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Seán Dwyer

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When it was time to Write Out again, I intended to head into downtown Bellingham, to create a balance between our two main clusters of writing venues. The weather was dreary at the time I left, though, and I wound up walking about four blocks to the Colophon Café instead of climbing into my car.

You might wonder why I would choose to walk somewhere in bad weather, rather than drive a bit farther, especially when I could stay home and work. For starters, it just didn’t seem like a good afternoon for a drive. And there’s a truth I’ve learned to accept: sometimes I can’t write at home. I often write more efficiently when I’m away from such distractions as laundry and meals that require cooking. I don’t always need the isolation of a public writing space, but there are days when I must get away. If you’re having a hard time focusing on your project, try Writing Out!

Here are the standard details for the Colophon Café:

Address: 1208 11th Street, Bellingham, WA (Fairhaven)
WiFi: free, unsecured
Music: quiet, varied styles
Tables: Several small tables, several spacious booths
Outlets: Available
Clientele: local, tourists
Gluten-free options: yes
Hours: 9:00am-8:00pm M-Th, till 10pm Fri-Sat, open at 10am Sun
12-oz cappuccino cost: $3.25 plus tax
Time allowed: 2+ hours
Parking: free on street
Loyalty card: no

The Colophon is a well-known, highly regarded restaurant, where diners flow in and out as steadily as waves wash onto the shore of Bellingham Bay. Even if I were tucked into a corner of the restaurant, I might feel a bit self-conscious about taking up space at the Colophon. So, I asked about settling in to write, and I was encouraged to do so. Enthusiastically. Writers do come and stay, and they aren’t pushed out, even when a rush occurs.

Since I’m blessed (or cursed) with a high metabolism, I like to be able to get a snack after a couple of hours of writing. The Colophon surprised me by having a 3-6pm happy hour that covers some nice appetizers, as well as wine and beer. There’s an espresso menu, should you need a jolt now and then. The Colophon can, in the writer’s world, start out as a coffee shop and morph into a restaurant; you can take a food break and have a real meal without the need to pack up and move on.

There is both upstairs and downstairs seating. If you sit upstairs in a booth, you’ll be exposed to an array of ice cream flavors. Your willpower (or love of ice cream) will dictate the wisdom of parking yourself there. Downstairs, there are tiny tables that can keep your friends or fans from elbowing their way into your space, and booths for those times when you want to watch a companion eat while you write.

Music is piped into the dining room, but it’s not intrusive. I found the cycle of rushes and quiet times soothing, and I got into a good zone and never left it. The venue works for those who can write with a background murmur. In summer, you’ll be able to sit outdoors and enjoy the Fairhaven Village Green. A bonus is that you can have your photo taken with Dirty Dan Harris at any time, which will prove that you were Writing Out.

002 Sean and Dan

If you dine at the Colophon but haven’t written there, perhaps it’s time to repurpose the place for your artistic benefit. It’s certainly on the list of useful Dwyer cafés.

002 Colophon me

And what have I accomplished this week, between my Writing In and my Writing Out? I get to admit that I was slow on the tweaking of the story I plan to send to Memoir, but the thing that’s going to Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine has its bags packed and is waiting for the mail truck. I’m going to read five minutes’ worth of it at the March Red Wheelbarrow Writers meeting. I love that bunch, by the way.

What have you written this week? Talk to you soon!

8 comments on “Write Out at the Colophon

  1. historyweaver says:

    Very nice. I like the Colophon for its great soups too.

  2. Thomas Black says:

    Sean, writing out sometimes helps. I’ve driven to Bloomington a couple of times to sit in the student union and write in the Grand Hall when I’m working on a Jenna novel. A different atmosphere can really be helpful. I’ll write for hours without moving, mostly because I don’t want to lose my spot! Good luck with the Mystery Magazine. I’ll be eager to see your work in print. And good luck with your reading at the Wheelbarrow! You should video the reading and put in on FaceBook!

  3. Rob Moses says:

    That place is awesome!

  4. LeAnne says:

    I support you Sean!

  5. One of my favorite places to write out! Also upstairs at Book Fare (at the bar is quieter).

  6. Maureen says:

    I’ve never seen a photo of the colophon like this. You capture the warm glow on a cold day so beautifully.

  7. Allison Roberts says:

    Sean, I love your write outs. What a great idea! This is worth a return visit since the Colophon has completely transformed itself into a cozy third place complete with a 3-inch thick cocktail height table reclaimed from the original tenant, a soft leather couch arrangement next to a gas fireplace and new Re-Store made dining settees.

    1. caithiseach says:

      Allison, an update is a great idea. Will you be attending the Writers Mixer on December 10? Thanks for reading!

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