15 July 2009

O Muse Where Art Thou?


Haven't written much recently owing to a case of writer's block the size of Mount Rushmore.

Shame too, I had a lot to say about obsession in films focusing on Jake Gyllenhaal's character in Zodiac (2007). I was also going to pontificate about John Ford's Fort Apache (1948) paying particular attention to the Lt. Col. Thursday as portrayed by Henry Fonda. Still another writing was to be an ode to Cinema Paradiso (1988). Had one post about the way people to respond -- that is, overreact -- to criticism of film's they like. Lot about that recently on the blogs of preeminent critics Jim Emerson and Roger Ebert.

Every time I'd start a new post I would positively sail along for a good sentence or two then grind to complete halt. It seems my muse went on vacation and didn't bother to let me know. There are numerous out of work muses who could have substituted, not to mention those muses who have only recently graduated from muse university.

I may yet address those topics above mentioned and others that my brain thought were capital ideas but I couldn't find words for. Such was not a problem in June when I posted on this here blog just about everyday. Admittedly this was with mixed results but sometimes a blogger feels just swell just tossing anything out into cyberspace hoping someone will derive meaning or a chuckle from it.

One of the problems I've had with writing is that I just finished re-reading F Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night. Trying to pen anything after reading that makes one feels a hack, at best. It's akin to listening to Sinatra then trying to sing "I've Got You Under My Skin." I'd preceded Fitzgerald with Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises, if you must know) so I've been building up to a serious case of writing inferiority. It won't help that I've just started American Pastoral by Philip Roth. Perhaps my writing would improve if I spent hours reading textbooks. Maybe not, but at least my ego would flower.

Thankfully I don't try to make films so I can watch all the best of them with no ill effect. However sometimes I'll be so enraptured by a film that it'll be a while before I can commit to the next. It's pretty much a guarantee if that if I watch something like Grand illusion (1937) in the afternoon, it'll mean no film that evening. (Say, has anyone developed the idea that I watch a lot of films from reading this post or previous ones? True story: I do. No apologies for that. Tonight I'm going to the Pacific Film Archives here in Berkeley to see Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948) on the big screen. Jealous? Thought so.)

With any luck this little exercise in self analysis, while having bored you silly, will kick me back into gear. Then I can resume entertaining, delighting, inspiring and engaging if not any readers, at least myself. Who knows I may even re-tackle topics like Fort Apache, Zodiac or my quest to eliminate the stupid designated hitter rule from baseball.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a prospective muse to interview....

(By the way the picture above is of Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr. discussing my blog and speculating as to why I haven't written so much recently.)

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