Monday, August 20, 2018


Mossback opening is as full of comforting platitudes and clichés as my old dog is of ticks or as my favorite frog has laid guppies. I know it is one of the hottest summer, but is even the moss turning brown? Mossback seems to have entered his dotage. When was Seattle livable? When the original inhabitants were being displaces, when the hills were washed into the bay, during that extended building spree? When the Chinese were being expelled after they had built the peculiarly named ship-canal, when the Japanese were interned?
Seattle was a one factory town as it is in the process of turning into but of another kind. It was also home of the Wobblies and Hooverville. It is an American city and suffers all the problematics of U.S. Capitalism.
I take Mossback’s word that for middle class kids it was nicely laid back at one time, as I think it is now if you have enough bread. And not to be too bloody-minded, I have noticed old-timers who had that kind of comfy childhood and life and within limits I enjoy their presence. I know and have read of a few other American cities of which the same is the case, Charleston S.C., Ashville, Savannah, St. Barbara, of course, is the most unexpected gem but it takes a bucketful of gems to live there.
One of my first impressions of Seattle on coming here in 1994 – to see some green and have some rain after a decade in desert-like environs. and get to know some relatives who had emigrated to the region around 1900 and started the Vancouver stock exchange, build Normandy Park, become the saviors of Issaquah and of some coal-mining and be interned for their effort when the U.S. entered the war on the side of the U.K. in 1919 – was of Aurora Avenue, at the end of which there lies no aurora, but the usual American hustle, American survivalitis as I call it, its bedrock or is it its bed of nails?
I needed a library card and being worthy the U.W. afforded me and I came to know the humanities there as anything but illustrious. Good hospitals, good science and tech work. Aside my work as a longtime NY editor and translator I had a side profession as dramatist-translator adaptor and discovered that what was called the “greening of America” in the Seattle in the mid-90s was graying and had not laid good roots and I found Seattle to be profoundly unconducive to artistic activity, too anal, folks are always cleaning, too many narrow-minded supervisors, in short provincial in the wrong way. I also found Seattle to be cheap, historically for the reasons of historical memory of whence the immigrants came.…/seattle-uconducive-to-arti…
However, Seattleites, like Americans in general - as I came to know them as an occupation force as of 1945 - are nice folk, amazingly considering what life puts them through, at least as long as you don’t become too intimate. I, of course, have had the most amazing negative experiences here but they are not unique to Seattle, and I have had them, as I have had positive experiences, no matter where I have set foot, even in the Kolkota of 1972.
No doubt Mossback is right about the dust eventually settling from the regional expansion; or of course it may not and by compare to scores of American cities Seattle is still preferable.

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MICHAEL ROLOFF exMember Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS: "MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" {J. Joyce} "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben] contact via my website


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