Tonight, Lindy West reads from her memoir Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman at Town Hall Seattle, and it’s kind of a triumphant homecoming after the first leg of what looks to be a long book tour: she’s debuted the book in Chicago and in Brooklyn but she hasn’t yet read to a hometown crowd.
When she sat down with me for an interview, I asked Lindy something I’ve been meaning to ask for a very long time: there was a point when she and i worked together at The Stranger when she was becoming a nationally famous feminist cultural critic. In the days before the internet, that would have been the exact point when a writer would have packed up, left Seattle, and moved to New York City, to try to land jobs at high-paying magazines. Did Lindy stay in Seattle because the technology allowed her to telecommute, or was there something else that was keeping her here?
“I just love Seattle so much,” Lindy replied, “and I always have. Both of my parents are from here. There’s something about knowing that when I drive through downtown, I can see my dad walking down the street with his briefcase in 1973.” She said she “had the good fortune to keep getting jobs where they said I could work from wherever, so there’s just no compelling reason to go.” That said, “I know that I’m missing out on things. It’s hard to know what my career would be like if I had moved to New York. I definitely miss out on things like,” and here she screwed up her face with a special kind of disdain, “media cool kid happy hour, or whatever.”
It’s hard to imagine a more famous version of Lindy West right now; her book is getting rave reviews everywhere and she’s doing interviews with seemingly every media outlet in the English-speaking world. But part of her appeal is that she can be the totally fearless, brash, hilarious warrior on the internet and in print, and then she can come home and be a Seattleite who loves her family and friends and city in a completely earnest, un-New-York-y way. It’s hard to imagine a Lindy West without Seattle’s influence, and it’s impossible to imagine a Seattle without Lindy West.
Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Ave., 652-4255, townhallseattle.org. $5. All ages. 7:30 p.m.