Thursday, January 13, 2011


Since the Internet is my life, I surely must need a blog.  Isn't the community of people on the Web the Blogosphere, so that the webbed connectedness of the Internet begins with a blog?  To say anything "is my life" would have been alien at one time.  I picked up the turn of phrase from River Phoenix in Sidney Lumet's touching 1981 film Running on Empty.  It comes in one of the first scenes and he tosses it off rapidly and ironically:  "baseball is my life."  He means it isn't.  That maybe he doesn't have a life.  If anything is his life it's music. But transitoriness is his life.  One of the ways the film is touching is how it may have been such a good role for River because of the way the story paralleled his own disruptive early life, being about a family dragged around hastily from place to place, on the run.  Other things are my life.  But I may be on the run too.  Why not?

A blog floats in space with millions of others.  Nothing is more trivial than oneself, yet nothing is more important to oneself, let's face it, than oneself.  "I myself am the subject of my book," wrote Montaigne, and he made something good out of that.  His book was even successful during his life.  It sold, though he may not have desperately needed the money.

Here, I won't promise what this will be like, because it may change as I go along.  On my website there are formal spaces for writing about three things, politics, movies, and art, with movie reviews taking up the most space.  Over here, there will be no rule about what can be talked about.  It can be about anything.  That in itself is a daunting prospect, of course.  There's a risk involved. If you can talk about anything you may wind up talking about nothing.  And how can you choose among the zillion possible things, what to say, what to choose?  The blank page, the empty canvas:  the terrifying void of the vague possibility of self-expression without any certainty about what to express.  The abyss.  Ener the Void.  But let's not get too dramatic -- or trippy.  My world isn't drawn in stark, dramatic darks and lights.

But it is compartmentalized, as in the website's subject categories.  Hence it seems good to have another compartment.  One way my life is divided is between coasts, since home base is California but I spend a lot of time (sometimes it seems the best time; bu is it the most essential?) in New York City.  The laid-back-ness of the Coast seems to balance out the intense energy of the Big Apple.  The movies and plays, the quick E Train rides to breathe in Malevich's Supreatism,  Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon and "Abstract Impressionist New York" at MoMA before lunch is necessary, the two films at IFC Center followed by a play; but then after all that, it may be necessary to look out my bedroom window on Walnut Street at the spruce tree and the lichen-covered bricks of the patio, an expanse of quiet green. Then back in a month or so for the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincon Center.  Where does it all end?  Not any time soon, I hope.

This  I once saw as a big dilemma  What to do?  Where to live?  But the answer seems to be not to choose at all, simply to compartmentalize.  The back and forth is a rhythm of contrasts that seems necessary.  Don't stay too long in one place or the moss grows on your feet and not just the bricks.   So perhaps this is another world to escape into, while remaining, of course, much the same.  Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.  Or whatever Montaigne would say. 

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