Retrofuturespective v3

I’m sitting in a Melbourne café, trying to think of some clever way to begin this post, but I keep returning to a rather simple realization: 2015 has been a pretty good year. After the disappointment that was 2014, my life got back on the right path. Did I achieve everything I’d hoped? I don’t think so, but I’m still happy with where I ended up.

I began 2015 on an optimistic note, which was sorely needed after a difficult 2014. I went on a North American adventure in February, during which I saw my second Marilyn Manson concert in Denver, finally got to spend some time in beautiful San Francisco, returned to Los Angeles (a city I’m increasingly falling in love with, despite its flaws) to attend a fan party for The Hobbit, visited a friend in Vancouver, and experienced some frigid temperatures in Toronto that convinced me I wanted to escape the worst of Canada’s winters. It goes without saying that I also met a number of brilliant people along the way.

Having not travelled for ten months at the point I took the trip, it was sorely needed to revive my spirits and creative energy, and it succeed. For the next few months I worked on a number of projects, and was able to escape the mental cage of being in a place I didn’t want to be by retreating into reading, writing, and planning my next adventure.

In July, I left Canada again, but this time more permanently. I spent a few wonderful days exploring the urban jungle of New York City (the first time I’d visited), had a great time in Los Angeles attending VidCon, and enjoyed the beaches of Honolulu before touching down in Australia: my new temporary home.

At the end of 2014, I was trying to decide where I would live next, more specifically whether I would do better to move to a big Canadian city or head internationally. Finally, I settled on the latter, and set course for Melbourne.

I’ve spent the past 5 months in Melbourne, and I love this city. It reminds me a lot of Vancouver, my favourite Canadian city, but Australia has a couple of flaws I simply haven’t been able to adapt to. The internet in Australia is quite a bit slower than in other developed (and even developing) countries. It’s put a bit of a wrench in some of my creative plans, which I’ll discuss in a moment. It’s also really far from the places I find myself wanting to be: the urban centres of Europe and North America. For this reason, my plans for 2016 have shifted, but before I get into those, I’ll review the progress I made on various projects in the past year.

I’ve made far more creative progress in 2015 than I did in 2014, which is incredibly heartening, but I did also stumble in a few areas.

While I did work on fiction projects several times throughout the year, progress has been slow, and I still don’t feel they’re ready to be read by eyes other than my own. That may change in 2016, but I make no promises.

I have, however, made some progress on non-fiction, particularly with regards to political and economic writing. I’ve published a number of pieces on Medium throughout the year, and in the past six months I’ve also been working on some longer pieces, the first of which, A Music Industry for the 99%, is due to be published later this month. I’ve also been working on two other pieces, one of which may be published in the next few months, though the fate of the other remains a mystery. I do intend to continue working on other novella-length non-fiction in 2016, as well as continuing to post regularly on Medium.

The project I’m probably most proud of that emerged from the past year is my YouTube channel, Propaganda. While it’s been on hiatus since I arrived in Australia due to slow internet speeds and having no place to record, I have every intention of relaunching it in the next couple months (after I leave Australia). Making videos has helped me gain more confidence in how I express my political views, it’s opened the door to new conversations and ideas, and it’s made me more excited about the things I create. I have no doubt that had I not started making videos, I probably wouldn’t have begun working on the long-form pieces I’m preparing to publish.

Looking back on past retrofuturespectives, I’ve noticed one thing I’ve wanted to do for a couple years now, but have yet to achieve: to start a podcast. I continue to want to do this, but unlike in the past, I’m not setting a date. My biggest hurdle to podcasting is having a place to record, and with my precarious living situation continuing into 2016, I simply may not be able to find anywhere. This could change, but sadly, I wouldn’t count on it.

Looking forward

If I was writing this a couple months ago, I would’ve told you I was soon moving to Montreal with the intention of setting up a home base, but that’s no longer the case. I haven’t been able to push myself to return to Canada, even if I wasn’t planning to go back to the part of Canada where I grew up. I continue to want to see the world and live in new places.

I’m departing Australia at the beginning of February to spend a little over a month in Asia and Northern Europe before arriving in my new temporary home: London. How long will I stay there? I have no idea. What will I do? I’m still trying to figure that out. The radical left in London seems particularly interesting and vibrant at the moment, having to constantly oppose the socially-degrading policies of the Tory government and trying to figure out what the election of Jeremy Corbyn means for Labour, the radical left, and the country. I want to observe, and hopefully engage in these conversations and movements. Not to mention, I have a lot of friends in London, so it’s nice to be heading to a city where I’m not completely alone, which was the case in Melbourne.

I may also be returning to Los Angeles for a couple weeks in the summer, again for VidCon, though I am still trying to decide if I will go ahead with this. More than anything else, it depends on my budget. I’ll have a better idea in April or May.

This coming year also has the potential to be a pivotal year for my political and creative projects. I started gaining quite a bit of traction in the first half of 2015, before slow internet constrained my ability to keep making videos. However, my YouTube subscriber count has doubled since I stopped making videos, which means future videos could gain even greater traction than those I made in the past.

I’ll also finally be publishing some works of non-fiction, which opens several new avenues of discovery for my writing, and the reader numbers on my Medium posts have been slowly, but consistently, increasing. I could also finally publish some fiction work, but this is by no means guaranteed.

Finally, I also plan to learn Swedish in the coming year, and I’ve renewed my goal to read 52 books. While I fell short in 2015, I do plan to hit my target this year, and try to add more fiction to the mix (as I read mainly non-fiction in 2015).

I’ll finish this post essentially how I began it. Overall, I’ve enjoyed 2015. I got back on the right track, did a number of things I’d been wanting to do for quite a long time, and laid the foundation for an even better 2016. While some of my creative and political projects did suffer because of my choice of destination, I did take that time to really push myself to write non-fiction, and I’m pleased with the result.

I start 2016 in a good place, with plans in place to make it even better. I’m looking forward to London, and getting back into YouTube, and if my channel does well enough, I could find myself visiting Los Angeles again in the middle of the year, which I’d love to do.

Comrades, I hope you had a great 2015, but I have a good feeling about the year ahead, and I sincerely hope you do, too. If there’s anything you’d like to see when I relaunch my YouTube channel, or any topics you’d like me to write about, you can always hit me up on Twitter. I’ll see you there.