From Boulder to Bellingham to... Elliott Bay
That sounds almost like a country song, doesn't it? It is very nice to be in a place that feels so much like home. It's cloudy and cool and the brush on the side of the Bellingham bay trail is familiar- devil's club, buttercups, wild dogwood- and a little overgrown the way it gets in Haines.
Thanks to all the new book stuff this spring, I have now walked or jogged miles of "urban trails" beginning in New York's Central Park, (they close the park roads during the day) and including Anchorage, (coastal trail) Denver (the Cherry Creek area trail) Richland, WA (Columbia River trail) and now Bellingham (bay trail.) All of these are not actually trails, rather concrete, asphalt, or gravel paths designated for walking and cycling only, and about 8-20 feet wide.
My favorite, today anyway, is the Bellingham bay walk. It is gravel and boardwalk, and some pavement. It hugs the bay, and has a friendly feel. It also takes you somewhere- between historic Fairhaven and Bellingham proper. I think I could live in the Fairhaven Village Inn, walk that trail, and hang out in Village Books for a long time. (The store's cafe serves coffee and beer. My favorite food groups.) Well, I should say I could stay a while if I had company. Okay, maybe one more day would be nice. I leave for Seattle shortly.
There were about 50 people last night at the Village Books talk, including the first Dr.Jones in Haines, and his wife, and former Alaska poet laureate Sheila Nickerson. (No pressure or anything.) Everyone liked the slide show. I run through about 30 photos taken by Matt Davis and Ron Horn. I like looking at the pictures of home, too.
The late Wendy Wasserstein (Heidi Chronicles) used to leave her NYC home to write in the Hanover Inn near Dartmouth college when she had a publishing deadline. Joan Didion preferred hotels in Hawaii or Mexico for this. Bellingham would work better, for me, I think. Actually, being alone in a secluded, lovely, hotel or rental would never work for me. I don't write at all when I am not in a busy place with a lot of other options. I would be a complete failure at a writers' colony. It would be too quiet. I'd find another "urban" trail and head out for an hour, or three, at least twice a day. I'd get in pretty good shape, anyway. The good news is that Chip is coming down this weekend, and we're going to the Mariners game Saturday. (Thanks to Robert at Village Books, who printed my e-tickets.)
I'll be on Bainbridge Island at Eagle Harbor Books tonight at 7:30, and at Elliott Bay Books new store Friday night at 7, then Powell's in Portland Monday night at 7 - the Hawthorne store. After that it is San Francisco for a reading, an author lunch, and on the 12th, West Coast Live, Sedge Thomson's radio show. It will be me and Jane Smiley. (Maybe I should find a trail and take a long walk first. Maybe they'll put beer in my coffee cup. Maybe not. What if I burp?)