Random update and links, 21st October 2022

A pale sun going down over a calm sea

I’m not writing enough, I’m putting it into a place of magic where words have meaning and meaning has power and then I get worried I won’t have enough time to make the powerful words mean what I want them to mean. Publishing is both an exercise in inspiration, but also an exorcism of the self. I should try to change that.

A lot of where I was several years ago has fallen by the wayside, like the leaves turning yellow outside and drifting slowly and naturally to the ground. Change happens, and I’ve had a lot of change this year.

A lot of it has been out of my control and so I tend not to write about it – global things as they are, and right now I struggle to keep up with British politics on a daily basis, let alone get any coherent thoughts about it together.

Meanwhile, I feel like I haven’t stopped since July, on a personal basis. In June I realised it had been a year since I’d moved to the new chapter, and that it was time to take freelancing a little more seriously than I had been, whatever that might mean. I’m very grateful to a handful of people who are in a similar space to me, and who all seem to float about in a Venn-style similar network. I’m now working across a few organisations, but it often also feels like a "small world". Maybe I should mention names, or maybe not. Anyway, if you’re reading this and think I’m referring to you, then thanks 🙂

Which is all to say that I’m busy, learning a lot about lots of different things, and not getting much time for writing or personal projects at the moment. Nor am I on social media a lot, but to be honest, I think that’s maybe a good thing. Endless scrolling of monkey-mind context-switching is quite a tiring thing.

I’ll try to write up more thoughts on an ad-hoc basis as I go though, to reduce the weekly pressure of writing something good. Fragmented thoughts may not read as well, but they’re probably more of an accurate statement of life these days than any other structure.

What can I remember of the last few weeks though?

  • I’ve been doing some restructuring of what others might think of as "admin", but that I’ve come to think of as "modern information infrastructure" – ie the approach I take to emails and news feeds. I spent a solid few hours cleaning through my inbox, but also setting up a bunch of Thunderbird filters to help automatically clear out any old emails more than a few weeks old – that includes all the regular notices and alerts I get from schools, WordPress security updates, etc. I don’t need to be sorting that out manually.

  • Similarly, I’ve been revising my RSS feed categories. Initially I set up a link between an IMAP folder for newsletters as an RSS feed, and then brought the RSS feed back into Thunderbird to "close the loop". It’s nice having Thunderbird as a single "info dashboard" but I’m getting a bit of conflict between reading feeds there vs in TinyTinyRSS. I should probably choose one or the other. I’ve also just re-sorted feeds from "Must read" and "Could read" into a kind of social permaculture-zone approach I’m working on, from "closeknit" to "sociable" to "widerworld". The aim there is to give more weight to more personable updates (eg from friends), and try to keep "further away" updates at a bit more of a distance.

  • In more restructuring, I’m aiming to use Mondays as a house-catchup day to get personal life admin done, and Fridays as more of a flexible professional/personal project type day. It worked the first week, but I needed to work Monday the second week, and the third week – next week – is half term so it’s not going great so far, to be fair. Maybe November will balance the average out better…

  • Grappling with Google calendar and Thunderbird struggling to accept invites for non-Google accounts through the Google calendar service, possibly involving "Visitor Sessions" for documents. Basically, I want to add my groundlake.org email address to my Google account, but Google thinks it’s already in use for an account which Google has set up but won’t tell me where. Hnnnnng.

There’s probably more, but I want to practice writing shorter updates, so maybe this is just an exercise in that.


NUMERO ZERO: The Last Of Umberto Eco