Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Winter, Discontent, Blah Blah Blah...

We've been glazed over with ice here for the last few days -- is it just me, or did the entire country get hit with an ice storm last week? It hasn't been too bad, though. I got out of work early one day, and since then I've been getting around the same as always, albeit stepping a little more carefully. If anything, it's nice to get something that actually feels like winter.

Christmas is again passing in a cloud of ennui. The holiday itself should be nice enough -- I have the benefit this year of having actual friends, so I also have plans for fun stuff to do. That alone is a big improvement over last year. But I can't help wondering whether poverty plus a shitty job is going to permanently associate this time of year with mild angst and depression for me. I've always loved Christmas, but there's very little enjoyment in it for me these last couple of years.

I've been suffering from minor bouts of middle-of-the-night anxiety the last few weeks, but I can't quite figure out why. There's nothing going on, no imminent concerns or worries -- I think I might just be tapping into the free-floating collective anxiety that seems to be consuming everyone right now. Things have already been stagnant for years, and to think that we might only be at the beginning of a much bigger downturn is genuinely depressing. And given how many people I come into contact with in a typical day, it's difficult to avoid noticing how worried everyone is. The biggest impact for me so far is only in the absence of any better situation to jump to. This is not a good time for moving up to better things.

We literally having lawyers applying for jobs at Fucking Fnorders. We had a Harvard graduate apply for the same shitty job I have now. I look at people eight, ten years younger than me, and I wonder if this is going to permanently alter their perspective. They've been promised everything all their lives, and even the ones who've fulfilled everything ever asked of them, who still end up stuck here, it must all seem like a major betrayal. And I know that a lot of them, of us, look at the previous generation with intense envy and a certain amount of resentment. I, at least, have the edge of my bitterness dulled by the knowledge that I'm here by choice -- grudgingly, but at least it's my own.

Meh, enough of this.

Last week, while drinking a bad margarita at a gay strip club downtown with my friends, I turned to my friend Rick and said, "what if I told you that when I was 17 I got pregnant and had a baby and gave it up for adoption?" I can't remember why I said it -- we were joking about something, and all I know is that the question made some sort of sense at the time. I think I was just trying to get a rise out of him. Anyway, his eyes got big and he said, "really!?" And I said, "pffft, of course not. But what if I had?" Still, Rick was captivated by the idea, and I think because of the a) basic plausibility of it, and b) my inadvertently convincing delivery, he half believed it had really happened. He continued to ask me for the next couple of hours, "okay, but seriously... did you?" I denied it -- because I've never even been pregnant much less given a baby up for adoption -- but found his credulity hilarious and started expounding on the details of the story, while still insisting that it was entirely false.

Anyway, yesterday I told our friend Turner about the exchange, and he had the excellent idea of planting a rumor for Rick's benefit that I'd recently been contacted by a sixteen-year-old boy who believed me to be his biological mother. All I have to do is continue to flatly deny it -- which is the truth, after all -- and let him suspect whatever he likes. It's a bit evil, but I like the absurdity of it.

As always, apologies for my silence. It's a little bit hard to get very enthusiastic about anything right now. I have, however, taken to writing lately, just not so much on the blog -- if anything, my non-blog writing has directly contributed to the quiet around here. It's nothing serious, just some casual wordy puttering, but it still constitutes a jump in my productivity. I'm thinking that I might like to write something substantial this year. Not with any intention of getting it published, or even very widely read, but only to have worked through the process one more time. And again, rather than even worry about its prospects for publication, to instead self-publish on the tiniest of scales -- eight, maybe a dozen hand-printed, hand-bound copies. To learn how to use lead type and a letterpress, learn how to bind, and do the entire thing myself, just for the sake of starting with nothing and ending with books.

I've been taking a break from editing (still editing, god, the pain) for a few months at the advice of filmmaker friends, because it was getting to the point that I could no longer even see or understand what I was doing with the MTC film, and had ground to a painful, angst-y halt. So I asked a few people who know the process better than me (for having gone through it many more times than I have), and they gave me the brilliant advice to just leave it alone for a while. Which is advice I already knew, but had trouble applying to myself, I suppose. It was a considerable relief to hear them say, "so you have 30-some-odd hours of footage and you're editing in your free time, and you're surprised that it's taking you forever, and that you're now having trouble getting over the hump? Better filmmakers than you have taken years to complete projects like this. Put it aside for at least a few months, and then come back to it. Everything will make a lot more sense when you've taken some time off from thinking about it."

So that's what I've done. It's been a couple of months now, and I intend to wait until I'm clear of the holidays to pick it up again. I really do want to get it finished, but not having to think about it all the time has been a big boost to my morale during a season when good morale is hard to come by -- it was getting so that I was feeling like a failure. It was invaluable to be reminded, especially by people who know how this stuff works, that feeling like a failure is sometimes just part of the process; and that furthermore, feeling like a failure and actually being one are two different things. Those are the people I need to keep around me.
7:03 PM ::
Amy :: permalink