The New Elliott Bay Bookstore
Being creative is something that most people believe themselves to be – and all of them are right. Creativity is a word that adapts to everything one does: writing, painting, restoring cars, picking locks, web development, chocolate making, food prep, quilting – the list goes on.
As a creative director, it’s my job to come up with all sorts of ideas for all sorts of applications in my chosen field of event, video and installation production. So it’s incumbent upon me to fill my head up with countless ideas – most of which I get by reading. Why reading? Because, unlike any other medium, it forces you to visualize – to create spaces, conflict, love, beauty, acrimony, sex, environmental ruin, the past, present and future and relationships – in your head. Reading a book is simply a guide to creating mental landscapes that takes you to places you ordinarily can’t, wouldn’t, or in some cases, shouldn’t go.
All of which brings me to the new Elliott Bay Bookstore space on Capitol Hill in Seattle. A space, which is light, open, inviting and so thoroughly right for a bookstore, it’s astonishing that they stayed in the dark, winding, claustrophobic space in Pioneer Square for so long. We as people hang on to our traditions too long, I suppose, and we believe that things cannot change because they have been part of the fabric of a space or neighborhood.
Upon walking into the new space for the bookstore, you’re struck by light that streams in from large windows and skylights, how everything is illuminated even on the many Seattle gray days. Books are stacked, shelved and falling over one another to get at you, to dare you to enter into their world where you will have to let your mind’s eye wander and wonder.
Which now brings me back to creativity. Creativity is about change. It’s keeping current, moving, letting you be taken out of comfort and into a foreign space. It’s listening to every kind of music, seeing the best of movies and sometimes the worst, it’s going to the museum, seeing opera and theatre, but mostly it’s about reading everything you can get your hands on. But start with novels, any kind of novel because within the narrative, you will have to visualize everything.
Here’s to the new space for the Elliott Bay Bookstore. May it thrive into its next half century to provide a space for wonder, contemplation and the environment in which creativity abounds.
Elliott Bay Bookstore