About the time WordPress publishes this post, I’ll be at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix on my way to speak at the WritersUA conference in Seattle. I love Seattle. I’ve been in almost every large city in America, and Seattle is special to me. It is one of the few cities besides Phoenix that I could call home and be very happy.
Finding My Way To Seattle
My first trip to Seattle was also to attend a conference, NORWAC, in 1996. I took three weeks for that trip, taking 10 days to drive the Pacific coast and then zipping home on the interstate and seeing the mountains. I sometimes say that I drove to San Clemente and turned right, following the ocean until I reached Seattle. That’s pretty accurate, except I did cut over to Puget Sound at the end. It was an amazing trip, camping on the beach every night except the nights in the redwoods. Kite flying every day on a beach. Exploring amazing natural beauty. On the drive back, I encountered snow (in June) in Oregon, not far from Crater Lake. It’s the trip where I became obsesses with Port Orford and Cape Blanco State Park.
The Linda Effect
My next few trips to Seattle were to visit a friend who lived in one of the charming neighborhoods. We were very different people, but we had a core belief system in common that made our friendship important. We met when Linda came to Phoenix to work with someone who helped me understand myself and my life in a profound way. With that common experience, she and I were great sounding boards for each other through the normal obstacles of life.
Linda was my first adult friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer, and after a long battle, she was my first friend lost to that disease. When she died, I decided to keep her email address in my contacts, partly because I just couldn’t bring myself to delete her. Today, most of a decade later, I’m glad she is still in there. In fact, I have several friends who have passed who remain in my contacts because keeping Linda turned out to be such a great experience. I’m glad to have the unexpected reminders of these wonderful people, and I smile and say a prayer of appreciation of their influence in my life. That’s what I call the Linda Effect.
Finding My Seattle
This is my first trip to Seattle since Linda’s passing. That means it is the first trip where I don’t have my exploring buddy with an itinerary of must-see places. The Seattle I explore this time is my Seattle. I’m eager to retread some of the great places I’ve been before, and to reach out to a few new places as well.
Amazingly, I have some new friends in Seattle, people that I’ve met through Twitter. I’ve got dates for coffee and dinner lined up with three amazing women that I’m very happy to meet in real life. Not to mention the many great writers I know from Twitter and the help authors and technical writing forums. Some of these people have saved me when I had a project in crash and burn mode. Being a lone writer, the forums have been my lifeline to peers and technical support with sometimes bleeding edge technology.
I’ve given myself an extra day in town, about 24 hours after the conference ends. I’m staying downtown, so I’ll be in Pike Place Market a lot, and I’m going to try out Cherry Street coffeehouse based on a recommendation. Weather permitting, I’ll be on the ferry to Bainbridge Island, and will have some quality time in the library. I’m hoping to bring home a piece of northwest Native art this trip as well. I love the graphical quality of art from this region, especially the Coast Salish designs. Perhaps I’ll find something with a crow this time.
I suspect that most of my writing will be in my secret online journal for this trip. However, I will be tweeting the conference as CrowInfoDesign and sharing my personal journey highlights from Kinchie. I know this trip is going to change the way I see myself and things about my life. I’m ready for the changes, I’ve been dreaming them for a long time now.