River: “How are you even doing that? I’m not really here.”
Doctor: “You are always here to me and I always listen. And I can always see you.”
River: “Then why didn’t you speak to me?”
Doctor: “Because I thought it would hurt too much.”
River: “I believe I could have coped.”
Doctor: “No, I thought it would hurt me…and I was right.”
(The Name of the Doctor)
Smith, Baby It’s You
Happy birthday Burt Bacharach
Late Night Alumni, You Can Be The One
” . . you can be the one I love, I can be the one you long for …”
You totally could. And so can I.
One friend was taken ill, a distant neighbor I grew up with and is not much older than me passed away, my beloved college professor too, at least two friends are in financial and creative shambles, and my mojo ain’t working. Been on a streak of glum lately. Welcome to the year I decided to at last embrace positivity. Claiming in faith, seizing the day, taking the bull by its horns, thinking magically, predicting the future by inventing it, all that claptrap motivational speakers like ramming down our throats. I invented a future for myself this year, a future that involved at last shooting my first feature and finding love and maybe at last relaxing. I finished writing the film but it didn’t feel right and I had to shelf it for now. Love, also, has remained irritatingly fugitive and the search for it a yoke and a bit of a dead-end. Oh, things could still unknot themselves, year’s not over, but right now everything has stopped making any sense. And this void that I suspect has always been here, has become more threatening and more emptying and more befuddling. We plod on, sure. There are at least new works that keep me sane and distracted and, at the risk of sounding like a blowhard, terribly enthused. Works whose completion I hope, or rather intend, to announce here sooner than later. And this is a well-trod path of mine, and one can only write about one’s state of confusion so many times before it starts to show how every piece is merely a variation on the same whine, nursing hopes of mitigation and clarity that writing about it somehow never quite fulfills. Which is to say that maybe we’re better off if we take these hopefully eloquent and entertaining complaints as secular prayers to whatever energies oversee the distribution of luck in the universe. A kind of raging against the dying of the light, if you will. Invocations for change. Because some degree of change needs to happen, if not some spike in endorphins to at least relieve this damp, joyless, melancholic fatigue. We can start with no one else getting sick or dying anytime soon. I’m not one to converse much with the cosmos, of course, but sometimes I sort of wish I had the wherewithal for demanding answers, which I don’t have, even as I’m looking up now and asking: anyare?
Sir (Chabet) and I hardly talked about art. I was in his class for only a semester. But we’ve been hanging out since. We did talk a tremendous amount about cinema though, maybe because I was the only one among us who was sort of into it to the degree that I was. But I was a misguided Hollywood nerd and he took it upon himself to set me right. He was like my de facto cinema guru slash pimp. And he schooled me. Every time we saw each other, all these years, at drink-ups, at parties, at exhibits, he always had some filmmaker I had no idea about that he wanted me to seek out : Bernal, Zialcita , Godard, Buñuel, Elaine May, Mike Nichols, Howard Hawks, Alain Resnais. And like any good student, I did. And subsequently got hooked.
He pushed this Antonioni film on me years ago, raving about the ending. I have since fallen in love with it hard and seen it many times. And in its own odd way, that desolate and beautiful finale makes the most fitting of codas for the occasion.
Thank you, sir.