In 5 or so years, I've written 72 blogs on this website (this being number 73). The five years previous to this I wrote a lot (a lot!) more. And they were all on MySpace. We'll say it was a year ago, but I went back to MySpace, just to check it out. All the profiles are still there (c'mon, we were all too lazy to kill that profile). But all the blogs are gone. For those of you who don't know, for a few of us, that was the big draw. The MySpace blogs ran the gamut of subjects. But the one I posted in the most was Film/TV. And I posted on a regular basis. And by regular, I mean up to three times a day sometimes. And every once in a while a week might pass before I posted something. Unlike the months of tumbleweeds that roll on by here. And there was a community. There was a group of us that supported each other, wrote to each other, argued with each other, and read each others work.
Then Facebook crushed MySpace like a bug, and everything changed.
But I bring all this up, because of two things. 1. When I revisited MySpace the last time, they had an option where you could get all your blogs sent to you on a PDF file. Considering that I never saved a single one of them, I jumped at that chance. Once that happened, I bought a flash drive, and put all of them on it. Last week, the process of printing all of them out began. Because there's nothing like having the tactile experience while you're reading them. Half of them have been printed, and they're all in order. It helps that all the headers start with what day I wrote each one. There's no comments on any of them (lost to the sands of time), but they exist again.
And the second reason I bring all this up, is because I bought and watched Life Itself yesterday. This is the documentary that looks at the final days of film critic Roger Ebert. Here's a guy who got hit with cancer, lost the ability to speak, and parlayed that into a new stage in his life by focusing fully on his writing. He never stopped going to movies, and never stopped writing about them until his body quit on him.
For all of the MySpace movie critics, I'm pretty sure we consider Roger Ebert to be one of our influences. I know he was one of mine. I grew up watching "At the Movies" and would follow it around as it changed channels and times on an almost weekly basis. I got to see Siskel and Ebert live at the Cleveland Playhouse. It was a perfect experience. I'm sure they didn't change their script from city to city, but for me, it was exactly what I wanted. (I actually talked/wrote to Gene Siskel before he passed away, but that's a story for a different day.)
But Life Itself was not so much an eye-opener for me, because I already knew most of the stories, but it was more of a kick in the pants to me. Watching him write, and watching the the love he had for films, combined with my own writing staring back at me, was a sobering thing. I used to write. I need to do that more. I miss everybody else's opinions, too. This isn't a call to arms or anything. Nor do I know if it will really motivate me to keep writing, but this whole exercise has taken me a half hour, and I feel that I should be able to be distraction-free for that long every few days.
Facebook will never be MySpace, and nor should it. But I do miss the community that we had.