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There’s a sun show every second

October 6, 2011

I sneaked out in the middle of a busy day to pay a visit to the Morgan Library, which is a lovely piece of quiet and calm close to my office. It’s soothing to walk into the main room. I want to move in and stay, maybe hidden inside one of the secret staircases. I work in an office full of books. Why do I want to see more books on my lunch hour? I’m not quite sure. But it’s a nice place to gather your thoughts. My thoughts are usually about books these days. Maybe it’s the orderliness of this collection that I find calming. Or maybe it’s the luxurious leather and jeweled bindings. I go to check out Sylvia Plath’s notebook with the tiny, hand-colored drawings. And then I head back.

I took a different route home from work today, because I felt like seeing something new. I plunged straight through the heart of Chelsea and found a block made up entirely of flower shops, a sidewalk paved in broken pottery and a store called “Lucky Wang,” which surprisingly turned out to sell expensive children’s clothing. I also discovered that Willa Cather once lived down the street from the laundromat. There’s a plaque on her former wall, which I didn’t have time to read. It has very fancy window grates.

I need to get over my self-consciousness of wielding a camera around here. I would like to show you all these things and also the broad expanse of street in front of the Hotel Chelsea while the sun was setting, which reminded me more than anything of the opening scene in a western, the kind where the hero comes tumbling out of a bordello. The Hotel Chelsea is both fancy and seedy-looking in just that kind of way.

I’m in early tonight, which is good because I have to pack and clean. I realized today, while spending some quality time with my calendar, that the next time I am here will be my last until after Thanksgiving. I get two weeks in a row at home at the end of October and then two weeks on the road to conferences on the west and east coasts respectively and then home for the holiday. Will the Spy family survive? Only time will tell.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2011 8:27 am

    Two weeks on the road sounds like a lot. Whenever I feel overwhelmed by my new work and travel schedules, I just come over here, and then my life seems calm by comparison.

  2. October 7, 2011 11:46 am

    I feel confident that the Spy family will survive. They seem like a resilient lot. Also, I think that the more books you are around, the more books you want to be around. That’s just the way it is.

  3. October 7, 2011 1:04 pm

    Why would you want to see more books? What a silly question: because they are more books. I bet they smell very good too, that enticing old-book smell.

    You can get over your reluctance to use a camera: just elbow a couple of people out of your way (whether or not it’s necessary) and you’ll fit right in.

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