With the election over, and the holiday season coming up, I'm doing some soul searching about what to do next, and thought readers might offer some ideas. I'd really like to continue writing/blogging, and will probably start working on another book proposal, but it can be a lonely, hapless existence, in which you are always scratching, clawing and fighting for opportunities even after you kill yourself to create a bestseller and take incessant criticism writing article after article after article about an agenda that the election ultimately - and resoundingly - validates.
Let me be clear: I'm not complaining - this is just stating reality. Political writing can be, at times, dominated by insiderism/cronyism/favoritism, run like a high school popularity contest, and maddeningly resistant to any sort of ideology that actually challenges power. And particularly on the left, there is very little support for younger writers, especially when compared to the right. After some time, the slog just gets old and tiresome, which once in a while makes me feel like, screw it, I should just hang it up. I'm not saying I'm going to, of course. Just being honest with folks that - here's a newsflash - being a writer (and especially one on the progressive side) is no cakewalk.
I also like campaigning and organizing for the progressive movement, though that too can feel a bit thankless at times, and in some ways is not conducive to having much of a family life. Beyond that, certain pieces of the progressive movement have become so co-opted by the Establishment - so much a part of the problem - that it makes you sometimes wonder whether our movement can actually be a movement. So many people and organizations now run around billing themselves as "progressive while simultaneously reinforcing the status quo, it's hard to even keep track of them. It's as if the moment "progressive" and "populist" became cool, a whole group of professional political pontificators with no ideology at all decided that they want to pretend to be leaders of a movement they've been working to undermine for years (and are still working to undermine). I ultimately think that, despite this, we can still build a very effective movement - but at low points, I still have some doubts.
So basically, if anyone out there has some suggestions for me for the next year, I'm all ears. The one true source of inspiration for me has been the enormous outpouring of grassroots support not just for my work, but for the entire progressive movement. It is this grassroots support that lifts me out of those dark moments.
In the meantime, I'll be here in Helena with my wife, Emily and my dog, Monty, trying to recuperate from a very long year of book writing, book touring, setting up from scratch a national organization for progressive state legislators, and campaigning in one of the most uphill races of the cycle. So again, email ideas to me or leave them in the comments.