October 5th, 2016

(no subject)

I've reached a new milestone. I've now been approached by editors and publishers for short stories, edited collections, novels, chapters and scholarly books. Most of these didn't come to anything for a great range of reasons, but the publishers approaching me are getting more and more reputable, which is also a good thing.

I wish this meant I made a living wage from my writing, but it doesn't. I still need to find that job.

In other news, thanks to Conflux, I have two projects for my academic self. It turns out that the very old research I repurposed for the workshop is exactly what is needed to help writers address their own privilege and design cultures in a way that doesn't make them defensive and angry and that also doesn't damage other cultures. This is not such a surprise, given who the research was for, originally. I suspect I need to update it and write a book. Another book. This, too, depends on finding that academic job. I have my outline and only need a few weeks work to do sample chapters, however, for I used to know this subject exceedingly well.

My big discovery of Conflux is how few people know what it means when I described my history as cultural history or ethnohistory. They don't tend to work out that the theory behind it was what I used to help them with world-building in earlier workshops. It came out when I taught the workshop on writing cultures other than one's own, last Sunday. Oddly, it didn't come out with the range of material in the Beast. The sole copy of the Beast at Conflux sold the moment the dealers' room opened (as it does when there are writers who see it, I find) but people don't tend to put one and one together.

I don't actually have disparate specialisations. What I've done all my life is work on culture and narrative, both historical and contemporary. I finally know enough about my subject to be able to break it down for different needs. That's the main difference between what I did many years ago and what I'm doing now. That's where all the books are coming from and all the workshops.

It was Greg Dening who first showed me what I was doing and how, however, and that was back in the early 80s. It got me in career trouble, way back then. It and the recession combined to lose me my first career. Publishers didn't want me even near them at that time. My approach was anathema in Canberra after a while, too, because I insisted (vade retro!) that cross-cultural awareness entailed the dominant culture understanding their own culture and addressing privilege. This is why I find it so very amusing that this same method is now so very useful to people.

Culture is dynamic and this is an illustration of that dynamism. If I live long enough, what I do will be old hat. In the meantime, people are willing to publish my research. I need to get a move on with it so that they can.

Voting again - this time it's Canberra's elections

Canberra's in election mode. Twice in a year. We're so very fortunate.

My choices aren't what I thought they were a few days ago.

The Greens
Because the Greens have some potentially anti-Semitic members* as well as many who are not, I need to find out about each and every Greens candidate before voting for them. I don't vote for anyone who dislikes me without having met me.
Finding out who would dislike me without having met me is harder than it seems. Everything I can find out from online research suggests that I really need to meet a candidate to know if I am voting for someone who will actually talk to me, because the Greens as a party is tangled on the issues that are normally indicative. Only one Greens person is public about this, and she's not local. So I need to talk to someone, face to face, and find out how comfortable they are to talk to.
It ought to be simple. Candidates are doorknocking and phoning and talking to as many voters as possible. The trouble is that I sent out a few lines of "I would very much like to be visited by Greens if you're doorknocking in my area. I work from home." I've been told variously that they'll keep this in mind, that the Greens don't visit this block of flats (even though they have visited my neighbour in this block of flats), and that there's no time to talk to me personally. The one Greens candidate who I know is awesome and wonderful is, alas, not standing in my electorate. Unless the Greens improve their game, they'll be demoted from my voting priority to being right down the ballot.

The only party who has taken the time to talk to me. They've done it four times, too. One actual visit, and three phone calls. Each time they stopped and listened and responded. Twice they decided I needed to be talked to personally and kicked the general call upstairs. I have a very good idea of how good one of their candidates would be in office, and a better idea of how their policies relate to their rhetoric relate to their work on the ground than I have for any other party.
I still don't have enough information about most Labor candidates, but their willingness to actually talk to me both in and out of the election cycle makes them the best bet for responsible government at this point. This is local government, you see. Half way between mayoral and State. Capacity to talk sensibly to the rest of Canberra counts, bigtime. Leaflets, on the other hand, mean nothing. And slanging matches really annoy me, which brings me to...

All the Libs want to talk about is the light rail and how they'll spend the light rail money on other things. I don't know what they'll do with the rest of the budget. I also don't know if they'll ask people outside the party about any of it. I have received no phonecalls and been spoken to by no-one. All I have is "I hate Labor" leaflets. I have voted Liberal in the past, locally**, but unless I know more than "We hate public transport and Labor sucks for backing it" I can't see why I should vote for them now. I'm adaptable on policies, but I'm not adaptable on voting for competent individuals.

Everyone else
Apart from the light rail issue, same as Libs. They haven't let me get to know them. With such small government, it's hard for me to evaluate someone I don't know.

It's odd. The only party I'm specifically not impressed with is the one I originally intended to vote for. Given that the candidates are (with a couple of exceptions) not bothering with me, I shall do research and use the grapevine. I don't need to put numbers against all the candidates, but I do need to find five competent people and so far I've found precisely one.

My vote is still up in the air, then, ten days out from the election. About the only thing I'm committed to is the sausage sizzle. They have halal sausages at our local sausage sizzle, which means I never have to ask about pork. It's easy to decide on halal sausages. I wish it were as easy to decide on candidates.

*spellcheck tells me I want 'anti-semiotic'. I would consider voting for an anti-semiotic candidate.
**I'm a genuine swinging voter. And Liberals here are left (considerably left) of Liberals at national level. I vote consistently centre-left and I vote consistently for individuals who are capable of doing their jobs. I regard elections as job interviews and I have a very clear idea of what government entails and who is capable of doing a good job in government.