I’m sitting in the library of the Sylvia Beach Hotel. The hotel is on a cliff overlooking the shimmering blue Pacific in the historic Nye Beach area of Newport. The sun is unrelenting, without encumbrance from the usual ever-present clouds. The view from my room looks out onto the Yaquina Head Lighthouse as well as an almost-empty beach.
This area has been a favorite of mine for several years now. Ordinarily I would stay at the Elizabeth Street Inn (what is it with me and hotels named after women, Sigmund?). But during this short jaunt, I opted for Sylvia Beach. The area is chock full of bistros, restaurants, pubs and bookstores. Access to the beach is easy. It’s a glorious atmosphere.
This hotel is known around the world for its unusual twist. Each room is dedicated to a famous author and decorated accordingly. I happen to be in the Virginia Woolf room, which was the only one available with a bed that would accommodate my large frame (read: massive chest). I have to admit that I wonder what the Hemingway room looks like—is it full of empty whiskey bottles?
I’m quite taken with my decision to stay at Sylvia Beach. The library is upstairs facing the ocean. Comfy, overstuffed chairs and couches abound, some looking out on the beach. Books galore fill tables and spill out of bookcases. One of the books is mine. Autographed, of course.
I’m here because I opted to visit four radio stations in person. I’ve been having difficulty getting through to the people in charge at these stations so I just drove over. It’s called assertiveness.
Stopping in Albany first, I visited station KLOO and dropped off an autographed book. I continued on to Newport where I invaded station KSHL. The Program Director, a fun lady named Leslie, apologized profusely for not returning my calls. She redeemed herself by giving me a twenty-minute interview on the spot. Next on my hunt will be KCUP, also in Newport, and then KBCH in Lincoln City. My work will then be done. For now.
While I’m here, I will meander along the beach, reveling in the fresh sea air. Tonight I enjoyed a great salmon dinner at Sylvia Beach. Two dinner companions enthusiastically bought books when I told them that I’m a writer. Tomorrow will feature lunch at a favorite bistro, Canyon Way, after visiting the radio stations. Later, the return home.
But until then, while it’s dark and windy and cold outside, I will ensconce myself in a small alcove of the library of this historic home cum hotel and allow my brain to free associate. I will write, enjoying the pristine solitude. I will breathe in the musty scent of decades gone by, of old books a million times read, of worn leather. I will do what an author does. I will think like an author. I will act like an author. I will be an author.
I am an author.
“Since the most primitive campfires and throughout history, stories have been used to foster understanding, teach, influence, and bind people together. When basic emotions common to all humankind—love, joy, surprise, anger, sadness, interest, excitement, fear, guilt, disgust, shame, contempt, and pride are introduced, an unpredictable chain reaction is set off, culminated by an enduring memory that forever alters self-identity and the worldview of the listener.” —Judith Land, author of Adoption Detective
Thanks for sharing your story. SD