I’d wager it doesn’t take much for a writer to experience inspiration, extracting it from his surroundings, be they luxurious or spartan.
I’d wager an imaginative writer doesn’t have to travel to Paris or Spain to find her Muse, but carries it with her wherever she has the courage to call upon it.
I found one such place that inspired me, gave respite for my tired spirit, and replenished my depleted energy stores in a little neighborhood located in the very low-key city of Indianapolis, Indiana.
I attended my second writer’s conference last weekend. I will post about that soon, but for now, I wanted to share the jewel I stumbled across by accident.
In deciding my lodgings for the night, I decided against an impersonal hotel chain closer to downtown Indy and opted for a quaint little inn, a bed-and-breakfast built in 1897 and renovated with some modern amenities called The Nestle Inn.
I walked inside and instantly fell in love with the place.
It had a beautiful bookcase-lined library with buttery yellow walls and lots of light from the windows.
When I checked in, I was encouraged to make use of the public rooms, and I did.
While there were other guests occupying the private rooms, I saw no one in the public rooms and I made use of them throughout my stay. Late at night, I spent about an hour perusing the books, selecting one even though I brought my own books, and reading in the library.
On the upper floor, just outside my bedroom door, there was a comfortable public sitting room.
After the writer’s conference, I spent some time sitting on that couch, enjoying the breeze through the open windows and making some decision as to where I would go to dinner. It was a toss-up between Mediterranean, Scottish and German and I couldn’t decide, so I texted my best friend to help me break the tie. With his help, I decided on Mediterranean.
When I selected this place, little did I know that the inn was within walking distance of Indianapolis’ ‘Mass. Avenue’ – The Arts and Theater District. That was a delightful surprise, but I’ll have to describe that in another post. There’s too much to talk about in this one.
After I came up from the library, and before I retreated to my room, I spent another hour writing in my journal on that couch. At night, they dimmed the lights and it was warm enough for them to keep the windows opposite the seating area open.
My room was simply decorated and very lovely. I had access to WiFi, and a television, but I opted to leave my laptop at home and keep the TV off so that I could just unplug from most technology, other than my cell phone.
After I came home from eating dinner and exploring Massachusettes Avenue, I laid down on that bed, stared at the ceiling a while, thinking how I wished I could share that bed and the things I’d seen and heard with my husband – but at the same time, I was absolutely grateful I had left him and my daughters at home. Next time, I’ll bring him and leave the daughters with Grandma.
In the morning, I woke early to the sunrise peeking through the windows and felt very refreshed. Normally I am a late riser, but I felt I didn’t want to miss a moment of the day. I started off my day with a shower and more writing.
I spent time talking with Leeza, the proprietor of the establishment.
I asked her how she came to run a bed and breakfast and she told me she used to be in the hotel business and it was still in her blood, and when she and her husband became empty-nesters, she wanted to open up a bed and breakfast.
I told her I spent time in the library and the sitting room and asked if it was her husband that had all the firefighter momentos and certificates and she said yes. I also asked her about all the psychology books on the shelves and she told me her husband had gotten his Ph.D. in psychology and on his days off was a therapist. She told me he became interested in trauma from having experienced a lot of it through his firefighting work.
I was incredibly impressed. I wish I could have met him.
I told her I was grateful to them because I found a book called Embracing Our Selves on the bookshelf that I was really very interested in and actually took notes on while I could. I’ve been interested in personality development, relationships, trauma recovery and the process of increasing conscious awareness for quite some time and this book, with its roots in Jungian psychology, came at a very good time in my life.
After a few more moments of conversation, she asked me if I wanted some juice and I said yes, and then I sat at my table and began to take in the surroundings.
I was treated to a very thoughtfully prepared breakfast. There were glass cups of fresh fruit, turkey/cranberry crostini, berry and granola yogurt cups, freshly made chocolate chip mini muffins. That wasn’t even the main course.
I started eating and other guests arrived. There were 9 of us. The others came in pairs – two sets of young lovers and one older married couple. I was the only one alone, but I was happy.
Soon, Leeza brought out the main course – apple stuffed waffles. It was heavenly. I must admit, I got a little weepy. I felt so nurtured at that moment. I kept staring upwards to prevent myself from breaking down a little. After all, it would be quite silly to cry over something so tasty, right?
After this nourishing breakfast, I went back upstairs to finish packing. Since I didn’t have much to pack, and checkout wasn’t for another hour, I went back on that couch in the upstairs sitting room, refilled my coffee from the pot and wrote some more. I paused a moment to look out the window and saw a father throwing a football in the parking lot next to his teenaged son. I thought that was so cool.
This little solo retreat of mine was long over-due and its significance has not escaped me.
It’s as if I was meant to find this place, with these features, with this kind woman who selected the meal so thoughtfully with that husband who kept those kinds of books in that beautiful library at that point in my life.
I felt this was a gift from the Universe, telling me, “Honey, it’s okay once in a while to nurture your Self, because you can’t expect anyone else to”.
And I think it’s true. You can only give nurturing to others if you have given yourself some.