West Seattle feels like a small town. I know all the people who work in the places I frequent. I wrote my first book Confessions of a Latter Day Virgin at Freshy’s coffee shop. Now I’m writing a lot at Admiral Bird. I love that there are two used bookstores [Merryweather and Pegasus] on the main street, plus Easy Street Records, and Virago, my favorite place to look at beautiful jewelry. Circa restaurant, where I waitressed for years, feels like home—it’s more a part of my writing career than anywhere else in Seattle because of all the relationships that stemmed from working there. It’s a lovely, close, friendly feeling. (Editor’s note: Since this interview, Merryweather Books has closed and moved online only, Virago has moved into that larger space.)
I live near the Fauntleroy ferry dock, so I have a great view. I can write for a few hours, then walk along Alki Beach to Jack Block Park and work out creative problems along the way. The sea air must have some healing properties—or maybe the salt in my body is connected to the salt in that water. The view never stops being stunning. I’ve been in this neighborhood for 12 years, and every time I see it, it’s breathtaking. I also love Hamilton Overlook Park—it’s a beautiful grassy knoll that looks across Elliott Bay toward downtown Seattle.
I never tire of going to Oddfellows Cafe for happy hour, then wandering through Elliott Bay Books next door—browsing while buzzed. I go to readings at Hugo House literary center. And on first Wednesdays, the Silent Reading Party in the Fireside Room at Hotel Sorrento makes you feel fancy while reading a book.
It’s really cozy to sit inside and look out at the grim yet gorgeous landscape. It’s conducive to creativity. You can think deeply. And winter feels like a Victorian novel here—it’s moody. Artists appreciate moodiness!
Interview by Brangien Davis.
Photo taken at the West Seattle Water Taxi Dock.