Monday, May 4, 2009

Abigail on the Classics

I feel very strange today, light-hearted. Hopeful. It’s been a long time since I have felt weightless like this. Even when I read Tom’s poem to me and knew I had his forgiveness, I still felt the weight of the choice I had made all those years ago. But today it feels different.

Lauren showed me the publishing contact today for the diary. I told her she was under no obligation to show it to me. I gave Mercy’s diary to her to do with as she pleased. But she wanted me to see it. And I suppose, deep down, I wanted her to want me to.

The money this publishing house is offering is a nice amount. Clarissa said it was enough to make her want to write a book, and I imagine she was only half kidding. For Lauren, of course, it has never been about the money. Lauren is an heiress to millions. When Clarissa asked what she would do with “all that money” she turned to me and asked if I remembered that proposal she helped write for her father last year, the one for the non-profit literary and arts center. Perhaps you also remember it?

It was to be a grouping of galleries all in one place, connected thematically and centered on a garden in the middle. There was to be a viewing library of rare books, and a museum of antique musical instruments, and a gallery of rare china and furniture. Lauren envisioned readings of the rare books, concerts with the instruments, and meals served with the antique china and furniture. Everything was to be displayed as if it was in current use. She envisioned classrooms for lectures on art history, music, literature, design, textiles. I told her I did remember it. Lauren told me she wanted to find a new investor for that project and use the money from the publication of the diary as an endowment so that anyone of any socio-economic class could become a member of the center and enjoy its offerings. She asked me what I thought of that idea.

I told her it was an idea worthy of thought and contemplation and I asked her if I could think on it and get back to her.

The thing is, I can’t get that project out of my mind now. I am thinking. . . I am thinking I might want to be the investor to plunk down the millions to see this center become reality. I have some property right here in Santa Barbara that is just sitting here doing nothing. Developers come to me every so often asking me to sell it to them. And I have always turned them down. I have stocks that I could easily sell to fund the center. I could make it happen in a heartbeat.

The thought of doing something so spontaneous and expensive and, I confess, memorable, is making feel like I’ve had too much Dom Perignon.

I think I might do it. I think I just might. . . Would you?

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