It was a rainy November day just like last year when I first entered the State Library of Victoria and found the perfect writing room. I wasn’t the only one.
I walked past the round tables on the ground floor of the library, past the Newspaper & Family History section, up the stairs to the Australian paintings on the wall and the Redmond Barry Reading Room, and one more time up the stairs to the top: I entered La Trobe Reading Room and it was here where I found the perfect writing room, eight years ago.
Now I was here again, nothing seemed to have changed. The green lamps along the writing desks are arranged like sun rays in a circle towards the walls. Four white balconies are carrying shelves of books, and another four open balconies allow a look into the Reading Room. Back then, I scrippled down the notes on the walls –
Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey.
just like I did now –
To slide into the domed reading room at ten each morning, specially in summer, off the hot street outside, was a sensation as delicious as dropping into the water off the concrete edge of the Fitzroy Baths.
This room set the standards for all the reading and writing places I was looking for in the future. I was looking for a library old but bright, I wanted it to have many books but also internet connection, I wanted it to be romantic and inspiring. And a plus is the connection to my favourite book.
“Monkey grip” by Helen Garner was written in the Reading Room of the State Library of Victoria. The writer used to go here every day:
I did publish my diary. That’s exactly what I did. I left out what I thought were the boring bits, wrote bridging passages, and changed all the names. It was the best fun I ever had, down there in the domed Reading Room of the State Library of Victoria in 1976, working with a pencil and an exercise book on one of those squeaking silky oak swivel chairs. I’ll never be that innocent again.
It was nice to come back home to a writing place and to remember what it was all about.
Visit: State Library of Victoria
328 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australien
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