Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ A Hotel Memoir: Chapter 1

The full First Chapter of Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ A Hotel Memoir

I’ve Served You

 I’ve served you. I’ve listened to your stories of how your vacation is going, good or bad. I know how you like your steak; medium rare, but make sure it’s more medium than rare. I know how you like your martini; gin, three olives, dirty and shaken. I’ve made special trips to the other dining rooms within the hotel to get you the cocktail you liked from the bartender that you think is the only bartender in the hotel for a 900 room and six dining outlets. I’ve served you and you served me a lifetime of experiences.

How did I stumble upon the world of hospitality? (I like to refer to it as the hotel life). No accident, it was a series of serendipitous events that were taking place before I even knew they were happening. The journey to the hotel life started at the age of fifteen, maybe even earlier, the universe works in mysterious ways.

On the first day of summer vacation of grade ten, I was lying in bed wondering what I would do that day. Maybe hang out with my friends but I wanted to work on the short story I’d been writing. Writing was and is my real passion. I heard my father walking up the stairs, he knocked and opened my bedroom door and implied,

“Get up, get a job, you’re cut off your allowance.” Ouch! No warning. Well, maybe a few hints throughout the school year that I would need to a job at some point. I didn’t think it would have to be so soon. I was fifteen and I had grandiose notions of writing books and making a living as a writer. I might need a part-time job to pay the rent and food when I was older, but not now.  I know, I was ahead of my time, or out of my native mind.

Sis: You can say that again.

This is Sis, my sassy pseudo guardian angel/alter ego, who is really me expressing my true thoughts. You see, my mother labeled me as a shy little girl and I carried that like a badge of honor because I didn’t know any better. But I wasn’t shy. I was more like Sis than I knew at the time.

Sis: You got that right.

So, me, an only child had to get a job. I didn’t have to look too far. My mother’s good friend was a manager at the McDonald’s we loyally went to every week. My mother called her friend, let’s call her Janet, said I could come in for an interview.

Sis: That was easy.

My interview with Janet was basically her talking about her life at McDonald’s and she loved it. She said I would gain a lot of great life skills by serving customers and become disciplined by the rules of the company. Rules? I didn’t like the sound of that, but I learned quickly rules meant guidelines, which meant I could skirt around certain things like leave the fillet-o-fish in the warmer for an extra minute but not much longer or they would get soggy and not the crisp fresh fish burger promised on the commercials.

I was hired on the spot, given my uniform, a locker in the staff room, my training schedule and there you have it, I was now part of a major fast-food chain. I took that job seriously because of two reasons. I didn’t want to hear my mother say that I shamed her for not being a good employee or daughter because she got me the job. Second, I wanted to make enough money to buy a car and drive as far away from my mother as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother, but there was a time, especially when I was twelve through my early twenties when I didn’t care for her. I didn’t even like her. I was the happiest when I was writing or at work acting like I cared when I served overweight people a super-sized meal from the drive-through window.

Now let’s talk about names. Let’s discuss changing and protecting names of the innocent or not so innocent. Maybe I need a bit of protecting, I’m not that shy little girl everyone ‘thinks’ I am or may look like. Names have been changed and certain situations out of order to protect feelings.

But my name is essential, it has shaped who I am. My name is Marion Ann Berry, it’s actually, Marion Ann Laura Berry, my first name is Marion Ann. Now, try to say it ten times fast. I’m not Mary Ann, Marion or Marion and Ann (that’s my fav). You can call me Min, it’s my nickname and it’s a helleva lot easier to say than trying to stumble along the Marion Ann that has been on my name tag for over twenty years.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing. . . .

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How Do You Prepare for Writing?

I’m happy. It’s Sunday and I’m on a writing date with my friend. We are committed to writing and the process of writing. Today I’m setting up a few blogs so that I can focus on other writing projects and my friend is working on the other side of writing, the technical side of things; like formatting her books and getting them prepared for a new writing program because she has changed from a laptop to a Mac. I’m living vicariously through her at the moment. I still like my laptop but know that I will transition to a Mac soon.

It takes time to set up programs and resources just the way you like to for the pure ease of practically. I can spend hours on setting up spreadsheets for character development and go down the rabbit hole of research for my characters. But now that I have set up my templates I don’t have to create them again. Hours of tinkering can go by but it never feels like work at all. That’s the beauty of my creative life, it may seem like work to some people but for me, it’s necessary work and joyful work to maintain my creative life. Take my writing room for example:

My room is set up like an office, but with unique features like there are vision boards all over the walls, jars of pens and highlighters on window sills and stacks of books next to my desk and on the floor by a book shelve that is half empty because I’ve pulled the books I like to have close to me that are now on the floor. Sounds rational to me, and to some people, it may look like a bit of a mess but for me, it’s my creative space and it’s perfect the way it is. Until I can’t find a book or a notebook that I need and it’s buried under a stack of other books. Then I’ll I spend an hour moving books around on shelves and then I find hidden treasures that I forgot about; like one notebook with some story ideas that I had months prior and wrote to myself, ‘will come back to this at some point’. Voila! The story has summed me once again by re-organizing my creative space. I love how creativity is able to gently poke at you to remind you to get to work.

