Reading Time: 2 minutes

also, don’t forget, libraries rock

I am in Melbourne for ten days, so have a whole slew of new writing spots to find. Yesterday Calvin was playing at the Town Hall, so while he set up the organ and rehearsed, I took myself off to the State Library of Victoria for the first time.

I would like to live there, thank you very much.

So many fantastic spaces in which to work, and it was pretty packed, so it is well-loved and well-used by the people of Melbourne. Lots of light and space and high ceilings and powerpoints and wifi (though I was writing longhand, but I did appreciate it).

I adored the Lego model of the ‘State Library of Bricktoria’ by Brickman, and the various exhibitions that they had going on, including Luminous: a thousand years of Hebrew manuscripts; MIRROR: New views on photography featuring reinterpretations of photography from the library’s collection; and Beyond the Book, which was absolutely stunning and I need to go back and revisit.

Such a gift to have a space like this in the middle of the city that costs nothing to visit or use and that feels so good to be in.

A Hebrew scroll in a display case
A woman dressed in black stands in a gallery space in front of a mirror
A bronze sculpture of the possums from the book Possum Magic

But I was really there to write, and after being distracted long enough I made my way into the La Trobe Reading Room, which is surely one of the most beautiful architectural spaces in Australia.

The desks were pretty much all taken, mostly by university students (it’s exam time at the moment) who weren’t as quiet as they probably could have been (yes I’ve become that person). Once I got used to their scraping of chairs and dropping things (the echoes in that room are very loud), and the people at every balcony going up three storeys taking photos of the space, I got to work. It was really easy to get into flow there, and I managed to get several pages down which, with a rough estimate word count, got me a whisker away from my daily goal.

For this project I am fully embracing the idea of a crappy first draft. I used to pride myself on writing short stories that were quite decent in their first drafts, but that talent seems to be eluding me these days, or it doesn’t count for a novel. The stuff I’ve written over the last few days has been absolutely dreadful but a) it all contributes towards the NaNoWriMo word count, and b) it’s easier to work with something that exists on paper than something that’s in your head, so it’s worth getting it all down even if it is incredibly dull and simplistic.

I often tell Calvin he shouldn’t criticise himself so much, that his music is sublime even when he thinks he hasn’t done a good job. We can never apply this kind of advice to ourselves though, can we?

Looking forward to spending most of Monday at the library again…though knowing now that computers are de rigeur for the other patrons, I might take my laptop and write straight into Scrivener to see how much I can get done with an uninterrupted day at my disposal (apart from a lunch break to catch up with my brother).

The La Trobe reading room: definitely one of those magical places.