' ' Cinema Romantico: Blog Status Update

Friday, December 17, 2021

Blog Status Update

I just recently emerged from a draining, harrowing, and emotionally scarring experience. It has nothing to do with my personal life, let me state right up front. No, suffice it to say the Roman vacation with My, Beautiful Perspicacious Wife I had alluded to here on the blog took an unexpected turn toward the end. What kind? Well, if you consider that we remain in the middle of a pandemic, accept it or not, and if you consider that the CDC is now recommending Americans avoid travel to Italy due to COVID-19, and if you consider that I did not return home to the U.S. until, well, roughly 21 days after I was originally supposed to, perhaps you can venture a guess as to what befell me. (I’m ok, physically speaking.) It felt like a finishing blow.

I’ve been struggling; my Going On Vacation posts this year are all the proof you need. It did not seem possible at this time last year that 2021 could be worse than 2020, especially given the advent of COVID vaccination, but here we are, in a “year that both does and does not exist,” as Kyle Chayka wrote about 2021’s unplaceable vibe for The New Yorker, “a hangover from the depths of terror in 2020 that provides significant improvement and yet remains vacuous and unstable.” The invaluable culture critic Molly Lambert has a theory that we’re all suffering PTSD from the last two years and no one is dealing with it, either because, as Americans, we are obsessed with New Normals (that ignore the fallout between the previous normal and the in-between) and because we are conditioned to (or: expected to, no matter what) Always Be Closing. Rest isn’t just Sleeping; it’s something else, something more, something deeper. I thought I was going to get some in going overseas, and sort of did for a little while, until everything took a turn and now, after a year in which I felt all the while like I was approaching mental and spiritual exhaustion, find myself ground down into something like complete collapse.

I don’t want Cinema Romantico to go away. I have said this many times in the last few years. Even as blogs die all around me, I have sought to tend this garden as much for my sake as yours. But 2021 has been the hardest to get out here and till soil. That does not mean I do not still have thoughts. If my episode abroad was good for anything, it was watching year-end screeners (and existential foreign films that fit my mood). I have, like, 27 movie reviews percolating in my head. But the thought of getting them down to digital paper is just overwhelming, which is difficult to grapple with when writing has always been such a refuge.

The blog won’t be going dark but, for the time being, will have to slow way, way down, posting only when inspiration truly hits me, movie-wise or not, only when I don’t feel like I’m struggling, and hope that, maybe in the New Year, I can write my way back into this thing.

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