Tag Archives: hotels

Inspiration Through a Blue Lens

I ran away from my life this weekend and it felt wonderful. I admire people who can stay put for decades in their lives, I do, but I can only take it for so long. I suppose I always find myself running away to a hotel alone because I’m searching for–what? Maybe it’s the closest thing to parents I have. Isn’t that sad you are thinking. Not really. I was an orphan by the time I was 30 and hotels for me have always been a place I felt comforted and at ease. It may also be I can have guaranteed uninterrupted silence and writing time in a hotel room. Ironically, that is harder and harder to come by it seems now that I write for a living during daylight hours.

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But perhaps it isn’t so much as running away as a kind of returning. Returning to what is nudging me from under the surface while I race around life, never stopping long enough to listen to what is calling to me. For a writer, it is impossible not to start to resent all the noise keeping you from the stories that are quietly whispering for your attention. It was heaven to stare out at the city, think about my novel and lose track of time

At the end of my little tryst with myself, I didn’t feel like going back to real life  just yet and instead went to see the Palme d’Or winning movie, Blue is the Warmest Colour. I’m still in a state of speechlessness from this movie but all I can say is if you want to see a brilliant exploration of human love and the complex, interior landscape of what a broken heart looks like laid open in all its fragmented, shattered pieces, then rush to your theatre and see it before it goes to the small screen. There are few movies where an entire theatre weeps in unison with understanding and sorrow over the protagonist’s fate; this is one of them. Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux who play the couple in the movie, clearly suffered during the making of it. After the production they would both comment on the horrendous conditions, the grueling emotional toll of the love scenes, and the uncharted territory of making a film about love between two women when both were heterosexual. In an unprecedented move, the jury at Cannes awarded both actresses and the director with the best picture award. When you see this story you will understand why. Here is a scene that captures their first kiss, which anyone can relate to as it contains all the emotions of new love so poignantly in a simple moment.

Seeing Blue is the Warmest Colour reminded me that nothing of real artistic worth comes without some suffering. If it is fluid, easy to buy, grab, consume, take or give away, it is a story that can’t affect you. When I left the theatre , still wiping my face from my tears, I realized that story would stay with me forever. I hope life gives me the time to write something of worth. I won’t mind suffering for it.

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Fall for all the right reasons

On a stormy, sodden, Pacific Northwest fall day, I ventured up to Whistler to escape city life with one of my oldest girlfriends who was in need of a reconnect to nature–in a luxurious way of course! Thanks to a dear friend I was treated like a Travel Queen (yes, that’s a proper title) at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Since Whistler is less than two hours away from Vancouver, we were out of the bustle of downtown and into the forest in no time.

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Thoroughly soaked after a long walk, we were thrilled to come back to the hotel room to find a lovely welcome awaiting us.

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Reframing Whistler for both myself and my girlfriend as a place we could enjoy sans boyfriends or partners was totally liberating. We’d gone there carrying a lot more baggage than an overnight bag and had left lighter and freer with a detailed itinerary planned out for our next trip to Los Angeles.

Over breakfast, I said to my friend, isn’t it wonderful not to be wondering where our relationship is going? We both had a good laugh. We never had to second-guess our friendship. We knew it was for life.

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Mrs. Everett Goes to Italy

She had grown tired of dressing up. Somewhere — maybe in Pisa? — it had stopped being for her and started to be for an imaginary audience she couldn’t name.  Was it an expectation that hung in the air? An expectation or was it loneliness? She felt sad as she roiled in her own self-doubt, suddenly aware of how far she had journeyed out into the world alone with no lifeboat to take her back to a familiar dock. Gone. She was at sea in a makeshift identity that was taking on water fast.

She slipped on simple cotton flats instead of heels and pulled an A-line shift over her head that she had found in a market in Rome. It was a little tighter now through her ribcage but no matter–she wasn’t going out to impress anyone. She was going out to eat.

Italy had been good to her. She had left Eze and taken the Corail Lunéa night train to Nice then traveled Ventimiglia and on to Rome. Rome had been overwhelming and she had chosen the safe but predictable tours to explore the city: the Uffizi, Coliseum, Spanish Steps, and the Vatican. Tours that most people save a lifetime for had made her feel like a garish advertisement in her own life. “Look! Middle-aged woman in freshly-bought Italian shoes admires art!”. She had become a cliche in her own story.

