Pen That Next Screenplay at The Writer’s Lodge

(originally posted in The Weekly Volcano on May 15, 2012)

I wouldn’t go so far as to say The Writer’s Lodge in Seattle will cast a spell over all visitors, but the ambiance does work some kind of magic. A combination of senses hit me at once upon seeing the newly-opened Lodge last week – the sunshine, the bubbling fountain outside, the mounds of cherry blossoms leading up to the entrance like a soft pink carpet. Yes, the location means a bit of a drive for South Sound filmmakers, but if you need a soothing place to finish that screenplay (or novel or epic poem or even term paper), the Lodge stands miles from any bustling coffeehouse.

The clean and spacious living room, with its many windows, couches and tables for writers to nestle, has a comfy, airy feel, as if Lodge owner (and full-time occupant) Christie Jenkins has called this her home for years. Yet surprisingly she moved from the Green Lake neighborhood to this new spot in Queen Anne only a few weeks ago. This strategic relocation came after a year’s work of studying business plans and, in her words, “trying to get the pulse of Seattle.”

Now Jenkins has built this private retreat for writers to find not only inspiration, but knowledge and support from fellow writers as well. She even has a psychologist stop by about once a month to discuss and combat the dreaded writer’s block. (I could definitely use that aid sometimes.)

Jenkins knows a good deal about authors’ unique habits and needs because she is one. While the two of us sat overlooking the Magnolia district and enjoying coffee and cookies (she makes a fresh batch every day for her clients), Jenkins told me about coming from Dallas and discovering success in Hollywood as a celebrity photographer and writer.

After coming to the realization that “you’re really not supposed to be over 40 in L.A. for any reason,” she found her way to Bainbridge Island and eventually the Emerald City. She currently has an autobiography underway about her encounters with pop culture.

Open four days each week from 9 A.M. to 6 P.M., the Lodge has several membership packages available, ranging between one month ($75) and a full year ($1,200). Writers have access to the first and second floors (Jenkins lives on the third), a full kitchen, and a cozy garden studio, complete with bunk bed, lying adjacent to the main house.

When we write, we each take a solo inward journey across our mental landscapes. Yet Jenkins and her vision for the Lodge wants to turn this time-honored private art into something richer and more communal.

“Writers don’t meet each other. They’re all in their…own little corner,” Jenkins observes. So she has flung open the doors and invited a community into her little corner, and by building enough interest she hopes, “You can always meet another writer here.”

Schedule a time to visit The Writer’s Lodge by calling (206) 524-4400, or email Jenkins at thewriterslodge @ aol dot com.

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