When Do you Turn on The Northern Lights?

At the end of each month I set goals for the topics of my blogs for the month. I had planned to share a few tips on how to start your writing routine, but I thought I would switch it up and share about my hotel life and the every day dealings I encounter. Sometimes I may sound ungrateful or rude about the experiences, and this is not my intention. I am writing my second memoir about working for luxory hotels in the heart of the Canadian Rockies in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. After 25 years in the business, I shake my head when guests don’t read information about a package, descriptions on menus or simple instructions on where the elevators are and walk in the opposite direction. I know this sounds like a vent, but they are every day situations that happen. The truth is stranger than fiction sometimes.

My years working at Chateau Lake Louise were my favourite guest questions. There is even a book in Alberta about the questions guests ask about the area.

  • How heavy is the mountain?
  • Do the shrimp from the seafood pasta coming from the glacier fed lake?
  • When do you turn on the northern lights?

My typical answers

  • With the glaicer a few tons, without the glacier, a few less tons.
  • No, unfortunely they wouldn’t survivor in the sub temperatures.
  • The northern lights: I would start to explain the science behind the phonmenon, then I would get cut off with a different question.

When I worked at Jasper Park Lodge, the Elk roamed the property of their free will. We would share with guests not to approach the Elk, especially during rutting season. “What’s rutting season?” guests would ask me when making their reservations. I would explain, it’s mating season, and if you see two bull Elk bucking then head in the opposite direction. Slowly. Parks Canada had signs up everywhere about the Elk, you couldn’t miss the risk signs. A wedding party tried to complain that the Elk ruined their wedding because the animals wouldn’t move for their wedding pictures. They also complained because someone from the wedding party was chased by an Elk after the guest tried to scare it away from the event. Don’t get me started…

One of the hotels I worked for posted a promotion on social media for a special event. The details were very clear on what was included in the price, ‘total package rate $260 per night plus taxes, based on double occupancy. The first question is, ‘so each person pays $260?’ The hotel changed the wording to $130 per night plus taxes per person based on double occupancy. The first question was, ‘That’s a great price! It’s only $130 per night?’ On average, out of 10 people I may have spoken to about the promotion, I would get seven people asking the same question. Again, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, however, if there is another way hotels can convey package pricing, please share your suggestions. In my recent hotel, I try to spell every detail out, but I know there are going to be questions and that’s the nature of the business. I would love to make it simple for guests and the hotel. Suggestions welcomed.

I am truly grateful for every experience that has been provided to maintain and excel my creative life. The hotel life and creative life are one in the same for me. I have more than a life time of stories from working in a variety of hotels. I have served and met many guests from all over the world. Some guests are simple, some high maintenance, some in-between. I have delth with actresses and actors, rock and pop stars and everyone in-between. The common theme, everyone just wants to be welcomed and have an enjoyable experiece. That is my job. I am here to serve others. I chose the hosptiality life to make your stay as special as I can. Then I will say, hospitlaity chose me as creativity chose me to work through. To share the stories with those who choose my book, blog, newsletter to read. Thank you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

If you liked, Kitchen Confidential and the Grand Budapest Hotel, you will enjoy this eye-opening life experience of one employee’s journey of working for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers can be found Here. Thank you.

Sharing a Chapter of My Next Memoir

I am commiting to my New Year’s intentions of sharing more. To share more about my creative life, the struggles I face as a writer who works a more than full time job. I am working on my next Hotel Memoir about working for luxory hotels and resorts in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. My debut memoir, Behind the Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, is about my experiences in Lake Louise. My next memoir picks up where I left off at the Lake and then I move to Jasper to work for the companies sister property, Jasper Park Lodge, located in Jasper, Alberta. A small alpine town in the commerical centre of Jasper National Park, located in the Canadian Rockies. Like moving to Lake Louise from Nova Scotia, I didn’t know anythhing about Jasper. My boyfriend at the time asked me to move to Jasper with him because he accepted an offer at the Lodge as Chef de Partie, he was motivated to become a Exectuive Chef at an early age. I was driven by his passion towards his carrer and my longing to leave the Lake and the ex-boyfriend I couldn’t seem to let go of. It’s a messy story and I’m working on sharing it in this next memoir. I am still working on the titel of the next memoir, for now, let’s go with, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Winters, because I share experiences of what it is like to work for a luxory hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies in the winter.

