Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Nine Years A Blogger

My calendar tells me that it was nine years ago today when I had the sudden and suddenly acted-upon brainstorm to launch Video WatchBlog. According to Blogger's archive (which I fear may have lost track of some entries along the way), I have authored 1117 postings under this banner since that fateful day - 1,117 entries over the roughly 3,285 days (not counting leap years) that constitute nine years, which works out to something like one new entry every three days.

Wait, can that be true?
Is that really possible?
If that's so, why do I feel like such a slacker in regard to this blog? I suppose it's because I'm a busy guy - focusing mostly, these days, on extracurricular projects and Facebook - and, the faster one moves, the slower one's surroundings tend to appear.

It's been awhile since I've offered any kind of update, so here's what's going on. VIDEO WATCHDOG still exists (!) but, much as it did when Donna and I were working like crazy to produce the Bava book, it has gone off-schedule due to the work that we are obliged to do to produce our VW Digital Archive in time for its promised December launch date. We're two issues behind schedule at the moment (not good for us, since the print magazine remains our bread and butter), but we are confident there will be at least one more issue, possibly two, before the end of the year. One of these issues is fully edited and ready to go into layout; the other is a stack of solicited and selected material waiting to be edited and shaped into an issue. This has been such an incredible year for new releases that it pains me not to be keeping up with it, and I need to be more diligent about picking up some of that slack here during the time when our voice isn't being represented on newsstands. I intend to do this, so stay tuned.

I have been a busy boy during this (ha) off-time. I recently finished an elusive third novel I have mentioned here in the past, THE ONLY CRIMINAL, which you'll be hearing more about in the coming year. I've recorded some more audio commentaries - PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES for Kino/Scorpion (US) and EYES WITHOUT A FACE for the BFI (UK) - and there are tentative plans to do more for some exciting 2015 releases. I've actually had to turn down some tempting invitations of late, because these tracks take time to research and script and there simply hasn't been enough time. Most recently, I've been selecting and plotting a good deal of the supplementary materials for the Digital Archive, and this work is going to become particularly intensive now as I presently still have another hundred or so issues to fill before my deadline.

Completing THE ONLY CRIMINAL and feeling like a novelist again has prompted a renaissance in my reading. This year I reread, with great satisfaction and richer appreciation, Thomas Mann's THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN, which I first read in my twenties. Other titles I've read and enjoyed recently: Arthur Bernede's JUDEX (now available in an English translation), Peter O'Donnell's MODESTY BLAISE, Gaston Leroux's DOROTHY THE ROPE DANCER, Patricia Highsmith's THE ANIMAL LOVER'S BOOK OF BEASTLY MURDER, Joan Schenkar's deep dish biography THE TALENTED MISS HIGHSMITH, the first two Perry Mason novels by Erle Stanley Gardner, and VW contributor Brad Stevens' debut novel THE HUNT. I'm presently reading my mentor Anthony Burgess again for the first time in decades, having tracked down an affordable copy of his elusive THE WORM AND THE RING, and it's a particular pleasure to hear his voice ambling around inside me again. When I finish this, I'm looking forward to reading the recently translated final Robbe-Grillet novel, revisiting Henry Green, discovering Maurice Blanchot, pushing on to the second Modesty Blaise, and delving more deeply into Maurice Leblanc and Gaston Leroux.

I find that the two most important reasons to read fiction are that 1) it enriches the person you are with the wisdom and perspective of others, and the more personal 2) it makes me want to write more fiction myself. Accordingly, I'm presently about 60 pages into a new novel that I don't want to jinx by saying more about it.

In the midst of all this, I'm changing from PC to Mac with some difficulty - and, as if learning one new language wasn't enough, I recently acquired Rosetta Stone for French in the hope of gaining some access to the many cool French-language books lying around my house.

So, as you can see, there is much to do - but that's no reason not to expect further activity here as Video WatchBlog heads into its 10th year. As the old saying goes, "If you need to get something done, ask a busy person."    

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