My friends Danny & Jason, twins, celebrated their 28th birthday yesterday and I went over to their house for a barbeque and some time in the pool and after I’d talked with everyone about what’s going on in our respective lives, and drank three or four beers, the twins’ mom started asking what I was up to with the Movie Project, how long I’ve been at it and when I expect to be done, and when I told her that I was two years in, with probably three years left to go, she told me, gently as possible, that I do need to start thinking more critically about what I’m gonna do for money. Like, steady money. Benefits. She asked what my work situation was like at the moment and I gave her the idea: two part-time jobs, plenty of free time for the Project. She said, “So why’s it gonna take you two or three years to finish? You could be watching nine or ten movies a week.”
To which I hemmed and hawed and “yeah but yknow…”
She says, “Surely you can find a hundred minutes at some point in the day to watch a movie. Every day. Or you can watch it in halves: an hour before work and an hour after. So that’s a movie a day. Seven a week. And you’ve got three days off? With the days off you can watch two movies. That’s nine in a week. Every now and then you’ll have a little extra time and you can do a third. Let’s round it up, say ten movies a week, you’ve got 730 movies to go…73 weeks. You’d be done by next Christmas.”
Which is true.
I think I mentioned in some of the essays, or maybe just on social media, that I was gonna try to post an essay a day throughout August. This would propel the essay posts forward by about four months. I had the month off from work at the college, I was collecting some extra hours working for the ghostwriter, and my schedule was wide enough open to get it done.
But I didn’t get it done. Partly because I got worn out, which I feel in retrospect is totally unacceptable, but also partly because I had another sprint in mind: I wanted to watch 50 movies off the List before the end of the month. #50in30. That didn’t work out either. I watched 28. Not bad, but still, not where it should have been.
Part of the issue is definitely that the ladyfriend comes over and we end up talking and distracting each other from work. We have a good time and then she leaves and at some point in the following day I’ll have a moment where I look at how much time I’ve had available to me, how much work is still ahead of me, and I beat myself up for having not worked slavishly over the past 24 hours. Non stop. Start resenting myself for stopping to socialize and have fun — not because I’m averse to having fun or fooling around but because I feel like I’m young, I’ve got time and energy that I won’t have in a few years, and I’m in a situation that’s precarious, to say the least. But whatever. I’m sure that if I did work like fuckall, making no time for friends or fooling around or getting drunk or whatever, I’d finish the Project and grow old and look back and lament that I was so obsessed with work.
Anyway. It’s a digression that happens every day. This uncertainty about how I should be spending my youth: working with monastic concentration day and night or fucking around. Everyone says “it’s about finding a middle ground” but I’m not sure there’s a Goldilocks zone where I’d feel comfortable. It’ll probably be a trend for the rest of my life that I have these manic periods of staggering productivity follows by lulls where I do nothing, sit and drink and talk shit and watch the clouds, eat too much, sleep too much. Maybe that’s indicative of something.
This is just a post to induct the Project into September and to say, without making any promises that I’ll break, that my friends’ mom’s voice is in my head. There’s no excuse to not be watching at least nine movies a week. Maybe ten.
Regularly scheduled posts, Mondays and Thursdays, will resume going forward.