Hotels are the best cure for writer’s block. Better than temper tantrums or sleep. From the skanky motel near my former flat in LA to the marble-floored St Regis in Beijing, I’ve never slept in a hotel that wasn’t a story-machine. It’s the run-away atmosphere, the lack of personal possessions. A stage set of a bedroom, ready for fiction.
I’m in a Seattle hotel room right now, here to read The Pink Hotel at University Book Store on Tuesday night. I can see skyscrapers and early morning blue/grey sky outside the window, hear doors slamming around the ubiquitously trippy, geometric patterned corridor carpet outside my door. I’d like to stay here for longer than a few nights. I’d be like Eloise at The Plaza, but highly caffeinated and writing.
Unable to sleep at three am Seattle-time last night, my mind moved from Eloise’s Plaza to other fictional hotels, other writers who have shared my fascination for anonymous bedrooms and free time.
My first thought, after Eloise, was The Edmont Hotel in Catcher in the Rye: Holden Caulfield watching a guy trying on corsets and stockings in a nearby window, appalled but intrigued by the time-out offered by a hotel. Then I thought of the dreamy and watchful self-imposed exile in Anita Brookner’s Hotel du Lac. The Pensione Bertolini in A Room with a View? Where all different classes are thrown together into the crazy intimacy of shared living. And The Dolphin Hotel in Murakami’s Dance Dance Dance, the backdrop and epicenter of a distorted erotic memory.
There must be thousands. The plush hotels of escapist fantasies with glossy covers, the motels of crime novels and horror with their quilt covers and pale water color prints on the wall. The Overlook Hotel, of course, in The Shining, where the freedom becomes a curse. Oddly enough I fell asleep thinking about The Overlook last night, deciding that the one thing I won’t do in my quest to live in a hotel one day, is become a caretaker.
Do come say hi on Tuesday, if you’re in Seattle:
The Pink Hotel (PICADOR)
U District store: 4326 University Way NE. Seattle, WA 98105
Reading & Book Signing