Monday, January 19, 2009

Meet Goody Cable

Goody Cable lives her life like it’s performance art. We got to know her during the year she lived the alphabet—with 26 letters and 52 weeks, she spent each two weeks only eating foods that began with that letter, or choosing corresponding music or books. Or driving down certain streets.

During C week she told us, “I was in the CAR listening to the radio and Offenbach’s CAN-CAN came on. So, naturally, I had to pull over and do a can-can on the CURB.”

Naturally. If you’re Goody Cable.

Now she’s busy collecting first-hand stories for every country in the world. Every single one. So that her grandchildren will have a more personal connection to the world.

Like us, Goody is committed to knowing the most fascinating people to be found. Her employees at the Rimsky-Korsakoffeehouse in Portland once found a customer so scintillating they tied him up so he wouldn’t leave. And her guests at the literary-themed Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport must share the choicest bits of their lives by playing Two Truths and a Lie.

Goody has an endless supply of bits to share. We knew her five years before she even got around to telling us the story about Jesse Jackson sleeping in her bed. (Note to her grandchildren—she wasn’t in it at the time.)

And, no, she’s not a character in The Crucible. Goody’s her real name, short for Gudrun.

Welcome Goody.

1. What motivates you to get up in the morning?
What motivates me most to get up in the morning has changed throughout the years. As a child it was helping dad milk the cow and sharing our dreams. In college it was getting to the cafeteria when the cutest guys were there. As a young mother it was crying babies. As my children grew older it was getting them off to school so I could have the house to myself (and often go back to bed). Since then one of my main motivations in life is to have nothing compelling me out of bed. All about choice.

2. What keeps you awake at night? What obsesses you?
What keeps me awake at night is trying to squeeze every moment out of the day that I was hesitant to get up to in the first place! One more page to read, one more thought to think, one more idea to discover, play through and reject, perhaps! I am obsessed with ideas. It doesn't matter if they're trivial, fruitless, ludicrous, stupendous or mundane. They each receive the same amount of initial enthusiasm, juice and either tender fizzle or a year or two of obsession. Once in the holds of the obsession I can still run (a loose word) two businesses, spend time with 5 grandbabies, play with friends, fall in love with new friends, and do all the I-it survival stuff. But the obsession keeps my playing field happy and healthy.

3. What do you struggle with most?
I have to answer the next three questions out of order.

My personal philosophy is what I call the 90 and the 10 per cent. We have a lot of living to do. I would say about 10 per cent of it is important and 90 isn't. So I give my all to my 10 per cent. That means energy, time, emotion, effort. I sort of let the 90 slip. That gives me a lot of time and energy to give to the things that matter to me. The trick is: I have to respect the 10 per cent of the people I love. And I love a lot of people. That is probably my greatest struggle.

I'm always learning valuable lessons. I think the most important is to ask yourself the most important questions and be true to yourself with the answers. Keep the Joneses out of it.

I created the idea of a hotel for booklovers as a trap for me to meet interesting people because I decided that's what I wanted most in life. The question wasn't: What do I want out of life? It was: How do I want to spend my time each day?

I know how to keep myself happy. It involves tricks and games and not looking at life head on a great deal of the time. I see an awful lot thought the corner of my eye. When a person brings me great joy, as many people do, I cherish them. And I know how to fend off nay-sayers. That can even be fun!

4. What is the most valuable lesson you've learned?

5. What is your personal philosophy or motto?

My name is Gudrun Cable, I go by Goody. I own a coffee house called the Rimsky-Korsakoffee House in Portland, Oregon, and co-own The Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport, Oregon. Professionally I'm an assimilator of the mundane. And a really good one. My children are Marya Aslakson, Trevor and Austin Cable. My grandchildren are Tor, Jules, and Leo Aslakson, and Xander and Dante Cable. They are very young and I'm preparing with great diligence the view of the world I plan on showing them.


David S said...

Though I've known Goody tangentially most of my life, and she's been an artistic and lifestyle inspiration to me over the years, I've never gotten to spend much time in her presence. Thanks to your post, I feel like I now know her a little better. Thanks!

therese said...

The true spirit of Auntie Mame, right here in Portland, sharing her spirit with all she encounters.

Thanks for sharing Goody with us!

She has a philosophy that's inspired, struggles we'd all love and looks at life from a different view. Which means the key to happiness is asking the right question, and being true with the answer, and learning freedom comes from within.

auntie sash said...

OK - wow. This is such a great project!

What an amazing sense of life and passion. Makes me want to rush out and meet her AND, simultaneously, rush out and become interesting enough to not bore her to tears when I do.

(How weird is it that 'bore' in the ennui sense is spelled in the 'drill a hole' way as opposed to the 'large pig' way?)

Courtenay said...

Yay, Goody! This is a woman with her priorities in line. And who wouldn't love a woman whose coffee house makes a hot fudge waffle sundae? I mean, come ON.

Lisa said...

I've never met Goodie, and sadly haven't even been to her coffee house. BUT I am a devotee of Sylvia Beach House. It is a haven of peace and solitude where I go when life gets out of control.

Years and years ago, Goodie met a friend of mine whose father had died. My friend was very depressed, exhausted from tying up her father's estate. Goodie chatted with my friend for a few minutes, then made a phone call. She told my friend, "You need to go to my hotel in Newport. I've just made reservations for you, they're expecting you." That weekend at SBH was a renewing weekend for my friend, and she's always been grateful for Goodie's push toward Sylvia Beach Hotel.

paul oliverio said...


Have you ever seen Scott Fitzgerald's cartoon inscription in the copy of GREAT GATSBY he gave to Sylvia Beach in 1928?
In the Fitzgerald drawing, he depicts James Joyce as a saint, Sylvia & Ms. Monier as mermaids and himself on his knees in homage to Joyce.
I have a photograph of this inscription and want to donate it to the Sylvia Beach Hotel.
Please contact me.

Paul Oliverio
562 208 7967

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Candace said...

I first.met Goody when she hosted these amazing"soirees" at her home near me in Irvington. She would invite local classical musicians to play, and afterward we would all partake of the potluck items we had brought to share. I'm sure there were a lot of rules for those lucky enough to attend. The one I remember was that no wine or food was to be consumed until after the performance, to assure that absolute attention was focused on the performers! Everybody minded Goody! This was before she opened the hotel and the dessert restaurant. I hope it's still there!