No, this is not a mirage. After a year’s absence, I’ve decided to try to return to this blog. I don’t know who out there keeps reading, but thank you for making me smile every time I check the stats page and see your views! I hope you’re enjoying it.
Last summer, I fell away from the Sopranos fandom, entertaining as it was. I had slowly stopped watching episodes, keeping in mind all the while the
fifteen eighteen(!) drafts I had on here. I kept telling myself that next week, I’d get back to it. When the appointed day came, there was always some reason why I couldn’t work on it. I’d remind myself that there was no deadline. I could work on it anytime I wanted to. After a while, I stopped wanting to, and that wasn’t a pleasant feeling. It was kind of like childbirth…
It may sound strange to call a show where murder and corruption are central to the story a “comfort show,” but there was nothing more comforting to me than halting the world and its responsibilities for 45 minutes to enter David Chase’s universe, then writing about it for the rest of the night. I loved it. That was my time. It was non-negotiable: This was Sopranos time, and nothing was going to get in the way of that. Throwing myself into character and episode analysis for days at a time was exciting. Editing and working on my posts for however long it took was fun! It didn’t feel like work. It was a way to unwind and express myself, to flex the creative muscle, keep it strong.
Getting into discussions on reddit (and on a smaller level, tumblr) only made it more fun because I could talk directly to people who got it. Similar to the Italian-American slang that punctuated the Sopranos’ dialogue, we had our own language, made up of quotes and references. Though a sometimes imperfect form of communication, we all knew what the other meant.
I knew I wasn’t going to abandon I Soprano permanently. It was just a matter of when I would let myself back in. Coming back meant facing the idea that I might not ever be able to write again. I would look over old entries (some incomplete), mourn what was, and close the tab. Like Tony, I began to feel that maybe the best was behind me and that I couldn’t do this anymore.
Write again? — that was when I was being optimistic. Maybe I never could and this, as well as my entire education, had all been a waste of time. I never called myself A Writer, it was just something I did without hesitation. No matter how uncertain I was about everything else, it was the one thing that I had confidence in. But then the questions seeped into my mind, slowly, like a bloodstain: Was it worth anything? Was I saying something that was useful or intelligent? Or was it a bunch of horseshit dressed up to sound that way? Just how good is my writing, anyway? I continued to post, but doubt had begun to eat away at the edges of my confidence.
I agonized over word choice. I rejected multiple rewrites. I started to question my own interpretations. Observations that I had considered solid became pedestrian when measured against other people’s. And again, more painfully, when measured against ones I had made before — I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had lost something, if I had ever had it to begin with. I just didn’t know. I was aware of all of the contradictions in what I felt but nothing made sense to me.
After an extended period of wallowing–unusual for me–I realized that I’m being too hard on myself. Putting aside actual writing ability, much of this is just conjecture. Chase himself could reveal the meanings behind things (the finale; why he used that single Goodfellas freeze-frame in “Cold Cuts” and never again), and expert fans would find some hole in his explanation and take it apart. As nice as it is to agree with someone and have your theories confirmed, disagreement is an opportunity to look at something from a different perspective. Nobody is really “right” about everything because our experiences shape our interpretations and understanding of what we see. Agreements happen when our circumstances collide with someone else’s. When they don’t, it doesn’t always mean everything you’ve believed up to that point is wrong.
Opening a new page again, I felt some of the confidence that had eluded me for so long. The voice came back. Words flowed. I started putting pictures in. I still feel unsure. I still feel fearful, but I don’t want to keep living under the burden of uncertainty. What I had was good and it can be good again. I had a lot of fun doing it, so why just give up without really trying? I don’t believe that fear of failure should hold you back to the point of inertia. Anyone who creates goes through this. Writer’s block, impostor syndrome, it’s all the same.
This is turning into an open Melfi session, but I’ve wanted to make this post for a long time. I know what it’s like to find a blog you like, only to see it hasn’t been updated in a year. People are still reading, often finding me through hilarious search terms.
My most viewed post happens to be one of my personal favourites. This post about Gloria Trillo is how most people who aren’t searching for lesbian friendship tips find me. (Update me on how that worked out?) Gloria fascinated me all the way back in the days of catching censored episodes on A&E (5/10, sort of recommend). She was smart, beautiful, and misunderstood. Most of the discussion about Gloria focuses on the fact that she’s “crazy,” but as prominent as her mental illness is, ignoring the other facets of her character is to do a disservice to the writers. I think the reason why so many people, especially men, have such a strong reaction to her is that they recognize someone they know in her. Someone they dated or maybe even married. Though only a minor one, Gloria is still one of many characters who were so real, that it was hard to watch her and not feel something, whether it was positive or not. What the Sopranos has always done is make people think, and they succeeded again with the goddess of Globe Motors. This blog and others like it are proof!
I’m going to start watching from the beginning and get the drafts out. I haven’t revisited them with an optimistic mind yet, but I think I’ll be able to now.