If I might take some more of your time to tell you more about exciting changes under way at the library. I’ve already told you about our plans for an exciting new deck, I’ve already told you that the lawn has been under siege by gardeners, hoses, seeds, soils, sands, and loving pokes with a pitch fork (what kind of poke from a pitch fork ISN’T loving?). In my discussion of the lawn attack, I neglected to tell you that our friend Marcello has been putting in wonderful pathway edges using rocks from the property. They’re beautiful and I encourage you to look all over the place when you next visit. The improvements are not only on the outside of the library, no! We’re giving the library room a bit of a facelift. Those musicians out there might better know this as the adopted waiting/practice room for open mic. Either way, it’s a small room within the library that has, since I’ve been here, had many different uses and many different layouts. When I first came here, it was largely used for storage, and when I came out to Big Sur for a January break from Smith, Megan (one of my best friends and the girl who introduced me to Big Sur) and I used it as our workspace for some serious scanning time. It has also been home to a large collection of local interest books, used books, and most recently a hearty donation of used, rare, and collectible Henry Miller titles. Now it is where I sit, surrounded by painting supplies, a vacuum, drills, screws, ladders and straight edges. The walls are a warmer white (and cleaned up after all the holes from nails and screws, scratches from errant frame corners and heartily handled hardcovers), the shelves are all removed, and the room has an open, airy feel. As a matter of full disclosure, the airy feeling I have might be more from the paint fumes, but either way, it’s a lovely looking re-vamp.
There are several plans for these newly blanked walls. First, it becomes the perfect space to showcase all of the beautiful posters that have been made for us by the artists at Hatch Show Posters in Nashville, TN. This company has been making stand out and quite distinguished concert posters forever, and we are so glad to have six of them for our annual benefit. The lineup includes Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson, Henry Rollins, Matmos and Zeena Parkins, DJ Spooky and Philip glass. The back wall is my baby – I’m filling it with facsimiles of notes from Henry Miller’s desk. My idea is that it will look, with the strategic placement of a typewriter, similar to a space Miller could have worked in, but with a breadth of information on the wall spanning his entire working life. I want people to be able to sit down and look at the notes that he jotted to himself and, thanks to our archive, to Emil Schnellock, Miller’s boyhood friend from Brooklyn (boyhood friend turned literary trustee as Miller’s writing life brought him to Paris and points European). The rest of the walls will be home to many of the framed pictures that will return to the library from CSUMB where the wonderful Bill Robnet, director of the library, has been keeping an eye on them for us in their state of the art special collections, out of the way of potential Big Sur mudslides (mudslides which, by the grace of us all, did not happen in Graves Canyon, and which, knock on wood, will not happen here).
The other new and exciting change has more to do with the bookstore room. There are lots of shelves in the library room with gates over them, which held at one point all of the foreign titles that the library holds. We have found a new storage space for these (see also: hanging from the ceiling) and so will be removing the cages and opening that space up to hold the books (largely Penguin Classics and other trade paperbacks) that Miller outlines in Books In My Life. Fleshing out this collection and moving it to the Miller-specific room in the back is going to free up all the space they currently hold in the center of the library for us to feature the… are you ready for this guys?!?! … NEW BOOK ORDER!
Now, I’ve told you seventeen different ways that I simply cannot ever get enough of the new book orders. I turn into a kid in a candy store (perhaps we should call a spade a spade and say I turn into a book-lover in the midst of hundreds of books). Eric is responsible for keeping up the bookstore stock and I have to say; he’s VERY good at it. Magnus and I let Eric know the few titles that we’ve run into since the last book order that we want and he fleshes out our suggestions with a ton of amazing books. He tells me this is going to be a fiction heavy order, which I am thrilled to pieces about.
Don’t worry. I’ll let you know the SECOND these books that I hear him ordering now come in. I’ll take pictures, I’ll detail the titles, I’ll describe the fonts, the smells, and the covers of each book. Oh goodness. I just can’t wait.
And lastly, Magnus, our fearless leader has left Eric and I in charge of the HML while he makes his annual pilgrimage to his home country of Sweden. I’ve made him promise several different times to send me frequent photos and updates so I can give you all the play-by-play. When I told him about my plan he came up with a clever title for the stream of updates. His title won’t work for the blog though, because it’s just “Magnus in Sweden” but with a really killer Swedish accent. It doesn’t work online. And for that I am forever sorry, because hearing Magnus pick on Swedish accents is really quite funny.