Now that I know how arduous the pathway from concept to publication is I better have a damn good reason for starting on another one.
Oracle, AZ figured importantly in a couple of chapters in Sometimes David Wins. They're pretty good chapters advancing the David v. Goliath narrative and maybe that's enough. Sure, the story of the town is compelling in and for itself but I'm not a historian and writing history isn't my thing. So what would be at the narrative center of a book about Oracle?
Here's an angle I'm trying out: Small towns, and Oracle in particular, sink or swim with the vitality of voluntary institutions that local residents invent for themselves. How they do or do not survive/thrive the cross currents driving civic breakdown across the country is a promising subject to explore. The question is how to build and sustain viable local institutions in our anti-institutional world?
So what does leadership look like in these troubled times? Where are the skills needed to fashion institutions that work in a culture that is broadly clueless and dismissive? Where and how are these habits and practices learned?
F**k the "soul of America"? How about the soul of Oracle and places like it? A bit more down to earth don't you think? And what does this have to do with the hemmorage of national political conflictual bullshit pumped out by politicos, economic magnates and religious pontificators. And what do they know about how real communities work anyway?
For myself I'm not interested in broad theory, abstractions and summations. Stories about people and people's actions are the order of my day. For myself that's where leadership comes alive.
Maybe Oracle is a good place to tell some of these stories and even wrestle a bit with what the future might look like in the process.