A love letter to Seattle

I remember when I arrived to Seattle, February of 2008, exhausted and happy from a two week cross-country jaunt from Bloomington. It was the first place I ever felt at home. It’s the first place I didn’t get lost in, constantly. About a month after arriving, I was still wondering at how easy it was to be here.

Tonight I walked home from the club alone, violins and poetry in my ears (aren’t they often the same thing?).
Capital Hill and I had a moment, the sort of moment you share with a good friend or a lover in the morning, feet cozy under their legs, tea or coffee in hand, when you know the day is in front of you but more important is the Now.
I feel at peace here more than I ever have.

image by Andi Dean

image by Andi Dean

This is the first place I moved to of my own accord, not because someone I cared about deeply had requested my presence. And after eking out space for myself, Libby came. And Chris. Petra was near, and Annie and Bergen were already here but unknown to me. Later, Vivian and Noah came out. Tiny Matt would visit regularly. Our chosen family grew, and deepened. There were magical summers and warm spots in winter. I worked for a year in a law office, donning a wig every day, and training parkour in Freeway Park on my lunch breaks, some sort of punk super hero, bleeding on office papers from my scuffs and tumbles. Whitechapel kept me sane. And I learned about myself, and how to love other people, and how to let them love me. This is my home, but it’s also taught me that I can have many homes. Here, I have learned to wait.

And then I found purpose, combatting that persistent feeling in the back of my head that I had power, I just didn’t know what to point it at. The Transhumanist thought scapes I had carried from Virginia to Bloomington started to grow into tangible things. From Baron, I learned about hackerspaces and this group I admire so much, count myself lucky to be a part of, that now takes so much of my focus. I learned what it is to choose to commit to something, and what it is to decide who you love and how you love them. This has been my city, not only in that it’s where my heart is, but in that it is here I learned what a heart even is. This is where my robot love is.

I’m moving my stuff to Somerville to spend most of my days in Cambridge. Apparently people in the Boston area care about these geographical differences. Or at least the streets do. My belongings boil down to books, and clothes, and art. And more books. And comics. I’ll be working with the Center for Civic Media, and the Berkman Center if they’ll have me. While I leave the 29th of this month, I first go to San Francisco for #everyonehacks. And when I do go, I don’t go straight to Boston. I go to Port-au-Prince first, and then to DC, and then I’m in Boston. For a few days. Before I go to Paso Robles for Camp Roberts, and then Philly for family. Towards the middle of February, I arrive in earnest for a whole few weeks. March I bounce around a bit (either Seattle and San Francisco or an entirely other adventure) with time in Boston. April is only half overseas. But! May and June will be in Boston for sure. And July is.. overseas. And August is partially in Black Rock City. But the rest of the year. Seriously. Boston. I’ve already passed up a bunch of potential things to go to, speak at. Those booked engagements will get pruned as much as possible. I need to be where I am.

So I’ve been framing my art to prevent it getting crushed in the move, and saying tender farewells. This is a place I have loved. And you should love some of my favorite places and things, too. Here are some places that I have always felt comfortable, always at home.

  • Crumpet Shop : Just my favorite place in Seattle. Always happy. Always delicious. Non presumptuous.
  • Parkour Visions : Solid people. They helped me feel at home. And they teach you how to use your body and your environment.
  • Ada’s Technical Books : It’s a hackerspace, but with books. Good talks every week, good people, and mate!
  • Techbound : If you’re into this sort of thing, these are the folk to learn from. (NSFW)
  • Odd Fellows : Just a great coffee shop to hang out in. Does all meals, coffee, booze, solid wifi, etc.
  • Hot House : Naked lady spa. Seriously helped keep me sane.
  • Six Arms : Sure, it’s a McMenamin’s, but I sure do heart it. Good booze, and the staff leaves you alone. Perk if you’re working, not if you’re dining people.
  • Remedy Teas : 150 loose-leaf teas, and themed with science. Usually bustling without feeling overwhelming. Also the staff is super cute.
  • Row House : Again, with the all meals, decent coffee, solid wifi. They do flights of whiskey and sometimes of strange meats. You can work from here all day.

Join me at Row House on the 26th of January from 16:00 to 20:00 if you’d care to say hello, goodbye, or whatever. I shall be reading and taking quiet time, welcoming company.

My roots grew here. But even as I write this, I know that people are postgeographic in my brain, but Seattle is like a family chest, full of fond memories. You can take it wherever you go. I will return to the people who are my chosen family, who are always with me.