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About this House of Clams


My name is Tracy Collins Ortlieb. I’ve lived in Seattle since 2000, and now specifically live in Ballard, home of commercial fishing boats, elderly Scandinavians, and the best place in town to get a Bloody Clam at Sunday brunch with the kids.

I grew up in St. Petersburg, FL, home to power boats, everyone’s grandparents, and some asshole Devil Rays fan who chooses one opposing team member to heckle during games and then screams at him like a cracked-out douchebag for nine innings. It’s also home of the St. Petersburg Times, which gave me my first real job and first real bylines, thus condemning me to many years of squandering those sterling credentials at lesser, crappier newspapers.

I spent a few years in D.C., worked for a nonprofit, dated a succession of asshats and made some terrific friends. Then I followed my heart to Salt Lake City, where it was summarily stomped and ground under a Lowa bootheel, and 18 months and one new Paxil habit later, followed my then-boyfriend (now best friend) Daron to the Emerald City.

Here, I’ve been in charge of Seattle University‘s magazine, won some awards and literary nods, freelanced and published some outraged letters-to-the-editor, and generally become a proud Seattleite. I also dated another army of assclowns, and several truly lovely men, until the waning days of 2004, when at my Sunday local, I met Michael. Four months later, we crazy lovebirds was all knocked up, and in the eleven years since have produced two tiny liberal secular humanists, because someone has to.

That makes me the opposite of what my college degree presumably prepared me for: a “Mad Men”-era stay-at-home Mommy to two small girls, cooking and cleaning and wrangling eleventy-jillion stuffed animals and hair ties and ensuring everyone makes it out of here alive and with a wiped ass. (Though to be fair, I did go to a pretty shitty college.) Michael makes and manages the money, I spend it on after-school activities and a nice cut of black cod, and we’re both eye-rolling-ly happy with the whole arrangement.

With one caveat: that with coupledom and pregnancy and parenthood, I had somehow lost myself, little pieces of the me that was that had, along the way, spiraled away in imperceptible tendrils until I was just. . . “Mama.” (And yeah, at bedtime and naptime, “Hot Mama.”) But either way, no longer just mine, free to read and write and create.

Since 2007, this blog has served to remedy that.

Also, I like vodka, Seattle Mariners games, photography, all things TiVo and Apple, novels and media, and anyone who can put fried okra in my facehole.