I am sharing this chapter about the brief history of Jasper Park Lodge, the ghost stories and my insights of losing myself in Jasper. I welcome feedback, please email me at marionann.berry@gmail.com or leave a comment below. Thank you.

Jasper Park Lodge

If you get the opportunity to visit Jasper, Alberta, I highly recommend you take a few days to enjoy your experiences.

Like many of the original Canadian Pacific hotels, Jasper Park Lodge has it’s unique history. First named Tent City in 1915 for the railway workers of Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. In 1920 it was managed under the Canadian National Hotels. In 1988 it was sold to Canadian Pacific Hotels, now under Fairmont Hotels. The property sits along the shores of Lac Beauvert, larger than Lake Louise but similar activities to enjoy, canoeing in the summer and skating in the winter. The lake also was a hinderance for the animals of Jasper. One winter I witnessed an Elk fall through the Lake when a heard was crossing the lake. It was amazing to walk one Elk plunge into the water while the others stood solid around the break in the ice. That summer the Elk had to be removed by Parks Canada.

            Sis: It was not a pretty sight.

            Marion Ann: Especially when the lake was unthawing and you could see the poor dead elk with its eyes wide open. Image what it was thinking as it fell through the ice.

            Sis: Help me!

The resort has many ghost stories. Some that I have witnessed, some that made me walk a little quicker past a particular cabin, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand tingle as I tried to quickly look into the window of the cabin where a room attendant died.

The Chambermaid of Point Cabin is one of the stories that have been told by generations of JPL employees. The woman, let’s call her Lily, was cleaning the card room (a small upper-level room from the living area) and for unknown reasons fell down the stairs to her death.

The lights in the card room turn on randomly from time to time. The Front desk receives phone calls from the cabin when there is no one checked into the cabin. The hairs on my arms are standing up. I would walk by the cabin and take a quick glance to see if I could see the light on or a shadow of the Lily.

My imagination would run wild as I walked by the cabin. Who was Lily? What brought her to the Lodge? Why take a job in the middle of the Canadian Rockies as a Chambermaid? 

A question many of us were asked by guests. Why work in a hotel far from home?

            Sis: Why not?

The other ghost story that the Lodge is know for is the lady in the photograph. The picture was placed near the dining room, The Moose’s Nook, and anytime I went past the picture I shivered from a random coldness, even in the middle of a hot day in the summer.

As the story goes, in 1920 a photographer took a photo just outside of the Moose’s Nook at JPL. The picture, meant to feature the empty dining room. The photographer swore he was alone and that the room was empty, but when the photo was developed there was what appears to be an elderly woman sitting at a table.

The story told behind the photograph is vague. Apparently, an elderly couple died at the Lodge and the man would be wandering around the Lodge while the woman waited in the dining room for her husband to join her. Vague or not, it is a romantic ghost story. Image waiting for you loved one not knowing they are dead. Now left with the grief and waiting for them to return night after night.

I wouldn’t go to the Mooses Nook if I didn’t need to. I wasn’t afraid but I didn’t want to interrupt the woman waiting for her lover. My boyfriend at the time and a few of our friends had dinner one night before it closed for the season and I was uncomfortable for most of the evening. That feeling of someone watching us loomed over me as I tried to enjoy the beautiful meal. However, I just felt like I should be looking for someone at the same time. Was the elderly woman sitting with us? Was she sharing her grief with me? I didn’t go back to the Nook unless I had to assist with setting up a function. I am not normally afraid of the spirt world, but I wanted to avoid the feeling of loss as much as possible. In hindsight I lost myself at the Lodge and felt the weight of grief for many years after having my heart broken by not only my ex-boyfriend, but by my self.

Thank you for being here with me today.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year dedicated to telling the people in your life how much they mean to you and to celebrating love in all its purest forms. Many people go with buying flowers, chocolates, jewerly and dinner out to a favorite restaruant. These are nice gestures to show your affection towards your loved one, but I’m moved to share my love with words.

