Room in the Inn

Okay kiddies, it’s Creative Juices Time! Here’s the project I need your input on (and this is for real):

A new motel is under construction in the heart of downtown Floyd, undertaken by Jack Wall and Kamala Bauers (of Wall Residences). I only know the edges of the tale. But I know that it is designed so that the motel will employ folks who couldn’t work independently in most other settings, giving them a safe working environment, some dignity and a little income. It will seek to encorporate into its construction and later, offer a venue for conferences on green architecture and alternative energy.

And, per Jack’s design, the rooms will have significant individuality by being decorated according to themes–one of which will be (GET READY!) the “FLOYD WRITERS’ ROOM“. Yep, that’s right. And along with blogger-writer Colleen and a few other folk, I’ll be making suggestions about how the room should be furnished, decorated and equipped.

We’re meeting Wednesday evening about this, and since I’ve only heard about this recently, I haven’t had much chance to think about it. I did talk with Colleen the other day, and some more old fashioned writerly things–like a roll-top desk, a manual typewriter, an ink well and quill pen, lots of book shelves and books, a gooseneck lamp–will certainly be included. But then, we would want it to have more modern writing features as well, a wireless connection at a minimum.

And it should give the guests some flavor for the spoken and written words of Floyd County. Perhaps a montage of poetry, stories, biographies of local writers could cover one wall. Copies of the Muse Letter going back to Year One? Maybe a blog could be created specifically for guests of that room to enter their own “guestbook” comments directed at one or more of the Floyd writers whose works they’d perused while staying in the room. Might be nice to have available some audio recordings of Spoken Word at Cafe del Sol.

What else? You’ve got a budget of xxxx dollars. How will you spend it to give one room the flavor of Floyd’s wordsmiths? Don’t be shy. We really need ideas!

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Designing a writer’s room – nice. It should be a room that invites deep thinking and provides the tools to put those thoughts to the written word.

    A darker room would be my start. A room with book cases steeped with literature and references. There should be a large, comfortble wingback chair with a side table near the wall of books.

    Away from the books the writer’s station, as it were. A large, heavy desk. With lots of room for the references and scrap pages to lie about. The chair must swivel and rock, and be large a comfortable, but not so large and comfortable that it invites one to lean back and stop writing. I haven’t decided if the computer goes on the desk or if it should have another station…

    And the window must have large dark drapes. But as a source of inspiration, when the drapes are drawn, the view must be bright, and the eyes must fall on the most beautiful setting available to the facility.

    And finally, there must be an espresso machine on a stand near the desk.

    How much ya got left in your budget now?

  2. I would add some of your pictures – to put them in the mood – have a bookshelf full of local books and as well as internate and a blog – have a leather bound journal that people can write in by hand

  3. I’d make sure it included at least two decent-sized tables, made of wood, that are a good height for writing on. Need space for books, documents, scraps, etc.

    Also, consider a writer’s desk, one that slopes a little and has a leather surface.

    Otherwise, make the decor fairly minimal, other than a few things to keep the room from feeling totally empty. Encourage, don’t overwhelm.

    Oh, and a comfy chair by a fireplace would be lovely!

  4. i love the idea of having a blog specifically for guests in that room to write commentary. when we stayed at claytor lake state park, they had a little notebook in the cabin that you could journal and document your experience there. they had sections such as “weather”, “wildlife observed”, etc.

    i’m not a writer, so i can’t really think of anything that you didn’t already mention. i don’t know what inspires writers. but you definitely need to have copies of you floydian writer’s books in a prominent place.

  5. How about small excerpts from local books, with or without pictures, made into prints on off-white paper, matted and hung in nice distressed frames. For example, from Slow Road Home, “This is a good day to be in a high place.” or “Let me have life about me that is green.” Or longer passages and no picture. You get my drift. For the ones without pictures, a country print mat. 🙂 Hopefully this would stimulate the occupants to buy the books, and it wouldn’t break the bank. I also LOVE the idea of a journal!