Monday, September 04, 2006

A Look Back and a Look Ahead

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - On the heels of finishing up a summer movie wrap-up feature for the Inside Beat (the entertainment weekly of the Daily Targum), I figure an equivalent summer overview would be nice for this personal blog of mine.

This wasn't a particularly eventful summer---but then, most of my summers usually aren't eventful in the sense that I did a great deal of "cool" things ("cool" to me meaning taking a lot of trips, going to some exotic place, something like that). Still, was it a good summer? In retrospect, hard to say.

Maybe I should have expected the amount of nagging and guilt-tripping and frustration engendered by my relationship with my mother this summer because of the fact that this is my supposed final summer break as a college student. And apparently what she saw of me this summer---usually, all she saw personally was me sitting in front of my laptop computer for much of my free time---didn't exactly increase her confidence about my chances at success in the future I've chosen. "I have to be honest," my mother once said to me this summer, "I don't even think you'd make a good journalist." (Thanks for the words of encouragement!) No matter that I did use some of my time this summer to write some articles for the Home News Tribune and for Matt Zoller Seitz's online blog "The House Next Door" (only some of which I told my mother about---I dunno, just don't feel comfortable with being so open with her about such things anymore), and that I used other hours increasing my personal film knowledge (discovering the pleasures, for instance, of Stanley Kubrick's typically distant yet gorgeous and haunting Barry Lyndon and Francois Truffaut's delightfully playful yet tragic Shoot the Piano Player for the first time): movies to her are just things to either stay awake or fall asleep for, a stupid obsession that should be overcome because "you can write about so many other things; you can't write about just movies."

So of course my summer was chock-full of a certain measure of introspection and worry. Sometimes I wonder if she's right, that a life in which I simply try to write about movies all the time will be a hard life indeed. Last year, I remember meeting film critic Charles Taylor for the first time at an advance screening of Domino, and even he said to me something to the effect of "You'd probably have to be able to write about a little bit of everything in order to make it in the biz." If a professional film critic---and a good one too---gives this kind of advice, then I feel as if there must be something to it. Which gets me nervous, because, as I've probably said before on this blog, film is kinda the only thing I've ever really felt comfortable writing about---it's the art that I know the most about, really. Books? I haven't even bothered touching something like, say, James Joyce's Ulysses yet. (I didn't read much this past summer; just never felt in the mood to do so, maybe because I always felt like there was something else I should be doing.) Music? There are still Beatles albums I haven't even bothered to hear yet (of course I'm familiar with their hits). Pauline Kael became famous in part because of her wide knowledge of the arts: even in her film reviews, she often made handy reference to literature, music, even theater. I know I have a lifetime to catch up on this stuff, but at this point...well I can't help feeling a little nervous, even if, intellectually, I know I'm probably worrying about nothing.

So, instead of depressing the hell out of myself this summer, I worked. I had fun working at Megamovies; I considered it my experience with retail, and I enjoyed meeting its challenges: dealing with impatient people, answering questions, etc. A few slip-ups here and there, but thankfully nothing big enough to get me fired or anything. (One trainee made a mistake with not charging an infant even though the infant was supposed to be charged, and the ranking manager at the theater fired her on the spot. When I heard this story, I was like "whoa nelly!") And, of course, the free movies was a nice touch (and a friend of mine utilized my connection as much as he possibly could). I might consider coming back for winter vacation---unless, of course, something happens in the meantime (like an internship or something...).

And that's about it, really. Speaking of internships, I did start giving a little bit of thought to what kind of internships I should try for; I even got a big internship book from my local library and copied some of the entries for future reference. Hopefully I'll be able to get something good for my spring semester.

So was it a good summer? It was okay, I guess. I suppose there was more I could have done to contribute immensely to my career or something---and, as August dragged on, I kinda started losing the will to write as much as I did in June or July---but hey, at its best, I was able to relax. Relaxation is important to me, dammit!

Tonight I'm moving back into Rockoff Hall and tomorrow I'm starting a new semester. It's going to be a busy one: taking on my new post as Film Editor for the Inside Beat, researching my senior thesis, looking for an internship, and probably something else I'm forgetting at the moment. It's enough to make my head explode in a slag heap of brain and skull. Hopefully I'll be focused enough to be able to get all this stuff done without feeling the need to, say, commit suicide by the end of the semester.

Wish me luck! And hopefully I'll still have time to update this baby. My last blog pretty much died because I barely felt like I had time to devote to posting stuff on it during the school year, so hopefully this year will be different.


Shocking news: the "Crocodile Hunter," Steve Irwin, died today as a result of a stingray bite as he was filming a documentary in the Great Barrier Reef. He was 44.

I was shocked to hear this. To be honest, I didn't really see much of this TV show; I only knew of him by his reputation as a kind of nature-doc daredevil, and a likable and engaging one at that. Perhaps his daredevil-ness finally got him in the end. Not that I'm saying that's a bad thing; he died doing what he loved to do. Guess one should respect him for that.

Ironic, though, that a guy who has supposedly wrestled with crocodiles would get done in by a stingray...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, Good Luck with all the things you're going to be doing in the new Semester! Too bad you do not have more encouragement from home, but you are used to that by now. Its still hard to believe that your mother would say "I don't even think you'd make a good journalist." That is what I would call really poor judgment on her part to say that to you. She has some kind of problem....

An internship would be the very best thing to help you see your career path more clearly. Surely it is a good thing to try to do what you love for a career. Nothing is wrong with that. The internship will hopefully show you the practical side of journalism. You are on the right path; just keep at it and don't give up! And don't give up this Blog, no matter how busy you are!!

P.S. I never read Ulysses either!