Why I Don't Fight (and Why I Must)...

So, where'd I go? How come I have not posted on this blog for well over a month? What happened to my rather recently pledged resolve to soldier on with my writing, battling through my idiotic depressive states and bouts of low self-esteem?

How does an upper respiratory infection and bronchitis hit you? How does constant wheezing and coughing and nasal dripping and not being able to breathe for the last four weeks sound?

To me, until late last week, this round of illness has been pure exhaustion, and the last thing I have wanted to do was sit at a computer and concentrate on writing. Writing about anything, even half-assed notes to my friends and family. I even found it straining to use Twitter, and so my tiny little bon mots and pocket reviews found themselves largely reduced, almost to a standstill, for a couple of weeks, with only an occasional attempt to right the ship. I would play a couple of songs on a Sunday morning on Blip.fm to cheer myself up, to try and convince myself that everything was all right, even when I was drowning in mucus and growing ever sicker of the echo of my own hacking cough. And then I would decide that melting into the pile of pillows and blankets on the couch, where I have largely lived for the past month, would be a far more comfortable and smart choice.

And so I have hardly written in well over six weeks now. Yes, in the last two weeks, I have begun to respond more and tweet more and catch up on what has been going on with everyone. After a misfire with Urgent Care left me taking antibiotics which didn't seem to do me a lick of good, I finally hit a real doctor, who put me on an inhaler (AdVair) which has cleared me up enough where I am breathing, the infection is apparently gone (at least the florescent green, bugfuck-weird stuff has subsided completely), and my cough sometimes seems like a mannerism out of which I need to trick myself. My energy came back last Thursday, and I am now sleeping comfortably most nights (for the first time in ages), and my increase in energy has been absolutely evident to my friends and co-workers, even though I start up a death rattle of a cough once in a while, and then continue to cough for another ten minutes before I can relax my throat enough to actually speak. And then there is that glorious sizz-urp (that's what Raw Meat, via his beloved gangsta rappers, calls it) -- I don't like to take it during the day because it does make me weary, and perhaps I haven't taken it enough, not even halfway to fully recommended prescription. But it sure works wonders for me at night, when I don't have to worry about the dizziness and lack of coherence. And I am now at the point where I can spend an entire day (yesterday) not coughing at all, and then have it trigger on me all through a movie (Bruno) and into bedtime.

Clearly, though, if I can muster up enough concentration to sit at a computer for a couple of hours at a shot rather comfortably now, shouldn't I be at the point where I can begin writing anew?

Practically any time our nation ends up in any form of war -- and I will not go into justification nor political asides here -- the media of our nation are fond of putting out varied films or publications with this constantly rehashed title: WHY WE FIGHT. They may even do this in other countries as well, but Americans are particularly prone to using this blueprint for the media's reassurance and justification to the general public. Usually the resultant pieces are formed from their creators' editorial take on exactly why our men and women take to battle, for whatever cause it might be or against whichever enemy, and uses the pulse of recent events and popular hysteria to construct an outline for exactly how and why we got to the point where we had no other choice but to take up arms and attempt to destroy the enemy. This started out with propaganda films in WWII, and now the phrase seems to get hijacked anytime a magazine or writer wants to explain the Big American Purpose of the war at hand.

My constant enemy, as with many others who attempt to make even greater nonsense of their lives via the written word, is my own psyche. I have written at great length previously about my battles with self-diagnosed depression, and how I have to keep a frantic, almost relentless pace of creation in order not to get lost within myself. In fact, some of you might be sick of hearing it, and I understand this. However, it is part of who I am, and I have to do very well to recognize the symptoms as they surface, and do my best to battle them. if there is a recurring theme on this site, it is the continuation of the battle that has consumed my entire life: the struggle between what I have been all these years and what I could have been with a little more focus and initiative.

And yet, until I write these words, I have done nothing over the last six weeks to stop myself from sinking back into the blank, comfort zone of zero creation and laziness.

So, WHY DO I NOT FIGHT?

Because it is so much easier not to do anything at all. Every day or so, I hear the call of the keyboard... and then I ignore it. I turn my ear away, but I can't shut off my mind. I tell myself that I just don't feel like writing, and I stare at the keyboard for ages, close the laptop and shuffle back to the couch. But then I feel so much more terrible that I am doing nothing at all, and I head back to the computer to stare at the keyboard some more. Every morning begins this way, often with the impulse to begin creating again, and then the impulse swiftly dissolves into ennui and I just start floating around the internet or popping in another movie. And then this tug-of-war leaves me exhausted.

This is not to say that I have not been plotting my return.

Before the illness, in the last piece I posted, I mentioned a new project I was planning to undertake, tentatively called "The 44 Times 30 Or So," and to say that I haven't begun work on that would be a vast understatement. Just before I got sick, I had created, from a variety of solid sources, a massive list of films from 1964 (the year of my birth) through the current year, most of them award-nominated or highly acclaimed films within each year of the list. Over the last six weeks, I have been watching films constantly -- scads of films, droves of films -- sometimes, in the days when I couldn't leave the couch, five or six a day, and on just plain, normal days, averaging between two to three per day. I have already watched 95% of the films that make up my must-see list for 1964, and huge chunks of 1965 and 1966, along with scattered films throughout the first two decades of the list I created for the project.

The groundwork has been laid to initiate the attack on my reticence; the unleashing of the dogs of war remains, as in: the actual writing, my summation of what I am discovering on my new journey through film history within my lifetime. This time of illness has proven fruitful in one major aspect, and that is I have had a lot of quiet time in which to reflect. Any time that one reaches a certain state of middle-agedness and then becomes sick, and then celebrities famously drop dead left and right over the course of your illness, your own mortality becomes an issue as well. It is hard not to think about it. Layer this with the fact I was intentionally launching a personal film-watching project beginning with my birth year, and the reflection gets compounded even more.

So, clearly I am on the verge, if this ridiculous missive from the front is any clue, of finally getting back to the keyboard. The truest question now will be: what form will the summation of my current project take? I have been mulling over and experimenting with various possibilities, but I haven't yet decided on my final presentation as of yet. But, clearly I have taken the first small step towards victory by engaging the enemy -- my twisted fears and laziness -- in battle again. Sure, I know victory is impossible, but it won't be the first or last time that war has been perpetrated on a complete and utter falsehood.

Comments

It's good to see your feeling better, and some part of my world has righted itself now that you're going to start posting again. I know I didn't vocalize any well-wishing, but I was thinking it. So her it is, in belated form.

This is another coincidence... I started a post about my lack of writing last night as well, although mine will take a pretty different route.
EggOfTheDead said…
Just last night I was asking Zieh about you so it was especially great to see a new post on Cinema 4. I prefer your long format work to Twitter :-)

I've been mostly about motorcycles this summer - though I've done a little writing about motorcycles! - which is a subject most of my friends aren't as excited about as I am. Has me off the grid a bit.

Glad to hear you're recovering and hope to read more from you soon.

*hugs*

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