My hubby’s birthday is Valentine’s Day and we celebrate his birthday and shower each other with affection throughout the year. We’ve been together for seventeen years and I knew that Valentine’s day would not be the traditional Hallmark holiday for me any longer and I am completely 150% okay with this. I think we should celebrate love every day – shout it from the roof-tops how much you love your spouse, yourself, family, friends, whoever, love needs to be celebrated every chance we get. I am a classic romantic at heart. I love all the cheesy sentiments and romantic movies. Now let’s talk about love letters. I love the art of writing a letter, but love letters, even better. It doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day to sit down and share how much you love your partner in life. Let the words come from your heart and go with the flow. Here are a few snippets from some famous love letters:

“I can’t say how every time I ever put my arms around you I felt that I was home,” Ernest Hemmingway wrote to Marlene Dietrich

“Since I left you, I have been constantly depressed. My happiness is to be near you. Incessantly I live over in my memory your caresses, your tears, your affectionate solicitude.” Napoleon to Joséphine

“I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way.” Vita Sackville-West to Virginia Woolf

I love these intense feelings on the page. No one knows how much you love them as much as you do. I wrote love letters to my husband over the years and now I voice my love for him. I love you. I love when we make breakfast together, I love the way you are so dedicated to yourself, us, our life. I can not think of my life without you. You are the one I dreamed of and now you are here. When we are apart I miss you more than I have experienced, the rawness of my fear of not being with you shivers up my neck and paralizies my whole being. I love you.

I encourage you to write a love letter. Start with a letter to yourself. The letters I have written to myself are filled with fears, joy and then as I write, my true self shows up and tells me, ‘take it easy on yourself, you are doing the best in this very moment. I love you, Marion Ann, you are an amazing human being and offer love, joy and peace.’ I feel the love pouring through me.

Have you written a love letter? How did it make you feel? Was it recieved the way you imagined? Where your expectations met? Do you continue to write love letters? I would love to hear from you, maybe we can put togther a book of modern love letters. I think the world needs a little more love.

Thank you for being here with me today.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Is A Balanced Life Attainable?

To keep my engagement relatively on point with social media I join a monthly writing challenge and see how the daily prompts trigger my creative life. On Saturday it was “Saturday Snippet” share something from your WIP. Today I shared how I felt about a balanced life and if it is attainable. I like to think so. Then life sometimes has other plans. This is where my ‘go with the flow’ mantra comes from. You can’t control certain things, but you can control how you react to the situation and move forward.

I share and write a lot about having a balanced life. What a balanced life looks like? Good question. It may look like from the observer that you have everything put together. You seem organized, time management is on point. Smiling all the time meaning you are happy and want to share the secret of success. I use to tell anyone who would listen how life is great and we need to grab ahold of our dreams and don’t let go. I would post a motivaila quote on my social media with an extra something from me, for example; Shine bring my friends! This reflected my attitude towards life. I wanted to live the life I saw myself living. Setting goals and crushing them successfully. Why wouldn’t we want to live the best life we could? And we can, but that’s a whole other topic. I was striving to maintain my work-life balance and shifted my thinking to more of my day job providing what I needed for my ideal lifestyle which is making my creative life a priority.

I thought I had it all under control. I worked for a beautiful hotel that provided me with time off when I needed to spend an extra day or three to write. I was surrounded by loving and supportive people. I was living my best life. While this was going on, my hubby and I were looking for a house on the east coast to be closer to family and start a small scale farm. One of my dreams! I wanted to live on a farm since I was a young girl when I would spend weekends at my paternal grandparents farm. Something about growing, harvesting, and preparing your own food appealed to me. I also liked that my grandparents worked for themselves. Their income came from the farm, the things they loved to do, having u-pick fields of berries, honey bees, corn, lumber to build unique pieces of furniture, baked goods, quilts, and homemade knitted mittens. Everything I witnessed was magical and creative. I use to write short stories and makeup games while helping on the farm. I thought I could do both, write and work on a farm. If my grandmother could do it, so could I.

I believe everything happens for a reason and the universe hears our prayers and intentions. Sometimes it takes years, moments, seconds for things to unfold. Sometimes you have to experience certain situations to be prepared for what you have intended. I’m sure I would have been able to figure out how to self publish a book myself, but I met a good friend through very random events and she was working on learning how to self-publish her books and after her third book and started her own book formatting business, I was ready to publish my book. She helped me every step of the way and that helped me maintain my creative and hotel life.

