I live in the city. I have heard people speak of their connection to country, this is something that rural and indigenous Australians discuss, although different people might experience it differently. I have lived in the country, outside the urban fringe – admittedly not that far outside the urban fringe, but country nonetheless. I know it was the country, because I drove for nearly an hour past fields of hay and cows to get home each day. When I lived in the country, I was commuting to the city five days a week, but I still got to see the sky shift above the highway: morning light, evening light, rain and shine.
Living in the city is different. For me, living in the city is about finding shafts of sunlight between the buildings, and appreciating them when they are found. I still notice the sky in the city, but it is fractured, seen in patches and fragments. Superficially, the city is less contemplative. As such, living in the city is about clearing a small space, a space to sit, to write and to think. Or alternatively, a space to do nothing in, suspended above the crowd. Living in the city is about being in the midst of much activity, while creating a room of one’s own. It is about respite, about proximity and seclusion, sociality and solitude bought at a price.
This blog is about my space in the City. It is a physical space, and a mental space. On a global list of cities, Melbourne has a lot to recommend it for ease and convenience, and occasional brilliance; of course, like many western cities, it has a lot of ugliness as well. Beauty is not always just in the eye of the beholder. Melbourne’s history is rich and varied, a tale of cyclical booms and busts, and the city bears the legacy of periods of great wealth and occasional poverty.
I belong in Melbourne, and I look forward to sharing my city with you here.