With no plan other than to escape her tourist persona, she traveled to Puglia, landing in Bari and realizing at once she’d made a mistake. After the spectacle of Rome, Bari seemed like a working man in overalls. That wasn’t entirely fair; her stay at the Palace Hotel had been quite lovely and the staff, through a lot of gesticulation and broken english, were able to make one of her dreams come true: Drive a vintage MG. When she was a girl, her grandmother had a friend–they all knew it was a lover but no one was crass enough to name it as such–who would sometimes come by her school to pick her up in an old MG. On rainy days the snaps would drip down soaking the sides of the car and leaching into the ratty carpet that smelled of mould. She had loved it. She would ask  him to drive past her house and circle the block before dropping her off. The smell of gas, old leather, and burning oil was one that comforted her. She had always dreamed of owning an MG but Edward had crinkled his nose in disdain whenever she had approached him about the idea. “Why would you want to own a piece of shit when you can drive a car worth more than most people’s houses?” Always the pragmatist Edward, she said out loud and shook her head, remembering his sharp, condescending tone.

In an act of defiance against her old limitations, she’d rented a 1960 MG Midget and driven out of the mad traffic of Bari towards the Cilento Coast.

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Car from Sprintage, the most fabulous way to get around Italy. http://www.sprintage.it/en/tourism.phtml

She had driven in abject terror of being run over by trucks and aggressive drivers that honked at her, alternately gesturing for her to pull over or some absurd sexual reference. She had questioned her course of action up until she entered the Campania region, where the whir of Cyprus trees, smell of crisp, salt air and empty roads welcomed her road-weary little MG and rattled nerves. She drove down Route 267, a two-lane road that follows the Cilento coast, a far cry from the glamour and glitz of the south of France but it offered her a chance to slip into a new self she was yearning to become.

She stopped wearing makeup and simply wrapped a scarf around her head as she drove. She would pull over and look out at the fisherman dotting the shore beside centuries-old crumbling vestiges of history and buy a simple lunch of artichokes, mozzarella, tomato and olives. Something was cracking open inside her and she felt her calls with Edward were less Mr. and Mrs. Everett and more what? Prue and Edward, a thread of humanness emerging she hoped would grow back between them, though not into the rope that had once been their shared marital noose.

By the time she had reached the Amalfi Coast, she’d desperately needed to stop driving and take stock of what was next in her travel plans. Edward’s sister Mara had invited her down to Australia and she had to respond and consider what that might mean to her, to Edward, and for Mara whose relationship with Edward was amicable at best. Which is how she ended up at the Hotel Caruso in Ravello. She’d received some raised eyebrows as she pulled up in her now dust-covered little road warrior, headdress of matted hair and windblown scarf, olive-stained shorts and flip-flops. But it was an Orient-Express hotel and one thing she could count on was a refreshing welcome that was curious but not judgemental. It likely helped she’d paid up front for a week’s stay in cash.

Her room felt like a safe cave nestled into the side of the mountain. Similar to Eze, there was a strong Moorish influence everywhere: high pointed arches throughout her room and faded fresco painting on the ceiling and exposed stone gave her the feeling she was in a five-star museum. Until she lay on the bed. After a week of hard beds and utilitarian amenities, she luxuriated in the comfort of an Orient Express bed story. She longed to fall into sleep but knew she couldn’t until she found something to eat.

She didn’t feel like dressing up to out to dine; it was true, her days on the road had given her freedom from her years of a pristine couture uniform. Her Valentino heels now felt painful and awkward her feet. She wriggled her toes and flexed them against her simple cotton flats bought at a roadside stand and decided take a walk and explore the hotel in her, what Edward would likely call it, ‘hippie chic’ attire.

She could hear music coming from the restaurant as she walked towards the terrace. The sun was cuddling up to the ocean and everything seemed to have a softly blurred layer over it; even the white wrought-iron fence that lined the terrace seemed to dissolve into the blue of the ocean below and beyond. She could smell lemon and fresh-cut rosemary and realized she ached for a long, complicated meal to take her through the night. Blue twilight gave the tablecloths a graphic look, as they’d only now been illustrated and were waiting for characters. Dinner was clearly over she noticed with a tinge of panic. She felt her stomach lurch with hunger and wondered if she would get a conciliatory offer of what was still available from the chef.  That was when she saw Ludano.

