• James Yamasaki

Welcome to Seattle, AWP attendees! Please do me a favor: Wherever you are right now—relaxing in your crappy hotel room after a long day, lost deep inside the institutional amnesia of the Washington State Convention Center—I want you to go outside. And then I want you to look around. It's beautiful, isn't it? Like any city, Seattle has its flaws (sorry about the public transportation, and try not to antagonize the police), but whenever things seem like they're wobbling out of control, you can step outside just about anywhere and in any kind of weather and you'll see something beautiful to give you perspective. We're surrounded by water and mountains, our city is shot through with bolts of lush greenways, and there are enough delights for pedestrians sprinkled throughout the city to make every neighborhood a worthy destination.

This is a landscape that's perfect for humans.

Part of the reason I moved to Seattle from the East Coast was for the rain and the clouds. There's nothing more annoying than the pang of guilt that comes unbidden when you choose to stay inside with a good book on a beautiful spring day. With its relentless cloud cover, Seattle minimizes the opportunity for that kind of guilt. In fact, it rewards people for reading and writing, which is part of the reason our city always hovers near the top of those (admittedly somewhat arbitrary) "most literate city" polls that circulate around the internet every year or so.

For such a young city, Seattle's character seemed to arrive fully formed, and it's a character that was created from literature...

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