I looked around. A wafting smell of dark oak paneling and a faint taste of the last lemons of the long summer infused into a pitcher of water. The lobby, where we writers would set-up, was crowded, as lobbies always are.
I inhaled the old and rare books and as I walked I snuck a peek of a black and white photograph of Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace of Monaco, the day after their engagement in January 1956.
My area was small and old. I chose it because of the hunter green tablecloth and proudly unpacked my few belongings.
The Pasadena Library, had its opening night in 1927, a Mediterranean style building, the third library in the city, has had one historic restoration and renovation and to me has epitomized luxury and privacy with the incomparable pleasure of reading.
A place that represents the memories with which we associate them, the mundane becomes magical, the fantasy becomes real.
A place where two worlds, reality and imagination, intertwine, intersect, merge, and separate.
There is nothing particular about the Pasadena Main Library. Just like there is nothing particular about the Tiffany’s storefront on Fifth Avenue, the Ritz in the Place Vendôme, or the Russian tea-room. These places, like all the others that litter the streets of any city, are ordinary, mundane, and redundant.
Except they are not. By some composite of multiple nonfictions, they have become fiction. We have transformed them from places to experiences, and they are now magical, because we have imagined them to be so.
One does not go to Tiffany’s for the jewelry, but for a glimpse of a waiflike figure wearing a Givenchy cocktail dress in broad daylight, eating a croissant and dreaming of a better life.
One does not stay at the Ritz for the rooms, but for a drink at the bar and a conjured up repartee with the writer who gave it his name.
One does not go to Disneyland for the rides, or the Eiffel Tower for the view. One goes to a fountain to toss a coin, the shore to listen to seashells. To Abbey Road to re-enact the Beatles, Portobello Road to twist bed knobs and broomsticks. To Saint Peter’s to feed the soul.
For those readers who came out last Friday, to Art Night and the writers who joined me in the Author’s Fair, thank you. I was happy to have met you!