Whenever I finish a novel, I’m eager to get started on the next one, and I still prefer a real book to the electronic version.
As I walked home, new book in hand, my thoughts drifted to the important role that the Library has played in my life. Maybe it was the heat, but I started to realize that I probably wouldn’t be the Modern Philosopher I am today with the Library…
When I was a wee lad, still wearing the child sized toga, I’d to go to the Library after school every Tuesday and Thursday. Those were the days that my Evil Step Mother had to work, so my sister and I would walk from school to the McKinley Park Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.
The Library was a safe place to spend a couple of hours, get my homework done, and read. It wasn’t uncommon to see other school kids there, too, but they were with an adult. My sister and I were the only ones who used the Library as a babysitting service.
When people ask me where I get the crazy ideas for my stories, I always come up with some wise ass answer.
The truth, however, is that the Library was probably my first Muse. I always finished my homework quickly (I was a brainiac…I’m sure you’ve figured that out by now!) and then devoured as many books as possible.
I got lost in books, and time flew when I had a good one at my disposal. They’d fill me with excitement and ideas. I’d rush home and scribble down stories. I wanted people to go to the Library someday and be able to take my book off the shelf.
The Library was also my tutor. This was before the internet allowed you to research anything without leaving the house. If I had a paper to do for school, I would park my butt at the library and find my answers on the shelves. My Evil Step Mother was always telling me “Go look it up!” when I’d ask her a question (I had lots of questions!!!), so I’d walk over to the Library and do as I was commanded.
One of the things I most remember about this Library was its location. It was across the street from The Fortway, the movie theater where I also spent plenty of time and found inspiration for my writing. It was like a Higher Power had planned this one block of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn with this Modern Philosopher in mind.
NYU has an amazing library. Here’s an interesting fact about the Bobst Library, pictured on the left: the sports teams at NYU are the Violets (I was on the baseball team, and I can assure you that no one was intimidated by the Violets!), but the NYU mascot is the Bobcat.
Know why? It’s an abbreviation of Bobst Catalog, the Library’s card catalog system. That’s even worse than the Violets!
I probably should have spent more time in the Library while at NYU, but I was a Film Major. I ran around with a camera, was constantly writing, and falling in love with some girl in the dorm, who would grow up to be my ex-wife. I didn’t need a Library for that!
So I abandoned my good friend during my college years, and I totally regret that now. More Library and less falling in love might have made for a better life in the long run.
I still go to the Library often, write my blog there at times, and am always seeking out new inspiration on the shelves.
Thank you, Library, for always being there for me. Have you thanked your Library lately, Modern Philosophers?