Although I frequently share with students my airy notions about online communities being organic things like bonsai trees, growing in unexpected directions but shaped by our collective attentions, I’ve never felt the aptness of the metaphor quite as pointedly as I do today, coming back to Graphic Engine after a long — make that extremely long — absence. It feels rather like unlocking the door to a musty-smelling office that I haven’t visited for months, only to find some poor dead shrub, abandoned and dessicated in its pot.
Fortunately, I’ve always had a green thumb (lie: I’ve always just poured a bunch of water on the zombie plant and hoped it would spasm back to life like Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio’s character in the single most grating scene of The Abyss), so I’m hoping my handful of loyal readers will forgive the lengthy silence. Such things are acceptable, I know, in the fitful, idiosyncratic world of blogging, but only when the blogger takes the time to communicate up front that he or she will be taking a few weeks (or in my case, months) off. I didn’t do that, preferring the guilt-free but rather callous path of Lee Iacocca’s “never complain, never explain.” In any case, no disrespect or disregard intended toward those lovely souls who have read and commented on this blog in the past. I hope I haven’t lost you forever.
So what was up? Well, I meant to take a breather after my string of posts counting down the series finale of Battlestar Galactica. (You can follow the archive link, or simply look below.) But then Star Trek happened. I found it hard — indeed, impossible — to write about the J. J. Abrams reboot, for reasons that I’m still sorting through. (I plan to be done with the sorting, and actually post something, by the time the 30th anniversary of Star Trek: The Motion Picture rolls around on December 7 — or maybe as soon as November 17, when the Blu-Ray hits.) Not that I didn’t like the movie; it would take a truly puppy-stomping disposition to dislike it. But its release unexpectedly marked the death of some part of me, and in monitoring the shift in my heart of Star Trek from a living, vital pleasure to a glass-encased museum piece, I got a bit lost in myself. It led to a summer’s worth of soul-searching about certain things, among them my publishing priorities, and while I worked on myriad other projects, nothing quite made it to the blog stage.
But never mind: it’s September 1, the start of a new month and of a new school term, and my goal for today — before I run off to the first screening of my Animation and Cinema class — is to put in at least a token appearance and assure the world that I’m not dead, abducted, or overtaken by Luddism. In between the work-cracks of the summer, I got in a lot of reading and viewing, and there are lots of things I plan to write about in future posts (chief among them, District 9 and the Avatar trailer). I promise to get to them soon, and I apologize for having stretched your patience. Here’s hoping the bonsai tree still has some green in it.