Friday, April 15, 2011

On Being a Shithead

When I started Donkeyshame, I never had designs on posting all the time, only when I had something interesting to say. Which is kind of funny, because, looking over it now, most of these posts—the most recent being more than two years ago—are if not embarrassingly insipid then at least wholly unimportant. At the time I was still reading the Chicago Sun-Times every day (which sadly seems absurdly antiquated to me now), and I think I was trying to find a voice similar to Mark Brown or Neil Steinberg, neither of whom I am particularly fond of.

At any rate, in my mind Donkeyshame has been active the whole time, which I realize makes no sense at all. But you see I’ve been working on something— let’s call it the “Pilots project”—that required, for me at least, a great deal of research and time investment, and a clarity of purpose, which seems these days to be ever more obscured by a dense layer of fog, perhaps of my own device.

I am now beginning to accept that the Pilots project is at worst a small-scale disaster on a personal level and at best an excuse to procrastinate and be lazy about writing: I’ve had ideas both great and terrible in the duration, but, for better or worse, I’ve shelved them because the Pilots project needed to be my next piece. I read The Shining and sat through the entire stupid mini-series of The Shining, listened to the fucking commentary track by the hack director, Steven Weber and Stephen King, thinking that I was going to write something about it after the Pilot project was completed. And now, it’s been so long, I can barely remember anything about any of it. What a waste of like, 50 hours. For some shit I don’t even like.

Yesterday morning, after wresting myself from the grasp of an especially wacky dream, my first instinct was to write about it. But then I remembered that unspoken rule in my head, the one where I can’t write anything until I finish the Pilots project. I instantly realized that, in my writing something, anything, and putting it out there, I would remove this self-imposed exile from writing and, by damning the Pilots project—the exact type of piece that had been the reason for the creation of Donkeyshame—to an unknown fate, I might just save the whole fucking thing.

I’m not sure why I was so shocked when I recently realized, upon finishing all the punishing research for the Pilots project, that the two years I spent (at my leisure) doing research and watching shitty out-of-print movies in ten-minute segments on YouTube was the easy part of the endeavor; trying to spin something out of what my Grandmother would call “oodles” of notes that don’t necessarily add up to anything (or maybe they do) it is the hard part.

So I’m trying to convince myself that if the Pilots project is not the next thing, that the occurrence is not necessarily a failure. Or, if it is a failure, then that’s okay.

I have this mentality that’s all like I can’t do this if I don’t finish this, which doesn’t even make any sense because I’m always working on 27 different things at once (currently, demos for my now-defunct band, the Pale Gallery, working on forming a new band, writing two screenplays (mostly in theory), writing this dumb Pilots project, and recording a hip-hop record that I’m certain will be fantastic, though I would never tell you that in person, because, actually, I’m certain it will be terrible).

Plus—the Pilots project is not even suited to the blog format. It’s got footnotes.

I’ve known that I was going to at some point have to write this, and have been dreading it, because I don’t even really like the conversational aspect of blogs. I love film criticism more than the Mark Maron podcast; I want this to be the résumé on heavy-test paper, even though they tell you not to do it that way these days.

I can’t even write a blog the way it’s supposed to be written. But being a blogger had never been of much interest to me, whereas being an essayist and film critic has always been an ambition of mine. I'm going to be posting more frequently here (hopefully), but I decided to also start another blog completely devoted to film, which will mostly be a collection of capsule reviews for films I happen to watch, and perhaps some longer pieces of criticism, such as the long-stewing and troubled Pilots project.

You win some, you lose some. Fuck it.


Saher said...

How did I not know about this blog years ago? Not to harp on the negative, the positive is now I know and I like. Keep posting.

Ryan said...

Dream on dreamer, life gets in the way

Edward said...

Well, at least you HAVE a blog (multiple ones!) that words appear on instead of like other people only a sad quarterly registration statement emailed from (ugh) telling you the two domain names you registered five years ago with grand blog designs are still in fact registered to you and are still frozen in eternal contentlessness.

Jeffery said...

Keep doing this. I like texting with you, but it can be taxing sometimes and phone calls? Phone calls just seem....weird. I need you....need you in my life.

What's all this about a NEW band?