Friday, October 7, 2016
Where the Writer Is
Anyone with a cat will tell you that if you sit still long enough, you are a cat bed. Trying to write with a cat on your arms is -- challenging. So whenever I write on the boat, I have my choice of spots so long as the first rule is observed: I may sit wherever I like so long as a cat is not occupying the space. I must also observe rule two: if a cat wants the space after I have occupied it, I am obligated to move or suffer being yelled at (at best) and at worst, being occupied myself by a feline indifferent to my deadlines. So it often follows that I remove myself from the household in order to write. Not only for the ergonomic benefits, but also because the distractions at home are legion. Dishes to be done. Wildlife to observe. Cats' whims to be catered to. So while I do write aboard the boat, my very favorite place to write is Miro Tea. It's in Old Ballard - which is (for the west coast) the historic district. Some of the buildings date from the late 1800s. This is an older building. If you look in the middle row of windows, you'll see an I beam running diagonally. Earthquake reinforcing to bring the structure up to code. All of the old buildings in this section of town have them. You get this semi-Victorian exterior and a post-modern industrial thing on the interior. See the two wooden chairs just outside? There's a table tucked right up against that window behind them. That's my spot. I can see the street and the passersby from there. If the sun is out at all, I catch the rays as the sun rises. All lovely reasons to camp that spot for hours at a time while getting words, unimpeded by feline 'helpers'. But the real reason to go there is that the staff are some of the greatest people I know. They've figured out how much I love tea and have started letting me in on the secrets of which teas I ought to be trying. This year's oolong crop has had a stunning array of really excellent teas, for example, and it seems like every time I go in, they have a new recommendation to make for a tea I just have to try. Once I've decided, I can sit down, start the word count, and sip a lovely tea in a warm, friendly environment that doesn't reek of stale coffee oil. Yeah. I know. I live in Seattle and hate coffee. There's probably a law. This is the tea shop that shows up in Damned If He Does and in Nightmare Ink and Bound By Ink (though in the Ink books, the tea shop is Isa's tattoo shop.) If you read Damned If He Does, there's a brief scene in the tea shop - the young woman behind the counter is real and she will make you the same tea latte she makes the hero in the book - a Fireside Hot Chocolate. Dark chocolate, steamed milk, vanilla syrup and Lapsang Souchong. It's velvety heaven. So the next time you're in Seattle, you know where to find me. And maybe what to order when you drop in at Miro.