Then life changed very quickly two and half years ago. I published my debut memoir, we bought a house on the east coast and a year later we drove across the country to move back to Atlantic Canada. My creative life, the balanced life I thought I was living was gone. New home, new situations, new job, new drama, new everything. I realized I asked for exactly what was happening, living closer to family, our home is on a 5-acre property and the farm is well on its way. I asked for a job that would provide as my previous hotel had. It all came to fruition. I am grateful and blessed. Now to be honest.

For the past year and a half, I have struggled with a balanced life. It doesn’t help we are living during a global pandemic, but that is no excuse. I have slipped away from my creative life far enough that I see it off in the distance. It feels like creativity is at arm’s length. My new year’s intention is to get back to my creative life while I take some time to help with the farm and work at the hotel life. It is a balancing act and I am living in the moment during each moment. I am currently focusing my writing this weekend mixed with farm duties. I am embracing the amazing opportunities that are being provided to maintain and excel this beautiful creative life. Thank you universe.

How is your creative life? Do you have any speed bumps that you have overcome? How do you deal with work-life balance? I would love to hear from you.

Thank you for being here with me today.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Procrastination 101

pro·cras·ti·na·tion: the action of delaying or postponing something.

This writer’s middle name and almost could be my first name, is procrastination. I putter around and subconsciously look for things to do when I am getting ready to write.

I have shared how I crave to be right here, on the page, writing. I want to run to the page so I can work on my next story, the work in progress, and everything else involved with my writing life. I want to be here. Yet, then why does it take so long to sit down and start writing? It’s not writer’s block, I have so many ideas swirling around this beautiful creative mind that I want to write. I want to know where the characters are going to take me. It’s the time before I actually sit down to write is the time I am wasting. For example:

On Saturday mornings I get up, write morning pages for about a half-hour. I work out for about an hour, get myself ready. I water the microgreens because my hubby, Adam, now is going to the farmers market to sell our microgreens. Then when I get back upstairs to the house I notice how dusty the hardwood floors are after a week. I get the broom, the cat loves to chase the broom so we play for a minute or five. I have been contacted by work on three different occasions on my ‘day off’ but I am the GM so I really don’t have a day off. I have days where I don’t go to the hotel which happens to be on the weekends. My ego gets bent out of shape and I take 20 minutes to meditate, to come back to center. Now, it’s time to write. The whole morning was filled with some things that needed to be done. The dust on the floor can wait and I will remind myself next Saturday of this.

When I was meditating I saw flashes of the next hotel memoir I am working on. How it should start and if I should share about the time how a major band in the late 90’s and early 2000’s almost got me fired. I also saw how I need to move some of the chapters around in my current work in progress. When I finsihed my debut memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, I was amazed how refreshed I felt for writing the past and letting it go, but, there were times where I wasn’t sure if I should share certain aspects of my first summer working for the luxory hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. I went back and forth on details and finally stepped out of the way and took out what was not needed to share my story.

I find myself in a similar situation with some of the details that shaped me as a person, and I have to remember that other peoples of opinions of me are none of my business. I am sharing my experiences as a server in a dining room that happens to be in one of the most beautiful hotels in the Canadian Rockies. If some of the bad decisions I made help someone understand they are not alone then I have done my job as a writer. I have touched someone’s emotions and they feel less isolated in their story. I consider this winning the lottery.

Now that I have sat down to write, I feel grounded. I am right where I am to be. On the page. Procrastination can go to the end of the line. I know it will be back but I will be ready.

Thank you for you being here with me today.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing..

Memoir Writing – A lonely journey

“No one elected me the boss of memoir” ~ Mary Karr, author of The Art of Memoir

By no means do I know every detail about memoir writing. I am learning every day. I barely have scratched the surface of what it means to write memoir. I only know that my passion is to write memoir. I have done a lot of research and write what I know about. The experiences I have experienced. It took me time to find my voice and I am still fine-tuning that voice. Writing is about adjusting every day. The common theme the writers I read that share their stories about writing is, practice, practice, practice. Write every day, read a lot and write a lot. Keep writing.

I want to be upfront with you about the writing life. Writing is a lonely job. You have to be comfortable with being by yourself for long periods of time. You have to be willing to give up social engagements to commit to the writing because no one else is going to write the book for you (unless you hire a ghostwriter).

