A Preparatory Indulgence, Pt. 1: I've Been Here, I've Been Working on Something, and There Is No Problem
The title above holds the answers to the questions most often asked of me over the past couple of months, during which time it seems I have taken some form of hiatus, purposeful or otherwise, from the Cinema 4 Pylon: "Where have you been?" "What the hell are you up to? You haven't been writing lately." "What's the problem now? Are you in another one of your funks?" Emails, phone calls, up close and personal... this is what I have heard, and not just from the usual suspects.
It's funny how you can write and write and write your ass off, and only a couple of committed, caring friends (and the odd stranger or two) will comment here and there, and you will begin to feel as if you were just another voice lost in the uncaring wilderness of the internet.
But, take an uncharacteristic amount of time away from something that people have locked you into their minds as being the sum of your being, and they begin to notice. Lately, I have received batches of concerned emails relating to this topic, along with a few comments on old posts to which I didn't bother to respond, and even Twitter messages from people with whom I am only lightly acquainted who have at least wondered where all the movie review tweets have gone.
This is all very nice, and I appreciate that some people have noticed my disappearance from the online world. But, here's what I thought was the truth: as of early September, I had grown sick of the internet.
After a few short months of testing, I came to believe that Twitter was essentially useless as a real communication tool, and rather just the latest and possibly worst form of networking pollution -- chiefly mindless blather trying to out-shriek the rest of the chiefly mindless blather, much of it scrubbed of context and therefore lacking any real impact. Facebook had become unmanageable to me once I reconnected with dozens of people from the past that I never really knew anyway. A precious few are grand old friends with whom I am glad to refresh our acquaintance, but then they throw their friends from the old days at you, and they don't realize (and often get hurt when they find out) that you really have no wish to know those other "old friends" anymore. Largely, this is because you never liked them in the first place (and most likely, they never liked you either). Worst of all, for weeks I dreaded opening my email accounts for fear of actually having to communicate with anyone. And when I did answer, I found, because I had not been paying very close attention to the run of things on the internet, that it would most likely would have been better had I not ever replied to anything at all. I had taken myself out of the loop, and even considering playing the slightest bit of catch-up had become both loathsome and monumentally difficult for me.
And so, for the most part, I disappeared online. A couple of email replies here and there kept the dread going; a mere handful of tweets throughout September and October showed that I was fighting whatever this creeping malaise happened to be. There were even brief moments where I tried to push back at it, and announced boldly m return to online life. (Well, if you can call saying anything in the cavernous depths of either Twitter or Facebook saying being truly bold -- which neither action is.) And while it is fun to think that perhaps this mood is merely just another syndrome amongst the thousands either identified or created to help us inch our way through the modern world -- let's throw a charming acronym or a smartly dressed abbreviation at it! -- the fact is that my attention has been diverted, and interacting online with the electronic world of faceless others has simply not been shown to be important enough to wash away the impression that I have disappeared.
But I have been around, and I have been busy, quite busy. Indeed, I have been quite deeply engaged for two to three months now. While I have been writing to some small degree, that activity has not been on anything to which this website directly relates, and it has not been the center of my attention. Writing is still the most important thing to me, and will prove to be the ultimate beneficiary of what I have been up to over the last two months. In fact, you could call my efforts "research" to the largest degree, or rather, a preparatory indulgence. What I have been doing will likely seem idiotic to some and markedly obsessive to all, but those who have similar addictions to the world of the cinema, those who feel lost within their own personal realms, and even anyone even the tiniest bit OCD will fully understand. (Yea, modern syndromes!)
To fully impart the madness into which I locked myself through the lateness of summer, though, I should divulge what led me to this point...
(To be continued in A Preparatory Indulgence, Pt. 2...)