You still writing?, Bridge Residency, Beer Intern

Valentine's Seahorse - Dave O'LearyA few people have asked in the last few months why I haven’t been writing, and I can see their point of view. I don’t post as many music articles on Northwest Music Scene these days. My blog has been inactive, my Twitter and Facebook accounts relatively subdued. Musicians have asked about it, friends, people at the pub. “You still writing?” They wonder over shared beers where the words have gone. I’ll nod, sip my beer, and answer in the only way I can. “Always.”

And it’s true. My social media presence has fallen well below the radar of late, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. I just haven’t been posting like I once did. When I first started the blog that grew into Horse Bite, I had tasked myself with writing and posting something everyday, and in those days that usually meant typing at the corner of the bar at JJ Mahoney’s in Redmond and posting the next morning after correcting the spelling and grammar. I was in a Hefeweizen phase then, specifically Pyramid Breweries Hefeweizen. It was light, refreshing, didn’t fill me up. They knew me at the bar as Hefe Guy before they knew me as a writer. I wonder which way they remember me now.

When Horse Bite came out, I was in the midst of a transition from personal blogger to music writer, and the articles I posted about all those great Seattle bands would become the backbone—and largely the essence of—The Music Book. And then I started playing in one of those bands, and between the music and the blogging and the music writing—and the beers—my creative life couldn’t have been better.

But when The Music Book was published in 2014, there came a shift. I decided to expand Condoms on Christmas into a novel-length work. I even mentioned this in the very public setting of New Day Northwest, which made for a good TV moment with laughter from the audience and the host. But what it meant in reality was a pause in the public style of writing and a significant decrease in any kind of social media. I’m sure that hasn’t made my publisher happy, but it was unavoidable. It’s where my writing needed to go.

And so why now? Why other than being asked am I suddenly posting again here on my blog? There are two reasons for this, and they both start with the letter B: Bridge and Beer.

Having completed much of my research for the longer version of Condoms on Christmas, I applied last month for a writer residency at the Fremont Bridge in Seattle. Simply put, the city will pay a writer to spend time in one of the bridge towers and produce some sort of literary work about the bridge. This is something I’m well qualified to do. I live in Fremont and I write about life and music in Seattle. I cross that very bridge almost daily so I submitted a proposal that involved writing about bridges and shifts in reality and a temporary halt to the expansion of the universe. With a little luck you’ll see me in the Northwest tower of the bridge this summer. If so, honk or wave as you pass by. Maybe I’ll invite you up.

Fremont Bridge - Northwest Tower

And then there’s beer. Anyone who has read my books and stories will understand that beer has essentially been a character throughout all of them. It is indeed mentioned on the back cover of both Horse Bite (“the evenings of beers”) and The Music Book (“Beer and bass guitar and bar stool banter”), and—as you can see in the image at the top of this post—it’s even featured on the cover of Valentine’s Seahorse where a proposition is made over a few shared beers.

The reason I mention beer is that World of Beer is taking applications to be a Beer Intern, and just like the bridge residency, this is something I’m well qualified to do. I drink beer. I write. I share my stories. All things the Beer Intern must do, and things I have much experience in doing.

Both gigs involve a certain level of interaction with the public so I will step out once again into the public kind of writing and back into the social media spheres. I’ll post pictures of my cats and my beers and share and reshare observations on Twitter and Facebook. I’ll let you know which new Seattle bands I like. I will still be working on the book of course. I’ll still be writing. And if you see me again at the corner of the bar sipping a beer and typing away, you don’t have to ask. I am writing. I have never stopped. But in the morning, you just might be able to read some of it.