I think I have been trying to figure out how to tell the story of my years as an innkeeper since before I became an innkeeper. I’ve been constantly aware of what a story-filled portion of my life this would be. Or maybe I’ve been aware of wanting to tell stories, or capture stories, my whole life. I am far from the first person to harbor an idea that they have a novel inside of them. Both of my parents are writers, one of poetry and one of academic works. And I have a growing awareness that I probably don’t have a novel in me. I’m a little too concrete, a little research based, a little oldest-child-perfectionist. I love a good story. And I can tell a good story. I’m not sure I can make up a good story. But awareness of the good stories around me? Or the good stories in other people’s lives? I think I’ve got that in spades.
So, here I am today, starting to make something of the pages of jotted down notes, the stories we tell over and over, the events we have lived though and cried over and laughed at, the ‘well, that’s one for the book’ moments collected during our time as innkeepers and restauranteurs. And I don’t really know where to start so I’m just going to start and someday I’ll probably wish I hadn’t started wherever this is that I’m about to start.
I am going to tell you that 2016 was an awful year. It became unmoored and redirected in shocking, unexpected ways. My mother became suddenly, alarmingly ill just before Christmas 2015. I’m not telling that whole story here, not now, maybe not ever, but fast forward (and slow forward – for anyone who has spent time in a hospital/hospice situation, you’ll understand the warp of time that is simultaneously too fast and too slow) to Jan 1, 2016 and she was gone. And so began a year of out-of-my-control events and such learning and growth and sadness and terror that people gave me credit for just putting one foot in front of the other. But I honestly don’t know what else I could have done. People said ‘Good for you for getting out of bed and moving forward’ and I thought, ‘Is there really another option?’. There was so much to do. So much to organize. A very busy business to run. So many feelings and fears. So many big things that I could not control and so many details that needed to be managed. I’ve come to think this is the difference between someone who suffers from depression (not me) and someone who has an incredibly depressing year (me). Getting up and doing what I had to do was the only option I saw before me. But, wow, was I tired. And not a great friend. And looked awful. But I did it.
This is not the story I want to tell now, but somehow that year that started in the worst possible way ended with remarkable changes underway and me with the time and energy and desire to devote to storytelling, my own stories and those of folks who have crossed my path. Perhaps being a little unrooted myself means I am more aware of others’ stories. Or more able to tell them. Or more voyeuristic about those stories. So, here goes my attempt to record some bits and pieces and see what happens along the way. I think my own story will be somewhere in these stories.