“Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.”
That’s Ursula K. Le Guin, from her recent National Book Awards speech. I’m going to, in whatever way I can, try to meet this call, and re-dedicate myself to writing this year. That means I’m going to try to step back, for a time, from organizing, and even step back a bit from social media. I want to be scarcer, less public, and more focused on writing. We’ll see how that goes! But I’m going to try.
There are three things I want to work on. First, I have a half-written book of poetry and essays, Reading Wordsworth in the Tar Sands, that I need to finish for a 2016 publication date. This is writing shaped by walking through the restrictive and restricted spaces of resource extraction—an attempt to open and contest these spaces where capital is indeed and quite directly killing the planet.
Second, I have written the first draft of a play, Blockadia, coming out of the recent Kinder Morgan experience. It’s terrible. But maybe I can make something out of it in revision. We’ll see. If you never hear about this again, you’ll know why.
Finally, I want to write essays on this blog—essays on movement tactics and strategies, on where we are, and where we may need to go. I’m tired of being so reactive—to always be in a position of having to react to the latest move made by the state and corporation as they try every trick in the book to keep extracting wealth from people and the land. What we really need, I think, is to get out ahead of them—to have the vision, and the capacity, that they are currently counting on us lacking. I want to make whatever small contribution to that that I can.
I know many amazing and dedicated organizers. I know spirited and fearless activists. Coming out of the (still not finished) struggle on Burnaby Mountain in the fall of 2014, I see people re-dedicating themselves to organizing and to action. I see people stepping into politics. What I feel I need to do, what I can do, is write, and speak, and teach. It’s not a matter of choosing words over actions; it’s a matter of bringing some good words to the action.
Thank you Stephen: I wish you a very good year.