Seattle Writing Prompts are intended to spark ideas for your writing, based on locations and stories of Seattle. Write something inspired by a prompt? Send it to us! We're looking to publish writing sparked by prompts.
Also, how are we doing? Are writing prompts useful to you? Could we be doing better? Reach out if you have ideas or feedback. We'd love to hear.
This globe was first raised over their building at 6th and Wall in 1948. The Post-Intelligencer — a combined name (the Seattle Post merged with the Intelligencer in 1881) that feels like a commentary name — had its headquarters there, in a building that is now housing City University. You can still see the round entry where the globe sat before they moved it to the newer waterfront building in 1986.
The P-I was a Hearst paper. During it's long run, northwest novelists Tom Robbins and Frank Herbert were employees, as was EB White (as in Strunk-and, and Charlotte's Web) for a spell after he got fired from the Seattle Times ("A youth who persisted in rising above facts must have been a headache to a city editor" he wrote later. He also wrote, after reading his journals of his time in Seattle, "As a diarist, I was a master of suspense, leaving to the reader's imagination everything pertinent to the action of my play").
The globe is certainly an icon in this town. Any montage worth its salt is sure to show it. It currently belongs to the Museum of History and Industry, but exactly what they have planned for the big metal ball of steel and neon has not yet been revealed. But, wherever it goes, it will still inform you: "It's in the P-I".
Surely, there were thousands of stories that took place as that globe turned and the desks turned in their reporting. But let's try something different, if you're game. Let's think of a few stories that take place all within view of the PI Globe.
The Jogger — Back then, going through Myrtle-Edwards at night wasn't the best idea, but a tough guy like him wasn't gonna get scared off his nightly run by some hoods in a park. But when a charley horse in his calf pulled him up short by one of the pocket beaches, he could hear the lapping of the water against the rocks and wood. And he could hear the voice coming up low and stranled, "help me, please!"
The Artist — Finally, a show in New York. Working around the clock was worth it. But the loft space that used to look at the water now looked at that damn new building for the paper. And they lowered that kitschy monstrosity on top, and lit it up, ruining the light in the studio. Nothing doing, the paintings had to get finished. Even if the seeping influence of that glowing ball found its way into them....
The Accident — It was just their luck. The road was wet, just on Elliott where it turned. The Camaro they jacked was powerful, but with bald tires. They slid, sideswiping that other car, then careening into a parked car, smashing the front-end. Now they had to choose: run for it, or stop to help the woman they just hit.
The Informant — He kept to the shadows across from the paper, up their on 6th. He risked lighting a cigarette, then cupped it in his hand so as not to draw attention to himself. That reporter knew where he was. She'd want to know all the details, and he was ready to spill. Damn the consequences. Ain't no good having connections when they all just gonna turn on you. Best thing you can do is turn on them first, and get out of town. That's just what he planned to do. He pulled his hat down to shield his eyes from the rain, and waited to for the dame to get off her duff and come find him.
the Chaplain — The bay was well protected, both by these inland waters they'd been exploring on the Wilkes Expedition — still going strong in 1841 — and by the natural land forms that curved about it. Jared Leigh Elliott, chaplain on the Vincennes, had borrowed a glass to observe the shore from the ships rail. Suddenly, he had a vision through the scope that quite shook him. A vision of a globe, lit by some ghastly ominous light, with letters surrounding, quite clearly spelling "IT'S IN". A moment later, the vision was gone, and Elliott scanned the land again, trying to find whatever it was he surely must not have seen. Wondering if he was having a fit. He heard the steps behind him, knew it was the captain come to chat. Wondered exactly if he should tell him what he had seen. A glowing world. Why would the lord visit such strange visions upon him?