Three days ago, I examined feedback from the end-of-year survey and decided to change a few things on Russia Reviewed this year. Today’s post is shorter and focuses on my personal New Year’s resolutions (those connected to Russian Studies and blogging, anyway).
Clean up that editorial policy.
This blog could become an asset in the future, should I continue my current course of RA analysis and/or translation. Wouldn’t want any future employers to see my rage pages, now would we? 🙂
In all seriousness, I’d like to return to a few reviews and rewrite them because I feel I could’ve done a better job. I challenge myself to write longer posts, craft more compelling arguments and shed that last bit of “classical Russophilia”* I’ve been clinging to.
Translate a book of at least 100 pages.
Россия. Надежды и тревоги by Evgeny Primakov, perhaps?
You know, just for practice.
Grow a thicker skin.
As the blog’s first troll and the events of December 12th have shown me, the world of Russia-watching is a dangerous place both online and offline. It’s not for the faint of heart. Despite having pure human interest in and a passion for Russian affairs (you’d think those would be enough to drive me), I’m still hurt by accusations hurled at me by other Russia-watchers across the ideological spectrum. My solution? Grow a skin thick enough to prevent those comments from stinging. This of course doesn’t mean ignoring all criticism. Criticism is like a disease: it’s unpleasant, but the organism occasionally needs it. However, toughening up will require learning the thing most difficult for a person inclined to listen, like myself: how to tune some people out.
Find some confidence. Or some courage; either will do.
Lots of applications for it:
- daring to make mistakes when speaking Russian
- combating self-censorship in my writing
- being unafraid to ask weird or ugly questions
- wearing “useful idiot” as a badge of honor (not really…but you get my drift)
Get to writin’.
This year, I want to either write a short story (5-6 pages) or complete research/worldbuilding for one of my six working novel/comic ideas. (Not idea 5A-E though; my research for that one will remain incomplete until a certain leader dies…)
Actually, no guarantees on this one. The batcrap insanity surrounding Russia isn’t going away any time soon. It’s only a matter of time before my battered carapace cracks and I drown in the waves of hysteria, distortions, and inflammatory rhetoric pouring in from all sides. If 2016 was any indication, the turnover rate is pretty quick. In a matter of months, I went from a calm, inquisitive, somewhat naive Russia-watcher to a frustrated fiend ready to choke out anyone who forced the TrumPutin narrative on me. So if I go certifiably nuts in 2017, it’s 100% Russia’s fault!
*Tricky thing, this classical Russophilia. At best, it leads one to gloss over faults like abuse of administrative resources in Russia; at worst, it leads to Romantic infatuation with the country. Classical Russophilia’s effect on me is closer to the former than the latter.