Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I'm not sure what drew me to it, but I watched Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love tonight, for what is probably only the second time. And the first time since I bought the DVD a few years back.

My first experience watching the film -- which I was desperate to see, after being blown away by Anderson's "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia" -- was in the form of a 700 MB AVI file I downloaded from the internet, the video of which appeared to have been shot on a handicam by someone in a theatre. The quality of the image was far from fantastic, but it least the camera seemed to be on a tripod, so it didn't wobble a lot.

I recall kind of enjoying the film at the time, but not being terribly affected by it. My review probably would have been summed up with a "Meh."

Which is probably why it's taken me so long to revisit it. I'm glad I did, though.

Punch-Drunk Love is a sweet, strange, and surprisingly moving love story. It's funny, though sometimes darkly so, it's strange, with moments of absurd randomness that might take some time to wrap your head around, and -- most importantly -- it's ultimately redemptive, as Barry Egan, a quiet, lonely, angry man finds a way out of his own personal darkness after falling in love with Lena Leonard.

Barry says this at the climax of the film: "I have a love in my life. It makes me stronger than anything you can imagine."

And it's a wonderfully powerful, beautiful moment.

Granted, it's a moment that comes in the middle of a mattress store in Utah while he's staring down the owner/operator of a phone sex business that's been trying (somewhat successfully) to extort money from him.

Still, powerful and beautiful. Even if a little absurd.

I think I needed something light and redemptive and loving after last night's unexpected outburst. Not sure entirely where it came from, but it went on a lot longer, and a lot further then I was expecting when I first sat down to write. I actually had a moment this morning, upon waking, when I thought, "Oh crap, what did I write last night?"

Thankfully I wasn't too embarassed when I checked it out this morning.

Maybe I just had a lot of religious agression pent up from the fact that I haven't done any significant work on the novel in the last few days, and haven't had an outlet for the sort of the stuff I've been conjuring up for the book. Or maybe I just hit the wrong tangent at the wrong time.

I"m taking the next two days off work after a gruelling two weeks putting out more publications than I can count, and I'm looking forward to doing a whole lot of nothing, occasionally broken up with some work on the novel. I still need to get through the second half of the manifesto so I can get the second act sort of rolling along. I'm not sure why I've been avoiding it. I've felt like writing, which is, in part, why I dumped so much in the blog last night, I think. I just haven't done any of it.

But whatever I've been doing, it's been unsatisfying, because in the back of my mind, I'm thinking, get off your ass. Get over to the book. Get WRITING.

So enough of this avoidance.

I want 6,000 down in the next two days -- that's only three bursts of 2K. Should be a breeze.

Of course, now that I've said that, I'm sure I've jinked myself.

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