SAL/ON

A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

A Choose Your Own Adventure for the Holidays

In this Choose Your Own Adventure post, assume the role of our protagonist and make choices as to how to spend four Seattle Arts & Lectures vouchers!

To play: start at the top and read until the first decision, then proceed to whichever number follows. The best part? Once you’re finished you can start back at the beginning and choose a new outcome.

Ready? Let’s begin.


By Danielle-Palmer Friedman

Scenario: You smell the coffee brewing as you shuffle into the kitchen wearing your favorite fluffy socks. You hear a bag of marshmallows pop open. A sweet sail of sugar joins the air as you settle into your favorite armchair. You’re handed a sparkly red envelope with your name printed on the front. The anticipation hits you; it’s your first gift of the season!

You open it and inside is exactly what you were hoping for: a 4-part SAL Flex Pass. You dropped a few hints about upcoming talks, but you didn’t think anyone was listening. It looks like you were wrong!

You wanted a Flex Pass so you could get four seats to Seattle Arts & Lectures’ 2019/20 Season, split anyway you like. But, with so many ways to use a Flex Pass, how will you ever decide how to spend your vouchers? Step by step, of course.

The first big decision of the Flex Pass is whether to share it or savor it solo:

To invite others to enjoy SAL events with you, head to #2.

To enjoy all four vouchers for yourself, head to #3.

1. You have two seats left.

After deciding to bring your friend to Machado’s lecture at Town Hall Seattle, you pop open the Seattle Arts & Lectures calendar to browse through your options. You mouse over a few tiles to read the author teasers, and a certain photo piques your interest. It’s Maira Kalman. You read on, do a quick Google, and realize: you’ve seen and admired her work for years. You saved a few of her covers from The New Yorker and were always planning to get them framed, but instead, you were gifted a copy of Various Illuminations a few years back, which now sits on your coffee table.

It seems like a no-brainer. You can invite the friend who gifted you Various Illuminations and the circle of shared admiration for Kalman’s work can come to a satisfying close. You compose a text inviting them and sit, content, waiting for the reply.

After all, if they decline, it will leave you with another SAL seat to spend. And a seat to a SAL event is never wasted on you. End.

2. You believe sharing is caring.

How nice of you to Flex Pass with your friends! Your good friend has been talking about Carmen Maria Machado’s new memoir In the Dream House ever since you two saw it on the Seattle Public Library’s Peak Picks shelf. They’ve already read it and have been trying to bump it up your #tbr list for almost a month now. Based on what you’ve heard – that it’s “the kind of book that burrows under the reader’s skin” – you’re interested. After all, it was named Best Book of the Year by The New Yorker and Publishers Weekly. Carmen’s having a moment.

To invite one friend to Carmen Maria Machado and use your other two vouchers for another lecture, head to #1.

To invite three friends to Carmen Maria Machado, head to #4.

3. There are just too many authors to see.

You couldn’t possibly share your precious four nights with anyone else. No one can fault you for this, and even if they do, you won’t be around to hear it—you’ll be busy listening to the greatest literary minds of your generation.

There’s no doubt you’ll see Carol Anderson, one of the premier scholars of Black history who helped start a larger, more honest conversation about racism in the United States with White Rage. And of course, you never miss The Moth, your favorite live storytelling event of the year.

But what about the two other seats? Your mind starts twirling the options in its fingertips. Do you choose journalist Adam Davidson, who’s current project, The Passion Economy, offers ways to rethink your career in the new year, or journalist Elizabeth Kolbert, who followed geologists, botanists, and biologists into the field to report on climate change? Do you choose Min Jin Lee, whose novel Pachinko you’re still thinking about, or Luis Alberto Urrea, who writes from the borderlands of Mexico and the United States with warmth and hilarity?

Before you start stressing too much, you remember a Flex Pass doesn’t have to be exchanged all at once. You can call the SAL Box Office at 206.621.2230 x10 and reserve seats to Carol Anderson’s lecture and The Moth right away. But for your next two events? You can plan to ruminate a little longer—it feels good to have options. End.

4. You’ve invited your three favorite book nerds to Machado’s lecture.

You’ve all managed to read her haunting, genre-shattering memoir by now. It flew by, the pages almost turning themselves, moving forward of their own accord. Talk about eerie.

Machado’s lecture is on Friday, and you decide to make a night of it. One of your friends buys you a glass of wine at Town Hall’s Café to say thank you for their seat. After the lecture, the four of you head to Vito’s for some late night spaghetti and meatballs, a conversation about the Q&A, and that one quote of Machado’s echoing in your head. End.


Ready for a literary-style choose-your-own-adventure for yourself or a loved one? Buy one here before January 1; prices start at $149.

Posted in 2019/20 Season