(Here’s a little video from the Hotel Caruso to give you a feel for where Prue is at. Escape. Enjoy! Note the full transmedia version of this chapter will be posted soon at http://www.whatisyourstory.ca so keep an eye out!)

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Transmedia Spring

Artists are always making fools of themselves. It is required. Fail fast. Fall on your face. Test out boundaries. How else can you produce anything original? As some of you who read my blog may know, I’m writing a year-long transmedia travel story about a woman named Mrs. Everett. She’s adventuring around the world, having left her husband, whom, she has recently been informed, has been having an affair for 9 months with a very young woman by the name of Violet. The tricky part is all their messy financial, no wait, his (Edward is his name) messy financial situation as happens with extremely well-off people who are discovered having an affair. But to know more you’ll have to go read the chapters and follow it along on Facebook or start with the prose version at http://www.whatisyourstory.ca. Be Prue’s friend! She is on her way to Eze, France at the moment but would love some advice for traveling in that part of the world.

Here’s a poem written and spoken in the character of Prue about her husband and about discovering the ‘eternal sunshine’ within herself. I risk sounding like an idiot but I have to support the story so here is her (my), our, latest poem in the story.

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Prue Gets Visual

I had a great talk with Lance Weiler at the beginning of January and one of the things he told me to do is to use my digital assets of my Transmedia story, Mrs. Everett, and start to make video stories from them. So, I’ve started to do a series of her poems, or really I like to think of them as tiny audio plays, but nevertheless, they will tell another layer of her journey. I started at the beginning for my first one, which is when she is making a reservation for herself and her husband for their 20th wedding anniversary. She knows in her heart the marriage is dead but she feels compelled to try. She is ghost-walking through it and in this video you can kind of hear (I hope!) her sadness and the beginning of her realization that her marriage isn’t giving her what she needs as in, at all. I’m going to to be posting these videos to Prue Everett’s Pinterest page. Some will be on her secret board for her Pen Pals only! You can sign up to be her Pen Pal on my business website. You can interact with the story and help her decide where to go, what to pack, things to see and once in a while she even sends her fans souvenirs from her trips! She also has a Facebook page and she’d love to be friends with you there. You can vicariously live through her as she travels the world; I know I do.

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Trapped on the 7th Floor

This is a draft excerpt from my fiction novel, tentatively just called ‘Sam’ now but it will change no doubt. For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you’ll remember I posted excerpts before. I’ve been remiss in writing this story but am back at it again! This is quite a bit later in the story and Sam has finally found ‘love’ only to find that the person she thought she was in love with barely resembles the person she is with. You’ll have to wait for the novel for all the sordid but highly entertaining plot details.:) 

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She crept into the bathroom and closed the door, turning the handle slowly so there was not even a click. She’d learned that trick when she was little so her dad didn’t hear her slinking out of her room and creeping downstairs to her mom’s bed. She could smell the sickness on her but she didn’t care. She just wanted to be close to her and listen to her slow breathing in the dark.

She started to cry. She wanted to go there now, feel the scratchy hand-knit crochet blanket against her check, press into her mom’s back and hold her.

She was in total darkness except the red light of his shaver charging. She shook with cold and dragged a towel from the side of the tub and wrapped it around her shoulders.  If she could wish for one thing it would be for a door to this bathroom that would lead out into the hallway. She would find a cab in front of the hotel. She would go home and crawl into her bed. But there was no door. And she realized in that moment that there is a stage and there is a backstage in life and that actors are just people putting on wigs and makeup and their words are not theirs and the pretty way their skin glows is from lights with coloured filters hanging from a ceiling  and they are not in fact glowing from within because of their innate goodness. Sam had accidentally walked backstage in her own life and the man in the bed outside the door wasn’t the man she thought he was. She could feel herself between the world of reality and make-believe and her stomach flipped over and over until she felt bile rising up in her mouth. She’d believed everything he’d told her. She’d never wanted anything so badly. You are a bloody idiot came a man’s voice. It was her Dad’s. Of course, of course it was. 

