Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy, Massachusetts
You want to write something.
Does it have a chance of being better written if you compose it at a desk in a beautiful room?
I just walked around my kitchen with a turkey sandwich in hand working on those opening sentences. I am still changing them.
Twenty-four hours ago, however, I was sitting in a beautiful room. Everything I had read about the Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy, Massachusetts, was proving true. The photographs I had seen of it in books on the most beautiful libraries in the United States had not misled me. There was a reason I had held on so long to the goal of seeing this place for myself.
My hand kept going up cautiously and quietly with my iPhone camera. I tried to make some of my own images of these spaces that architect H.H. Richardson had created for readers and writers.
I always thought there must be life like this somewhere. Somewhere there should be a space as ambitious as this in acknowledging what happens when some people write and other people read.
I just had not expected it to be a mere forty-minute drive away.
I had to read something here as well, though. I wanted to respond to one particular corner where I leaned against red leather.
A volume containing poetry by Gerard Manley Hopkins emerged from my book bag. I opened to lines from The Wreck of the Deutschland, composed in 1875-1876 – seven years before this library was opened:.
“I kiss my hands/To the stars…”