My student Jenelle Birnbaum’s lovely story “The Bodhisattva of the Sea,” inspired by Katinka Bock’s abstract sculptures, is up on the Henry Art Gallery’s blog. The exhibit runs until May 4, and I think I need to squeeze in another visit before then, as there was a “Profane Fireplace” that surely had a fairy tale in it.
My fourth set of writing prompts for the Ploughshares blog takes inspiration from objects, with wisdom from Italo Calvino, Elizabeth Kostova, Cynthia Ozick, Charles Baxter, Kate Bernheimer, RT Smith, and more.
In other news, an excerpt from my student Amber Murray’s intriguing essay “Thoughts on Abstract Thought and the Practice of Moving Things Around Until They Sit Just Right,” from this winter’s Visual Inspiration class, is up on the Henry Art Gallery’s blog! Exciting!
My third set of writing prompts for the Ploughshares blog takes architecture as its starting point.
There’s a lot of advice floating around for dealing with AWP (I love Kelli Russell Agodon’s). And while AWP may be overwhelming, eating in Seattle doesn’t have to be. Four years into moving here from Brooklyn, I still marvel at the happy hours truly being happy, and while sometimes the food seems more expensive than food in New York (strange, I know), there’s plenty to enjoy on a tight budget. My suggestions are somewhat geographically biased, seeing as I never learned to drive. Without further ado, some suggestions for your eating and drinking pleasure.
Update: I’ve been chided for omitting a few very delicious establishments, two of which are close to my heart (Ezell’s, Rancho Bravo) and one of which gives me heart burn (Dick’s). Consider the guide amended!
The Pike/Pine Area
Best coffee, light, and glossy French magazines: Cafe Presse
Most decent slice of pizza: Big Mario’s
Best place to look hip and eat any meal of the day: Odd Fellows (bonus: proximity to literary mothership Richard Hugo House and book sanctuary Elliott Bay Books; nb. entrees not so cheap, but deviled eggs & $5 cocktails at happy hour are pretty wonderful)
Best (only?) 24-hour diner: Lost Lake (bonus: proximity to Hugo House & Elliott Bay Books; nb. the service is slow; not recommended if you’re in a hurry)
Tastiest tacos & tamales: Rancho Bravo (bonus: way cheaper than Odd Fellows or Lost Lake AND a smidgen closer to Hugo House)
Best Italian food in an old-timey setting: Machiavelli (bonus: this place is super close to the Convention Center; extra bonus: chicken liver lasagne!)
Best drinking chocolate/ drinking goop: the ciocco breve, 72% dark, at Dilettante (ask for it extra goopy!)
Coziest cafe with a great view of the historic Harvard Exit movie theater: Joe Bar
Tastiest, prettiest lattes: Vivace
Best “don’t judge me” happy hour: Coastal Kitchen (a longtime local seafood joint with a rotating menu)
Best-smelling, “life-changing” burger: Dick’s (get the Deluxe!)
Best happy hour spot to feel like a ’70s porn star: Vito’s
Classiest hotel bar: The Sorrento’s Fireside Lounge
Closest thing I’ve found to the delis of my youth: George’s (only open M-F, 9-5 & Sat 10-3)
Best Bang-For-Your-Buck Sushi Happy Hour: Wann
Chillest French bistro: Le Pichet
Best happy hour for throwing your elbows out and getting $1 oysters: The Brooklyn (nb. get there promptly at 4 pm if your elbows aren’t pointy)
Tastiest spot for pho, frog legs, karaoke, and monkey bread, all in one place: Ba Bar
Best bordello-themed bar: The Neighbor Lady
Most extensive selection of microbrews plus ice cream and gummi bears: Chuck’s Hop Shop
Most life-changing fried chicken: Ezell’s (Johnny Horton says, “I recommend the spicy three piece.”)
Have a car? Fancy a long walk up a steep hill? Best place to enjoy a cozy brunch (and have a Portlandia moment, waiting in line for brunch): The Hi Spot
My story “More Like Home Than Home” is in the Emerald Issue of Fairy Tale Review. It is their 10th anniversary issue and Wizard of Oz-themed, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Oz. I’m really excited to be a part of this issue. Over the years, FTR sent me two of the nicest, most encouraging rejections ever, and I know each issue is put together with a lot of love and care. I literally cried with joy when I saw the acceptance email, which is also probably the nicest acceptance email I’ve ever gotten. Every time I felt cold or down this winter, I just whispered to myself “Fairy Tale Review” and all was better. Many thanks to Kate Bernheimer and Timothy Schaffert and the editorial staff of MFA students at University of Arizona. You can order a copy here or pick one up at AWP at booth K26 in the North Hall.
Today I kick off a series of 16 blog posts issuing writing prompts for the Ploughshares blog. The posts will discuss using art, architecture, dance, eavesdropping, and all sorts of other sources of inspiration to keep your writing going. I’m excited to be embarking on this new project. The first post uses portraits on Google Art Projects to write monologues, and a game on Twitter, and the posts will appear every two or three weeks. Check it out, write, share, tweet! Wee!
My latest book-review-in-bullet-points is up on the Ploughshares blog today. Here’s how it begins:
Genre: literary mystery
With reference to: Little House on the Prairie
And: immigrant lit & ethnic lit
And: restlessness vs. belonging
Also: Manifest Destiny & Utopia
This will be my last book review for the next little while as I gear up for a *new* series of blog posts on writing prompts using art, architecture, and a whole slew of other sources of inspiration. The first post goes live on Sunday and posts will appear every 2 or 3 weeks. Stay tuned!
In the spring, I’m teaching a new class at Richard Hugo House, Intro to the Fiction Workshop. Exciting! This 10-week class will lay out a solid foundation for students interested in workshopping their stories but who have never taken a workshop or who want to brush up on giving constructive criticism. Workshops can be intimidating at any level; this one will be both welcoming and rigorous. And fun! The class runs Thursday nights, 7:10-9:10 from 3/20-5-22. Registration opens 2/11 for Hugo House Members, and 2/18 for the general public. Scholarship applications are due 2/18.