a room is a room is a room

You walk into the exhibit;

you see a space with life-size photographs of her living room projected on each wall.

If you walked into the room, you would find yourself

inside Gertrude Stein’s living room.

Gertrude and Alice looking at you from the “The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde” exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I was living in Paris when I first read Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.

I walked to her apartment building on 27 Rue de Fleurus.

Stood in front of it.

Read the commemorative plaque.

Her living room is long gone, now just a photographic shadow.

What do I gain by seeing the room itself?

Or any author’s room, for that matter. Does it change how we read their work?

I think about whose home I would like to visit, real or fictional.

Homer’s study?  Plato’s bedroom? Madame Bovary’s kitchen?