A couple weeks ago I submitted a short story to Chart Collective’s I Was Here project.
The deal was they were asking for anonymously submitted 300-character-max stories about real things that had happened in the Melbourne CBD. 50 stories would get picked and put onto posters that would be stuck up around the city as part of some This Public Life festival of landscape architecture or something.
So this week I was doing a bit of story stalking after being sent an email with a map pinpointing the 50 stories. Since the stories were anonymous nobody was contacted to be told if they got picked or not, so I was checking out the two posters placed in flinders lane, near where my story was set. I found the two posters, one on the notice board at the City Library:
And one in a shop window in the Nicholas Building:
Neither of them were mine, so I figured I hadn’t got in.
Anyway I was stewing over this a little, enjoying the stories that had made it, but also rueful that mine, which I thought was cool and appropriate, didn’t get picked. Then it occurred to me that Chart Collective didn’t have the monopoly on putting stories on posters, and further that it would be an easy thing to put together some kind of bootleg I Was Here poster and stick it up myself. Maybe even crash the #IWasHereMelb hashtag with a photo or two on Instagram.
So there I was, bodged-up knockoff story poster in hand, heading down Bourke St at lunchtime to get the sucker laminated (it was raining a little) when I idly checked my Instagram and saw this:
That’s my story on the left there.
The photo was tagged AC/DC lane, which was two minutes’ walk from where I was. So I hoofed on over, after tagging the chart kids with a photo of my now-superfluous bootleg…
…only to walk from one end of the lane to the other without spotting my story. I quickly oriented myself by triangulating Lemmy and the big red moustache and realised that my story had already been posted over. Such is the fate of ephemeral urban literature experiments, I guess.
Undaunted, I made some quick modifications to my bootleg, stuck it over the poster stuck over my story and flagged down a lovely passer-by to ask for a quick photo of me and my story.
All in all a lunch hour well spent.
Thanks to the Chart Collective for this cool little project, and thanks also to Sheryl Allan, whose story my story appeared beside before both became part of Melbourne’s self-perpetuating palimpsest.