I spent last week at my favourite desk in Sydney University’s Fisher Library, on the only floor of the old library still in its original state, unaffected by the so-called Renewal sweeping the building. But here’s what I found stuck to the back of my desk on Wednesday:
The days of my favourite work space are numbered. It’s where I go to avoid all distraction, mostly electronic, so I can read, think, write. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have written my three books without it. When I’m seriously working on something big I work obsessively to the exclusion of almost everything else (yeah I still eat, sleep, drink water, tea, sometimes talk to people, sometimes drink coffee).
I’m about to go into extreme writing mode for the next 18 months, working on new projects, voyaging into the unknown, my old monastic workplace is being ‘disposed of’, I’ll have to find a new place to work – so I’m thinking of Bowie’s Changes … ‘turn and face the strange’.
And there are more changes. I’ve made a new home page janegleesonwhite.com which I’ll keep updated with my events, the next of which is at the Powerhouse Museum on Wednesday 7 August at 6pm, when I’ll be talking about ‘How numbers came to rule the world: Luca Pacioli, Leonardo da Vinci and the Merchants of Venice on Wall Street’ for the Royal Society of New South Wales.
I’ve added some new categories to bookish girl – including ‘Maths and science’ and ‘Can accountants save the planet?’, the subjects which seized my imagination while I wrote Double Entry. And I’ve deleted the category I planned to focus on in 2012 – Lost or Overlooked Women’s classics, LOOK – which sadly never got a look in. It was completely derailed by Double Entry and the strange new world of accounting conversations, conferences, debates, possible revolutions it opened up to me.
With my mind elsewhere I’ll be writing here less frequently. When I do it will be mostly on the classics, with War and Peace up next week.
Once my desk at Fisher Library is destroyed I’ll miss my daily walk through Victoria Park past the duck ponds. I love the ducks. One morning last week they were assembled a la Chaucer’s Parlement of Foules, making what was surely the most orderly and distinguished parliament in the land, in a week when Australian federal politics sank to GOBSMACKING all time lows.
So till next we meet, I’m turning to face the strange, with Flaubert in mind: ‘Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.’