On Tour

I’m writing this in a hotel room in Townsville, halfway through a regional tour where I do a series of four different writing workshops in three different cities. Yesterday I was out in Charters Towers, tomorrow I fly off to Cairns. I’ve been flooding my instagram feed with images, which I very rarely do, mostly because I’m in a position to photograph things I don’t ordinarily get to see.

Townsville is rather pretty. I didn’t expect that, flying in. Or when I caught the train out, yesterday. Or when I caught a bus back in, this morning.

I went for a walk this afternoon and kept seeing mountains pressed up against the city, real close, in a way we don’t really get in Brisbane.

Townsville, River

It doesn’t, however, compare the the venue of yesterday’s workshop. The Excelsior Library, in Charters Towers, is built in an old pub after it was burnt down. It’s got that awesome new-library feel once you get inside, but from the outside it still looks like a pub. So much so that I walked right past it a few times, when I first went looking.

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One of the Excelsior’s librarians, Joan, was nice enough to take me through the building and give me some details about its history and how it’s used. A lot of that got turned into notes, ’cause really, that’s the sort of thing that deserves to go into stories.

Today I was doing a short workshop-type thing for the Townsville Writers and Publishers centre iWrite program, which meant I got to talk through a bunch of stuff that it’s useful for writers to know with high school students in the local area. We talked plotting and submitting work and the magic of try-fail cycles, and somewhere in amongst all that there was sacrificing cheese to the dragon-god in order to get a paper-clip and save someone’s life.

School groups, it must be said, are invariably more interesting to talk to than adult writers.

(On the off chance that anyone from the workshop stumbles onto this post, a lot of the stuff I talked about has been previously covered on this blog before, here and here. Sorry we ran long and didn’t have time for questions, but my email is over here if you’ve got a question you got something you wanted to ask).

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It has to be said, this hotel room is perhaps my favourite of all the hotel rooms I’ve ever been in. I have this thing where I basically want my hotel rooms to either be awesomely strange, thoroughly comfortable, or slightly creepy. The current room delivers on all three fronts.

For starters, it was obviously not designed as a hotel room. There are all sorts of clues, like the giant air-vent that is just large enough that a slightly thinner man than me could crawl through it, or the set of wooden louvres set into the weird bench-thing underneath the window. Plus, there’s this:

Foorstool of Doom

I’m pretty sure it’s a footstool, intended to be used with the small chair in the corner of the hotel room, but generally people don’t make footstools heavy enough that your back whimpers when you try to move it. Near as I can tell, it’s a pretty solid hunk of wood that’s been polished up to serve as whatever it’s serving as, and while I can roll it pretty good, there’s no way in hell I can lift it.

The room itself is huge, the bed thoroughly comfortable, and the carpet significantly less disturbing than the carpeting in the hall. And I think this is the first time I’ve ever found the desk in a hotel room comfortable enough to work at.

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