The Greater Seattle Bureau of Fearless Ideas, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for youth that’s housed within the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co. at 8414 Greenwood Ave. N., is celebrating itself and our neighborhood in a big way on Saturday with the book launch of “Encyclopedia Greenwoodia.”
The book features stories, poems and essays by 38 BFI students and 15 adult writers, with a foreword by former Mayor Mike McGinn, who lives just a few blocks from BFI. The book was sent to the printer before the March 9 natural gas explosion that leveled three businesses across the street and blew out BFI’s windows and caused structural damage inside, along with damaging another 50 businesses in a several-block radius. Originally a fundraiser for BFI, all profits of the book will now go to the Greenwood Relief Fund, to help those businesses, employees and apartment residents move on. And they’ve increased the print run, with help from 4Culture, which provided the original grant for the book.
Coincidentally, the first student piece in the book is a short love letter from a BFI student to Mr. Gyros restaurant, which was destroyed in the blast. The first line sets the tone: “Opening the door to Mr. Gyros, I felt it was a place as friendly as a fuzzy bunny.” Other stories feature Gordito’s, the Angry Beaver and G&O Family Cyclery, all three heavily damaged in the explosion.
The book, supported with a grant from 4Culture and printed in Seattle, also includes historic photos from archives at the Museum of History and Industry and the University of Washington, alongside essays relating to neighborhood history. A foldout map shows story locations and neighborhood highlights. There are fictional stories of Greenwood’s past and future, imagined residents and places, sensory reviews of businesses, profiles of notable Greenwoodians, and even mysteries set in the neighborhood.
The book launch and author reading party is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at the nearby Greenwood Senior Center, 525 N. 85th St. (Because BFI was heavily damaged in the blast, the book launch was moved to the senior center and all programs are now taking place down the street at the Phinney Neighborhood Association, 6532 Phinney Ave. N.) Books will be available for purchase and also will be sold for $10 at many neighborhood locations, with more author readings coming later this spring.
The book is already getting a lot of press, including from The Seattle Weekly and The Seattle Times.