Monday, May 14, 2007

The Hotel of Dreams (One Star)

Sometimes, an idea for a story comes to me, and this morning, I was out on the driveway blowing bubbles for my son when I realized that I might want to write a story right out of my own life.

Maybe it takes a certain amount of distance to be able to see that a slice of one's own life was delivered in story form, and in my own case, it seems to have taken precisely twenty-seven years, the chunk of time that has passed since the four months, March through July 1980, that I spent at the Hotel of Dreams on the Island of Corsica next to the blue, blue Mediterranean Sea.

There was every character there, when I think about it, and I know that somewhere in a box at my mother's house, there is a treasure trove of journals that I kept at the time to remind me what I really thought at the time.

This I know. I was eighteen. On my own for the first time. I had overstayed my visa, I was living on 600 francs a month, which I think was about thirty dollars a week. I was living with a family that didn't speak a word of English, and that one by one they fired the laundress and the chambermaid and the waitress and I took over each of the jobs and added it to my list of responsibilities.

I had an American friend, Yvonne, who lived 2.2 kilometers away, on the next beach over. She was blonde and had loopy curls and eyes that seemed to me at the time to be perfectly round.

Her father sent her packages with books in them, and she used to read them with a paperback dictionary and learn new vocabulary words with which she used to pepper he speech in odd and unexpected ways.

Yvonne had a Saudi Arabian boyfriend, and she used to write letters to him, and he'd write back, offering to come take her away with him, and she and I would imagine that he would appear in his yacht on the horizon of the tranquil bay of the Tarco beach and she would sail away with him.

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