When I spotted a deserted run-down motel on my hunt for a lakeside mansion to feature in one of my novels, I yelled (nicely) at my husband to stop the car.
Paradise Pines was a blast out of the 1950s, with the kitschy charm of an old black and white movie–the original Psycho, perhaps.
The permanently vacant standalone cabins, scattered around the pine-cleared expanse of gravel, resembled a giant Monopoly game with abandoned pieces not correctly aligned to the board’s squares. The whole place was dilapidated to the point of being creepy-cool.
Once, this was someone’s idea of Paradise, with a capital P. Miles away from auto factories and steel mills, from the changing Detroit vibe and everyday hassles, the air was pure here, it smelled of pine with a tinge of lake water, the sounds muffled by the forest. The darkness, absolute.
I wouldn’t consider Paradise Pines a paradise now, although I have to admit, I like creepiness up to a point. Exploring abandoned houses, inactive insane asylums, abandoned motels/hotels and ruins of old civilizations gets my mind working. Who lived or visited there? What were their lives like? I like constructing stories about those strange sad places and Paradise Pines will definitely show up in a future novel.
Back to Paradise. I think it comes in many colors. Mine is the blue serenity of water–a lake, ocean, or backyard waterfall, where I can relax, think and write, with a bit of vino on the side, please.
Paradise Pines might have been ideal for me in its heyday since Lake Michigan throws its weight around on the far side of the park across the road. But not now. It’s too thought-provoking, too questioning, and my personal paradise has all the answers I need.
What color is your Paradise?