What’s Your Story? A Postcard Left in the State Library Victoria

To find out more about the 60 Postcards journey so far, you can read a summary here.

Ey up,

Part deux of the Australian postcard tales continue today, with the story of where my first postcard was scattered in Melbourne.

As I rambled about in my previous post, after enduring severe hand-ache with the frantic postcard-writing (as per), I decided to set off to the State Library of Victoria to deliver my first handwritten note.

When I asked a passer-by on the street if I was heading in the right direction, they gave me a warm but slightly strange smile. Weird. Turned out that the grand building was directly behind me, just across the road from where I was stood. “Oh yeh, that looks like it – must be the jet lag” I said, as the shade of my face rose to match that of my BRIGHT RED cardigan. I do love a bit of colour coordination.

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I set off up the stairs to the building (still cringing from my blind moment) and took a look around the library, full of gorgeous reading rooms and…well…a hell of a lot of books (over 2 million, in fact). Despite wandering for a while, I already knew where I was going to leave the postcard – Palmer Hall. A lovely blog reader sent me a message before I set off to tell me about an interactive display there called, ‘What’s Your Story?’ Perfecto.

The display featured videos of different people from Victoria sharing personal stories. Visitors were invited and encouraged to share their own stories, which will all be collected to become a part of the permanent State Collection there.

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Undoubtedly this display was right up my street. It brings it all back around to the power of storytelling – one of my greatest passions, particularly in personal stories. Although they are often very tough to share, I think it is a great way of celebrating the uniqueness of us all while also allowing us to create links, to relate to each other and understand each other better.

I couldn’t resist taking part so grabbed one of the cards and wrote a message under the ‘family’ section with a short message about mum. I snuck it in the pile. Being a tourist and not a fellow Victorian, I doubt my note qualifies for the collection! Still, it felt good to get involved. It was also a good distraction from my main purpose there. It was a decidedly tricky place to be nonchalant and drop a postcard without anyone seeing. I stalled for a while and walked around the exhibition re-reading everything about 100 times. Also did a few too many loops around the little shop which just drew attention to me even more as I was asked, “Can I help you?” by every member of staff which I think was translated as, “What is your problem, why aren’t you buying anything – are you a thief?”

The crowds had died down and there was no one around the story card collection drawers. I seized the moment (definitely out of blogging practice – just had to remind myself how to spell, ‘seized’. Gah). I popped the postcard into the drawer then casually and cooly (slash none of the above) wandered out of the room and then out of the library feeling that familiar nervous excitement.

Some days passed and I actually heard from someone who said they had found it in there. But all I had was a name and an email address and I haven’t heard anything since. Putting that one down to a beautiful moment in time and very grateful to that person as they moved it on within the building. It didn’t go unnoticed as I saw the following tweet…

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They couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe it and, of course, I got in touch with the finder to hear their story. A lovely one it is, too.

Until next week…

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