I had these last few photos of the remaining structure of the Wonderland left and wanted to finish off this series. These two with the huge stone fireplace are shots of the dance hall. In the second photo you can see the raised stage where the bands played.
There's something about this room that particularly takes me back in time. Standing there, you almost hear music, and I felt a definite sense of motion - dancing couples and all the little dramas that most certainly played out.
One of the main characters in my third novel, Signs That Might Be Omens, is very attached to this place. In a brief scene he lays out a fantasy that he and Claire might have lived back in the time of Elkmont's boom years. It occurred to me today as I uploaded these photos - the character Bingham basically gifted me with a novel. He laid it out so beautifully it would be easy to take the idea and run with it. A sort of "past lives" novel. In the past minute or so this little germ appeared and then grew to the point that it is now being written down in my black Moleskine notebook.
This is why when writers tell me they're blocked, I suggest they get out into the world and walk around, open their eyes and all their senses, take photographs, find interesting places and people to watch and soak in. At some point bits of ideas will begin to float up and will push at you until you pay attention to them. For some of us, it happens almost too much - and the task is holding the ideas at bay long enough to finish other things already in progress!
My head is full of books.
The above is a small structure near the back of the hotel. It may have been a cottage for staff, or an extra kitchen. It, too, seems occupied, although as you can see, it's long been empty. Part of the appeal of these structures is that with the camera and a zoom lens, you can ratchet in close and get a sense of the emptiness - and also of the ghostliness of the place. Often, in all these photos, when I click and get the biggest image possible, I see things I didn't even know were there.
This is a view of one of the remaining fireplaces, looking back toward the site of the hotel.
I was struck with nearly every shot at how much life there still is in the place. And without all the fencing keeping us out, there was a sense of peace there too.