Don’t worry about the title. Titles are just arbitrary designations we give to works to classify them. Sometimes the titles are apt; 11/22/63 or Atlas Shrugged being good examples. Sometimes, they’re intentionally misaligned with the work in question; The Social Network, for instance, has nothing to do with Facebook. It would be like calling Citizen Kane “The Newspaper”. And the reason for the title up there is because that’s where the slug autosaved when I was typing “the reason for the season” and got nearly to the end before realizing that was a hilariously inapt title for what I’m writing now. I knew when I came back that I’d want to write about why I was gone and not writing for so long. Somehow, I thought there would be people here and reading to care, but I don’t know if there are. And yet, that same doublethink of knowing how many subscribers I have and not acknowledging their existence for its tininess is both why I stopped writing here on May 23rd and why I’m back now. I don’t know if I’m back permanently. I’m not going to make any statements about the future. I’m just gonna keep writing, if that’s okay with y’all.
Anyway, the reason I stopped writing this May was because, frankly, it never felt like there was anybody reading. And I’m not saying nobody’s reading now or then or whatever–I know you’re all out there, but that’s what I’m getting to, here. It feels like the only people who read my blog are the kind of people to comment on other peoples’ blogs in order to get them to comment on their own. Which just feels a lot more than fake, I’ve found. And I never want to be that kind of fake. And maybe it’s not fake, maybe it’s just a strategy to get more readers, I don’t know. But what I mean is, out of all of my friends that I know in person (thanks online subscribers, for sticking with this), only a couple are subscribed in any way. It’s kinda demoralizing to feel like nobody you know likes what you’re writing. Or reads it enough to know whether or not they like it. Occasionally, people would read stuff I wrote and talk to me about it, but because of some personal issues I’m betting you could guess at, I never noticed.
It’s a symptom of depression that you remember only the bad things and forget all the good things. I don’t know if I’m depressed or not, but I do know that I’ve been told that I only ever see the bad in everything. That’s why every time I get a bit of feedback on something I’ve written, or even when somebody boots up MSN to talk to me about it–solely about that–all I can remember is all the times I’d hit publish and they wouldn’t talk to me about it at all. That’s what I’d be thinking about even as they were probably sitting there asking me what was so wrong that I didn’t want to tell them but could write online. Actually, nobody’s ever raised that concern specifically. I’m kinda brutally honest in person.
And that’s really why I stopped writing: there was so little honest audience feedback that I felt like I was shouting daily into an empty room. And that feeling, all the feelings like that, kept on every day for five months until I realized I’d had enough of writing for nobody. Writers tell you that the first person you have to write for is yourself, that you have to be satisfied with every word you write. And people always give me the same advice when I ask why nobody’s reading any of my stuff. And it’s always useless for the same reason: I am satisfied with every word I write. So what’s taking you slouches so long to get on this? I think my stuff is pretty cool, so why is everyone taking so damn long to just share it with their friends?
From May 23rd through to December 10th, that’s really where my head was. My stuff was really cool and it took far too damn long for anybody to read it and get back to me. And what, ironically enough, got me back behind the keys was a house party in Toronto and a particular guest who, as he was leaving, asked me when I was getting back to my blog. I hadn’t spoken to this guy outside of Facebook comments in years. I hadn’t heard his voice in a long time, so to hear this guy who’s entirely unrelated to me ask when I was gonna get back to it sorta jolted me. But it wasn’t until the subway ride home where I really started thinking about what that all meant.
Since May 23rd, I’ve seen an asston of movies. Some great, some deplorable, some lacking a third dimension. I’ve seen a lot of movies, but it was just one that stuck out at me. The guy who asked me when I was gonna get back to my blog, he and I don’t often agree in film taste. But there was one movie where I thought we’d have enough overlap for my opinion to matter, and that was Moneyball. In the same year I saw Drive, Midnight in Paris and The Tree of Life, it was Moneyball I regretted not reviewing, because this guy might’ve seen it in theaters. I don’t know if he did or not. I just know that he respected my writing enough to ask me to get back to it, and I hadn’t told him how slow, how painfully slow Moneyball was.
I have eleven subscribers. This guy isn’t one of you. He comes to the site independent of any subscription, because he respects my opinions on the stuff I write about here. And so do you guys. And I let you all down because I didn’t tell you my thoughts on the movies released this year.
I don’t care if I have 10 subscribers or 100. An audience is an audience. And you guys who are subscribed to me right now apparently want me to tell you what I think about all this shit. And if you start telling your friends and I start telling my friends, maybe there won’t be just eleven of you by this time next year. What say you? Shall we?