Taking Tea in the Kasbah

Dear Benedict,

Thank you for looking after the kasbah last weekend while I was away at my writing conference. Things seemed to be in order around here which I greatly appreciate. Also, many thanks for the awesomesauce pillow you left for me. It’s an absolutely fantastic addition to the kasbah.

This weekend I am in Seattle visiting both long-time friends and new friends, hence the late letter. I would have left the keys to the kasbah with you again but I didn’t want to impose. I know how busy you are these days.

Yes, I’m having a great time here. The 12 year-old and I have spent the gorgeous, sunny days exploring the unique neighborhoods of the city and the evenings having dinner with friends. It’s been wonderful to have time away and spend it with friends I don’t get to see as often as I would like, talking about writing and laughing to tears about random things like fake shrapnel wounds from Nam, MC Hammer, and the Potter Puppet Pals YouTube videos. Few things in life are better than a good tear-inducing belly laugh, don’t you agree?

Travel is a great way to learn new things, not only about the place you’re visiting, but also about yourself and your travel buddy. Like for instance, I’ve learned that the 12 year-old has a newly acquired affinity for Queen. Shortly thereafter, I learned that I have limit on the number of times in a row I can listen to Bohemian Rhapsody. I’ve learned that it’s lots of fun to put in your destination into the car’s GPS system and then when it insists that you “take the next right turn” into Elliott Bay, you can mock it in a variety of accents and voices until it complies with the land-based route you think is best. I also learned that 12 year-olds are much smarter than GPS systems, make stellar playlists for road trips and have cravings for cheddar bunny crackers at 4am.

Overall, it has been a productive trip.

I’m excited for you that Parade’s End is to air in the U.K. on August 24th. I’m looking forward to seeing it. Someday. When it FINALLY airs in the U.S. But not now. Like most things you’ve been in lately, I have to wait.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Parade's End


I may be stepping over a line here, but for the love of all that is holy could you please work on something that will air AT THE SAME TIME IN THE U.S.? When you think about it, I’m helping you help yourself by suggesting you look for gigs in which all audiences across the world get to be a part of the premieres. We all come out winners in this scenario and really, what’s better than that?

Remember the fantastic television shows you created for me to write for you? Those are perfect examples of what I’m talking about. Sure, they might not be roles with the depth of character you’re used to playing, but I think you were on to something there. I’ll send you the scripts post-haste as soon as I finish them. (Note to self: begin writing scripts for Benedict.)

It’s either that or I might need you to remind me why I’m living here instead of over there because I continue to miss out on seeing your performances. You know how I hate feeling left out. I imagine that is what you might be feeling like not knowing where the writing cave is, so I’m going to do something unprecedented here today. I’m going to give you a peek at what the writing cave is striving to become. Someday. (I was going to write ‘When it airs in the U.S.’, but I’m not that snarky.) (O.k., maybe I am, but I resisted the urge to write it.) (Yes, I realize I actually wrote it and now it’s out there, but as you can see with all of these parenthetical sentences I am justifying how I almost wrote it but didn’t. And as we all know, almost writing doesn’t really count. Until it does.)

Moving on…

The writing cave strives to be worldly and in order to do that, maps must be involved. Lots of them. Artfully displayed. Also, a chaise lounge is required for the writer in residence to recline and gaze up at the maps, pondering where her next adventure will be.

The writing cave is also aims to have big, soaring windows and lots of cozy places to sit and write. Or nap. But mostly write, since it is a writing cave.

Also on the writing cave’s list of goals are floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and a rolling ladder. The writing cave’s collection of books continues to multiply at a high rate thus tall bookshelves are a necessity as is a rolling ladder, because the writing cave has always wanted one.

The writing cave definitely wants to have a super secret entrance like this hidden door/bookshelf. All the better to keep the location of the writing cave hidden from distractions. Distractions like shows and performances that star classy British actors. Even the ones that the writing cave will have to wait 873 years to see because they are only being shown in the U.K. at the moment.

