Sight & Sound's Top 20 - So many lists and awards announcements this week you'd think it was... oh, yes, it *is* December. Sight and Sound enter the fray now with their top 20 whic...
Friday, April 13, 2012
Dear Readers of A Life in Equinox:
Over the last few months I have received a nearly endless string of questions as to my general lack of presence in the current blogging scene. These have ranged from inquiries to my health and well being to side remarks about whatever happened to that weird one who spoke fast and had an odd obsession with proving pandas are all evil. So allow my to clarify those two points right off:
1. I'm fine, thank you for asking.
2. Yes, all pandas are evil.
So with those two out of the way you may find yourself thinking, whatever did happen to Univarn? Well, allow me to say it this way: I'm taking the break I should have taken a long time ago. It's not the kind of break one takes lightly when they've built as big a following as I have and it's not one I intend to waste by rushing back into blogging.
This break is purely cathartic. An opportunity for me to take a step back and really look at how I've let my blog shape my world. To allow all those churning questions that eek through in moments of dissatisfaction seep through the cracks and be explored to their fullest. To remind myself why I started this blog to begin with. What it was supposed to mean to me and how I am supposed to use that information.
I've often said in my daily life that the world of blogging is like the world's largest insecure writer's support group (to steal a title from Alex C). I can't recall the last time I talked to a blogger who was truly comfortable in their situation in life; in every aspect of the way they dealt with the social world. That singular void which a blog could so easily fill if left in the right hands.
It all started with that first comment. That first acknowledgement that people cared about what I had to say. It was crack and I was the addict. I'm not saying I didn't believe in what I wrote. Rather that I was willing to write just as much for the thrill of writing as for the thrill of being reminded that I should continue to do so. The content was nice, but it was a means to an end.
I always had good intentions, and never wrote about anything I wasn't at least partially passionate about. But sooner or later that high had to end. After all how often can anyone be that drastically passionate about every single thing they wrote? Especially on a day in and day out basis. I don't deny that some can and seemingly do , but something inside me was always nagging. Always calling out "you're missing the big picture."
Blogging had become an obsession for me. It had become something that I had to do. I had to write about every movie I saw because I needed someone to reinforce, support, or bow to the superiority of my opinion on every movie. I didn't write reviews because I wanted to share my opinion. I wrote reviews because I wanted to dominate opinion. To subvert trends, counter culture, or influence passion all of which lead to the inevitable return of that most precious thing: a comment. Which to those who've read my rants on the very idea of a review will seem hypocritical in every form.
But if you were to put me under torture and force me to answer the question "What is your honest opinion of Twilight?" I would honestly have to say "I don't give a damn either way." I enjoy making fun of it. It's fun to watch people's reactions, on both sides of the spectrum. Yet that doesn't mean I particularly hate it, nor do I particularly like it. As time went on that feeling became more and more prevalent in the way I viewed all films.
More movies I knew I ought to like, I couldn't find it in me to do so. Not in a "because everyone else likes them I ought to" sort of way, but more so in that deep down I felt as if they are the very things I would have liked before I started to blog. A regular theater viewing had become as much about enjoying the story as it had finding a use for the film. To find where that film would fit in the social zeitgeist and how that would be best utilized to meet my own ends.
Years of being bullied meant that I had spent years on the sidelines watching others interact. Always analyzing, always calculating, trying to understand how they interacted with one another. I became particularly talented at understanding how people would react to various ways I would express myself. I never lied about my opinion, but I was good at maneuvering the shades of gray between the various levels of liking or hating something.
All the while I would feel guilty about the entirety of my actions. A turbulent inner storm that wrapped itself inside me. Torn between my own aspirations and my want for inspiration. I became disgusted with my own viewing habits. I started to resent movies. To resent blogging. To push back against everything I had built in the hope that I could open my eyes to movies once again.
I still do it from time to time. I find myself in the middle of a movie wandering off to the world of the blog. Imagining my opinion of the film, envisioning the likely reactions to the manner in which I choose to state my opinion and weighing the personal benefit of each. For those films I choose to write nothing. Not because they are bad or I believe my opinion is any less valid, but because I know that deep down it's not honest. My early reviews were short, sweet, and represented what I truly felt about the films I watched - perception be damned!
To get back to that. To find a way to care more about the honesty of the content than the exhilaration of the response. That is my mission. I do not know if it will be one that is easily accomplished. I do not know if it is one that can ever be accomplished. But to bring my view of movies back to a relationship solely between myself and the film. An individual relationship with ups, downs, moments of indifference and yet each and every one unique. That, I feel, is the only way to remind myself of a simple truth: That I have always loved movies.
Ryan "Univarn" Helms