Say not the struggle naught availeth,
The labour and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.
My problem is, I don’t know when to keep my mouth shut. I’ll say things that other people dare only think, and it makes me unpopular. My friends—I really feel for them, actually—probably view me as a grenade that could go off at any moment.
But the thing about that is occasionally you need someone to say those things; to stand up and be counted; to make a difference. I think it’s part of the same personality trait. I was the first to support Jenny when she made her call-to-arms to save science funding, and I pushed hard behind the scenes to make it happen. I became the focus for the grumblings at Nature Network, setting up first a Facebook group to discuss what we might do, and when my patience finally snapped I built this website. Along the way I’ve made myself unpopular with some people.
Collateral damage, I guess. You do things, you push against the status quo; you actually get off your arse and do something about it—not everybody is going to continue liking you.
The fracas with leaving Nature Network ultimately wasn’t my fault—but I wouldn’t keep quiet about it, which definitely was. I don’t regret that—the things I said needed saying, and the record needed putting right. This is a shame, really. I didn’t get chance to say farewell to Nature Network properly.
I have a lot to thank that place for. It helped me develop as a writer, got me exposure, and even led to a job just when I needed it most. I wanted to thank Matt Brown for his hard work, and Li Kim Lee for martinis and recruiting me in the first place. To acknowledge the people who literally changed my life. And it would have been nice to say so there, to give credit in the place where credit was due. As it is there is bad feeling and smoke in my eyes.
Enough. That’s behind us now. What is, is.
Look, over there:
And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly!
But westward, look, the land is bright!
—Arthur Hugh Clough