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Diary: 'I think: I'd get bored'

Our Leeds-based cooperator feels the tension between inspiration and reality.

Initially there was disappointment, frequently blended with relief, over cancelled events and the slowing down of social life.

Then came the realisation that space and time no longer matter when the only place you are is your bedroom desk at whatever time of day or night you choose.

It suddenly seemed not only sensible, but important to attend webinars, training, forums and socials all over the English-speaking world.

You came across more and more and more people doing fascinating, exciting projects, you checked their websites, their articles, their projects, their podcasts. You followed more and more twitterers and heard more and more incredible news, horrifying facts, looming disasters, fabulous responses.

Instead of slowing down for COVID, the world increased its rate of acceleration.

For a networker and ‘bigger picture’ person, this should be ideal, the dream. But what does one do with all this inspiration and information?

To be fair, this was a problem long before COVID. I live life as a series of exclamations and desires.

Let’s set up a lounge in the street and just get people to talk!

Let’s work in the library at the same time every week and call it a co-op drop-in!

Let’s set up a mutual sick pay fund for freelancers!

Let’s graffiti the area!

Let’s set up a radical book-keepers collective!

And the more ace projects you hear about elsewhere, the more you want to do and the more information you want to spread. You’re on the lookout for the most inspiring, the least politically-compromised, the most relevant projects that you can learn from or replicate.

And this is where reality hits – there’s not enough time for it all and no crew to do it with.

My reactions have become more muted as I think about projects that got planned but never happened, projects that stalled, projects that were co-opted by liberalism or reformism.

I have inspiration fatigue – a self-inflicted condition of constant researching to no end, where new information results, at most, in a retweet or at least, a permanently open browser tab for a half-read article or interesting-looking podcast.

I read and read and then forget what I’ve read.

Each new hit of inspiration lasts for a shorter time and I want more.

But there are sooooo many things to be inspired about!

My housemate is happy to be almost entirely disconnected from the news. They say: ‘It’s better to dig where you are’ and ‘I’d rather fight a person who’d practised 1,000 kicks once than a person who’s practised one kick 1,000 times’.

I think: I’d get bored.

So, as my nanna would say: everything in moderation. Read, talk, work, dig, walk, connect, rant, care, love, teach, learn, organise.

Cath is a Leeds-based co-operator who recently joined a Marx’s Capital reading group to learn tenacity and stamina. In memory of David Graeber and Stuart Christie – don’t mourn, organise.