I am an only child. I am used to being by myself. I have years of practice on how to entertain myself. My Barbies lived out my stories that ran around my mind. I surrounded myself with other only children. Anyone with a sibling I didn’t understand. I didn’t understand how they shared the same space when I could barely share the space of my only child world. I was in training for having a solitary lifestyle. It baffles me that I chose a hospitality career where I have dealt with thousands of people over the past twenty years as my day job as I work on my writing. However, the hotel life has provided me with exactly what was and is needed to maintain and excel this beautiful creative life that is fully intended. I have gathered a lifetime of characters over the years. I have served some interesting people and there is a hint of their personalities in more stories.

My experiences in the hospitality life are no accident. I was writing about my maternal grandparents in the early ’90s and my intention was to write a book of poetry tributed to them. I wrote 90 poems and shared them with a writer in residence when we were living in Campbell River, BC on Vancouver Island in the early 2000s. The writer shared my poems were filled with vivid imagery and prose. They could be turned into a memoir. As the writer spoke the truth I started to cry because he was right. It was like the stars and universe aligned in a perfect moment just for me to send me this message. You are here to write memoir. A wave of euphoria swept over me. My shoulders became relaxed and I felt my smile grow across my face. I knew that I was here to be a writer, but now I was aware of the genre I was to be focusing on. Thank you universe.

I turned the 90 poems into a 200-page memoir about my grandparents and my growing up as a young girl. It took a few months to convert the poems into prose and another three years to find an editor to help me shape the story into a book I could send to a traditional publisher or self-publish myself. Then something changed. The fear of my family reading how I felt about them took over. Maybe I was writing this book to let go of the family drama that every family goes through. No one gets out of this life with a perfect childhood. I don’t care how privileged you are, there is always something hiding in your closet. I switched gears and pulled out the half-written manuscripts about my time working for luxury hotels in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. People would want to read about behind the scenes of working for a resort they may or may not have visited. Anthony Bourdain was popular for writing his memoir, Kitchen Confidential. There were many TV shows and movies about the employees of hotels. It was time to share my experiences. I was excited with the quick shift of what I would publish first. It took three years to finish the manuscript, find an editor and revise, revise and revise some more.

Why did it take so long you may ask? Life. Ego. Fear.
Life: We moved to Victoria, BC where I accepted a job as a duty manager at a hotel. I was starting out fresh. Again. I had to prove myself. Again. I had to play the game of the hotel life that sucked me back in because the income was good. I needed money to pay for editors, book covers, and everything else in between that comes with the writing life.

Ego/Fear: The ego kept chanting, who do you think you are. There are so many books out there, what is so special about yours? Then the fear of someone else writing their experiences about working in the luxury hotel pushed me to find the people I needed to help me finish the book and self-publish. Thank goodness for fear and determination.

I started off saying the writing life is a lonley joureny. It is. I spend a lot of time alone when I am writing. That’s my process. Then when it is time to self-publish and market, that is the not so lonely part. You spend time with your editor, your book formator, friends to boucne marketing ideas off with. Engaging with readers, friends and family to share the work. I get a boost of energy when I spend some time with people, and now that we are in a global pandemic, those times are spend on Zoom, still engaging with people and that fills my writing well where I can go back to my writing room and be by myself to keep writing.

It seems that I have moved around a lot in this post. I wanted to show you a little of what my writing world looks like. When we moved back to the East Coast and I started a new hotel life job, I knew my writing life would take a hit, but now after a year, I have taken back my creative life and making it a priority. I am siting here in my writing room, writing.

Thank you for being here with me today. What does your writing life look like? Are you okay with the solitary life? Any advise for new writers? I love hearing from you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

A Writer’s Confession

My New Year’s intention is to make my creative life more of a priority. This means I have been focusing on my craft and more importantly my genre, memoir. I normally listen to books when I am working out and driving to work. I have a 20 – 25 minute commute to the hotel life, why not fill that time with listening to fiction, podcasts, and now, interviews with memoir writers. I am a fan of Mary Karr’s, author of three acclaimed memoirs and poetry books. I have read, The Art of Memoir, two or three times and have listened to it twice and I am about to listen to it again to get my head back into the physical writing of my second memoir.

On Wednesday, I was watching an interview with Mary and she shared a Sufi poem translated by Robert Bly. I listened to it twice and now have it printed and posted on my wall in my writing room. There is something about the words that trigger memories that I wanted to dig at but haven’t been able to. I was avoiding the flashbacks of the embarrassment of my reactions to the situations I found myself in when I was younger. The choices I made to stay with a man who was a cheater and liar use to haunt me. But as a believer in the mantra, everything happens for a reason, the choices I made were made for a reason. Creativity chose me to work through. I am the vessel to write the ideas creativity whispers to me. For the moment I know I am to write about my hotel life experiences, and the life lessons I learned while working for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. The choice to stay with a man who I adored but we were not very nice to one another for the first year and half of our relationship, was a choice that maybe many of us have lived through and I am here to share my experiences to say you are not alone. I am facing this notion each time I write, each time I pick and scratch at what the truth was in the moment it was happening.

The Radiance

I talk to my inner lover, and I say, why such
rush?
We sense that there is some sort of spirit that loves
birds and animals and the ants–
perhaps the same one who gave a radiance to you in
your mother’s womb.
Is it logical you would be walking around entirely
orphaned now?
The truth is you turned away yourself,
and decided to go into the dark alone.
Now you are tangled up in others, and have forgotten
what you once knew,
and that’s why everything you do has some weird
failure in it.

The first line captures me, why such rush? I am trying to catching up on the memories that flood my mind of my time working in the Canadian Rockies. I was in my early twenties and thought, I just need to get through this to get back home, back to university so I can get back to the Lake to work. What was the rush? I learned how to stop and take in the beauty of the moment and now there is no rush, however, time seems to be slipping by quickly and I am right here, exactly where I need to be. On the page, writing. The remainder of the poem strikes a cord that makes me want to cry because the words are raw and true.

Is it logical you would be walking around entirely
orphaned now?
The truth is you turned away yourself,
and decided to go into the dark alone.
Now you are tangled up in others, and have forgotten
what you once knew,
and that’s why everything you do has some weird
failure in it.

During that time I was with the wrong man and was not my true self. I was walking around feeling very alone because of my choices. I was embarrassed and thought others were judging me. How could I face them knowing they thought I was so innocent, yet I wasn’t so naive. I chose to avoid the truth, turn a blind eye. I got caught up with the notion of being in love, trying to control someone who couldn’t be held onto. I forgot who I was and I ignored the intuition I once was in tune with. I was floating along like a ghost. I was lost for the period of time I was tangled in love with that boy I thought would love me forever. It turned out he loved himself more and chose his own path. I once too broke up with someone and said to them, ‘I love myself too much to stay with someone who doesn’t know what they want.’ How did I forget that? How did I lose myself to one person who consumed my heart, soul, and true self?

All these memories and feelings came from first hearing this poem and then reading it over and over. It is as if my past experiences were living in between each word, each sentence of this beautifully dark poem. I am so grateful for the intentions I have set for myself and to come across a poem that I may never have come across if I didn’t make my creative life a priority.

Everything happens for a reason.

Thank you for being here with me today. I wish you all a beautiful day.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

2021 New Year’s Intentions Check In

My 2021 intentions are to put my creative life first. Creativity gets priority over everything else, besides going to my day job and helping with the farm when needed. However, I have made an effort to change my habits about when I “thought” I can write. Last year I was telling myself a story that I didn’t have the energy to write after a day at the hotel life. Then a few days ago I watched a video by Kristin McTiernan, the Nonscence -Free Editor. I stumbled upon Kristin when I was researching memoir practices on youtube. I was intrigued by her ‘Write with a Day Job: Make Money While Writing.’ I had been struggling with the notion of working a more than full-time job and trying to get writing in on the side. I forgot about ‘I am a writer who happens to be a manager at a hotel’. This mantra helped me separate my day job and my creative life over the year. It is time to take back this frame of mind.

The video was to the point. There were two notions that spoke to me. 1. Don’t quit your day job if you are not writing and publishing a book a month. Apparently, this is how on-line/self-published writers are making money. They write fast and keep their readers engaged. Then my ego says:

Well if I wasn’t working full time at a day job then I would have the time to write a book a month. Would it be that easy to quit the job and write a book a month? For me. Not right now.

