The Sunday Seattle Times NW Jobs section features a brief Q & A with Novelist Peter Mountford, “events curator” at Hugo House, Seattle’s red-hot smoldering center of all things Writerly:

“People think–and I used to think this too–that the goal of writing is to get published. It’s the other way around. The whole point of publishing is to buy yourself some more time to write, which is the actual goal.”

Got an early start, showing up 2 hours too early for my AirBnB. Could not get into their apt. building and nobody answered the buzzer. Temperature was in the 30s.

Calm, charming bedroom in U District

Found a warm place to catch up on my journal while waiting, soaking up sun, sitting in the lee of the reflective-glass-walled south-facing plaza of the Law Library on the UW campus. Lazy, Sunday, low ebb on campus, students not yet returned from Thanksgiving vacation. Nobody but a few scholars, squirrels, and a curious crow, hopping down the plaza steps.

Returned to the apt. bldg. and one of the neighbors let me in. Finally gained admittance to the AirBnB apartment via the hostess’s roommate, Mingo, who seemed chagrined by the mix-up.

Handing me her own fresh-made foamy cup of cappucino, Mingo said that she, too, is a writer. She prefers to use a typewriter and has two vintage models. Setting a Smith-Corona portable on the kitchen table and scrolling-in a sheet of foolscap, Mingo started typing, demonstrating her speed–at least 40 wpm. She likes to take it with her to coffee hang-outs and writers workshops.

Then Mingo got on her cellphone and and drew-up a walking tour for me of her 3 favorite local bookstores:

Third Place Books
6504 20th Ave. NE, Seattle, Wash.

Phinney Books
7405 Greenwood Ave. Seattle, Wash.

The Couth Buzzard
8310 Greenwood Ave. Seattle, Wash.

In other words, Mingo was the perfect hostess, sharing exactly the information I needed…AND sharing her hot cappucino. Lending me her own walking map of the neighborhood and a tangerine for my pocket, Mingo ensured a successful and enjoyable visit to Seattle.

Where to be on a Sunday afternoon.

Where to be on a Sunday afternoon.

Third Place Books was jammed with shopping ladies and people meeting for brunch. Alas, I did NOT have my Return to Circa ’96 FLYER with Introduction & Vita.

I was On the Road, but I didn’t have my Act Together. Somebody’s two-year-old started wailing at temper-tantrum volume and I took it as a sign to beat a hasty retreat.

So I walked on, uphill, over the freeway, and down the other side, stumbling upon the Green Lake Public Library, a nicely preserved old Carnegie Library.

Green Lake Public Library

Green Lake Public Library

My plan was to use a library pc to PRINT out the e-mail I had previously sent to myself with my attached FLYER.

Complete Fail: Could NOT remember password.

Walked on, hiking up Phinney Ridge, determined to make at least 1 Professional connection today.

Sunset from Phinney Ridge

Sunset from Phinney Ridge

The sun was going down (along with the temperature) when I shouldered into Phinney Books.


Phinney Books

The owner, Tom Nissley, is also a Writer, and there he was, standing behind the counter making nice with a regular customer from the neighborhood.

Busting open my shoulder bag, I dug out a 4-page full color dummy copy of the book jacket and Table of Contents…and wrote my contact info on the back cover.

“I’m so glad I caught you while you’re here, so that I could meet you in person,” I said.

“Oh yeah,” he sighed, “I’m always here.”

ohmygod!! I was thinking, but refrained from saying out loud: How can you write if you’re always being interrupted by customers and authors trying to sell their books?

So, it was awkward, but I got his business card and I can e-mail him the flyer tomorrow.

Celebrated with dinner at Ken’s Grocery. Bowl of chicken soup: $3.75 + a 99 cent pumpernickel bagel. Sat at the window counter, slurping up smokin’ hot soup, rocking out on grocery store blues:

Them Changes…