Thirty seconds after you’re born you have a past and sixty seconds after that you begin to lie to yourself about it.Julianna Kelly (Nuala Fitzgerald), The Brood, 1979
It’s been almost two months since I last updated this space. Not for lack of trying, mind you, though lately there’s been less trying and more inaction when it comes to writing. Maybe I’ve run out of things to say? Maybe I’m so worn down from life under a pandemic and before that life under a despotic ruler that I’m just bereft of ideas, temporarily, I hope. I don’t know. I’m honestly tired of trying to break through, but not tired enough to give up. No, no. Never give up. No surrender.
When I talked about this with a friend who also writes about films and who recently ended a several years long dry spell of his own, he said he can’t wait to read what I’m working on because he knows “it will be born when it’s ready, like Samantha Eggar’s brood children.” First of all, that he managed to relate my writing to birthing the brood children in one of David Cronenberg’s best films, The Brood (1979), should immediately show you why he and I are such close friends. We speak the same language, and that language is largely cinematic. But it’s also just so completely touching to know someone has faith in me at a time when I don’t have a lot of it myself. And he’s not the only one offering me support, thankfully.
In The Brood, Eggar’s mentally unstable character Nola undergoes a radically experimental form of therapy consisting of “psychoplasmic” sessions. Because this is a Cronenberg film, Nola’s past abuse naturally channels her rage into asexually birthing a brood of murderous dwarf children who psychically feed off their mother’s emotions and attack the targets of her anger. Thankfully none of my “brood children”—i.e., writing projects—have murdered any of my enemies. Not that I know of, at least!
Shamelessly pushing this Cronenbergian analogy to the breaking point, it’s well past time I start to pay a little more attention to those difficult offspring living in my drafts folder. I mean, they’re a part of me, right? I gave them life and it’s up to me to raise them into adulthood, or, ya know, a final draft stage at the very least. Look, this analogy’s run its course. I’ll just be blunt: I have a lot of partial drafts for projects I was excited about and I’m realizing lately that I’m still excited about them, even though for a while there I wasn’t so sure. I’m not making any promises that this space will return to more regular updates, but I’d at least like to push myself to to do a couple a month to start. I’ve also got another, longer-term project (maybe kinda sort of a book) cooking in my head, along with some possible co-authored essays with another film fanatic.
I feel like I’ll always be writing some form of this apology post on and off for the rest of my days. The apologies are largely directed at myself, though. Sometimes the thought creeps in: If you identify as a writer but you’re not actively writing at a given moment, are you actually lying to yourself about being a writer? Existential crisis, kids. Get your own, they’re a hoot! I also just want to fill this space with thought-provoking and/or fun essays for you to read. When I don’t do that for a stetch, I feel a bit like I’m letting down the few people who actually appreciate this site. Someone very close to me has been helping guide me towards apologizing less for myself, because it’s not necessary. Instead, she’s helping me express what I’m thankful for. So this is probably a good time to add that I appreciate my readers and I thank you. It means a lot to me that you read what I write. I swear to you that my brood children will never hunt you down and kill you in an extremely gruesome fashion. Unlike The Brood, they’ll just show up here one day, still a bit weird but fully formed and mature, not at all interested in murder. For as much as I love Cronenberg, I’m really happy my life doesn’t closely resemble the plots of his films.
Okay, back to the grind. See you soon…hopefully.
3 thoughts on “Birthing the Brood Takes Time”
See, it wasn’t that difficult was it? If this is what you write when you’re struggling I can’t wait till you get your mojo back!
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Can you give any hints on these partial drafts you’ve been sitting on? Just curious.
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Hello pfriend! Well, one of the posts is about our girl Michelle of course, plus working on one for a Pacino movie. Some others are in the early stages too…stay tuned! I’m slower these days but I’m still writing! Hope you are well, Paul. Talk soon!
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