There is only one type of story in the world. Your story. — Ray Bradbury, Zen and the Art of Writing
Seattle played as much a part in my personal life as it had in my professional one.
While I had known I was gay in high school and came out to a few friends in the late 70s, I still struggled with the whole business while at Princeton. It wasn’t so much that I thought I wasn’t gay, it was more that I wasn’t sure how to go about being gay. It wasn’t until my senior year that I really started to make any gay friends and attend Gay Alliance events. I often wonder if I had done that earlier on would my whole college experience have been more fulfilling.
But it was in Seattle that I became fully comfortable with being gay and became very much a part of the community there. It was a smaller, less intense scene than San Francisco and was probably a good place for someone to mature.
During the years I lived in Seattle, I volunteered at the Seattle Gay Clinic, where I was Clinic Manager before taking over as President of the Board of Directors for a year. This was at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, and one of my tasks was to put together an anonymous testing program at the Clinic in conjunction with the Seattle Counselling Service. For the better part of a year, I also volunteered as Box Office Manager for the Evergreen Conservatory Theatre (ECT), operated by my boyfriend at the time. I also wrote a few articles for the Seattle Gay News (I still had a desire to be a writer).
While I was well-established in Seattle and it was a lovely place to live, I missed the cosmopolitan atmosphere in which I had grown up in New York and the Seattle that I knew was still small, fairly homogenous, and seemed more like a big town than a city.