What angers me most about the film has nothing to do with Jar Jar, the dull storyline and script, the over-reliance on computer animated graphics that serve mainly to stroke the cocks of the FX team rather than pulling the audience into the fantasy world it presents, the director’s enduring skill at taking otherwise stellar actors and turning them into soulless robots, or any of the other numerous shitty things about the movie that any shitty moron could gather for a phonebook-sized tome titled Why The Phantom Menace was Shittier than Your Shittiest Shit on the Shittiest Day of Shit-Month.
No, what pisses me off the most about the flick is that in the midst of the smoldering dung that is the Star Wars prequels is a single quote spoken by one of the more interesting - and unfortunately one of the more short-lived - characters in the series; and every time I start writing a comic book related review or blog entry, every time I turn on a computer game, and every time I switch on the TV, I hear that fucking quote. It nags at me because of its truth. It nags at me because it feels like it’s speaking directly to me, and fuck George Lucas for putting a line of dialogue that holds such relevance for my life in the middle of a pile of Count Dooku.
Qui-Gonn Jinn - the only character in the trilogy more interesting than a shit-nut and who was soon killed off to free the movie of anything less plastic than the film’s merchandising - speaks the line to Anakin Skywalker shortly after the Jedi Council decides Jake Lloyd is too shitty an actor to be allowed in the elite fold of psychics who are proven wrong about everything by the end of the trilogy (except for Jake’s shitty acting, of course). Qui-Gonn, attempting to ensure Anakin that he can still become a psychotic and murderous fuckwad even if the Council won’t take him, advises Anakin to watch everything he does in lieu of formal training. He tells him:
“Remember. Your focus determines your reality.”
In other words, if you focus on becoming something, then you can. And conversely, if you don’t focus on becoming something, then you won’t. In a sense it’s reminiscent of another quote, from a far better writer, that tends to make time in my head. From Kurt Vonnegut’s Mother Night: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.”
Every night when I’ve finished up my more difficult work at my job, and I kick up my feet on the counter in front of the control board and turn my attention to the first of three or four hours of Law & Order, surf the net for free game trials, troll through message boards for an opportunity to post a “No you’re fucking WRONG” response, or write a review of the latest volume of Marvel Team-Up, that quote rings in my head.
My goal has always been to become a professional fiction writer, and anyone reading this blog who has ever tried or succeeded at that goal probably knows the long road ahead of me. In the meantime, I’m playing Alchemy or arguing with someone on the Internet about why Phantom Menace sucked or writing reviews of a medium which I dearly love but at this point don’t have much interest breaking into.
I won’t bore you with my life story. Suffice to say, during my first shot at college, something happened that gave my confidence a hefty kick in the balls. As ashamed as I am to admit it, I think I’ve been reeling from it ever since. This probably wasn’t helped by the fact that I left an environment where just about every person I hung out with, lived with, talked to, or wanted to screw was a writer to a series of environments where even telling the people around me that I wanted to be a writer was the opening of a one-sided, dead-end conversation; or was just plain embarrassing. So, even though I’ve never thought that I would sway from my goal of writing fiction professionally, I haven’t been writing fiction. And, well, that constitutes a serious and glaring contradiction I have to start correcting.
My girlfriend bought me a laptop for Christmas. The last few weeks, as this blog has remained quiet, I’ve been writing. I’ve been letting the TV stay blank and staying away from the message boards. I haven’t even been writing stories. I’ve done writing exercises; like writing nothing but dialogue, or writing the physical description of a character. I’m starting to feel like myself again. I laugh a lot more during the day. I can’t remember the last time my girlfriend and I had an argument. I’ve even been able to handle my parents with a bit more patience and understanding than usual; to the point where, while I can’t remember the specifics, I believe there was a meeting between my mother and I that I genuinely enjoyed.
I’m in a situation which, I’m sure, is not completely unique. The Spring semester starts on January 23. Once it starts, I’ll be seeing my girlfriend and family about as often as I re-watch The Phantom Menace, which is to say not very fucking much. I’ll wake up every day at about 1 pm, go straight to school, and in most cases go straight from school to my night job, then home, sleep, and all over again until the weekend.
If I’m going to do this thing, if I’m going to be able to brag that I at least made a run for my dreams, it’s time to stop fucking around. It’s time to use every ounce of time available to me. It’s time to follow the advice Lone Wolf and Cub author Kazuo Koike offered: “You must choose a road for yourself.” That quote’s found its way to my office door.
Because even as I write this, more ideas of escaping from what I want to do with my life have been springing up. I considered making good on the articles I promised to write for CBG, considered writing some more reviews, considered starting a website, considered starting a new blog, downloaded about a dozen free game trials to my new laptop, etc.
So, this is it. I’m putting an end to it now. I’m such an unreliable fuck that it seems like I’ve made these farewell posts every few weeks. Do me a favor. If I try to start another blog or website, tell me to shut my ass up. Tell me I’ve got the shittiest shit-site on the Internet. Tell me you’d rather watch Phantom Menace. Shit, tell me you’d rather watch THREE TVS each showing The Phantom Menace: one in English, one in French, and one with director commentary. Tell me you’d rather watch George Lucas beat the shit out of Joss Whedon. Just tell me to shut the fuck up.
So, I’m going to shut up now. Thanks for being generous enough to visit my blog, my old blog, my various reviews at CBG, etc. Thanks to all the other bloggers who have been kind enough to link to my various blogs. Thanks to Joe Lawler for inviting me into the world of Internet comic book commentary. Thanks to Alan Doane for allowing me into that world via CBG and for being gracious and forgiving in regards to my unreliable ass.
And thanks to Liam Neeson, who I’m going to pretend improvised that line just so I don’t have to thank the J.R.R. Tolkien wanna be who did.
Well, of all the reasons to drop a blog, yours seems like one of the most reasonable. Have fun, good luck, and god bless.
Oh, and let us know how its going, a ways down the road.
hey mick, you quitter!
I like your critical writing and I'll watch for your name in fiction.
I rather like the discipline of a blog. I don't write every day. But I write. It helps keep me writing.
Joel and Glenn,
Thank you both for the well wishes.
I also wanted my blogging to help me develop discipline. But while I think writing anything on a regular basis is a good thing regardless, eventually writing about comics could only go so far in giving me tools to write fiction. I love doing both and if I had time for both I would keep blogging. Unfortunately, it just ain't gonna happen. Not at this point at least.
Your writing has such a great rhythm to it.
Oh, keep going every now and then. You're a good writer. When you have a moment, blog. But don't feel like you have to do it.
Totally agree with you.
I specially liked that "JRR Tolkien wanna be" name. It's sort of the "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" way to call George Lucas. ;-)
Great blog, by the way.
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