The difficulty of overcoming inertia
One thing that’s been abundantly clear to me about “maintaining” (*) my review site and blog this year: Inertia is a bitch.
* I feel the word “maintaining” requires quotes at this moment, seeing as Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox have been running from an explosion on my home page for more than three months now — never my intention when I posted that image. (**)
Back last December I was faced with a panic situation. I still hadn’t written most of the BSG season 4.0 reviews, and season 4.5 was breathing down my neck. I had precious few weeks to write more than half a dozen reviews that I knew would be long and detailed and exhausting (because I was dealing with the exciting and much-to-discuss final season of BSG). And as I had that weekly deadline of 4.5 episodes always threatening me, it forced me to turn out my reviews on a breakneck (for me) schedule so I could keep up. Then the final episode aired and I was off the hook and could sigh in relief. No wonder it took me six weeks to finally post the finale review.
The inertia of the weekly grind kept me going. And once it was gone, the opposite happened. The lack of deadlines has placed me in a rut of silence, and now it has gone on for so long that I feel like I can’t even write (or think) anymore. When I go back and read reviews — mine or others’ — I wonder how I will again become capable of enough critical thought as to write reviews up to that standard. It’s very strange.
It also hasn’t helped watching (while not reviewing) the very dense and always introspective (and almost never visceral) Mad Men, which is like the ultimate TV show for critics. I like it a lot, but also have found the critical establishment’s praise of the show to go occasionally over the top. But of course I find it that way, because I’m watching more passively, and not writing about it. I can’t imagine writing about it right now; it would be too exhausting.
It’s amazing what I miss in that show and discover only while reading the reviews of others. It makes me wonder how much I’d discover if I were writing about it myself. I’ve long experienced how writing about a show makes you think more about it; it demands you to be an active viewer rather than a passive one, and remember names and facts and backstories that you might otherwise allow to fall out of your brain. A show like Mad Men only underlines that fact because it is so very subtle and dense.
But I’ve strayed from my point here, which is that inertia has gotten me down, and I’m trying to overcome it.
Now, I want to make clear that it isn’t simply a matter of me being lazy. (Only partially.) Life has kept me busy in the past few months. Kathy and I got engaged in August, and that means there’s a certain amount of wedding planning going on in the background as both she and I deal with our daily lives and jobs.
And there’s of course the job: I recently changed roles in my job, and it has been occupying a lot more of my time and mind lately. When one works 10- and 11-hour days at a job that has one tied to a computer all day maintaining web sites, one simply doesn’t feel like maintaining a blog/review site in the evenings and on weekends.
I also just got back from a week on a Caribbean cruise, which was a much-needed escape from Illinois weather just as it had quickly and unexpectedly turned dreary and cold in early October. (We left and arrived at just the right times; the weather suddenly turned crappy, was crappy while we were gone, and has become more pleasantly fall-like now that we’ve returned.)
What will get me writing again? The realization of another approaching deadline, of course: BSG‘s “The Plan” debuts on DVD and Blu-ray next week, which means I’ll need to get a review in the works soon.
And then there’s TNG. No, the project has not been abandoned, as much as it may seem that way. I look back at the calendar and realize that the last TNG review I wrote was before I moved in April 2008, a full year and a half ago. (Some might remember that moving is how I got completely derailed in keeping up with BSG 4.0.) I’ve got to get myself going again on the TNG front before this year is over.
Bottom line: I’m not gone, and I will be coming back. I just have to shake off the dust and emerge from the doldrums. Hopefully this post will provide me with a jump-start.
** The “Transformers 2” image has been removed. I just can’t take it anymore. (***)
*** I’ve been reading a lot of the great Alan Sepinwall lately, and I find that his post-paragraph footnote convention can be useful to mitigate awkward parenthetical stray thoughts. It’s handy, but I won’t make too much of a habit out of it.