Stepping back to charge forward
In a world beset by so many crises, and with Internet communications thrusting great tragedies and shocking murders into our faces almost all the time, we have to make an effort to stay calm, not quiescent but cool enough to think and act rationally. Using whatever resources each of us commands to help make things better as far as we can reach.
Like yours, my 2016 was upset and shocked frequently by turbulent events, and 2017 has begun with another one — in Istanbul, a city to which we have many ties and where we have good friends and many wonderful memories. We have also been appalled by the deaths and misery of so many refugees, the bombing of ancient and noble cities, typhoons, narco murders and on and on.
For 2017 I intend to continue using my writing and thinking capacities to find the patterns in the chaos, and then to reach as many others as I can. Discovering patterns is not only consoling, but may also help us know where we stand, what’s coming, and where we might take effective action. My long term project is a novel which I hope will reveal, or at least suggest, the patterns of desire and protest and violent revolt, and inspire reflection in readers.
As I said a year ago, “My proximate aims are to complete my novel on the Paris Commune of 1871 and to produce more essays on the multiple crises of our time.” Looking over my notes from 2016, I see the beginnings of some of those essays, but the main accomplishment has been important progress on that novel. Victory is still a long way ahead, but the struggle — to say and do something that will make a difference — continues.
(Image from Roman Coin Database)