by Rachel Newstead
Abandoned blogs annoy me–if they’re good blogs, it saddens me. So much potential wasted, be it from lack of interest, lack of focus, the demands of real life, or all three.
And I’m annoyed especially at myself, for having been one of the worst offenders. For all of the above reasons, in addition to simple exhaustion from trying to keep up a steady flow of posts. Many good bloggers don’t post daily, or even weekly, but I was damned and determined to. And of course, given what I do (lengthy reviews with as much inside information as I can cull from sources I can find) it’s simply impossible.
I’m sorry to say simple ego also played a part.
Back in 2010, I posted a Freeze Frame Friday entry detailing a sequence from “Service With A Guile” that I assumed to be by Jim Tyer. “Assumed”, as it turns out, is very much the operative word here: shortly thereafter, I happened upon Bob Jaques’ “Popeye Animators” blog. Specifically, this post in which he takes wannabe historians like me to task for spreading misinformation about cartoons, in particular attributing scenes to animators which they did not do.
I had no desire to contribute to the problem, so I sent off an e-mail to Mr. Jacques to try to confirm that the sequence I posted was indeed by Tyer. To my mortification, it wasn’t.
I was indeed one of those spreading information, and about Tyer, no less, an animator I can usually easily spot (let’s face it, Stevie Wonder could spot Tyer’s work). Therefore, my credibility was zero–or so I felt. Never mind that it was just one mistake. I had blown something simple, a mistake I knew better than to make. So in trying to earn the respect of my fellow animation enthusiasts (a hard thing to do when you’re a girl trying to get into the boys’ club) I was back to square one.
Now, I don’t blame Mr. Jacques. He simply corrected a bit of misinformation, for which I’m grateful. But my pride had been wounded.
My original plan was to lay low for a few weeks, so I could regroup, dust myself off, and pick up where I left off, with a renewed pledge to be more careful about what I said in future. But weeks turned into months, which turned into “maybe someday I’ll start again.” And all because of one thing, something which has lurked in the background of my life since I was ten years old–depression.
It’s not a subject I particularly enjoy talking about, as I open myself to judgmental comments from others, who feel I’m merely a “whiner” and need to “snap out of it already.” But depression is persistent, and it’s a lifelong battle–not something you can “snap out of” (any more than you can “snap out of” a severe flu). You can blunt it with drugs, you can stuff it down under a faux cheery demeanor and fake smiles, you can relegate it to the background. But you can’t–I repeat, can’t–cure it.
And when you have it, it’s all you can do to get the basic tasks of daily life accomplished. Doing anything creative is too much to hope for.
Right now I’m in a remission of sorts, following a bout which began about eight months ago, one complicated by the loss of my mother to cancer in March. It has made writing all the more difficult, as my sounding board has gone. Mom and I exchanged frequent letters via e-mail, particularly in the last three years of her life. She had a wickedly barbed sense of humor, and you had to be on your toes to spar with her verbally. In writing to her, I challenged myself to be as funny as I could, writing about my misadventures in northern Wisconsin. I could vent, I could laugh, I could cry, and know I would get reassuring words back.
Now those words have been silenced, and my creative energies have to be directed elsewhere. And I could think of no better place to which I can direct them than this blog.
You see, when I gave this blog up, I noticed an odd thing happening. People kept coming, and at a rate faster than when the blog was active.
Now, I will be the first to admit I’m no Jerry Beck, or Mark Kausler, or Mark Evanier. There are other blogs that do what I do, and do it far better, such as the fascinating, informative Yowp Yowp and Tralfaz blogs. I am just a middle-aged, disabled fangirl in front of a computer terminal in a tiny living room in Wisconsin. But this blog has something people like, and I won’t question it.
I cannot guarantee I’ll post every day, or even every week. I have no long-range plans for the future of this blog, but I have a few ideas I’d like to put to you readers. Please respond if there is something among them you wish to see here, and by all means, give me suggestions of your own.
Freeze Frame Friday will be gone, as it was one of the causes of this blog being abandoned. The feature required that I identify who did each scene, and that’s not something one can leave to educated guesses, as my debacle showed.
I want to do “theme” days, perhaps a “Flintstones” Friday, in which I review one of the 166 episodes, as well as the movies and specials that came after. I intend to do the same with shows such as “The Jetsons” (especially the “classic 24” from ’62-63).
I’d like to add a separate Essays page, in which I write in depth about about an animator, director, or series, along the lines of the “Before He Was Tex” essay posted here. Fortunately, WordPress makes that rather easy.
My original intent in starting this blog was to go beyond the subject of animated cartoons, and I hope to do that in months to come, talking about comic books, comic strips, and live-action TV shows.
As to the Facebook page, I have no plans as yet. My hope is to do video podcasts in which I review an individual cartoon. As I do not have the quality of video equipment I feel I need, however, that might have to wait.
Beyond that, I have only one other thing to say to the blogosphere, and my fellow geeks out there.
I’m still here.