Working on the first draft of the second Squirrel Hill High novel today, and I wrote a piece of a scene that I wanted to share.
The scene is set in a public library based on the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill branch, located in Squirrel Hill at the intersection of Forbes and Murray [map]. From the library’s second floor, the character looks down on the intersection of these two main roads running through Squirrel Hill and characterizes what she sees:
My corner table looked down from its second-story perch onto the Center of the Universe. At least that’s how any life-long resident of Squirrel Hill thought of it. Murray and Forbes, the intersection of the neighborhood’s two main arteries, one running north-to-south, the other west-to-east. Center of all activity in Squirrel Hill. It was like looking down on the very heart — the literal heart — of the town, the very spot through which all life in the neighborhood eventually would flow. The pulse of this beating heart, regulating the flow, was timed by the endless cycling of the traffic lights at the intersection. Green light on Murray. Ba-dump. Green light on Forbes. Ba-dump. Red lights all around, inducing a chaotic flow of pedestrians in all directions as automobile traffic came to a complete halt. Ba-dump. Over and over the cycle went.
And now, once again, sitting here at my table, surrounded by books on the shelves behind me that contained the accumulated knowledge of human history, I looked down on this beating heart, watching the flow of life through Squirrel Hill.