Showing posts from October, 2017

365 Films in 2017 # 319-328

319. The Living Skeleton (1968), Hiroshi Matsuno, Shochiku

320. In the Realm of the Senses (1976), Nagisa Oshima, Argos

321. Withnail and I (1987), Bruce Robinson, Cineplex Odeon

322. The Horse's Mouth (1958), Ronald Neame, General Film

323. W.R.: The Mysteries of the Organism (1971), Dušan Makavejev

324. I am Curious (Yellow), Vilgot Sjöman, Grove Press

325. The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins (1970), Les Blank

326. Bulldog Drummond Comes Back (1937), Louis King, Paramount

327. The Naked City (1948), Jules Dassin, Universal

328. Born in Flames (1983), Lizzie Borden, First Run

Essay Three in a Series of Meandering Musings about Life, the Arts, What Have You.

"One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise. This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, the implausible, often the  'impossible,' come true.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Crack-Up, 1945

I should be working on many different things, including applications, revisions, and grading student papers. Yet I find myself at a cross roads, torn between doing the things I love and trying to keep food on the table. I struggle at being an academic, a teacher, a citizen of this mess of a country, while working sixteen hour days. I feel disappointed and broken if I take time to watch a movie or listen to a record. The mounting stress and anxiety bleeds into my work, etching my writing and my scholarship indelibly until the two become inseparable, a misshapen hulk of a thing, trending between monster, art, and commerce.

I know that this will someday end at the inquisition or the tenure track…

365 Films in 2017 # 309-318

309. The Decline of Western Civilization III (1998), Penelope Spheeris, Spheeris Films

310. Throne of Blood (1957), Akira Kurosawa, Toho

311. The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946). Tay Garnett, MGM

312. The Hit (1984), Stephen Frears, Palace

313. The Slow Business of Going (2000), Athina Rachel Tsangari, Haos

314. Art School Confidential (2006), Terry Zwigoff, Sony Pictures Classics

315. Harlan County, USA (1976), Barbara Kopple, First Run Features

316. Interrabang (1969), Giuliano Biagetti, Salaria

317. On the Waterfront (1954), Elia Kazan, Columbia

318. The Leopard Man (1943), Jacques Tourneur, RKO

On Writing and Withdrawal

These days are increasingly fueled by an antiseptic need for withdrawal -- a calm pause before the perpetual storm. The work mounts, and I disappear into intoxication and minimal self-effacement, transferring my energy to fiction instead of mounting abstracts and applications. I write prose poetry about my lack of ambition, while i thumb through interminable drafts of student papers, failed fiction, and the occasional listicle written on tattered notebook pages. 
I write lists like a man possessed, usually finishing the easy items or transferring them to another list, asking for nothing less than being done eternally. Yet my manic energies and anxieties compound such lists. I sit entranced at the computer screen, looking at another file, attempting madly to use all the ink in my listing pen. 
Did an emo song or an old, lovelorn rock 'n' roll song start this way? A person at the end of their energies, writing about someone or something that done 'em wrong keeps on keeping &…

The Writing is Lost to the Days and Weeks

Where do the years, weeks, and days go? I imagine they are stored in underground caverns loaded with greying filing cabinets. Or are they, like my writing, forgotten in folders and files. I often think of the nonfiction essays, the short stories, the uncracked and lonely novels I have started. Is it 1996? Is it 2004? The drafts remain unfinished. I put them off for work at the restaurant. I put them off for graduate school, theses, and dissertations. I put them off to teach course after course, telling myself that I will finish this year. I know it won't happen until I'm old and grey. Will it happen before I'm buried under an oak tree, green grass spreading over my unharried corpse.