2. The second item that Kristin spoke about was the type of day job. If you have a taxing job how are you expected to come home and write. After a day of emotional up and downs, hand-holding, putting out little fires everywhere is draining. Then try to come home, sit down and write. I use to belive this. I complained in my morning pages for years about my hotel life sucking time and energy from me, leaving me with nothing at the end of the day to even think about sitting down at my writing desk to invest any more of emotions onto the page. But every time I complained about the situation I put myself in, I turned around to say how grateful I was. I was and continue to be grateful for the amazing opportunities that have been provided to maintain this amazing creative life. My sassy-alter ego, who I call Sis, says, “Figure it out and write”. And that is what I did. Every day off I spent writing. I surrounded myself with other writers, I made myself accountable for my actions.

No One is Going to Write My Book For Me

I may have a job where my time and energy are wiped from me some days, but it helps me pay the bills, put food on the table, pay for editors, book cover designs, and everything in-between. My intention is for my writing to provide the finances to pay for all the same things, however, at this time, until I get a J.K. Rowling contract, I will continue to gain character developments and plot lines at the hotel life. I have met some very interesting people in all the hotels I have worked for and there is a little piece of our conversations or the way they may have said something to someone, the way they looked at their friend, lover, dog that struck a cord in me to write about. One of the best lines I have heard outside my office one night was, I didn’t know you loved me that much in that way. My imagination was ignited once the words left the woman’s mouth that was pacing back and forth in the lobby. I went home that night and wrote 1500 words. Though I worked until 10:00 pm I was energized by the story. I had to get the words down and see where the story leads me.

My day job has been the hotel life for over 25 years and I have written my debut memoir about my experiences in the hospitality world. If I didn’t have these experiences I wouldn’t have written the book. I am grateful for the experiences and life lessons that I have overcome to be right here and now. Everything happens for a reason. Now I am holding myself more accountable for my actions. In the first nine days of 2021, I have put creativity first when possible. When I am at work I am aware of creativity whispering in my ear and I ask for the time to do my day job and then I promise I will write when I get home, either before or after dinner. Every night I have worked on my second memoir in one shape or another, writing new words, doing research, setting up promotions, or reviewing what I have written the day before to make sure I am on track with my theme. Personal Growth.

I am making myself accountable here with you. I am also part of a year long writing challenge that keeps me responsible. To keep me on track with my work in progress. I am putting a little bit of pressure on myself and I need it. I will give myself a break when needed. I am not going to take part in this year’s April blog challenge. It is a distraction and I am aware of this. It is time to focus on my memoir writing. My intention is to write two or three books a year, but for now, I will write one book at a time. That is what I can do in this moment.

Thank you for being here with me today. Did you make any New Year’s intentions? What are they? How are they doing in the first week of the New Year? I love hearing from you.

Until Next Time, Keep On Typing…

New Year’s Resolutions. Yay or Nay?

Happy New Year my friends. How did you spend the last day of 2020? How did you ring in 2021? I went to the hotel life for a few hours to cross a few year end things off my list. I had a nap when I got home as I knew we would be up later than we normally are on a Thursday night. We enjoyed good food and set intentions for our small scale farm for 2021 and rang in the new year watching movies. Relaxing. Exactly what we needed. 2020 was busy for us and we welcome a night off everyone so often.

With a new year upon us, the question is do we still set new year’s resolutions? I don’t have resolutions I have intentions. I use to write down the typical resolutions when I was younger. Lose weight, because in high school that’s what I thought about, I stood back and watched the popular girls and think they were cool because they were thin and had Esprit jeans. (I roll my eyes and laugh) If I knew what I know now, my high school experience would have been easier on my emotional well being.

Intentions: something that you want and plan to do

My intention for 2021 is to put my writing life first. I was on the cusp of a work-life balance when we lived in Victoria, BC. It took me almost six years to prioritize my writing life and when I stepped back to let creativity take over, everything fell into place. Like it always does and I know this, but the ego doesn’t like this and has slithered its way back into my life where my writing life is now third on my priority list. Not good.

I have become more of a planner over the years. I know my time management is not great, I know procrastination is my middle name and I know I can easily say, ‘I’ll finish writing that chapter tomorrow.’ Now I will be saying, I’ll finish that chapter now, so I can start a new one right away. I will stay seated at my desk in my writing room that I have intended for years. I have been blessed with rentals with a cozy writing room and now our home has three bedrooms. One of them is now my space with books everywhere but the bookshelves, bullet journal material to work on each month, vision boards that tell my story, and my goals.