Not that the writing cave is bitter about this.

But when I think about it, it’s really like you helping me help myself with my writing career because I’ll be better able to focus on finishing my novel and writing those t.v. scripts for you. Brilliant.

I know, we’re so dang intuitive with each other this way. It’s crazy how that keeps happening.

Intuitively yours,



*Editor’s note: The views, ideas, and opinions expressed in the Letters from Benedict series are works of fiction and obviously did not come from the actor himself. This series is just my way of expressing adoration for Mr. Cumberbatch and his work and is not intended to be taken at face value or seen as a true collaborative writing endeavor with him.

18 thoughts on “Dear Benedict: On Road Trips, Laughter, & Career Advice

  1. Tami – Yes, it really IS crazy how you and Benedict are so in tune with each other.
    Gotta say, my choice is for the little cozy writing cave with all the maps. I could definitely work there…

    • The writing cave definitely aspires to have lots of maps in it. Ideally, a whole wall would be filled with them. 🙂

  2. Dear Tami,
    Seattle is too cool. Also, there is no limit to the times one may listen to Bohemian Rhapsody and appreciate. You must turn up the volume next time.

    • The volume was turned way up. Lots of singing and a dance party – the car version – took place up and down I-5. We were rockin’ it going north and south. After 5000th rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, I did get a little burned out. It’s a good thing Prince was there for a little variety.

      Maybe you should join us on our next road trip to fully appreciate the magic that is Queen. 🙂

  3. on ,
    marcia said:

    The writing caves are so compelling they make me want to start a novel ASAP just to have an excuse to spend time in each of them!

    • You should create your own writing cave to do whatever you want in them. Write, listen to audio books, read your medical journals… whatever. 🙂

  4. Now you’ve got me thinking about up-dating my writing (messy room) area. Wish I could get organized. Love those bookshelves. I have an eclectic grouping of them with book stacked on top of books. One of these days…..

    • The writing cave is striving to be more organized like in those photos. Someday. After all of his performances air in the U.K. 😉

  5. on ,
    livrancourt said:

    Heh. You sat in my writing cave and didn’t even know it. Or maybe you did…

  6. Tami, writing caves do need rolling ladders and doors disguised as shelves and should be cavernous enough to get lost in. I for one would install a circular staircase to reach the second level of books the rolling ladder could not get to. Chaise is not only good for gazing at maps and daydreaming of adventures, but also useful for actually dreaming.

    • A circular staircase is a must for writing caves. In fact, secret rooms within rooms hidden by bookcases should be included as well. And yes, chaises should be used for all kinds of dreaming and resting and sleeping.

        • I’d let you in the writing cave anytime, Sherry. I believe you would actually be helpful for my writing. As for Benedict? Not so much. Still too distracting. Still sending lascivious dialogue to put in my novel. Maybe someday…

    • I know, right? I’ve always wanted a secret entrance to a room in my house. Blame it on Scooby Doo. 🙂

  7. I hear it’s been hot out your way (in Seattle too). Would there be air-conditioning in your cave? Or at least a huge, straw ceiling fan? Love the pictures and wonder if you are having as much trouble as I am getting all the writing done while traveling and spending time with your kids, friends, family, etc.? I don’t want summer to end but a little, itty-bitty piece of me can’t wait for the routine to begin again.

    • I would have air-conditioning in the writing cave to use as needed, but I always prefer a fan over the A/C so it would rarely be used.

      I am having a very hard time getting writing done with the seductive call of summer and mini-vacations. In fact, this week I’ve slacked off on posting here in the kasbah. I don’t want summer to end either, especially since it feels like it just started here. I haven’t found a way to work on my laptop while sitting in the sun in a way that doesn’t involve squinting to see the screen. So in that sense, when the weather’s not good and I’m driven indoors I do get more writing done. For now, I’m soakin’ up the sunshine and lovin’ it. 🙂

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