It has been a barren year.
My writing projects have not developed as I would like. I have made progress with Ivan’s Singer, but I have not been finishing the sections according to schedule. I think it is still viable for me to finish next year this Sebald-like novel about Ivan the Terrible and my own encounters with the terrifying monstrosity of power. I am 80 per cent there, but also need to do some editing. I curated my poetry editions, but stumbled on the technical process of self-publication and preparation of the covers and book file. I have kept going with Ordinary Virtues, but written too little this year.
I have had few imaginative ideas. I have written a few fresh poems this year, but not many and not regularly. It has been a year more of fulfilling promises to myself to complete the ideas born in the past. Over these last six months I do feel some turning in my thinking about the history, politics, government, but I am not yet sure where those thoughts will go. I am hesitating on the threshold of the renunciation of the political world, but do not yet have the courage to step forward into an unknown domain.
The pace, range and fecundity of this blog have been constrained. I have reposted old blog entries in July and August in celebration of 11 years with wordpress. I have written a series of posts reflecting on the ordinary virtues of governing well:
- Do we repair our republics with big ideas or ordinary virtues?, in which I challenged my old mentor Terry Moran’s recipe for a new Labor Government;
- On human frailty in governing, in which I reflected on the meaning of the “unexpected” Labor loss in the Australian election, and commented that “If governing elites are to repair the breach of authority with ordinary people, they must accept, and indeed love, human frailty;”
- To govern does not equal to change in which I questioned the progressivist authoritarian instinct that the goal of politics is to change other people, and
- The impeachment of the republic in which I reflected on the attempt by bureaucrats to usurp Presidential authority in the USA
The more creative entries were my travel posts stimulated by my travels through Europe in May and June. These began with Encountering Fernando Pessoa in Lisbon, but were not quite finished, as completely as I would have liked.
I have wondered at times as I sat at my desk on a Sunday morning if I would ever write anything again, or if my ideas would ever reach an audience. The last six months, since my return from the European trip to arrive in my own circles of hell at work, have been dominated by stress, insecurity, threats to my wellbeing, broken sleep, and the distress of being ostracised. This burden will be lifted next year, and I will promise to myself my long walk through the desert will end in Timbuktu.