What does nuraddin, this web site's email address, mean?The Nur-ad-Din room is in the Islamic art wing of the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.
According to the web site it was a gift in 1970 which I assume means when they put it up. I saw it for the first time a few years later (in New York City alone for the first time, having been living in Maine for several years and feeling very much the country girl, both thrilled and overwhelmed) and have been making pilgrimages there ever since. It was immediately recognisable as a place where stories lived. If you've ever been there, you'll know that you go through a little door from the museum hall into the room itself, but there's only a tiny space roped off where you can stand and look—and listen: one of its charms is the small fountain a little way in front of your feet, which is off the bottom border of this photo—but even stopped at the gate like that I've always found the atmosphere very powerful. The door is slightly narrower than the roped-off area, so you can lean against the wall inside and let your mind drift. I've stood there half an hour sometimes (wishing all these tourists would go look at something else and stop disturbing me) in a very nearly out-of-body experience. THE BLUE SWORD was born there, I think, even though Damar is more India—specifically Kipling's India—than Syria. Someone who has read more of my web site than is good for them may remember that I wrote BEAUTY, my first published novel, as a break from what would become Damar and BLUE SWORD and THE HERO AND THE CROWN. The Nur-ad-Din room is one of the places where all that fuzzy stuff just out of imaginative reach came together with a bang and a clatter and a dazzling flash of light that illuminated the Damarian landscape perfectly just before it blinded me, and said, Yes, I am a story, I am your story. Write me. Go on, I dare you.
They closed the Islamic Wing a few years ago for renovations. I haven't seen it since it reopened. I hope they haven't messed with the Nur-ad-Din room.