Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Tribute to My Readers

This post is dedicated to all of you who check in here regularly, or pass through here occasionally; you who tolerate my musings and keep coming back; you who sincerely enjoy my essays; you who are willing to take a chance and move in a variety of directions with me; you who smile at the photos; you who ponder the ideas, and agree or disagree; you who honor these pages with comments and provide me with endless encouragement.


A guy can re-invent himself even if no one notices.  It's more meaningful, and much more fun, in the company of those who care.  Things are moving in a good direction.  I am simply amazed...I am grateful...I thank you.

Lately after all of the lengthy essays about film and books, animals and inspiration, I felt sort of absent from my own pages.  That's why this seemed like a good time to reconnect in a more personal way.  So, I had some fun imagining an interview from the prototypical visitor to my blog.  This is what I hope it would look like:

READER: You have been more serious lately.  Are you still having fun with this?
ME: Absolutely! I've used the space to work out my own thinking on a variety of things.  I am, admittedly,  a ham at heart, and so I enjoy the immediate feedback. It keeps me going. Winter is a "heavy" time for me...I get inspired when I can freely move about and not worrry about cold and snow.  My writing tends to lighten up when the weather allows me to engage in more outdoor activities and more frequent travel.

READER: Are you doing other writing? You have mentioned several ideas...How about your fiction? your stories? 
ME: My stories are definitely meeting paper, as it were.  The hardest part is getting them down as I see them in my mind's eye.  They take shape in rewrites, and editing.  Just about finished with the dog-training story, and the first of my "gay-suburban-slice-of-life" collection.  I haven't decided if I'll post them here... or send them directly to Hollywood!

READER: You have introduced a lot of topics in your blog. Give us an update on some of those you have not mentioned in a while.
ME: --Maggie, of course.  I grew silent today when I looked at the snow-covered back yard and there were no gallumphing footprints.  I miss her does Mark.  It doesn't go away although now, two years later, it is not so devastating.  Maybe I'm trying to find her still again in the faces of the shelter-dogs. There will be more stories, and new pictures.

--Joni Mitchell: I have checked her web site, but the dream of seeing her in concert is not in the near future.  That would be a true dream, to be in the presence of her creativity.  I can now post videos here, thanks to the kind advice of my Sophisticated Lunatic friend Tom, so I will do more reviews of individual songs and performances...maybe enlist some new fans.  "And everywhere was a song and a celebration.."

--More favorite movies:  Endless material!  And again, with the clips, I can more easily support my reviews and share my enthusiasm with you.

--Music, theater, travel....  Lots of new shows, operas, concerts....  I am excited about the blogging I will put forth this Spring!

--Current events... Honing my critical thinking. Following closely in Massachusetts: will the Democrats lose their 60 fillibuster-proof votes?  (Given the dithering so far, will it matter?) And of course the same-sex marriage trial...and taxing the banks...and puting people to work... China and our debt... Green... the seriously mucked-up middle-eastern situation...So much to think about.... so much to write about....

READER:  What are you reading now?
ME:  I'm finishing "The Botany of Desire", a study of how certain plants (apples, tulips, marijuana and potatoes) have succeeded in "using" human desires to thrive and prosper.  I will pass it on to Mark, who is a lover of plants and gardens. Thanks to another good friend Mark, who passed it along to me.  And I'm starting Ted Kennedy's memoirs.  Our Reading Group for February will discuss "Three Junes" by Julia Glass.  And in April...Pulitzer prizes!

READER: What are you looking forward to in the weeks ahead?
ME: Using our new Art Institute memberships, attending with friends, and becoming expert in one or two specific areas of art (I am fascinated by Lucien Freud..)....A week in Phoenix in March, where the desert inspires me endlessly....Starting my Italian class right after our return (French will have to wait until the Fall..)...Time in Chicago to learn the architecture as well as a tourist.... "August: Osage County" and "Billy Elliott".....hoping the failing Illinois budget won't make it necessary to close down the Community College where I work.....  Making a difference at the shelter... 

READER: Did you really dislike "Avatar" so much?
ME: (chuckles)  Not really...I truly admired the visuals.  In one sense it was easy to be swept away by the familiarity of it all. I worried that films on a more human scale would find it impossible to get produced, as more and more audiences flock to gimmicky films and forget about the transformative power of human-scale film art. ("A Single Man" was a recent experience that restored my faith in this idea.)  I mainly objected in principle to the use of so many resources for one product.... like enlisting hundreds of the finest architects to design and build a toybox, while your neighbors can't eat, or afford a doctor....  Setting all that aside, I guess I enjoyed "Avatar" well enough, and can appreciate those who loved it a lot.

READER: Will you settle on one topic...maybe eventually devote your blog to the discussions of dogs or animals, or do a film journal exclusively?
ME: Good quesiton....The Re-Invention Journal will remain a place for variety, going with the flow, a diary of sorts on a personal level, to help me remember where my head and heart were at certain times in my life.  I may consider a film blog later...dealing specifically with older titles...especially the films of the 1960's and '70's.

READER: How does Mark handle your late nights laboring over your journal?
ME: He has been very patient, and supportive.  When I get into this zone it's hard for me to stop.  Being a creative soul, he knows the feeling.  All of my friends have been extremely encouraging.  (Aside to the audience: If you think I'm talking about you, I am.)

READER:Great!  Let's do this again in the near what it has meant for you to re-invent yourself, your degree of success,and what impact those changes have made on you and those around you. 



  1. Tom, what a great post! As one of your faithful following, I would like to just say that it has been a pleasure following your blog. Your blogs are always insightful and interesting and your writing is excellent. It's like a sip from the fountain of enlightenment each time I visit. It is inspiring to see someone who really knows how to do it and do it well. Keep up the great work and I will be here, waiting patiently for your next post.

  2. You are very kind, Tom. Thank you!!