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  • madeline mcfarlane

a love letter to melbourne

written on the steps of the GPO and transcribed from a cheap notebook i bought in desperation.

There’s a new love I’ve found in this city. In its people, the cobbled alleyways, and streets I can still get lost in after eighteen years. There’s a love found in stories; strangers who compliment you, and those who chase you into a 7/11 begging for money for their next fix. The slightly high young man who asked if I was happy, and the teenage girls who stood behind him as they passed, making eye contact with me only to ensure I wasn't uncomfortable.

Now, not to get cheesy as I fear those who I write about may read this. But Melbourne only became my own after I saw how other artists treated it. In their ability to write, and to live and not give a shit what others think, I found my own. With their words I felt imbued with passion, with a desire to truly live and learn from this place. So now I often spend my days wandering and writing sentences in my head, only stopping every now and then to write the best ones down. After all, what else do I have to do?

The city's love is not only felt in its strangers. I see it when I visit my favourite cafe on Degraves Street, I see it in the beauty (or terror) of Hosier Lane as I go searching for artwork that's already been painted over. In the tourists that stand in awe of my own backyard, making me appreciate it just a little more. As I grow, I fall more in love with the place and its people, presumably it's the new freedoms that come with getting older, but I can also guess that I found love in myself, and no longer do I feel the need to seek it in a faraway place.

Melbourne has a way of making me feel like parts of it are only mine, as if the place I sit is not densely populated with lingering eyes that watch me as I write this now. My list of simple joys is never-ending but include sitting in laneway cafes as it rains, finding a new place I love by just walking down a different street, crowded concerts in small venues that are almost falling apart, and of course I cannot forget how great the coffee is. To some this love may be seen as excessive, "it's a bunch of bloody buildings" you may say. So maybe this all stems from my perspective as a hedonist, or more appropriately in this circumstance as a romanticist. But there is no doubt in my mind that this is a place I truly love, and one you should too.

This stream of consciousness love letter to my city is by no doubt flawed, this is no piece that would be hung in a museum, or one written delicately in a Parisian cafe, it's closer to matching the dollar store paper I write on now, but hey, is that not quintessential Melbourne for you?

But there is one thing I know this city has given me and stashed in my soul; it is a yearning to write. and so today is the end of all routine I used to know, but it is the beginning of a new life.

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