How to have fun inside when the smoke blocks out the sun

click to enlarge How to have fun inside when the smoke blocks out the sun
Roll a natural 20 and your summer will be smoke-free.

Last week, New Yorkers learned a lesson we in the Inland Northwest have been long familiar with: wildfire smoke sucks.

It's irritating, ugly and sometimes dangerous. It's a dark cloud that hangs over the summer. Worst of all, the smoke forces us back indoors — stealing those limited days of sun that might have otherwise been spent outdoors, basking in the summer air.

Thankfully, it's still possible to have fun indoors this summer. Think of the smoke as a chance to finally dive into that creative project you've been putting off. Pick up an instrument or start putting that novel idea on paper. Put your imagination to the test with a murder mystery party or a round of Dungeons & Dragons. The smoke may move summer fun indoors, but it doesn't have to stop it.


Writing is the perfect indoor activity. Four walls, zero distractions and a maddening sense of isolation have fueled countless great literary works. For beginners and experts alike, Spokane Public Library offers a series of workshops this summer that can help get the creative ball rolling.

On June 22, check out the Shadle Park Library for "Avoiding the Mistakes that Tag You as an Amateur Writer," a workshop hosted by author Nora Profit from 1:30 to 3 pm. The interactive workshop focuses on writing exercises and discussions focused on common writing errors as well as structures that fuel great prose.

Once you've got the basics down, head to the South Hill Library for a July 12 workshop titled "Bittersweet, A Writing Workshop" with Sarah Conover. The two-hour workshop starts at 1 pm, and explores theories and prompts for unlocking the raw, tender terrain of grief through writing. "A grief story is a love story," Conover says.

The next day, July 13, the Shadle Park Library is hosting "What's Your Story?" — a writing workshop on the art and craft of memoir writing hosted by local writer Jenny Davis. Through a series of prompts and discussion, participants learn how to access their memories and turn their lives into a compelling literary experience.


Your body may be stuck indoors, but your imagination is free to wander. The Gamer's Haven just north of Kendall Yards hosts regular open sessions where new and experienced Dungeons & Dragons players can drop in, join a game and invent characters to explore vast fantasy worlds. You can find similar events at Merlyn's Comics and Games and Natural 20 Brewing Co. If you want to take the experience to an even higher, and more fabulous level, check out Dungeons & Drag Queens — a Seattle-based drag comedy show that's coming to the Bing Crosby Theater on June 24, from 8 to 10 pm.

click to enlarge How to have fun inside when the smoke blocks out the sun
Gorge on an Italian beef sandwich after binging The Bear.


The Writers Guild of America is on strike for better pay and working conditions. If their demands aren't met soon, it could spell disaster for television and usher in a new era of bloated, unscripted reality TV. So next time the sun forces you inside, consider a guilt-free day of binge watching the good stuff that's still out there. The second season of The Bear — a funny and surprisingly heartfelt series centered on a Chicago restaurant kitchen — premieres June 22. The sixth season of the hilariously-weird vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows premieres July 13. On Aug. 2, you can follow the exploits of four Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma with the third season of Reservation Dogs. There's so much good stuff coming soon — stay inside and enjoy it!


Okay, not a real one. In Coeur d'Alene, Crime Scene Entertainment has a series of murder mystery parties lined up almost every weekend this summer. Put your detective skills to the test as you and other attendees work to piece together and find the killer. The events are fully interactive and have themes like the Wild West, Game of Thrones and Alice in Wonderland. Costumes are encouraged — real murders are not.


Summer is often seen as a time of cleaning and thinning — a fresh start, a blank page and an empty, eggshell white room converted into a desolate Apple Store purged of anything resembling clutter. But what if Marie Kondo was wrong? Why should every single possession spark joy? This summer, experiment with maximalism. Go to the thrift store and buy the first three paintings you see. Buy books you'll never read and stack them on the shelves. All those boxes taking up space in the basement? Unpack them and scatter the contents about. Embrace the chaos.


Bored at home? Why not finally pick up that guitar that's been sitting in the corner, gathering dust and begging to be played. Hoffman Music has six sound-treated lesson studios and a big roster of local musicians. They teach the usual stuff — guitar, violin and saxophone — but also accordion, bagpipes, banjo and euphonium. For piano, check out Music City Spokane. If you're interested in a heavier, rocking style of music, check out Learn to Burn School of Music for lessons on electric guitar, drums and bass. Remember: practice (eventually) makes perfect. ♦

Disability Pride Celebration @ Riverfront Park

Sat., July 27, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
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Nate Sanford

Nate Sanford is a staff writer for the Inlander covering Spokane City Hall and a variety of other news. He joined the paper in 2022 after graduating from Western Washington University. You can reach him at [email protected]