Respooling December and January

It´s been a while since I blogged, but that´s probably because I´ve been spending my time back on Facebook – yes, I went back. I also went back to Twitter, but only to follow selected tweets. Yes, I support Wikileaks and am probably driving many of my FB friends mad with my repostings from Anonymous and Wikileaks and Defend Julian Assange. I also discovered the blog of a young Australian journalist, Antony Loewenstein, and I regularly check in to see what he says.

Apart from a terrific online workshop which ended in December, a story submission and my FB writings, not much has happened on the writing front. But a lot has been happening in my head on how to structure my novel in progress, one I´ve been working on for almost ten years. And I´m pleased to say that things are now coming together in my mind. Of course, it won´t attract publishers and my agent will probably be wringing the proverbial hands, but I am becoming convinced that the way to go is to break out of the boxes of genre and bookshop pigeonholing, and as in life, mix the lot, since I feel that´s what is needed. Clear as mud, eh?

The developments around Wikileaks had me thinking about internet governance (is everyone bought?), international organizations (ditto), grass roots movements (can they really?), diplomacy and what it masquerades as (you answer that), fear, courage, showing and telling, and how literature and stories have always shown a way forward – 1984, Brave New World, Animal Farm, Pride and Prejudice, ….

My dear mother used to say that anything the human mind can envisage will be possible, the good and the bad. What she didn´t tell me was that no envisioning is the worst thing of all. Apathy kills. But I´m also realising that fear masquerades as apathy. Don´t rock the boat. Sure, there are voices warning kids not to post crazy pix on Facebook et al because further down the line they´ll come back to haunt them. But taking this to an extreme of not speaking one´s mind for fear of which future boss might or might not hire you as they trawl the internet for secrets, fosters a paranoia that can brake dissent and condition future attitudes. But then, I´m no longer young with the world´s oyster before me. Crazy expression: the world is your oyster. Specific boundaries, the promise of pearl. No leaks.

People used to talk about information overload, but maybe that was because all the information was coming from the same places. I don´t seem to hear the word “overload” in that sense anymore. The more you pick through it and find that news in one place is not the same as news in another, depending on the mouthpiece, then you start wondering and wanting to know more. Rupert Murdoch certainly tries hard, but he looks like he may be up against those he tried to dumb down to. The US is cranky about all the leaks (I guess that´s halfway between fuming and shoulder shrugging) yet the two extremes and actions that show what the words are really about – not so secret subpoenas, not so secret urgings to toe the line – reveal the chinks in the armour, the see-through clothes.

I like Julian Assange. There´s no going back now. There´ll be leaks all over in some way or another from here on in. These and future leaks, regional, national, in areas of politics, science, art, commerce, will eventually show that “ethics” cannot just be a buzzword to which one pays lip service.

My wish for 2011 and beyond? More transparency and understanding. Less apathy. More courage. Connect the world and stop disconnecting.

These were some of the thoughts buzzing through my head in December and January in Vienna, Sydney, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, all places where I experienced tremendous generosity and am so happy and fortunate to have such good friends.