Inspiration arrives in odd places.
Its opposite does, too.
For years, the writings of Stephen King have enchanted, even as they terrified. The Stand. Carrie. The Shining.
DH and I planned our summer playtime around two creative locales: Boulder, CO and Portland, OR. From Boulder, he insisted on a quick jaunt to his old childhood haunt — Estes Park, CO. I replied, Stanley Hotel.
My mind raced to memorable scenes from the film made from King’s novel, The Shining.
”Redrum” scrawled in blood across a bathroom mirror.
Jack Nicholson taunting, “Here’s Johnny!” through a cracked‐open door.
A hundred sheets of paper filled with a single sentence, repeated over and over — “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
Memory reminded me the movie was filmed at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. What could be more fun than seeing the mirror, the door, the paper.
Then we did. Saw the paper.
What you can’t see in the typewriter photo is what’s beneath the space bar. A red cautionary note warns the tempted: CAUTION! Old! Do Not Touch!
This third sign confirmed our suspicions. Nothing was as it seemed with either the hotel or the movie.
To enter the hotel parking lot — guest, visitor, whomever — you discover a $10 entry fee that “you only pay one time but you receive this $5 gold coin which you can use in our gift shop or restaurant.”
You mean the Stanley keeps $5 to stave off the unwanted, the cheap, and the wise.
We discussed leaving. As we did, a line of cars grew to the street. The parking gate behind the guard was down. He glared at us as DH and I strategized. My writerly curiousity won, we paid the ten and drove in, both of us irritated to a slow burn.
Seventy minutes later into our tour (another $20 per person, the reduced senior rate) and I seethed.
The movie was filmed in Oregon, not Colorado.
Because a different hotel was used, there’s no basement bar. No maze either. Except…
…for this: what the Stanley built itself. Three years ago. How many years is that post‐movie?
Room 217 never has a posted number. Novel readers are smart people. They figure things out. Eventually.
Kimg hated the movie so much, he helped to fund a later mini‐series of his novel. Filmed at the Stanley.
It is a beautiful, old hotel. With a rich heritage. And a clever marketing staff.
But now, when I think The Shining, bile fills my throat. I remember what the marriage of marketing and money‐making can create.
I hope Stephen King gets a cut of the Stanley dough.
I got mine. It’s a $5 gold coin. Forgot to use it when I bought that #217 room marker.