Sure, it may often seem insignificant and blend into its background; tucked away in a drawer, stacked on a shelf, perceived as one of many and easily overlooked. But to me, a simple blank sheet of paper can be a little slice of heaven. It’s truly intoxicating with its crisp purity and industrialized fibrous scent - I can’t help but approach nose-first, long before my pen is uncapped, inhaling deeply and wondering what the two of us will create together. Despite this, I am a realist and typically at this point, or some time very shortly after, the reality of my endeavor becomes clear: this alluring canvas of flawlessness is just a cold, barren tundra, crying out to be filled with words. Words that may already exist, though not quite in the same order I must arrange them.
I admit, it is a strange concept, but this torrid relationship has gone on for quite some time. Along the way I learned that, much like any relationship, it can be difficult at times. It is an undertaking that requires a great deal of work and lasting effort. Sometimes the end result is not what you set out for it to be, but more often than not, it comes together somehow. Best of all is a lesson I picked up along the way, from a man named Mr Banister, who exposed a valuable third dimension to one's relationship with a simple sheet of paper.
As the year draws closer to an end, many changes are in store at the Inn. Seasonal adjustments like the outdoor pool and patio areas being closed up and cordoned off until the following Spring. And the violet summer bellflowers on each of the tables in the dining room transforming into bright yellow autumn lilies and then into slender and elegant winter Amaryllis.
Besides changes to the decor however, the typical cycle for the Inn (and most hotels) is that things die down
in the remaining months of the year and a couple into the next. The number of employees goes down as guests and events become scarce. Less hours and fewer days will be available, so part-timers plan to move on to other jobs and weak links are cut along the way. This
works out wonderfully, due to this very typical dip in occupancy, but it's a dip that
will not come this year - and all due to our new Director of Sales. In
three short months, Cheryl has continually maximized the Inn’s
potential and provided a very profitable autumn that will
continue deep into the new year.
What could be the down-side? Well, this unexpected benefit of steady
business was just that - unexpected. Which means that I must now interview, hire and train at least twelve
new employees of varying departments within just a few weeks to keep
I find that an interview can be very revealing when the right questions are asked and for the most part I don’t mind setting aside an afternoon or two to meet and engage individuals that are excited to work hard and be successful. My grievance with the interview process is that I must wade through so many disinterested, ill-prepared and unqualified people wasting my time and their own. To combat this, I take a page from Mr. Banister.
On the first day of an Into to Psychology class, immediately following a brief introduction, the professor began to announce our first assignment of the semester. He peeled of a clean white sheet of copy paper, from a powder blue file folder and handed one to each student.
“Write your name anywhere on this sheet of paper,” he said, then after taking a few moments to glance around the room to ensure we had all complied, “It is very important that you bring this back to me tomorrow,” he instructed.
My classmates and I did not know at the time, but his instructions were actually an underhanded invitation to a psychology experiment. The following day, as we piled into the classroom and started taking our seats, Mr. Banister announced, “Please place your papers here on my desk in a nice neat stack, anyone who has forgotten or lost your paper for whatever reason, come see me right away.”
Only one student had lost their paper, though he suffered no disciplinary action upon this admission that I could see and we were soon given a reading assignment as he studied over our papers. He spent at least a full minute examining each one, blank except for our names - and I was sure he couldn’t be that slow of a reader. When he finished, he stood and confessed his ploy. Based on the condition of the papers, he claimed he could predict our final grades at the end of the semester within 5 points.
Most of us thought he was crazy...and a few were happy to tell him just that. Though he seemed to present a fascinating argument. He chose his words carefully the day before, saying it was important to bring it back, making us express how important we really felt it was to complete the assignment, express how important we were going to take his class and even how we would apply ourselves to the entire course. He seemed certain that an accurate impression of ourselves were left behind as clues in the number of folds, tears, stains, debris, or lack thereof.
Whenever I am faced with the challenge of adding hours of interviews to my schedule, I need to make sure the time is spent wisely. My department heads: Chuck at the Front Desk, Connie in Housekeeping, Ernie in Maintenance or Mack in Food and Beverage, conduct their own first interviews and decide who they would like back. Those selected are given a blank sheet of white paper with a time and date written on it and simple instructions, “It is important that you bring this back for your interview with the Innkeeper.”
I usually cut my meetings in half by the coffee rings alone; my favorites are those that lose their homework. As a side note, Mr. Banister beat his own estimate and guessed our grades within 4 points. It may be no secret that the words on a page reveal a great deal about its author, but the page itself - quite literally, can reveal a great deal more.
The New Year brings a time of celebration with new hopes for the future, reflections of times past and the return of The Innkeeper.
(Cue dramatic newsroom music here.)
Beginning this Monday, January 3rd, the Second Collection of Innkeeper Chronicles will debut!!
You can expect the Innkeeper to confess even more extraordinary stories and events revolving around the Inn, its staff and the ever-changing assortment of guests from unique to utterly bizarre.
These new installments are crafted to take you further into the tight-lipped world of hotels as seen through the eyes of the Innkeeper. Collection Two will also hold clues to an underlying mystery at the Inn throughout this second series.
You are cordially invited to satisfy your curiosities with the chronicles... and discover New and Updated features:
ConfessInns Lobby - Displays the Innkeeper's 'Five Star ConfessInns' - chosen from secrets submitted by readers and visitors of ConfessInns.com! Plus: Innspired quotes from notable celebrities, authors, world leaders and more. The ConfessInnal - Share ConfessInns of your own with the Innkeeper and Innkeeper Chronicles Community! Sign our guestbook with your secret today!
ConfessInns Lobby - Displays the Innkeeper's 'Five Star ConfessInns' - chosen from secrets submitted by readers and visitors of ConfessInns.com! Plus: Innspired quotes from notable celebrities, authors, world leaders and more.
The ConfessInnal - Share ConfessInns of your own with the Innkeeper and Innkeeper Chronicles Community! Sign our guestbook with your secret today!Days & Distinctions - Provides the Innkeeper Chronicles' NEW posting schedule and descriptions for each posting day.
*Next Chronicle Post: Thursday*