Living in Seattle wasn’t in the script for Maria Semple.
But it has worked out pretty well.
Semple wasn’t the author of the international bestseller Where’d You Go, Bernadette, when moving day arrived for Semple, her boyfriend and their young daughter.
“I probably shouldn’t say this here, but I hated it,” Semple told a laughing, attentive and full room at Mukilteo’s Rosehill Community Center on Wednesday, Sept. 5. The luncheon event was presented by the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation.
Leaving LA was a given, Semple said, but Seattle emerged because her boyfriend, longtime “Simpsons” writer George Meyer, “had been here once for the Final Four.” Intending to call his bluff, Semple said she offered to just go on the internet and buy a house in Seattle. “He said, ‘OK.’”
“I didn’t know anyone in Seattle,” Semple said. She realized just how few connections they had before the move when a few years later, it came to update her daughter’s emergency contact information at school. “I realized I had put down our Realtor.”
Still, it took support from a friend and novelist to make the leap to writing books. And, she found some of the material for “Bernadette” in her feelings about living in Seattle at the time. A series of letters, the book makes pointed fun of a place that “never met a four-way stop that couldn’t be made into a five-way stop,” Semple said in reading a passage.
“Bernadette” is being made into a movie starring Cate Blanchett. If the story reflects a point in her life, Semple said her most recent book, Today Will Be Different, continues the journey. “There are those moments at night when you lay there thinking, ‘Why wasn’t I better?’”
And has Seattle gotten any better? Whatever the case, she’s chosen to stay.
“We still live in the same place we bought when we moved here,” Semple said.
The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation proudly supports the innovative work of Sno-Isle Libraries through private donations. Sponsors for the Maria Semple event include Coastal Community Bank, Midwest Tape, OverDrive, Rbsco, Baker & Taylor, brainfuse and Gale Cengage Learning.