As I've started work and trying to figure out how to balance time and my need to throw myself into a new area and learn a new professional vocabulary, markets, and more, it's pretty clear that I can no longer handle a proper newsletter. It's not the issue of my contract, company expectations, or time so much as the need to commit my mental and emotional energy elsewhere in the months to come. I stopped and started shorter form writeups a couple times over the last few days and it just hasn't felt quite right. For my own sanity after the last few years as much as anything else, I need to reclaim the countless hours of time sunk into the daily and weekly content to put to use elsewhere, whether that be playing the Gretsch I've ignored for a few years, relearning how to sleep properly, or if I'm lucky, reading for pleasure more often. All payments have been suspended so if anyone has a paid subscription, they should cancel it. I am retaining the website and all the posts as a blog, however, and do plan on posting occasional pieces and quick reactions. I still want an outlet and to contribute analytically. I'd just like to do so at a far more leisurely pace and in formats and lengths that would never fly elsewhere.
Maybe the change will allow me to rediscover some other joys, including writing fiction and more personal fare. I may return to the newsletter in the future, but I really need to focus on learning the ropes of what will become a fairly demanding role that requires a lot more focus having learned from my last role at Wood Mackenzie. This is also not meant to signal an end to ongoing projects such as the original notion for a political economy/IPE "history" of Russia's domestic development and its foreign policy from 1998 through to the COVID crisis. I'm going to sit on my mass of notes and sort good ideas from bad to finally to put together various ideas I've tried clarifying into a neat pitch with publishers for a long time, always caught offguard by the latest development in the region or new lesson the pandemic has taught us about economics/political economy and the fact that COVID has ceased to be an "event" to cover and become an ongoing, grueling reality of daily life that seems set to last in some form through the next year even if my optimistic self thinks omicron marks a turning point. The latest in Kazakhstan is testament to the difficulty of finding the right 'periodicity' for it and need to find consistent, plausible, and novel through lines.
I want to offer massive thanks to everyone who's signed up or subscribed as I had no idea this outlet would find its footing (relatively speaking) within a year and otherwise seem to help me finally find a more stable place in the pantheon of peanut gallery pundits, commentators, and quick-draw analysts. OGs and OFZs was one of the things that helped me get through the worst of the pandemic, as toxic as it could be from time to time when I would have been better off sleeping in and not putting so much emotional weight on work. I hope that if I come back to this, you'll still be there. After all, writing analysis into the void gets old fast and it's been a genuine pleasure to see this had begun to develop into a small and reliable community of readers and specialists with some reach. Please feel free to contact me at my email at email@example.com just because or with queries and ideas. Now to get in the weeds on mining, the metallurgical sector, and a host of countries I've never had to think about substantively before.