Blindsided

by James McNally on December 29, 2012

in Blind Spots,Personal

Just over a year ago, I pub­lished an ambi­tious mani­festo of sorts. The Blind Spots Series 2012 was meant to be a way for me to commit to seeing a dozen films that I was some­what embar­rassed not to have seen yet. The response to the idea was fant­astic, and a whole bunch of other blog­gers seem to have had a great time this year filling in some holes in their cine­matic viewing his­tory. Me? Well, at this writing, I’ve seen and written about a measly three films out of my dozen. What happened?

Well, I’ve always been a much better starter than fin­isher, that’s cer­tain. But then again, lots of other things took my atten­tion in 2012. My shorts screening series, Shorts That Are Not Pants, ran quarterly and has more or less reached its first anniversary by this point. I also took over organ­iz­a­tional duties for our monthly pub night gath­ering of film blog­gers. And another of my crazy ideas, the CAST Awards, an annual year-end poll of Toronto “non-professional” film critics, has reached its third edi­tion, with an inaug­ural TIFF edi­tion added in 2012.

So as always, I seem to have bitten off more than I can chew. As well, my father passed away in late October, and that’s sapped a lot of my energy, both phys­ical and cre­ative. Yet again, I seem to be facing a crip­pling sense of writer’s block when it comes to ana­lyzing film. This time of year always seems to para­lyze me, with all the year-end lists and awards season bick­ering. Twitter seems to make it worse, too. There’s not much joy in facing off against hun­dreds of other writers who have already picked over the car­cass of the film you’re just get­ting around to seeing. And I’ve men­tioned the feeling of trying to drink from the fire­hose of new releases before. I’m just not get­ting a lot of pleasure out of talking about films in the way everyone else seems to be doing.

I think I’d like to find a way to enjoy slowing things down while still being able to come up with crazy ideas now and then. I envy writers who can spend a lot of time with a single dir­ector, or even a single film. I want to do more of that kind of writing, and less of the sort that will be the online equi­valent of fish­wrap within a few weeks. The Blind Spot series idea was meant to encourage that kind of writing, but I’ve let the whole thing slide this year. So I’m going to give things some thought before com­mit­ting to another dozen (or my unwatched 9 with a few addi­tions) for 2013.

I hope that if you par­ti­cip­ated in 2012 that you got some­thing out of it, and that you’ll con­tinue next year. I do believe it’s a great idea and one that should be fun. I’m just not sure right now whether I had any fun with it this year. But stay tuned…

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