Hot Desk Fellowship Reflection 0 Comments

Hot Desk Fellowship Reflection

When I got the news that I had been accepted for a Hot Desk Fellowship, I sprinted from my bedroom to the backyard and then back to my bedroom and back to the backyard and I kept doing this until I was out of breath, which was fairly quickly, not because my house is big but because I’m not as fit as I used to be. Each time I ran through my living room I had to slow down and dodge various things that were in my way. On this day it was mainly wet clothes hung up on one of those drying racks, a half finished game of monopoly, a broken exercise bike that someone had brought in to our living room but had not taken to our back yard, a mattress and, on the last run, our neighbour’s fat, white cat, which had climbed through our kitchen window and had sat on the monopoly board, not only ruining our game of monopoly, but sending me into a sneezing fit, something that continued for thirty minutes because I am severely allergic to cats.

Prior to my two-month stint at The Wheeler Centre, I had mainly written in these conditions. They were good in a similar way to not eating breakfast but drinking a quadruple espresso is good. Or sitting a Spanish exam that you had studied for by watching ‘Y tu mamá también’ several times with a girl who you thought was cute but who didn’t really like you.

Each day I would wake and ride from my house down Canning Street towards the city. I was not always the earliest person there and I was not always the person who stayed the longest but I did treat it like a job, the objective each day to write 1500 words. And I did do this, listening to music, mostly, mainly depressing things, or at least ethereal things, things like William Basinski’s ‘The Disintegration Loop’ or Godspeed You! Black Emperor. I would find music that would fit my mood, or the mood of the novel, or the mood of the novel at that particular time. And it worked. I felt like I was locked away, actually ‘in’ the words I was writing, felt like I really understood what my characters were going through.

I had my space. I had a desk. At that desk all I did was work on my book. I did not work on anything else, not short stories, not attempts at freelancing that so far have not really panned out, though occasionally I did go on Facebook, because, Jesus Christ, I’ve heard the phrase ‘Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely’, and I’m fairly sure that applies in some way, like it’s a good thing, spreading yourself, spreading yourself over various projects, except you don’t want to spread yourself thin, you don’t want to do that, you’re not a god damn conservative investment banker.

Two months passed in a way that suddenly I checked my word count and I had written 40,000 words. And I’m proud of those words. They were hard words, but they were words that materialised over an extended period of time, and I’ve never done that before, really, committed myself solely to one project, and honestly, there were times when I cried, stuck so long in a particular character’s mood or situation, and these feelings you explore, feel, become a part of you, or are you because you have given them to your characters, or your characters have allowed you to explore something, your own head, and it’s honest and wonderful.

So now it’s back to the living room, and I’m taking a small break from my novel, which is, sort of, nearing completion, taking shape, and working on short stories that make me laugh, like a piece I’ve almost finished called, ‘Moet has a large, sun-faded Southern Cross tattoo on his neck and people think he is a fuck head even though he is really nice’.

So thank you to The Wheeler Centre and to the Readings Foundation, thank you so much for the stipend and for the space, it was truly a pleasure and I would recommend it to anyone. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you

By Oliver Mol

Oliver is a Melbourne-based writer.

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