I walk around the desk to escort Anaïs to her suite. The guests have no need for luggage as their favorite articles of clothing, books, and art are all provided just by their thoughts. The suites are modeled on the guest’s favorite living spaces during their earthly existence and opens to a shared courtyard garden with trails through the forest, and mountain hikes for the more ambitious. Each suite also has a private balcony opening to either the gardens, mountains, or lake. Guests are free to engage with the other guests or maintain their privacy. Each evening everyone is asked to meet for tea, cocktails, dinner, and to share time with their fellow guests. It is optional of course but so far no one has turned down the opportunity to engage with their friends, colleagues, and fellow creative spirits. The dialogue and discussions always provide intellectual stimulation and inspiration to release the creative spirit. The ideas shared and exchanged by those of different generations, fields of interest, and sexuality are as far ahead of common thinking today as when the ideas were originally received. Each evening after dinner I ask one of our guests to give a reading, a performance, or discuss a work of art. Last week Picasso brought paper and paints and we all painted until the wee hours of morning. Everyone had a wonderful time and were surprised at the finished product of their painting abilities. All the paintings were displayed the following week in the lobby.
“Perhaps you might sing for us one evening, or give a reading from one of your books.”
She gives me a puzzled look. “Not many people outside of close friends know that I was classically trained as a singer. How did you know…? O, it does not matter, now. We can talk about that later. May I ask you another question Socrates?”
“I am at your service Anaïs. What would you like to know?
“Why me? Why did I receive an invitation to this…this wondrous place?”
“You asked at the front desk if we ever met. No, we have never met in person but I know you or at least feel as if I know you through your creative and fascinating Memoirs.”
“You are familiar with my memoirs?”
She blushes for a moment. “But they were never met to be published. I wrote them for survival.”
”I know Anaïs but they were. They are an import part of who you are as a woman. They became a guidebook for many young women in the world today. You are ahead of your literary time Anaïs.”
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect. That is the reason I started keeping a diary around age eleven. I did not wish to miss any part of my life. I want to be able to reflect upon any segment of my life at any time. I can confide in my Diary the complete truth without any judgement except my own. Does that seem strange to you Socrates?
”Not at all Anaïs. You are a unique and beautiful woman. Your soul comes alive in your writings. That is one of the reasons I invited you to join us at the Inn. You have so much to offer us. You will find a sincere welcome from our other guests. I have absolutely no doubts whatsoever. “
Now we are at her entry. There are no doors. Only a keyhole into which I insert her key. Upon turning, the solid wall softens and transforms into a veiled entry. We enter. Each time I have opened a guest’s entryway I see this same look of amazement and awe.
“Socrates, this is beautiful, fantastically beautiful. How did you know this is how I envisioned my home.”
“I am the Gatekeeper of Inspiration Ms Nin. Excuse me…, Anaïs. I know what inspires the imagination of our guests.”
“You have to tell me more about this unique ability you have Socrates.” Not waiting for a response she moves toward her desk and picks up a pile of papers. She recognizes them as the papers she is currently working on concerning her difficulty expressing feelings of the heart within the written word. She doubts her skill to convey her own true feelings to the reader. Anaïs looks at me with the unasked question of “How did you get these?” but she doesn’t ask nor does she wait for an answer. She runs her hands over the mahogany desktop and the room instantly fills with her personal energy. She glows with the deepness of her passion for life and love. She sets the papers down upon the settee and opens the french doors to her balcony and to the garden. She breathes deeply and looks up to the heavens as if to give silent thanks. She returns inside, leaving the double French doors open. The breeze ruffles her papers setting on the settee and carries them to the floor, but she pays no attention.
Before exploring the rest of her suite, she turns toward me. “I…I don’t know what to say. I am so grateful for your invitation.” She reaches her slender arms around my neck and embraces my whole body with hers. “Thank you Socrates,” she whispers softly in her French accent as she places a gentle kiss upon my cheek. She runs off to see the rest of her suite, but before disappearing into her bedroom, she turns to ask.
“Socrates, is Henry here?
The bell at the front desk rings. “Not yet Anaïs. He is on the guest list and should be joining us soon.” I leave Anaïs to her discoveries and close the veiled door behind me as I leave to respond to the ring of the front desk bell. I make my way down the long corridor and descend the spiral brass and marble staircase, pass the French chandeliers and into the lobby.
“Good afternoon Rainer. “How may I be of service?
The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Two — Rainer Maria Rilke will be published on Sunday, July 29, 2018.
Cover Art “Aries” by Emilee Petersmark.