Saturday, May 27, 2006

Magic & Minutiae

And, what’s it like? How does the air smell, the ground feel beneath your feet once you’re inside a building shrouded in mystery and legend?

Anti-climactic dose of reality—the Fifth Avenue and 48th Street "Scribner" is now the makeup emporium, Sephora. But, the new building—the "Simon & Schuster" on Avenue of the Americas and 48th—is strikingly grand and cool. Beige and cream marble dominates. The elevator bank is huge and when you’re whisked to the Scribner floor you wonder about the Frank McCourts and Annie Proulxs before you.

Why am I here?
What god blessed me to make this journey?
To what secret room do they whisk away my thoughts and worries and memories-- bind them and distribute them as galleys?


Magic is made in that building. You feel it when you walk in and then you taste its absence once you step back out onto the avenue, into the normal air with normal people who exhale their worries and everyday minutiae. A woman pulls at her panties through her skirt. A man checks his watch in frustration, yanks at his tie and picks up the pace. My phone rings—it’s Fernando the building super and he’s waiting to fix my dishwasher.

Wait! I want to go back in! I want to grab one more book off the shelf to take home with me. My editor and the editor-in-chief already stacked me high with half a dozen slick hardbacks but I want more to tide me over. I look at my visitor’s pass—it’s expired. Move along, Belle, into the Midtown twilight, try to smell the cool magic that still clings to the books’ ivory pages…

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