Reading Melbourne

February 23, 2018 at 1:17 pm (Uncategorized)

harbour

Melbourne from the west

The Wolf and I have a tradition. Although we live only four kilometres west of Melbourne’s C.B.D., sometimes we book a hotel in the city centre and play at being grown-ups. At least, I feel that way – I’m pretty sure he actually IS an adult, whereas I feel that if I wear a pencil skirt and high heels perhaps no-one will see the teenage girl that secretly lurks behind them. I sold a story, so booked a hotel with a rooftop swimming pool and views over the city. At the reception desk I had an odd moment of déjà vu…suddenly I was a teenage girl, applying for a job as a hotel cleaner there many, many moons ago.

When I mentioned to the receptionist that I’d gone for a job at that very hotel in my youth, she asked ‘And did you get it?’ I signed the registration form with a flourish and a shake of my head.

‘I did not,’ I answered.

She winked at me. ‘Well then, that deserves an upgrade.’ And with the keys to a gorgeous room on the 11th floor, me and my vintage high heels were off.

hotel CBD

Setting always plays a pivotal role in my writing. I wonder if this is due to my travels, my time living overseas or the years I spent agoraphobic in my youth; either way, I am acutely aware of my surroundings, and include them in my work almost as characters in their own right. One year ago I moved from Melbourne’s northern suburbs, where I’d lived for almost my entire adult life, to Melbourne’s west, an industrial area lacking the former’s martini bars and tattoo parlours, but having a wealth of petrochemical vats and cargo ships to offer instead.

To everyone’s astonishment, I fell in love with it, deeply and immediately. I think no-one has been more astonished than me, in fact. So I’m delighted to be one of the writers included in Reading Victoria, a project celebrating Melbourne’s 10th anniversary of being designated a UNESCO City of Literature. For my love story to the West Gate Bridge, iconic symbol of Melbourne, click on the photo.

Nov 8

My West Gate Bridge piece for Reading Victoria

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Spotswood

unnamed

Bar Josephine, a new writing haunt

January and Feb have been jam-packed with writing adventures: applications for travel grants and scholarships, submissions for a theatre company and research for my next residency, fingers crossed. After the sublime experience of writing residencies in Iceland and Finland, I’m tracing my fingers over the globe to see where they land. Lately they’ve been lingering on Greenland, a definite contender.

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My first residency, Ólafsfjörður, northern Iceland

last Haihatus days1

My second residency, Joutsa, Finland (Photo by AmyMAndersonArt)

Upernavik-Refugium-Panorama-OCT2015-c-Boris-Schaarschmidt

My next residency? Greenland (photo by Boris Schaarschmidt)

In the meantime, my novel is always on my computer screen or on my mind. I’m supremely enthused by what’s unfolding, and the words still to come.

antlers

Notes for my novel

 

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9 Comments

  1. martinc said,

    Damn !. What a fantastic piece…Utterly moving…One of your most compelling so far…Even brought a tear and that’s rare for an old cynic like me.
    The bridge and i have weird connections.I was a kid in Port Melbourne the day it collapsed..My old man flatly refused to drive over it, Ever,. Would go all the way up to Footscray to avoid it….
    Then when i was doing my apprenticeship as a welder, One of my teachers was one of the guys in the hut at the base who nearly got clobbered..

    I’ve spend a fair bit of time taking photos of it and the surrounding area from different spots and it still chills me to stand under that pylon and look up…
    Again, a beautiful piece…Hit me right in the boo-boo.

    • inkymouth said,

      That’s such an amazing comment to read, Martin. The bridge has come to represent everything I love about the west, and I walk to her all the time. What I’m finding is that many, many people have stories about her too, including yourself. My Dad still feels sick driving across, but he did ring and apologise, after reading this piece, for passing on that dread to me as a child. I can hear the traffic right now, sitting on my sun deck with a coffee and the blues. Such a beautiful way to pass the afternoon….and such a beautiful comment to leave; thank you, so much.

  2. martinc said,

    Welcome. 🙂 Dragged up another funny memory and a lesson to “Do your homework before venturing out”….A freezing/raining/hailing winters afternoon several years ago. Photographing it from underneath on the eastern bank of the river..Hey, i;’m a photographer, isn’t that the same spelling as masochist ? :)..Stomping round Westgate Park with a full rack of camera’s getting VERY odd looks from the groups of men squirrelled away in the bushes through the park…Gets back to the car park….Brain still not in gear…Stopped for a coffee somewhere in St Kilda and the big cartoon hand descends and slaps me in the back of the head……D’OH !!!! Yes, dummy…Its a BEAT….!!!!!…Duhh! Lucky to get away with not getting a kicking that outing….:).

  3. Rebecca Murray said,

    Your story about the Westgate, is visceral, sobering and heartwarming all at the same time. A great read!

  4. Rebecca Murray said,

    P.S. I always found the Westgate exciting. On approach, then taking in the expansive views from the top (despite dads monologues). The boys love it too. I’m glad you feel so at home in the West Gerald xx

    • inkymouth said,

      I do feel at home here, Bood, I really do. And I totally understand your conception of the bridge, and your boys’ also. Did you ever notice how serpentine she is? Her design was so new at the time with its curved lines, that you maybe only notice from the train as you go underneath. Next time you visit we have to walk to the wetlands again, and hope the boys can see a cargo ship – always a treat! x x

  5. kinchski said,

    The West is the Best! My band practices in Seddon, I’ve come to really love the whole area 😀

    Popping your West Gate Bridge piece aside to read at work today

    • inkymouth said,

      I really did move to the West expecting to pine for the north…I had NO idea I would love it the way I do. Seddon has some gorgeous food and shops. Spotswood has a lot less money and a bit more grit, but the whole west is really evocative and engaging. I think you know what I mean! Thanks for reading 🙂

  6. martinc said,

    Your always looking for interesting writing residencies :)…https://twitter.com/AusAntarctic/status/968972832028921856
    Cheers
    MC

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