Tomorrow I’m writing a short story in public. If you’re in Melbourne, you can stop by and watch me do it. This is the plan: I turn up at Federation Square Atrium 11am Saturday with a laptop and no ideas. I plug the laptop into a projector, to broadcast on the big screen hanging above my head. Then I spend the next three hours drinking coffee, staring into space, and attempting to write something.
I’ve wanted to do this for ages; in fact, in my first ever bookstore event (Union Square Barnes & Noble, NYC, 1999) I talked about how there should be bookstore writings, not readings. Because while I’m interested in what my favorite authors have to say, I’m really interested in how they work. I would love to see how they put a story together.
So this year I suggested it to the Melbourne Writers Festival, and they liked the idea enough to turn it into a 7-day spectacular: one writer embarrassing herself in public between 11am and 2pm per day. Saturday 22nd is my day, but you can also catch Eric Dando (today), Cyril Wong (Sunday 23rd), Reif Larsen (Thursday 27th), Evie Wyld (Friday 28th), Shaun Tan (Saturday 29th), and Jessa Crispin (Sunday 30th).
Clearly, this has the kind of potential for catastrophic public breakdown that I crave, so it should go well.
P.S. If you want to drop by at 11am and suggest some story ideas, that would be really handy.