I decided to Write Out at another place I haven’t visited before, so I went to a venue I’d noticed a couple of times. When I, as a Bellingham neophyte, drove past it the first time, it seemed far away, because I was driving in aimless rectangles, looking for something else. It turns out that the Lettered Streets Coffeehouse is four short blocks inland from Holly Street, on the corner of F and Dupont, and thus accessible by foot from downtown Bellingham.
Here are the standard details for the Lettered Streets Coffeehouse:
Address: 1001 Dupont St., Bellingham, WA
WiFi: free, secured
Tables: 8 or 9; 6 additional seats at short bars
Outlets: on the wall
Gluten-free options: yes
Hours: 6:45am-6pm M- F, 8am-5pm Sat-Sun
12-oz cappuccino cost: $3.15 plus tax
Time allowed: 2+ hours
Parking: free on the street, a few off-street spots
Loyalty card: yes; buy A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, get K free
The Lettered Streets Coffeehouse hums with activity: animated conversations, literacy training, you name it. None of the talking intruded on my thoughts; the healthy murmur of locals enjoying one another’s company, in a welcoming, low-key setting, established the white noise that helps me be productive. Music wove its way through the voices comfortably.
The staff contribute to the easygoing atmosphere by being efficient but friendly and willing to answer questions. I got my loyalty card stamped, and they explained to me that they stamp ten letters, A through J, rather than using numbers. The card itself is a work of art, thick and sturdy, enticing one to keep it handy for repeated stamping.
While I appreciate these touches, you may be all business, so let me tell you that the tables in the back room are comfortable, though close together. There’s no claustrophobic sensation involved. In the front room, there are three short bars with two tall chairs each. You can fit a laptop there, but I didn’t see outlets. It’s still a good workspace.
I forgot to check the tables and outlets on my first visit, though I used an outlet by the door into the back room. When I returned so I could report properly, I walked into the back room and saw a lot of women. They all looked at me, sort of like an Old West scenario when a stranger in town walks into a saloon. They didn’t look unfriendly, however; they just didn’t expect some guy to walk into their book club. It meets every Thursday at 4:30, so you won’t want to be going to the café to Write Out after 3pm or so on Thursdays, unless the group is reading your book.
A quirk of the building is that, should you want to use the restroom, you need to get the key and go outside, to the side of the building, as you would in a retro service-station configuration. The restroom was impeccable, unlike a lot of service stations I visited in the old days.
Lettered Streets offers soups, as well as a variety of baked goods, including GF items. You’ll have no trouble making it through a Write Out session. If you get frazzled, you can recharge by grabbing a book from their bookcase, then hit your own work again.
Lettered Streets is the sort of locally owned treasure that writers can use in symbiosis: they provide the space; you provide the words. Eventually, your book shows up on their shelf. Just keep at it.
And what have I accomplished this week, between my Writing In and my Writing Out? I forgot to mention that, as I was leaving the Book Fare after my previous Write Out, I signed up for the Village Books Open Mic for this Monday, January 28. I’ve been hesitant to bring my work to such a pùblic forum, but it’s time. I would be honored if you came to support all of the writers who will be reading. Please say hello if you can make it.
I’m finishing up my glance through my nonfiction manuscript, so I can send it to the Chanticleer Book Review contest.
Keep in mind our Write Out Field Trip to the Beach Store Café on Lummi Island on February 9. Initiated by Cami Ostman and Red Wheelbarrow Writers, the trip is taking shape nicely. We’ll ferry out, write, eat, drink coffee and wine, read our day’s work, and ferry back. If you’re interested in joining us, let me know—you don’t have to have prior contact with RWB to join us. Space is limited, of course, and we already have eight going. Please leave a comment here or on my Facebook writer page. If you follow that link, you may as well like the page, eh?
What have you written this week? Talk to you soon!