Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore searches Seattle for human connection

“One problem with gentrification is that it always gets worse,” writes Seattle author Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore in her new memoir, “The Freezer Door,” available Nov. 24. It’s a terse thesis statement for such an expansive, witty, perambulating book. In “The Freezer Door,” Sycamore wanders the streets of Seattle, searching for signs of humanity that have been obscured by the monolithic, glossy condominiums under construction on every corner.

“I’ve spent so much time trying to find the places and spaces where I can interact without feeling broken,” Sycamore writes, “but this hasn’t worked.”

A local literary dynamo who for the better part of the last decade could be found either in the audience or onstage at every Seattle-area literary event worth attending, Sycamore has become a nationally recognized thinker on LGBTQ+ issues — specifically concerning what it means to self-identify as queer in public spaces. As “gayborhoods” like Seattle’s Capitol Hill and the Mission in San Francisco become trendy hubs for wealthy young (and largely straight) tech workers, she laments the loss of the individuality and creativity of the earlier days of the LGBTQ+ movement — not to mention the intimacy.

“I’m searching for connection,” Sycamore says over the phone from her Capitol Hill apartment. “The dream of the city for me is the place where you find everything and everyone that you never imagined. And that’s the dream that I’m still trying to live, even as the city has changed so much.”

(Keep reading at the Seattle Times.)

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