Patrick Bringley on his book ‘All the Beauty in the World’
Patrick Bringley found solace and healing while working as a guard at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. NPR’s Scott Simon talks with Bringley about his book, “All the Beauty in the World.”
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
*** Patrick Bringley suffered a profound loss and decided to seek shelter in the most beautiful place he knew. He would spend a decade there as a guard. Let’s ask him to read from his new memoir, “All The Beauty In The World: The Metropolitan Museum Of Art And Me.”
PATRICK BRINGLEY: (Reading) The mornings are church-mouse quiet. I arrive on post almost a half hour before we open, and there is no one to talk me down to earth. It’s just me and the Rembrandts, just me and the Botticellis, just me and these vibrant phantoms I can almost believe are flesh and blood.
SIMON: Patrick Bringley joins us now from Brooklyn. Thank you so much for being with us.
BRINGLEY: Thank you so much for having me.
SIMON: I want to begin with your brother – 26 and died of cancer. You were working in events planning at The New Yorker. What do you think the loss of your brother set off in you?
BRINGLEY: Well, when I was working at The New Yorker, of course, I – it was an office job, and I had my mind on office politics, and I thought I was sort of doing big things. But then, your brother gets ill, and you’re spending all this time in quiet hospital rooms. And you realize that something momentous is happening in those quiet rooms that maybe makes what’s happening over at the office feel not so momentous. And it set off in me a kind of desire, a need, to be more in touch with just fundamental things that are maybe painful, but beautiful as well.
SIMON: Because I think a lot of people will understand seeking a day or two of solace at a great museum – but you were a security guard there for 10 years.
BRINGLEY: That’s right. Time works differently when you’re a guard. And I think when I was inside that place and you have an hour and then another hour and then a day and another day and another month, your mind works on a bit of a longer wavelength. And I was very happy to have all that time to sort of soak in that place that’s inexhaustible and kind of develop a more profound relationship to what’s inside of it.
Read the full transcript here.