Tuesday, February 21, 2006Things Fall Apart
A friend said to me quite recently, "you seem more intense than usual lately." And I knew what he meant: I've been more persistent about talking to people, about doing things, about getting things happening. I'm not one of those who can create activity seemingly effortlessly; I've got to work at it. I came back here with a full head of steam, but since then it's been harder to maintain my momentum.
Entropy is a fundamental -- maybe the fundamental -- force of nature. You can't fight it forever; sooner or later the very atoms that make up your cells will break their bonds and go their separate ways. If you think about it, it's amazing that we hold together for as long as we do. And the whole time that we live, it seems that we're in a constant state of holding things, tangible and intangible, together. All things come to an end, but we clutch at them for as long as we can.
It took me a year, for example, to come to terms with the fact that the London phase of my life was over. (Honestly, I still can't quite believe it some days.) After an idealistic but misguided attempt to re-create it, it took me another year to understand that not only was it over, but that even the relationships I'd forged there were coming to their natural end. A year seems to be the normal length of time these things take -- back when I was continually moving around with my mother, it was always the last place I'd been that felt unreal. Once it was a year in the past, it ceased to be the thing that was absent and instead became a part of my history. Right now it's Vermont that feels slippery in my mind; ten months from now it'll just be another one of those things.
I got an email today from an unlikely friend in a not-too-distant town where I've done seasonal work at a film festival for the last few years except this most recent year. I didn't go last year because I was in Vermont; afterwards, there had been some very small talk that there might be Big Opportunities there, although I was deeply reluctant to take them for various personal reasons. On the other hand, it seemed like a natural fit in other ways, so I kept my options open. But this message today seems to nail the lid shut on that particular coffin. Things have changed there. A mass exodus of everyone I worked with has left only one regular staff member of the half dozen I knew. Prior to today it seemed like a coincidence or perhaps a natural falling-apart. One moved on to better things; one finally took her retirement and began sculpting full-time; one decided to devote herself to other options. But today I found out that the oldest-standing staffer had left, and while all the others might be a coincidence, when I heard about this departure I knew something was up.
They got a new director last year. She was, it's probably safe to say, singularly unqualified -- knew nothing about film, nothing about festivals, had never done anything remotely similar before. But apparently the Head of the Board liked her look, there were some other nefarious goings-on happening beneath the surface, and suddenly she was installed as the head of the festival. Since then, everyone has either jumped or been pushed except for this unlikely friend of mine -- and she only stays because she has little choice. I haven't gotten the complete story yet, admittedly. But I trust my instincts, and I trust my sources, and I feel fairly confident suggesting that my beloved old festival has just been sold down the river. There were so many possibilities for that place, it was potentially a singular opportunity. In the right hands, it could've been a force for good; now it's just going to turn into one more half-assed Sundance-wannabe. Such a waste.
As far as I'm concerned, every good thing about going there is gone now. So I guess that's really, truly over now, too. The sad thing, though, is that while we're always painfully aware when a thing ends, we never seem to recognize when a good thing begins.
Anyway, I've spent like twelve hours today fiddling with a website -- see, when I say something like "I want a new website," I really mean it. It's been a fucking pain in the ass, too; the webhost I'm hooked up with is weird about site administration and nothing ever seems to work the way it's supposed to. As of last night, I had absolutely no idea how to transfer my files to my server so that they'd appear on the web; as of this morning, I had a somewhat better idea but still hadn't succeeded. By now, I've got that licked, I've installed a complicated-looking content management system on the server, and it's working. Now I just have to figure out how to make it do what I want it to do. It seems to be getting harder as I go along, but maybe that's just because after twelve hours, I'm getting a little tired.
It's always harder to put things together than to tear them down. |