Preparing for your writing is important. I try to have a plan of what I will be working on and it feels great when I cross off the list that one goal for my writing session. I plan on spending time with my character development later on today and I’m happy that I spent the time to set up the spreadsheets so each time I work on character development there are no other distractions.

How do you prepare for your writing sessions? Do you have spreadsheets for character development or do you use a writing program like Scrivener? Do you have stacks of research books in your writing space or notebooks waiting to be re-discovered? Have you found any hidden treasures lately?

Until Next Time, Keep On Typing. . . .

Behind The Kitchen Doors – A Hotel Memoir

I made a commitment to myself that I would share more. I will be sharing small chapters of my hotel memoir – Behind the Kitchen Doors ~ Summer 1 with you and I would love to hear if you are interested in reading more?

Chapter 1 – I’ve Served You

I’ve served you. I’ve listened to your stories of how your vacation is going, good or bad. I know how you like your steak; medium rare, but make sure it’s more medium than rare. I know how you like your martini; gin, three olives, dirty and shaken. I’ve made special trips to the other dining rooms within the hotel to get you the cocktail you liked from the bartender that you think is the only bartender in the hotel for a 900 room and six dining outlets. I’ve served you and you served me a lifetime of experiences.

How did I stumble upon the world of hospitality? (I like to refer to it as the hotel life). No accident, it was a series of serendipitous events that we taking place before I even knew they were happening. The journey to the hotel life started at the age of fifteen, maybe even earlier, the universe works in mysterious ways.

On the first day of summer vacation of grade ten, I was laying in bed wondering what I would do that day. Maybe hang out with my friends but I wanted to work on the short story I’d been working on. Writing is my real passion.

I heard my father walking up the stairs, he knocked and opened my bedroom door and implied, get up, get a job, you’re cut off your allowance. Ouch! No warning. Well, maybe a few hints throughout the school year that I would need to a job at some point. I didn’t think it would have to be so soon. I was fifteen and I had grandiose notions of writing books and making a living as a writer. I might need a part-time job to pay the rent and food when I was older, but not now. I know, I was ahead of my time, or hour of my native mind.

I hope you enjoyed the beginning of Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ Summer 1

Sign up for my Newsletter to get more advanced chapters of behind the scenes of working and living at a luxury hotel on top of a mountain – what could go wrong?

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing. . . .

A New Year ~ A New Story

How close is to close? What do you do with a life experience that seems to be shaping a story? I am working on a possible short story but could be a novella, it is from life experience, but not my own. I actually hadn’t thought of this situation for a very long time and one afternoon while meditating a small conversation between two people started to occur. Then all of a sudden I had two characters sharing their life story with me. Their stories were very familiar to me and I realized that I was drawing on an experience I once heard from third and fourth parties and never thought anything else about it.

As the story unfolds each time I am on the page I hear a voice that whispers this maybe to close for comfort. I wouldn’t want to cross any lines or jeopardize a friendship. I asked myself if I should continue with writing this story and the next time I started to work on the story a change occurred. Creativity has taken over and the original thought of the plot has shifted into another story and I am witnessing the thriller/mystery theme coming through onto the page. I seem to have this itch to write on the dark side lately and I have stepped aside to go with the flow.

With this story, I have taken the time to sit down and write about the characters; who they are, what they look like, traits that make them unique, where they came from, and right down to their favourite foods (because many conversations happen at the dinner table in this story). I am invested in this story now and I want to see where it goes. I have two other stories that I feel this strongly about and I must give them as much attention as this new story. It’s a struggle at times with so many great ideas and not enough time to spend with the characters and developing the story.

So my initial question was how close is to close? I guess I have answered my own question with a series of events. I gained this story idea by being close to people and tucking the details of the past in my creative files within my memory and now it’s ready to be let go and what better way is to get it down on the page.

The conversation that started all of this:

Father: Have you seen your mother?
Son #1 I think she’s out walking the dog. (Dog’s name will replace, the dog, I haven’t figured out the dog’s name yet.)
Father: Yes.
Son #1: Dad, don’t worry.
Father: Mmmm, hmmm.
The father moves from the kitchen table slowly. He was worried. 

You can see where a little mystery/thriller can be hinted in this conversation. I had to ask, ‘where is the mother’ ‘why are they asking where she is?’ ‘why are you worried?’ I asked the father and little hints have been whispered to me each time I sit down to the page. Oh, how I love the creative process.

