Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Work on the Go

Work on the go – again. Well, you can take the writer out of her office, but you can’t take the office away from the writer. Thank goodness Dani also lives in a world ruled by deadlines. Here we are enjoying some of Seattle’s great coffee opportunities while diligently working on our latest projects.

Dani is busy putting together the new issue of BAB [link] and I’m hard at work on the latest rewrite of Fallout. When I get tired of that, I switch to another nifty project – working with Diane at Sono Nis Press to update the Sono Nis website.

Ferry terminal, waiting for our ride to Bainbridge Island: \

(snacking on amazing leftovers from our dinner last night at Wild Ginger - FABULOUS restaurant in Seattle...)

We’ve been having a great time in Seattle – more on our destinations in another post – and now find ourselves aboard a ferry bound for Bainbridge Island. Great, roomy tables, perfect for – working!
Upon arriving...

...we sought out a great local coffee shop

so we could... yes... do a bit more work...

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

I’ve never made a pilgrimage to a place mentioned in a novel – at least, not before our trip to Seattle. Having recently read Jamie Ford's Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet I was curious to visit the area now known as Chinatown/International District. One of the locations featured prominently in the book is the Panama Hotel – in particular, the tea room and the basement where Japanese families about to be shipped off to internment camps stored their personal belongings.

Just like in the book, these possessions were discovered after the old hotel was purchased. The current owner installed a see-through panel in the floor of the tearoom. It’s haunting to look down into the basement to see the stacks of stuff left behind.

Leaving Dani to do a bit of homework in the tea room, I headed off to the Wing Luke Asian Museum. I was particularly interested in seeing a display mentioned in my guidebook – a recreation of one of the horse stalls at the Puyallup Fairgrounds that was converted to living quarters for a displaced Japanese family (again, important in the book). Alas, “Camp Harmony D-4-44” was not rebuilt when the museum moved into new digs in 2008.

The current display case and video of stories told by Japanese Americans who had to endure this dark chapter in US history is moving, but I don’t think it has quite the same impact as seeing the teeny quarters assigned to the families while they waited for the construction of internment camps father inland.

That said, the Wing Luke Asian Museum is excellent and I’m glad I checked it out.

Another pilgrimage I’m glad we made was to the Elliott Bay Bookstore. We were lucky enough to visit this fabulous, meandering, wood-floored, homey and packed-to-the-rafters-with-great-books shop while it was still in its old location. According to the website, this Seattle landmark has to move in order to survive. We could easily have spent the whole day lost in the stacks, but forced ourselves to move on after a respectable amount of time.

Seattle’s love affair with books couldn’t be better highlighted than in the amazing public library.
Rem Koolhaas, the Dutch architect, did a remarkable job on this oh-so-very-cool structure. We had a good wander around inside, checking out things like the in-floor way-finding system (the Dewey Decimal numbers are huge and easy to see), the way the main collection spirals up the core of the building, the incredible kids’ section – the awesome auditorium area. No matter which direction one points a camera, there’s some interesting visual combination of light, sky, angles, and Seattle buildings. Definitely worth a visit!

Friday, February 05, 2010


Awwww... look who was in our hotel room when we arrived!
Meet Lucia!

The hotel room at the Monaco in Seattle comes complete with a pet! How very cool is that? Provision of a goldfish is part of the hotel's Guppy Love program and is intended to provide guests with "the perfect kind of companionship, relaxed and quiet." True enough - so far Lucia hasn't made a sound.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

At Sea - Somewhere Between Here and There

I’m writing this somewhere in the middle of the Strait of Juan de Fuca between Vancouver Island and Seattle.

It’s pitch dark outside and every now and then the captain of the Clipper swerves, tipping me sideways before we straighten out again. When we were puttering out of the Victoria's Inner Harbour, the captain announced that when we were moving around the cabin (the Clipper is a large, fast catamaran-style passenger ferry) we were to keep one hand for ourselves, and one for the ship. As in, hang on! He explained that the waters around here are full of debris – logs, mostly – and that they do their best to dodge around such obstacles.

We’re moving pretty fast – the trip from Victoria to Seattle takes less than three hours – so my question is, how the heck do they see logs in the pitch dark? Or whales? Or small boats? Or people who may have fallen overboard? Not that over-boarders would last long enough in these chilly waters to be considered obstacles, but still.

Why, you may ask, am I on the Clipper heading for Seattle? A weekend in Seattle with Dani was her Christmas present for me! Such a lovely child, hey? The fact I’m heading off to meet her to have a few days of fun in a cool city (at least, this is what I am told – I can’t quite believe it, but I’ve never actually been to Seattle - driven through many, many times, but have never stopped there before…) is appeasing me slightly. Dani will be meeting me there after having spent the last ten days or so in California. Highlight of her trip? Attending the Grammy Awards!!!!!!! I am, obviously, quite a bit older than she is and yet – I have not been to anything even remotely so glitzy and cool as the Grammys. Grammies. Whatever. If I had been, I would know how to spell it.