what if i started using this as a blog, the way they used to exist, in the time where you say things like “what if i started a blog” and someone on the receiving end lets a shudder run through their body.
i don’t know what people use medium for anymore. maybe those big researched essays hosted by publications when that was a thing, by which i mean medium was an apparatus for outlets the way wordpress is. or is an apparatus. i know people send newsletters now, or again, because there was a brief period where tinyletter was the hot new monetizable digital blank page where people could literarily finger paint. now it’s substack.
i’m not going to make a substack, because i have this, and i have the blog that i have kept since i made it when i was 13, and because i am anxious about the reach of my writing such that it wouldn’t generate enough whatever-metric-you-need-to-be-considered-succesful’s on it to make it worth sustaining, never mind migrating yet again to the writing platform du jour.
then again, is it even that interesting or good to read someone’s half formed thoughts? enough of those are published by glossy mags and legacy institutions where their workers are unionizing and their executives are stroking their expense account like a purebred. and now you get to subscribe to one single person’s WIP ideas! in fairness, i’m sure lots of people work very hard on their newsletters and have very high editorial standards for themselves. not any of the ones i’ve read, but i’m sure they exist.
by far the worst part of having freelanced as a writer since i was like 18 is that i conditioned myself to basically only write when the odds of being monetarily compensated are extremely high. (or maybe it’s society’s fault!!!) and normally my batting average for things written/pitched and published is solid. that has killed my desire to write for myself, which is not very good writer of me. i am honestly not a very disciplined writer. i don’t do morning pages or random prompts or anything of that nature. in fits and starts, i’ll use something as a prompt to bull myself into the facsimile of discipline, like pitching a column or telling myself to write even a few paragraphs about every movie or starting a tiny letter. none of it has ever stuck.
but i should do it! i should be committed to my own growth and change as a writer! i saw this while my diary languishes beneath piles of financial documents (happy tax season, everyone!).
i saw a show tonight by performance artist and clown Alex Tatarsky called Sad Boys in Harpy Land, and, especially amongst friends i am extremely fond of, it felt like a real “gosh i am lucky to live where i do and get to do cool things and see interesting art” moment. (i’ve been feeling sentimental and happy lately now that i’m medicated.) Tatarsky pulls a piano out of a piano out of a piano. art!
but the show is not so much a snake eating its own tale so much as it is like being in the snake’s esophagus. bubbling and gurgling with ideas about self-loathing, procrastination, art making, autobiography, the fiction of the self, inaction, masks, clowns, cultural and ethnic lineages, and onions, Tatarsky takes those ideas and washes them in acid. not unlike another piece of work i enjoyed, Das Sofortvergnügen, Tatarsky explodes a feeling, or feelings, that are, explained in their most direct or straightforward way, quite dull and prosaic. oh, to be a person with any (creative) drive only to be faced with the towering figure of self-doubt! and especially in these times.
my experience with clowning is quite limited beyond being terrified of clowns as a child and seeing Natalie Palmides’ Nate: A One Man Show—
wait, that was about to turn into a review or essay about Tatarsky’s show. which was not the purpose of this post. (can you tell some of this is a little stream of conscious? how novel for me.)
there is something worthwhile as far as the section of Sad Boys in Harpy Land where Tatarsky clangs on the piano about the mental spinout that transmutes into (creative) paralysis. because i have fun ideas (i think they’re fun) in my head and i do not want to lose them. (you know, besides into the ether, or whenever medium’s time on this earth is up.) and it’s easy to get caught up in the, for lack of a better word, gamified version of everything, making every action quantifiable and ready to be a disappointment and a referendum on your self worth.
one of those ideas is: there is no such thing as an A24 movie. they’re just a studio good at branding and they are attracted to and commodifying certain kinds of aesthetic techniques and impulses. someone new will probably come along in a few years. (it sometimes feels as if neon is spraying raspberries at them.) it’s fine if people like them. the options for consumption, spectatorship, and identity are getting more micromanaged by big tech [eye roll] and late capitalism [groan] by the day. who knows what the future of film culture is, but, anecdotally, even if the audiences in lower Manhattan are the fucking worst, at least they’re seeing the movies? it’s hard to negotiate a cultural landscape vomited out of Adorno’s worst nightmare ten times over, but, and this is not me waving a white flag exactly, i have not lost hope entirely. i don’t know why. it’s probably the lexapro.
so maybe i’ll start really using this as a repository for those ideas, and try to free myself of the expectation that i need a ton of people to read it or to see it. i’m happy if one person does, and i’m just happy to maybe find a reason to work out ideas. (it reminds me of when i learned the lesson “you’re not better than people who watch the Real Housewives” the hard way.)
i don’t think i believe this, but maybe it’s worth writing out to see how it tastes: better the half formed thought on the page of a low stakes blog than not? we’ll see.