Last week saw me complete my review of all the Kim Longinotto documentaries that are currently available on DVD and this week will see me complete my long, slow read of James Salter’s final collection of short stories Last Night. Given that two quite long-term commitments have now concluded, it seems like a good time to think about what I’m going to be doing next.
Firstly, as you may have noticed, I’m posting more than I was. It used to be that I’d maybe put out one or two posts a week with the occasional lengthy silence but I seem to have stumbled into a 3 posts-a-week habit and I’m quite happy trying to keep it there… at least for a while.
Secondly, I’ve rediscovered the joys of writing more than one piece about the same body of work. One of the first things I did with this blog was work my way through a load of Roman Polanski and Claude Chabrol films one after the other. While I found those series incredibly rewarding to write, I drifted away from them after I moved out of London and only returned to that style of writing for my FilmJuice pieces about Billy Wilder, The Archers, Walerian Borowczyk and the later works of Kenji Mizoguchi. The reason I’ve been willing to write that type of piece for other people but not for myself is that writing multiple pieces about the same body of work requires a level of commitment that has long been absent from my blogging.
What changed is that I moved out of London to a place where my wife and I were sharing a single TV/sitting room. While I could always justify taking over the shared space in order to write pieces for other people, I was often very reluctant to dominate the space for the sake of a few blog posts. What has changed is that I now have my own TV and so I can watch long depressing art house films without fear of being in anyone else’s way! While the Last Night and Longinotto series were all about me stretching my critical wings, they were also experiments in attention-management as I wanted to see whether I could maintain the commitment required to write a series of posts about a single body of work. The numbers may have been tepid (when aren’t they?) but I really enjoyed the experience of discovering and forging opinions about a particular body of work, so you can definitely expect me to return to this format in the near future.
Thirdly, I am still committed to producing a bi-monthly SF column for Interzone magazine and occasional reviews for FilmJuice. Those relationships are still in place and I am really enjoying both the discipline of producing a column to deadline and the freshness of discovering something new with each review. I could probably write more stuff for other people than I currently am but I shall see how that goes… still reluctant to pitch, still shy about the self-promotional activities required of contemporary critics.
Fourthly, I have signed up for a new Twitter account. I’ve had it for a couple of weeks and have been silently using it as a means of keeping up with stuff produced by bigger sites. I love RSS and I love my RSS reader but what is to be done when websites produce 30 posts a day of which only 3 are relevant to my interests? Anyway… I am now @ApeinWinter so please say hello!