A writer’s paradise

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

In the nearby alcove, guests were welcome to water, soda, and cookies.  Though not much of a soda drinker, I still took  a caffeinated beverage because I wanted to stay up and write.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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Breakfast was served at 9 am, and I was the first guest to arrive in the beautifully decorated sage and olive green dining room.
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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.

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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?

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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.

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About Casey

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’ ~ Jack Kerouac, On The Road Again
This entry was posted in Artist Date, Blessings, Creativity, Hope, Indianapolis, Inner Excavation, Library, Moods, Motherhood, Motherhood and writing, Writer's Retreat and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A writer’s paradise

  1. Mike says:

    Thank you Casey for taking me on this journey with you, through this house, and through that day 🙂 So much spaciousness, grace and solitude in these words and images.

    And the little discoveries we make, like that book or father playing with his son – when we allow our mind to become rested and awake, those little things can be noted, appreciated and even acknowledged as signs.

    Have a great week 🙂
    Mike

  2. Mike –

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I love sharing my experiences with others. I really wish I could share in real time with others the treasures I stumble across in real life. But, I am still happy sharing through pictures and stories.

    I think there are many signs we may otherwise miss in this very busy, information-cluttered world.

    It’s sometimes very difficult to be selective on what we ought to attend to, because there is so much to take in sometimes. But for me, certain things just kind of make me perk up. I know when I linger on something that resonates, it’s worth exploring a little more in depth.

    I think those little things are signs and I don’t want to miss them. I think, for me, because I stopped being so analytical, and started being more creative (writing, taking pictures, painting), I look a little more closely at the world around me – both the natural and the man-created parts of it.

    Now that I’m working in a more hectic environment (that is, the public school system), it’s become even more important to me that I make time for rest, solitude and replenishment. I work with both regular students and special needs students that have a variety of mental, physical and emotional challenges.

    I will have a great week. It will be a short work week, and then there will be Thanksgiving, and my daughters will spend a few days with Grandma and their cousin. Husband and I will have some time together to nurture each other.

    You have a great week too!

    Casey

    • Mike says:

      Work in the public school must be challenging and demanding, how is it for you? In some ways it may be a natural path after being a parent and educator to your own children.

      Have a nice Thanxgiving with your husband 🙂

      • Mike –

        Working with the kids in school is challenging and demanding but it also can be rewarding. Since I’m a substitute, and I can work anywhere from preschool on up through 12th grade (and I have), I move around quite a bit.

        The unfortunate thing about becoming a substitute, is that you don’t get any training for it. You go into these classes with no idea how to use some of the newer technology and if you can’t get someone in another classroom to show you how, it can be a bit of a problem.

        They don’t train you on how to solve discipline problems. You learn as you go. Fortunately, because I also have worked as a teacher’s aide, I get to see what kinds of strategies other teachers employ. Some days can be really stressful, even when the kids don’t mean to cause a problem (there was a really sick 3 year old in the special needs classroom when all she did was cry and wail for 45 minutes before an occupational therapist came and took care of her). Other days are really easy and the kids are delightful.

        I wrote a post about that on my other blog Raising Smart Girls.

        http://raisingsmartgirls.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/being-the-change/

        The benefit is that I get to teach some interesting things – like art – and I get a refresher course in some things I’d forgotten about – like the history of Athens and Sparta. And I love adding my own knowledge to the lesson plans, especially when it comes to things I really know well, like science.

        On the whole, what I learn interacting with the students of all abilities helps me be a lot more compassionate, even if I come home some days and need about 2 hours to decompress. 🙂

        My family and I should have a nice Thanksgiving. We are going to my sister-in-law’s and my daughters really enjoy seeing their grandmother and aunt on my husband’s side. Afterwards, my mother-in-law will be taking the girls for the weekend, so it will be a chance for my husband and I to have some time together.

        Take care,

        Casey

      • Mike says:

        Being a substitue teacher must be a real challenge, since you have such a short time making the connection with the kids, It reminds me of talking with people on the psychological aid hotline, where I volunteer, where you have just up to 2 hours to understand someone’s situation and make the connection (versus a proper therapeutic relationship).

        But your attitude of kindness, of learning as much as teaching, of bringing something of yourself – will make a difference.

        Happy thanksgiving 🙂

      • Mike,

        Yes, it’s kind of like that, without the high stakes.

        You mentioned once before (I think on your blog) that you worked on that psychological aid hotline (possibly on your own blog), though I had forgotten. I’m so glad you make the attempt to assist others who are hurting.

        I can’t even imagine what that must be like, and knowing how difficult it is for me to remain emotionally detached, I think I would feel so bad if I felt I couldn’t make a connection.

        When I first started substituting, there was a child who had ADHD. I had substituted his
        class for two days. The first day he was doing fairly well, only minor issues. The next time I substituted, he had a medication change (and brought a note from home saying so), and he was doing things he had no control over – he had knocked over an easel, he was being too silly and broke a pencil and something else. But he felt SO bad and kept apologizing and worried I was going to be mad at him and was near tears. It seemed like he expected to be punished.

        But I kept reassuring him that it was all right, that I knew he was having a difficult time and that I wasn’t mad at him, and that I understood. And after the day was done, and I was laying in bed, I couldn’t get that child out of my mind.

        There was one or two instances like that, but fortunately, far and few between.

        But getting back to the hotline, I would probably find that a very difficult thing indeed. I tend to take on the emotions of others, especially since I’d been in their positions a few times in my life. I’d want to help, but I also know how difficult it is to get past the false beliefs and distorted thoughts when you are in that downward spiral of negativism.

        I’m so glad there is someone like you out there trying to help.

        And yes, we did have a nice Thanksgiving. Thank you.

        Casey

        t

  3. magicinthewoods says:

    I enjoyed this beautiful interlude. My best travel memories are of small B and B’s and out of the ordinary hotels. A tiny castle in the south of France. The doll’s attic in Vermont. A Victorian “Painted Lady” in Key West where we had a two-story room, the upper turret room with a 360 view of the ocean: the widow’s walk.
    Have a lovely Thanksgiving!

  4. Thank you, Magic.

    I love the bed and breakfast experience. This is my fourth one I’ve gone to. The places you describe sound heavenly.

    I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving too!

    Casey.

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