Thursday, May 16, 2013

In Medias Res

Okay, I know it’s been a very long time since I wrote anything here, and I’m pretty sure it started as a slight lapse in time or effort to continue writing here, but after awhile it also became an issue of embarrassment: how long can a writer not write before he has to tell everyone (and more importantly himself) that he is no longer a writer? How long can one have a blog and not add to it, how long can he say “Yeah, I have a blog, you should check it out” when he hasn’t added anything on it forever. One of the first jokes I ever heard about blogging was how everyone has one and they only ever have updates twice a year and they all start with “Hey guys, I know I haven’t been writing here, and I promise to write more...” and I know that I’ve made similar (if not wholly equal) statements in the past for this blog and others. But fuck it, man. I never start these blogs with any real intention of every-day or once-a-week use, I try to, but when push comes to shove I’m a really lazy guy who has bursts of energy and activity and slumps of inactivity and boring-ness. This is a thing I do not say with pride, and it probably has a bunch of reasons no one cars about, so we’ll just skip the pyschoanalysis for once and dive right into what I came here to talk about.

I’m a media junkie. It’s becoming kind of an issue. I found myself thinking today about a scene that I only know from clips and such of Dustin Hoffman whacking a taxi cab (?) and screaming “I’m walkin here! I’m walkin’ here!” when it nearly runs him over. When I thought of it at first, I thought it was Kramer vs. Kramer, which was probably way off. I spoke that guess out loud, because my co-worker hadn’t any idea what I was referencing (there was cab who was doing a rolling stop while we were crossing the street), and then had to explain it. THEN I had to explain (because my brain does whatever the hell it wants anymore, but we’ll get to this later) that this incident (Dustin Hoffman yelling at a cabbie [wait, was it a cabbie? Shit.]) was actually ad-libbed, because some guy drove through the shot and almost ran Hoffman down. So I basically made a reference to a movie I have NEVER SEEN and then explained it, and then added more superfluous information to this already annotated story in order to explain why I made the reference. And it may have been Drugstore Cowboy (another movie I’ve never seen) and I’m also not sure it was a cabbie. In a second, I’m going to go onto Youtube and find out because, as previously mentioned but not discussed, I have officially lost control of my brain.
Okay, so the verdict is one of three: it was a cabbie, but the movie is Midnight Cowboy, not Drugstore Cowboy (what is that, I wonder?) or Kramer vs Kramer (was Hoffman even in that movie? Fuck I’m losing it. Concentrate, goddammit, you’ve got to get through this). The important part of this ridiculous anecdote is that I am a media junkie that does things like identify with a scene in a film I haven’t even seen and try and use it to relate to people in real life. This can’t be a healthy exercise. Really. And not only that, but that I haven’t seen Midnight Cowboy (What the hell could it be about?) or Kramer vs. Kramer (probably a court movie, which went out of style around the time Dick Wolf started making television shows) actually makes me want to see them, just so  I know the context of my own references and to know why the hell Kramer vs Kramer is famous enough to be in my brain. And here’s the fun part: I will probably watch one of those movies, and I have no idea why. Wait, back up, I do know why: it’s because my brain does whatever it wants because I am a fucking junkie for media and information.

I don’t know when it started, but I think it may have to do with embracing curiosity about the time Wikipedia became a thing. I remember back in the forum days, trolling along in the interwebs, we used to talk (write?) about the interesting places we’d start on wikipedia and the crazy places they’d take us. I can’t remember specifics, but the thread was not unlike the Kevin Bacon connect-the-people game where you can line up Charlie Chaplin to Emilio Estevez or whatever. Say you start with World War I and somehow end up on the breeding habits of red squirrels or the shelf-life of pine nuts. It doesn’t matter, the point was what a long strange trip it was getting from one link to another, starting at one place or subject and then, simply because of curiosity, being taken to another just as interesting (if not more so [who doesn’t love pine nuts?]) and never going back, or having to close 45 tabs or, at the very best, spending days going back and reviewing them after spontaneously being inundated with new information (never happens except for ALL THE TIME). 

So I’ve decided that this is and may be and definitely has been a bit of a problem that effects not only me, but the things I want to do and the things I have done and not finished. Did that sentence make sense? There’s sometimes I feel like what makes sense to me doesn’t exactly make sense to others. And that’s why I am here now doing this. Trying to finish something. Trying to make a thing whole and maybe small but at least something to be proud of, something I can point to and go, “there it is, that’s the start of something and the finish of something. It’s not pretty, maybe, but it’s mine and fuck you if you can’t handle it.”

So there are a few things that I’ve been working on, and they seem stupid sometimes and (my all-time favorite reason to stop something) too big to be real things that I can make exist. Writing projects. Like, sit-down-and-spend-some-fucking-time-writing-godammit-projects. One, I think, I want to finish before the end of November (yes, novel-writing month or whatever). I think it will be the “religion” project, as a story that I am absolutely afraid of because it deals with beliefs and madness and death and heartache and pain and somewhere, hope. It’s a story I’ve been sweating for a year? two years? Doesn’t matter. It needs to be done because I started it. The other project I have in mind is a compilation of stories based around a deli (I know, I’ve kicked this around a million times), but this would be more of a collection of short stories with a mild framing story to hold them together, like the early Treehouse of Horrors, and the stories usually have nothing to do with the deli at all, just because fuck work, it’s life that’s interesting.

So anyway. This is the plan: write. The only issue I have (other than confidence or my finishing-things issues) is fucking media. My constant cycle of switching channels, flip to Jamestown, history of; Pocahontas: Reality vs Legend; Disney movies I’ve never seen, The physics of lifting a house with balloons, That Penn & Teller Bullshit! when they take on the Boy Scouts, The Republican 2012 Platform, skip-a-few Hoovertowns and the Great Depression. I’ll do my best to keep my internet bullshitting to a minimum, but we’ll see what happens. Fingers crossed.

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