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On a train
I have been taking the train whenever possible in this last year since the moment I suddenly realized, with a sinking feeling, that I was as responsible for global warming as anyone else. I have done my fair share of flying…too much, in fact…and despite the fact that I have also planted a lot of trees in the last two years, obsessively (in part to compensate and in part out of an instinctive need to root) the heat is evident, everywhere.
On this particular train journey I have been using the time to catch up with responding to people on the message board on this site. As the months have gone on and I get ever closer to shooting my new film…and also ever closer to rehearsals for the opera that will premiere in September….I have become lax with my replies and totally lax with this blog.
It is hard to imagine that when I started this blog there were relatively so few being written by film directors. I felt something of a pioneer. Film directors are curiously used to being both public and shielded. Many of us have not been particularly internet savvy. That has changed, of course, and will continue to change.
But now that there are so many blogs out there (though still not so many by film directors) it starts to feel redundant to add yet another. When traveling with YES I found the act of writing the blog therapeutic, in a way. Publicity tours are draining; you feel reactive, curiously passive, as if you are re-treading old ground. It feels painful to explain and re-explain the film. But the encounters with individuals along the way are often touching and even the existential weirdness of the whole caper can be interesting, usually most poignantly at the moment one starts to write about it.
Now I am at a transition point. My time in the last twelve months or so has been thoroughly munched up by the two projects I have been nursing into existence…I want to keep them under wraps until the last moment so have deliberately not been writing about them, and my new website is, as they say, ‘under construction’. When it is done and up and running I will probably, with a different ‘raison d’etre’, be starting a new blog there and this one will become just the internet trace of these last years accompanying YES. (With a link, of course, to and from the new site.)
However, it has been startling how long-lived this site has become. People are still seeing YES for the first time all over the world; late night on television, or on DVD or in the local cinema. People write in to the message board about the earlier films, too. There seems to be a need for a dialogue. But is there a need for a blog? Despite the numbers of people who have been reading (I thank you, if you are still reading this) I am not sure.
Sometimes less is more.
But I don’t seem to have the appetite for posting ‘post-it’ size blogs…lists of my favorite books, for example (though, come to mention it, Joan Didion and F.W.Sebald have both featured heavily for me recently) or my views of current events (though I have mentioned global warming already in this one). I greatly admired Arundhuti Roy when she said she would not write another novel until she had something she passionately wanted to say, despite the extraordinary success of ‘The god of small things’. It turned out, eventually, that what she wanted to write was not fiction but essays; about the nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan; about the great dams that have destroyed towns, landscapes and lives. The feeling of necessity rather than habit in producing work is a good principle in a world flooded with trash and the redundant.
Text © Sally Potter. All pictures © Adventure Pictures unless otherwise indicated