I need a little help with one detail for now. Any suggestions on the dogs’ name? The dog is older, very loyal to the wife, never leaves her side. My vision is a rottweiler or german shepherd, but I also envision an older jack russell or hound breed.  What dog do you feel describes these ideas?

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing . . . .

It’s a New Year!

Happy New Year! Here we are in 2018, and I wonder what will this fresh new year bring? I am open to the endless possibilities, the possibilities and situations I am to embrace to move forward with my intentions of living the best life I can. I am standing aside so that creativity is in control and it’s not a control in a bad way, it’s more of a way of life. I’ve seen and lived a creative life and I can not undo what I’ve seen, what I’ve felt, what I know. I am trusting the universe and creativity to guide me this year. Yes, I understand that I have a part in all of this as well and it’s the follow through to move forward.

The Universe will match whatever vibration you put out. And you can’t fool The Universe. ~ Jen Sincero

Many times in my life I have walked through the doors of opportunity without question and I have ended up living, visiting and seeing some pretty amazing places, meeting amazing people and witnessing such beauty that not even a photograph can capture the peace and love I felt in that moment.

This New Year one of my intentions is to go places in my own backyard that I haven’t been and really experience the experience. I’m tired of moving along like I’m on a moving sidewalk like some drone trying to get through the day. As the basic idea of Law of Attraction, I am going to focus on that which makes me feel good and I will find that what makes me feel good. What makes me feel good? Writing stories. Sharing stories. Helping people share their stories. Everything that makes me feel good revolves around words and putting those words down on a page to tell a story that will hopefully help other people want to share their stories. I’ve known this all my life and though my intentions are great, I need to put some work into my soapbox heartfelt statement and get to work.

What are your goals and intentions for the New Year? Do you set New Year’s intentions? What makes you feel good? Are you ready for a fresh new year? I know I am.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing . . . .

 

 

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year

It’s Christmas time and it feels a bit rushed this year. Preparing my manuscript for my deadline on December 19th, ( and successfully reached – hurrah!) was a bit of a manic time for me. I was very aware that all my attention was on the writing. I wasn’t sleeping well, I would wake up in the middle of the night thinking about how I should be writing but I was also aware that I needed my rest because I was still getting up and going to my full-time job at the hotel life. I did take a few extra days off from work which I am so grateful for, I have so much support and my level of gratitude is overflowing.

Now while I wait to hear back from my editor I will be working on another project that I’m eager to get back too. I have many goals with my writing and the only way to accomplish them is to get started and to keep moving forward. I’m excited to write new stories and finish up the ones that have whispered in my ear wanting to be heard. I’m ready! Are you?

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing . . . .

and

Merry Christmas!

 

 

Starting from Scratch

Seven days until Christmas. Where has the time gone? Last time I checked it was the end of October and I was trying to figure out what my Halloween costume would be. Now I’m pulling out my Santa hat and making the list of Christmas movies to watch. Die Hard had been crossed off the list, it’s one of the first holiday movie’s we have added to our list of holiday movies. Next, Bill Murray’s, Scrooged and A Christmas Carol, I can hear the chant ‘you’ll shoot your eye out’ now – love this movie!

I’m sitting in a cafe with my good friend and we are writing. This is our Sunday writing ritual. My writing practices are important to me and my artist within. I haven’t been writing new blogs for a few weeks now. I’ve been working on my manuscript, getting it ready to send to my editor. It has been an interesting process and I’m 98.5% done, it feels good to complete something that I have started.  As I have spent almost all of my home time in my writing room, I have been close with the books on my shelves and Rita Mae Brown’s, Starting From Scratch has been catching my eye. I open up the book and flip through and see a few sections I’ve underlined.

If you’re working at an outside job to support yourself while writing, something’s got to give. Don’t let it be sleep. Give up your social life. If you aren’t prepared to put your writing first, you aren’t really a writer. If you want to succeed, you’ve got to organize your priorities. For you to be successful sacrifices must be made….Never let anyone or any social attitude stand in the way of your productivity.

That last line is important, I have to add to it, never let anyone (including yourself) stand in the way of your productivity. 

I agree with Rita. Sometimes something has to give. I agreed over twenty years ago when I bought this book. Did I listen? From time to time, but I certainly could have done better. That was then and this is now. I am much better at shutting my writing room door and ignoring the phone (I leave it in another room), and the Ego, “thinking” I should be doing something else.

Yes, its hard to not spend time with friends, but my friends understand that I am writing and they know my writing is important to me and when we get together it’s quality time well spent. I may not see my friends for weeks, but when we do get together it’s like no time has passed. Yes, something has to give to keep my writing life in order and now I know I can balance my writing and spending time with friends. It’s even better when I can spend time with a friend and write. It’s about balance and being disciplined with yourself for your passions.

Now, it’s time to get back to the writing and for me, that looks like spending time with my manuscript.

How do you keep your passions a priority?

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing. . . .