The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

I haven’t disappeared, I’ve just been busy. Busy writing in other places and other forums: I’ve been arguing with friends on Facebook, posting reviews and recaps to Slant Magazine, filling up the comment boards on other more active sites, and yes, even making the occasional tweet. I’ve been toying around with outlines and revisiting drafts, but I’ve not been making a commitment to actually maintaining this site. This once grand endeavor, which has evolved a few times.

Visitors these days are most likely tumbleweeding onto the site as a result of tangental Googling, or for a remembrance of the way things once were, if at all. And yet, I still find that I have a voice, even if it’s largely in an echo chamber right now, the vocal equivalent of a theater’s ghost light, chasing away the electronic specters (and spammers) of the Interweb. So maybe I’ll just start writing something small (or large), dedicating thirty minutes a weekday to updating the site with a distillation of whatever’s been going on. Not a diary, per se, since I could care less about chronicling my own life, but a journal. There won’t be reviews here, not traditional ones, but there will be observations–attempts at getting to the heart of why you might care about what one anonymous person thinks about some foreign (to you) bit of media.

I’ll start in earnest later this week with some sort of discussion of Finding Neverland, and what it means for the Broadway musical and film-to-stage tradition. More immediately, I’ll recommend Richard McGuire’s Here, which eschews a standard narrative in favor of showing the parallels and synchronicities of a single place over millions of years–sort of what my headline gets at, when it insists that this place, illusory as it is, stays the same at heart despite all the changes.




OK, in all honesty, I must confess that there’s been a bit of heartbreak behind all this keeping busy/away. Despite getting a seemingly well-received op-ed on, working some higher-level freelance gigs, and getting a featured WordPress post, traffic has never stabilized, and I’ve never managed to get the conversation that I hoped for started. Nothing seemed to justify the amount of work it was taking to regularly create content that is entirely free; burnout ensued. I know that’s ironic, since one of my featured posts was about the negative cost of “exposure,” i.e., working for free, but I’ve now spent almost a third of my life largely grinding out content for minimum (if any) pay. I see more and more of my colleagues turn to Patreon and Kickstarter, or run tip jars on their sites, or fiddle around with nominal subscription models or pay-what-you-will plans. It’s all admirable stuff, and, more importantly, it’s the product of lots of hard work, work that I’ve never really put in beyond the actual production of the work itself. Frankly, I’ve never been interested in the “selling” myself, and I was terrible networking at all the blogger events I ever attended; never really spun any of the volunteer work I did off into any other projects.

Can I call it naivety if I knew full well that I wasn’t doing everything I needed in order to play this game, especially once I started freelancing and had to really sink time and energy into generating my own leads–working for the opportunity to work? Or can I merely acknowledge the crushing disappointment that, save for a few rare examples, the field that I’ve chosen to sink my time and energy into has been overshadowed and swept up by YouTube and Periscope celebrities, and by a more immediate “streaming” personality, rather than the #latergram equivalent–canned writing, hours down the line, long after the event itself. And, if so, does that make me insane for returning to this outdated medium? (E.g., doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.) I don’t want to say that it doesn’t matter, that I’m just doing this for me. But I also don’t want to compromise: I think there’s a real value in managing to reach someone and connect with them, even if they never respond to you. I would go so far as to say that that’s our only real purpose here: to touch someone (in a positive way).

So without sounding any more maudlin, let me just promise that I will make no promises. I’ll write until I don’t, and I’ll do my damnest to write when I shouldn’t, lest I reach a point where I can’t.

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