Well now. That… that was really something.
When I volunteered to carry on in Cate’s name, I thought I knew what I was letting myself in for. Cate made it look easy, but then, I saw only the democracy sausages, not their making.
Making them is much more difficult than I realised. Writing isn’t that hard, reading isn’t that hard (a few grammar challenged sites to the contrary), but thinking, analysing, comparing – and most of all, trying to do so from an assumption of good faith, if not actual objectivity1I don’t actually believe that objectivity exists, anywhere, so I don’t beat myself up about that – that, friends and neighbours, is hard work.
I’ve learned a lot from doing this. About how to do it, and how to do it better next time (and yes, there will be a next time). About myself, which was a surprise. And I’ve learned a better appreciation of my dear friend Catherine, too.
I mean, I’d read almost every post she ever made on Cate Speaks, but I read them as they were published. It’s when you sit down and read multiple posts about the same parties over the span of a decade, that you see not just how the parties change over time, but how the person writing them did. It should come as little surprise that Catherine improved as a writer over this time, or that she took this work more seriously the more she did it.
But I hadn’t noticed, until the contrast was right there in front of me, the growing sophistication and subtlety of Catherine’s perceptions over the years. One understands these things in a general way, that we change as the years pass, hopefully into a better version of ourselves. But in reading four posts about the same party written a few years apart each time, that understanding is no longer general, but specific, almost quantifiable.
Writing these posts, carrying on this important work, has been a privilege, a responsibility, and an honour. Thank you to each and every one of you who read these, who posted comments, or sent links to friends, or let us know how much you appreciated this work. We didn’t do it for the praise, but it’s still nice to receive it.
The other thing I didn’t foresee going into this was that it was running headlong into my grief at Catherine’s loss. I felt her presence and her absence constantly. For the first week or so, I wanted to ask her if I was doing it right approximately every half hour. Let me tell you, it’s not imposter syndrome when you actually are replacing someone.
That’s all I have for now. See you back here when the Victorian State Election draws closer, and thank you for your time. It means the world to me.