EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Stasis.
That is probably the best way to describe the way my life has been in recent weeks---or, heck, months. Neither overwhelmingly exhilarating nor out-and-out soul-sucking, my life both at work and outside of work have been...well, pretty much same-old same-old.
In other words, I definitely need some kind of a shaking up.
I never got around to making a list of things I'm thankful for on Thanksgiving. (I haven't done a lot of things on this blog, as some of you may have noticed.) It's a pretty small list, but not insignificant.
I'm thankful, for instance, that I actually have a steady job---that isn't something to sneeze at considering the state of domestic and international economies these days. I'm thankful that said job at least inspires a modicum of creativity every day, as I try to improve my caption- and refer-writing abilities in addition to my usual, um, "clerical" duties, I guess (what all that practice will eventually lead to, however, has yet to be determined). And I'm thankful that the job allows me to interact with interesting people (or, at least, interesting when they aren't complaining about job-related stresses on a daily basis).
I'm thankful, in many ways, for my commute; long it may be (about 1 hour and 20 minutes door-to-door, depending on traffic), but it gives me a reasonable amount of extra free time every day to indulge in my personal artistic consumption---in other words, reading and music-listening. I certainly didn't have quite this amount of extra time when I was driving to and from South Brunswick. (Theoretically, this frees up time in the evenings for more movie-watching, but my Netflix subscription has been moving pretty slowly recently---and I've only got maybe two or three more weeks to catch up on 2008 releases that I missed!)
And I suppose I should be thankful---i.e. not take for granted---that I have a roof over my head and parents who, for all the exasperation they may cause in me, are willing to provide for me.
That said, could there be such a thing as getting too comfortable? I've grown into something of a daily routine now, and I'm pretty comfortable with that routine. But then I start thinking about my oft-discussed aspirations for my future, and I then begin to feel restless, impatient. Obviously, getting into a position where you can write about the arts full-time isn't something that just happens to someone, and so I've always looked at the relatively humdrum way things are in my life right now in the context of a larger, longer narrative. I guess, however, I'm somewhat torn between my desire to take a big plunge and my comfort with the way things are. Strike the iron while it's hot, one side of me says: you're at The Wall Street Journal, and it's time to use that connection to your advantage! Then the other side says: Am I ready for the big time? Do I have the depth of knowledge that distinguishes one arts critic from, say, a perhaps more-knowledgeable-than-usual ordinary Joe off the street? (Lord, if you only knew how many of the supposed classics films I still haven't seen yet!)
Of course, I could be saying that for the rest of my life and never actually get off my ass and do something.
I'll say this much: the longer I go without writing longer pieces, the more I feel like I'm wasting away. Writing something other than these kinds of let-it-all-hang-out personal entries is difficult for me: when it comes to reviews and such, I end up slaving over it, sometimes agonizing, endlessly tweaking. And it always comes out long---verbosity seems to be part of my nature as a writer. Nevertheless, I probably do need to just do more of it, and not get too complacent with that aforementioned daily routine. (Maybe it's time to work on conciseness and economy.)
Don't consider this any kind of mission statement going forward. It's just that today I found some free time and decided it was time to put "pen to paper," so to speak, and write whatever came to my head. Forgive me, then, if none of the above makes any coherent sense. Hopefully this means a bit more posting in the future---especially as 2008 comes to a close and I try to work up something like a Top 10 Movies list for the year.