My focus is to finish my second memoir in the hospitality memoir series I have intended over four years ago. My debut memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, was self-published in September of 2018. It is time to share the second memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Winters, where I share my experiences of working for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. There are some experiences I am struggling with, do I share everything? There are some things I will keep back but I will share the times I overcame difficulty because the theme of the book is self-growth. And just like that, I have answered my own question through the power of writing. This is why I write. To get to the truth. To overcome the ego’s doubts and let my true self shine bright.

The power of intetion is more than planning and doing the thing you want to do. I manifest my intentions. I see myself writing. I see my book on the bookshelves of a book store, virtual and traditionally. I see people reading my books and sharing their reviews and asking when the next book will be out. This is happening right now. I will recieve a message from a few of my readers asking about the next book. They want to know more about the secret life of hotel employees. I get it. My intentions are telling me exactly what I asked for. So I better get to it.

Do you set intentions or resolutions? What are you putting first on your priority list for 2021? I would love to hear from you.

Thank you for being here with me today.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

A Merry Covid Holiday! 2020

How was your Christmas? Did you spend it with your close family? How did Covid change your holiday traditions this year? Here in the Maritimes, many long standing traditions have been forced to change due to limits on gatherings and travel restrictions. I could have driven to see my parents, however I would have to self-quaintine for 14 days in Nova Scotia and then again when I returned to New Brunswick. This was not relatistic for myself or many others that live in the area. Though it would be nice to spend time with my family I understand the risks and it’s more important to keep everyone safe. I have lived away from my parents for over 15 years and we are used to not being together in person. The phone calls and viedo chats have connected us over the years and 2020 is no different when I lived on Vancouver Island. I understand this is my story and I am use to it. I understand that many of you have traditions of spending the holidays with all your family in person. I understand, the hug, the laughter, seeing each other smile, the reactions to opening gifts. I miss these moments too.

As a young girl, I have fond memories of spending Christmas at my Grandparents Berry’s farm. My mom, dad, and I would wake up in our home in Kingston, Ontario and open our presents and then get ourselves together to drive to the farm where my Grandparents hosted the family Christmas dinner. I remember hugs, the smell of turkery and apple pie. My grandmother was always baking pies, she seemed to enjoy providing baked goods for all of us. I remember her being in the kitchen ninety percent of her time when we would visit. I assumed she enjoyed puttering around getting things ready for the family. When the Berry family was together at the farm house, everyone did their part for the Christmas festivities. The decorations were bright and inviting. Thoughtful presents wrapped beautifully with shiny wrapping paper and big ribbon bows. Chocoaltes and cookies on plates spread around the house so you were never without a sweet treat. I am smiling as I write this about these sentimental memories.

I now love puttering in the kitchen preparing food for Adam and I, and our family-bubble friends who have shared some time with us over the holidays. Adam and I spend Christmas Eve with his parents for a nice light dinner. On Christmas Day, Adam and I spent the day alone. I got up to work out while Adam attended to the microgreens and prepared for next week’s harvest. We opened gifts, made breakfast, and the rest o the day was filled with watching Christmas movies, attending to the greenhouse due to the 70km winds that potentially could have damaged the frame, but Adam was attentive to the structure to ensure it didn’t fly away. We made a nice vegetarian dinner and spend the night watching one of our favorite movies, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. I couldn’t think of a better way to share time with the one I love.

The remainder of the Christmas weekend was spent in my writing room cleaning things up from wrapping presents, reorganizing my books and preparing to work on this blog and my current work in progress. I enjoy having time off to spend time with my family and focus on the writing. Now I am preparing to find how I can focus more on the writing after my day job. The past few months I have been aware of the lack of time spent on the writing life and that is about to change. I have to take a hard look at my time mangement. It has been an area in my life (both work and writing) that I have struggled with. I am not in university anymore trying to cram for an exam and writing papers at 1:00 am that are due at 10:00 am the next day. Coivd may have stopped many things in our lives, but it is not going to change the way I treat my creative life any longer. The true self has had enough of the ego playing this poor me story. The magic of Christmas has slapped me across the face with twinkle lights and all. I am ready to get back to what is important. Me. The writing. Creativity.

Thank you for being here with me today and I wish you a Merry Christmas!

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Thank you pixabay.com and Pexels.com for the photos