Honey, you come on and stop that now, don’t listen to him my little petal…

Oh no, now her dead mom’s voice. Great. This is all going so, so well.

She wept into the towel.

I’m so ashamed Mom, I’m so ashamed…

You didn’t know. You do now. You’ll do better. Some men honey, when they get close to you, you just have to shoot ’em in the heart like a dog that ain’t never going to be good. You hear me? And don’t you feel badly. Takes a heart the size of yours to still love that bad dog when the rest of us would of shot him ‘fore he got to the door. 

She felt her eyes swelling up to the size of Rocky’s. Fuckety fuck fuck. She was sore all over and felt all the love drain out of her like a bad high. She felt her way to the cold marble counter and searched for the faucet. She drank as quietly as she could for a long time. She could tell a hangover was creeping in. It was deep in the belly of the night, maybe 3? She thought of him sleeping quietly with no idea their matrix was over. She started to cry again. She felt like she’d been in a car accident. She needed some help but there was no police or 911 you could call for this. Hi, I’m with a married millionaire and I’m sooooo sad.

She couldn’t let him see her cry.They were supposed to be in love. That was the play she was starring in. That was the whole point of her role. That was the story she was trapped in and couldn’t find her way out of.

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A sneak peek at Mrs. Everett’s trip to London…

She cleared security with relief (she always worried even though she was likely the safest possible traveler they could have on board), wriggled back into her favourite Valentino flats and wrapped her Pashmina around her neck. She stood for a moment wondering what to do next? It was odd to be traveling on her own with no one directing her. She was so used to Edward’s directives that she sometimes stood completely still unable to move her body, like a laboratory mouse that had been conditioned to pause until the right cue came along. She sighed deeply with no small feeling of regret for the years she could not undo. On this trip, Edward would not be carrying her luggage or streaming angry comments on poor service non-stop in her ear or clenching his teeth as wings were de-iced or flights delayed or hotel rooms inspected, upgraded, or angrily changed. Thankfully she wouldn’t have to witness him returning his coffee rudely to waiters as she cringed at his brusque air of entitlement.

Gone. All of it. She sunk down in a comfortable chair in the first-class lounge and pulled out her new Moleskin notebook. She remembered in her first year of college how her English teacher insisted they all keep a journal and she had. Up until her marriage when her then new husband felt that journalling at night was taking away from their time together and so, she had quietly put it away and never opened it again. Until now. She could smell the new pages and the soft leather cover and feel the crisp paper between her fingers. She felt shy and could think of nothing to write so instead she made a list.

To do:

-find new walking shoes of some kind (new TB. or Valent., red)

-buy winter coat (wool/Harrod’s?/Westwood?)

-speak to Ted re: account info, logins

-find a hammam!

She’d read that hammams were excellent for detoxing the whole body. She certainly had a lot detoxification to do and she’d heard there were some good ones in London. That was how she would spend Christmas she decided. Not in some silver glittery dress smiling at Edward’s business contacts in a demure wifely act of interest and delight but rather in a steamy room with strangers losing a self she was loathe to keep inside her anymore. She smiled. That sounded both erotic and biologically interesting. Indeed, it would be snakelike and restorative. She smiled again. Edward hated public bathing and pools of any kind. She vowed to swim in every hotel pool she ever stayed in for the rest of her life.

This would be her first international trip alone. She felt a little ashamed. How could she, at this age. be doing this only now? Never mind, she scolded herself, get on with it and don’t rummage around in the past looking for why’s. Now is now and besides it’s time for a very crisp martini. No, that wouldn’t be good for her skin. Best to hydrate and head to bed. She felt the sag of jet lag seeping in as her driver made his way through the dark streets of London on the way to the Four Seasons Park Lane hotel where she was staying.

Live, Prue, live! came the voice from inside that she didn’t recognize as her own but yielded to it anyway and replied:  yes, yes, yes! 

Museum Bar at The Savoy Hotel.

Museum Bar at The Savoy Hotel. Photo credit Kaitlin Wilkes, London content creator.

Note: If you subscribe to Prue’s Postcards you will get scenes, audio recordings, be sent letters from Prue, and souvenirs from her travels. You can also join her on her journey on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.  

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