I never announced the most recent hiatus, it just kind of happened. Work was busy in the second half of 2019 and it became increasingly difficult to find a space for work-related blogging.
The "Black Summer" bushfires of the Australian summer of 2019-2020 happened. Even 18 months after this, there are vast areas of South Eastern Australia which I just cannot visit - it's too sad. Looking back, the mask wearing we did due to deadly fire tainted air seems like a mean-spirited foreshadow of what was to come.
Then my city suffered a devastating once in a century bad hailstorm, followed by that other big thing. Yeah, that global pandemic which refuses to go away.
The first few months of the pandemic seem distant now, but I remember it being an exciting time. There was so much optimistic determination that we could beat this, that we really were all in this together. It was a good time in my previous job at the ACCC. I helped the Library pivot to a completely online service. I've heard similar anecdotes from so many other librarians.
I also really liked working from home every day. I was productive and I enjoyed some of the remote working tech. One of our cats particularly liked gate crashing video conferences. She went back and forth between my wife's Zoom meetings and my work's Teams meetings - sometimes perched on my shoulders.
Then about a year ago, she suddenly became very ill and we lost her. There is a story there. I don't feel like telling it today, but it eventually ends with kittens.
My losses during the pandemic have been next to nothing compared with what other people have gone through. I've been in a country, that so far, has had a fairly small number of cases on a per capita basis. I live in an area of Australia that has been extremely lucky so far, with no community transmission of COVID-19 over the last 12 months.
A few months ago, as the Australian summer was ending, life seemed pretty good here and we thought that the COVID-19 threat was behind us. Now Sydney and Melbourne and Adelaide are locked down.
I don't think I'm the only person who feels uneasy about what's going on in the world. Never knowing when the next curve ball, sucker punch or black swan event (a term which makes no sense for me) will happen to shatter whatever equilibrium we may have recovered.
Some of this chaos is self-inflicted. I'm thinking of those reports about increasing numbers of people making significant life decisions - choosing to leave or change jobs, homes and relationships.
I'm also one of those. After working in the Australian public service for over 10 years, I moved on. I'm now working in systems / web / discovery role at a university. It's been a major change for me. I'll leave the details - switching back to academic libraries after over a decade in special libraries - for another day.
I've restarted blogging because I really need reboot my writing habit - writing that is work related but is not done at work. There's nothing like a fixed and looming deadline to inspire action. It was pre-COVID and seems like a decade ago, but I submitted an abstract for the 2020 Australian Law Librarians' Association (ALLA) Conference. The 2020 conference was postponed to 2021, and my abstract was accepted. Now I need to prepare my presentation and write the paper!
Eva Wiseman, The Guardian, Jobs, marriages, cities – we are quitting them in our droves, 11 July 2021
Jamie Ducharme, Time Magazine, Why the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Caused a Widespread Existential Crisis, 29 December 2020