternoon, the germ of a story had taken root. By the time my plane landed in Spokane many hours later, the book outline was done. Scarlet Revenge had taken shape.
Most people go to church and enjoy the fellowship and spirituality of faith. Don’t get me wrong, I like that too but things in my head just take a little different route. I figure it’s all a matter of perspective. Where you just see and hear a Sunday morning worship service, I see and hear an opportunity to weave the complexities of a vampire’s life into faith and worship. Yup, it’s all a matter of perspective.