Sometimes there are choices, changes and chances that present themselves to us which affect us in more ways than we could have foreseen when we take them up. One of these happened to Bryan and I just over two years ago. My work offered to move us to Melbourne for me to take on the same role I had previously on a slightly larger scale. Moving interstate hadn’t been at the forefront of our minds, but it was a free ride, and I hadn’t lived anywhere other than Terrigal (where I grew up) and Sydney. So we went for it. And I’ve noticed things change in ways that I didn’t expect.
Perhaps I should have seen it coming, Melbourne being one of seven international ‘Cities of Literature’. Even the fact that there are seven of them has a literary twang to it. Like the history of the world is an epic fantasy and we made the trek to one of the fabled Cities of Literature, built out of books or something. But I’m getting side-tracked by my own penchant for fantasy. In any event, books were involved – in the move, that is (45 boxes of them, if I remember correctly).
So we arrived, weary from the whirlwind month from offer to arrival, but excited at the possibilities. And more than a little scared too. I’m the kind of person that thrives on regular close contact with friends and family, and we’d just moved away from nearly all of the people we knew to a city where we knew all of two people.
I quickly discovered that my work load had grown exponentially; the number of my monthly appointments had nearly doubled and on top of that, university by correspondence was not as easy for me as studying internally had been (read: people person/interactive learner). My nights became late ones and my weekends extended screen-front soirees. On top of that I had a whole new city to get to know. I’d only been to Melbourne twice. Once was when I was six or so, and the other time was when I was twenty when we came down for a weekend. But, thanks to my line of work I got to know my way around by bookshop. (It teams with the theme of City of Literature well, doesn’t it?) For a long time, if there wasn’t a bookshop in a suburb, I couldn’t tell you where that suburb was. But I have to say, it’s not a bad way to get to know a city.
Anyway, partly because I’m becoming more focused on my goals in life, and partly because with my work’s office being in Sydney, I started attending more book related events than I ever did in Sydney. I was often there as a work representative, but also they were on my radar more. I met more authors, and had more personal conversations with them too. I heard more of them speak. With all of these things, I just kept feeling itchy to be writing myself. Too many ideas coming too thick and fast and it became a question of ‘which of these five ideas for novels do I pursue first?’
Living here, in Melbourne: City of Literature, has led me to discover shovel loads of motivation that I may have discovered in Sydney in time, but somehow I think that’s not giving enough credit to everything else that has happened. After all, change begets change and maybe Melbourne was exactly what I needed to get my writing on. We’ve made quite a few friends, and continue to make them. And now that my Masters is done and dusted (even if I haven’t received my piece of paper yet), I feel liberated to focus on absolutely anything my heart desires, which is presently creative writing and all the joys that go with it.