A different orbit.
Well, that’s a twelfth of the year gone already. And what a month! How are you all?
Creatively, I have had an excellent start to the year. Stepping back from Twitter was the right decision, and a couple of weeks ago I also stopped reading the news. (I have especially felt the benefits of this over the last twenty-four hours for obviously sad and disappointing reasons.) I was consuming news several times a day, resulting in a constant wallowing cycle of topical misery. I am a firm believer in being informed, but I haven’t missed being aware of what’s going on every day at all. And, as a result of these two changes, I have managed to make serious progress on some ideas that have been percolating for a while. Disjointed projects, which previously floundered in their early stages, have been reinvigorated. Problems have been solved and, bit by bit, a way forward has started to emerge.
The only reason I’m being slightly cryptic here is that I have decided not to share thoughts of what I’m planning to do this year – only progress on things that have reached a certain point. There are only a few exceptions to this self-set rule.
One of these exceptions allows me to let you all know that, after what has ended up being years in the making and much recent thinking on the matter, I plan to start a (very small and humble!) online community via Substack, utilising elements of the platform’s functionality to offer the potential for Twitter-esque discussions via this newsletter. More on this next month, when I plan to formally (as formal as it will be) launch this. For now, if you think you’d be interested in joining in any discussions I host here, just sign up to this newsletter.
Where and When
As you know, this year we’re taking our foot off the pedal. All pedals. It’s been delightful feeling the world slow down around me, as if I have stepped into a protective bubble where I’m allowed time to breathe and think. As alluded to above, this has done wonders for my productivity (valuable productivity, that is – not just doing things, but doing valuable things). We went on our first ‘new’ walk, exploring Daviot Wood on a chilly day with a particularly biting wind, and have been for several delightful walks in the woods just out the back. We’re looking forward to further such adventures (increasing in length and difficulty) as the weather gets milder.
Of course, the major event of January was Auri turning one year old. We celebrated with family at the Dores Inn, a favourite of ours. The day could only have been more perfect if the French/Portuguese and Spanish family contingencies could have made it, too.
On the Bookshelf
Though I did indulge in the comfort reading that is Nigella Lawson’s ‘How To Eat’ earlier in the month, and dragged out the River Cottage ‘Veg Patch’ volume to start my garden planning, my main reading aim this January has been getting to the bottom of my inbox and reading all the newsletters that built up over the last several months. They ran into the hundreds, but I did it, finishing the last half a dozen yesterday. I have flagged so many interesting articles to read and share, which partially fits in with my ideas about community development.
Being off Twitter has meant, though, that I have missed seeing updates from the many interesting people I followed. So please, if you have a blog where you share your own comings and goings, please do let me know! Just reply to this post via email. I’m in the process of creating a library of interesting web things, and I want to start reading blogs again properly, and commenting if the time allows. I still believe that communication is so important, I’m just trying to figure out how I want to communicate at the start of these Roaring Twenties.
In the Inkwell
I have a few bobs and bits that I’m working on at the moment, but I will have more to say on this next month. I am still mildly surprised by how many notes and scribbles I managed to jot down in January. As this month has been mostly about working through my backlog of newsletters, I have primarily been noting thoughts on what I have read. Expect a deluge (or perhaps a managed steady trickle) of essays on all sorts of topics over the coming months. I have also been working on some tweaks to my website, which I will send live by the end of the month. In the meantime, on topic for this post, here’s some very rough thoughts on something I’m referring to as The Kilderkin Analogy:
“Twitter is like your favourite old pub which has tried to revamp itself to stay up with the times, but has missed the mark. The new clientele are (is?) different. Some are lovely, some are a certain type of annoying, loud person. You still love your old haunt – every now and then you visit for semi-nostalgic purposes, and you bump into your old friends and you have a grand time. But you can’t get away from the noise coming from the table next to you.”
Well, we’re into February now, and in the last few hours the world has metaphorically (as well as physically, obviously) shifted a little bit. We’re in a slightly different orbit now. The reason disappointment hurts so much is because hope runs so much deeper than superficial political opportunism and lies. Fuel Up, friends, and stay hopeful.
Ever onwards, friends.
‘til next time,
1st February 2020
Croy, Highlands, Scotland