Marbled stairs echo against my Vans, pressing carefully against each ledge, as if the volume of my steps equalled my respect for this place. A serious looking man behind a desk examines me, searching for a phone or camera I'm sure. Later, I wonder if he speaks beyond 'shhh' and 'put that away' while he works. The bookcases stand a couple meters apart, but within them are hundreds of years of work, thought, innovation. Looking at my guests from Seattle, I can sense the palpable desire to take a photo they are resisting. Slowing folding back the thick red cloth, I take a look at the oldest book there, nearly 600 years old, a couple feet tall, and lined in a gold, flowing script in some language I don't understand.
I've never been to such a dense place. You can feel it; the original Principia Mathematica, a work form Carl Marx, even Winnie the Pooh. Each nook of the Wren Library is heavy with knowledge, filled with wisdom, and a longing of times well past. Between each stack is a desk with modern computers and scanners, leaching material bit by bit, extracting sap from a forest of Redwoods. I couldn't create in there, it would feel like carrying a bucket of water into the ocean everyday, hoping to change the tides. I realise I'm walking with my hands behind my back, like a monk doing laps in a monastery courtyard. Breathe in, breath out, this place is where I study. Inspiration comes at unexpected times, even if it is in a expected place.