Just gave a talk in Paris. It was fun. Here's the write-up.
Thanks for taking the photo, /* / * /.
This is a follow-up from my October 6 post called Girl Archetypes. The secret is I was already working on the book, and now, it's done!
Woo! From the tiny germ of an idea to a finished thing! Here's the postface from the book, including a fabulous huntress and her animals, illustrated by Kevin Nichols, who made me some beautiful illustrations. It's probably the simplest explanation of why I made this.
I love fairy tales. One evening I was reading out loud from Italo Calvino's Italian Folk Tales anthology and I started switching the gender of pronouns as an exercise. I immediately found the stories more interesting. It stretched my imagination to create a woman soldier or woman scissor-grinder in my mind.
That's all this is. Princes become princesses, huntsman hunters, kings become queens. It's not an exercise to create rebel girls, although that can be cool. It's about reading stories where women exist. Some of these tales had no female characters at all.
I've had a lot of fun over the last... six months or so, gathering stories, editing them, finding Kevin, art direction on the illustrations, laying out the book, proofreading, and finally, now, telling everyone about it.
Please do buy a copy, if you can. The stories are an interesting challenge for your imagination, and because of that, I don't think it's just for kids.
I've moved to London. Did you hear? The last few scattered posts I've written have alluded to the next massive change for young George, so, well, there you go.
It's been a long time coming, this move to London; about 12 years actually. Even before I left Australia, I'd been thinking to head for the BBC here, because that was a group which stood out on the web as doing interesting work on a bunch of big interesting questions. (They still are.)
London is huge and beautiful, "good for the eyes," I thought to myself on the bus the other day. I've been riding the bus mostly, so I can see where I'm going, instead of going all groundhog and just popping up and down from place to place via the Tube.
It's an interestingly challenging city to penetrate as a new person, and I have no idea how people without a bit of money saved up would even do it. There's a long series of barnacled systems to navigate, penetrate and then activate. I was surprised, for example, how important it was to have a proof of address; how this was the pinnacle of identity for any and all other services. Getting a bank account isn't possible without one, unless, I suspect, you have loads of money, in which case, different rules apply. It's been six weeks now, and mostly, I've taken care of just about everything. Importantly, I've landed in a lovely spot, with a nice front window, at which I've installed a cat pedestal, upon which Sixty now sits watching the world go by.
It feels like a great move, for a few different reasons. I felt like I was stagnating a bit, yes, even in lovely San Francisco. I was utterly frustrated by the dominant richman culture there now, the lack of basic manners and excess of entitlement. While I will certainly miss my good friends and the delicious food, it had begun to feel like a big small town with too much money and privilege and goldmining and vapidity for me, at least today.
So now I find myself charting this new course. My brother lives here too, which is excellent. Feels great to be close to my immediate family again, for the first time in years. There's no pressure surrounding seeing him anymore, which the whole family has suffered since we scattered. I'm enjoying starting a new business here too. Meeting with everyone I can, trying to sniff out opportunities and good people. There's a true and real sense of collaboration here which is more or less absent in San Francisco. People are willing and actively interested in actual effort-sharing and knowledge sharing. At least they are with me, now, which is helpful and heartening. More on the business later, maybe. (You could also read the Work Diary.)
Here are some pictures: