When left to my own company – which happens too rarely these days – I naturally gravitate towards slow activities. In the past few weeks, I have been occupying myself with a certain kind of reading: Ubu.web, The Rumpus, Mrs Tsk, and Neojaponisme, plus a bunch of things lying around the house that I hadn’t found time to read during the entire long, busy 2011 – Moomin, Peter Carey’s second-last, Miljenko Jergović, David Foster Wallace.
I have been finding the tempo of journalist cycles (and a lot of blogging, from my vantage point, is resembling journalism all-too-closely) completely incompatible with happiness. Reading and writing long form and depth feels very soothing, as if the high-sugar, low-fat junk of what counts as media (not just in Australia, but more uniformly so in Australia) has been hurting my soul in some profound way. There is junk media everywhere in the world, of course, and in most countries the junk is worse – but there tends to be a much greater range, with much better than average writing also available somewhat more democratically. (As it stands, I have tried to limit my contact with Australian media as much as possible to Ben Eltham’s columns on New Matilda, Crikey and The Drum.)
I am going to Berlin at the end of February, where I will spend at least 5 months studying urbanism, going to the theatre, writing, and enjoying a life in a high-density, well-planned city (urbanism makes you notice and care about such things). I am looking forward to being back on a continent with a more realistic sense of time.
The rest of the month in Melbourne is being half-goodbye, half-recovery.