This is what guests often tell me. But they don’t have to say it.
From the moment I saw this beast of a house one foggy November day, the idea that there might be a book idea lurking — first in the cobwebs and darkened corners of a forgotten house, and then in the sweat and laughter of rehabilitation — was obvious.
Something tugged at me, suggesting that somewhere in the messy months that led to a reluctant and fearful opening, there were revelations universal enough to tickle a could-I-do-this curiosity lurking unrequited in a broad, general audience.
My gut told me, yes. My head said, maybe. The research, anecdotal as it was, said go for it.
About one in six people who stay here admit to harboring the idea of opening their own bnb. It may be a private thing (it was for me), but over the course of breakfast, after a few muffins and couple slugs of coffee, people start to feel comfortable. And then they cross the line into full-blown confession. It’s not always pretty.
It goes like this. “You know, Curt, I’ve been a lawyer now for about fifteen years and recently I’ve started to think about chucking it all and opening a bnb.”
Ooooo. Then stand back because sometimes the jaw drops hard on the spouse sitting at the table. “Honey? Did I just hear you correctly?” he-spouse or she-spouse says, oatmeal sort of oozing off the spoon mid-air, coffee suddenly sloshing on to the tabletop. The spouse regains composure, feigns politeness and curiosity, but it’s only the first nail in the career coffin (because, really, how are we going to put the kids through college now that you are doing laundry all day instead of taking depositions).
I’d be fooling myself if I thought the appeal of running a bnb is a goal shared by vast numbers of people. Probably not. But my crowd has already self-selected for hikes over roller-coasters, muffins over Mc-whatevers, and the TLC of a bnb over a thin veneer of vanilla one often finds in a roadside motel. Most people who stay here, and probably a chunk of the people who read this blog, are already smitten with the idea of muffins over meetings.
So. The book.
The big question I ask myself is, what do people want to know about running a small business in a remote rain forest, sharing space with complete strangers, cooking muffin after muffin after muffin, and then repeating it all over again? And again.
You want the skinny on buying sheets online? Sure you do. That’s a chapter probably. How about a couple dozen gluten-free cookie recipes. DeLISH, right? Dryer dry vs sun dry. Big, big topic. Cleaning fee vs no cleaning fee. And you thought South Sudan was a quagmire. And that really, really, REALLY big question — 11, 11:15, or 11:30am check-out time.
So. Maybe Hollywood won’t be lined up to option the manuscript. But you never know. We get some pret-ty fa-mous pe-ople…would you believe a near-celebrity chef (in my book, at least), some movie types (an academy award winner even, believe it!), one close relation to the royal family (no kiddin’) and a handful of tack-smart academics, techie types, and authors.
I’m still hammering out the book’s focus and vibe. Some possibilities: a basic how-to (that would be the bed sheets); something more personal (think migraines, scary dreams, and self-deprecating humor wrapped in a blankie); a metaphor for finding your bliss (the redwoods are closer than Shangri-La, yes?); or maybe a primer on entrepreneurship (but think school of hard knocks, definitely not Stanford).
While the book’s focus is very much TBD, one thing for sure is that my guests, now numbering in the hundreds, will play a significant role.
Consider the following, then, a small, pre-publication/pre-production excerpt.