I thought it was all over.
Last week, I passed my blog on to a co-worker, thinking he would enjoy some of the features. When I came to work Monday, I was told the address didn't work. Thinking he must have typed it in wrong, I jumped on his smart phone to connect him directly. What I found when I reached thedancingimage.blogspot.com made my blood run cold..."This blog has been removed." No explanation of who/what/where/why/when just a simple message apparently sweeping away 4 years of dedication, passion, and organization - what (embarrassing as it may be to admit) was the work I valued most from the harried, often frustrating time known as my mid-twenties.
There was no message from Google or Blogger in my inbox, and attempting to post on Help forums just led me in circles. I began to panic - calling friends of friends of friends with technical expertise, using lunch breaks at work to e-mail other bloggers via friends' smart phones (which, having a resolutely dumb phone myself, I'm still not used to using). By Tuesday, I had grimly begun to assume the worst - the blog was gone.
In some ways I was lucky - I have every single thing I've ever written backed up in Word Documents, and caches and archives seemed to ensure that some sort of static image of how the site looked (a sort of virtual tombstone) would continue to exist. But the increasingly popular address (whose views, primarily via Google image searches, continued to rise even when I didn't update the blog) was now defunct, disconnecting followers and fellow travelers, and even if I started a new blog (which would have to be far simpler in effect and content) it would take months or years to build the audience and exposure back up. This was especially disheartening because later this year I hope to move into low-budget filmmaking, and to unveil my work via this platform.
Well, enough of the handwringing. I resolved to move on, to turn a negative into a positive, by starting fresh with a new website and inviting everyone to my new home. I headed to the local library (where I do all of my internet surfing these days) firmly dedicated to turning over a new leaf. I waited outside as the librarian opened the doors, headed downstairs with rapid step, logged in...only to discover that the city's network was down! I spent the hour before work visiting the sites I could access with the turtle's crawl browser speed and wondering why the gods hate me so.
Well, today, apparently, I'm back in their favor. This morning I woke up committed to finishing yesterday's work. I discovered, in my inbox (where the fantastic support team of Sam Juliano, Tony D'Ambra, and Jaime Grijalba - with forwarding help from Bob Clark - tried to help me through this disaster) that the site was apparently working in some other national domains. Then I typed in my home address again and, with the kind of weary relief that comes only to those who have already grimly accepted the worst, discovered that The Dancing Image was alive again, restored to health miraculously like the wife at the end of Dreyer's Ordet.
A silly comparison, perhaps, and indeed all the drama surrounding this incident does make me feel a bit ridiculous. As other people overheard my troubles, some seemed to find it vaguely amusing - no doubt they pictured an online journal with a few personal posts, easily restored or reactivated. At one point I called the site a "virtual home" which had burnt down - sure, I'd saved my possessions but the grounds were now depressingly bare. Still, a virtual home is not a real home and people endure worse disasters every second of the day (something I should be especially aware of since my job now entails work with the Red Cross!).
Yet I'd be lying if I cavalierly mocked my own panic and frustration. Because the fact is, as I realized while troubleshotting this whole situation, this blog means the world to me. I've abandoned and renewed it multiple times, given it numerous facelifts, organized the shit out of it - mostly, truth be told, for my own amusement (for me, organizing and designing the presentation of a blog is akin to gardening for other people - it's an activity I find both stimulating and relaxing, offering a sense of satisfaction upon completion, to the extent it's ever completed!). I've written pieces that made me immensely proud when I looked them over afterwards, and penned others that made me cringe, though I ever only scrapped one (my penultimate post of 2011, which I turned into a more fitting farewell). I've created 500 posts, gained 70 followers, and generated about 200,000 views (though God knows which ones are spam referrals or hit-and-run picture picks - still, high traffic helps bring quality visitors to the site too so it's all good). In the scheme of things, this is still a very low-profile, under-the-radar blog but as much as I love reaching other people the blog is first and foremost a personal statement; despite (or perhaps because of) its focus on movies rather than my personal life, the site has been a mirror into which I could look and fashion a more appealing reflection.
2012, especially in the past few months, has seen immense changes in my life, perhaps the greatest I've yet experienced. I have put many past attachments behind me and am increasingly summoning up energy to focus entirely on the future - a future in which I can stop procrastinating and distracting myself (services that, sadly, this blog has also proved adept in facilitating) from the dreams that both inspire and intimidate me. At first, this minor catastrophe seemed to be a grim reminder of that process. Now that the Frankenstein's monster has been resuscitated, however, I still intend to take the opportunity to move forward rather than back.
For those who do want to look back, either because they're new to The Dancing Image or because they feel they've missed something or many things over the years, you can check out my last post of 2011, a massive round-up of the work I'm proudest of, with links to various directories through which you can explore my content.
Right now, however, I want to look forward. Here's what I plan to do from now on - at least once a week, I will put up a fresh post on this site. Many will be simple film reviews (when discussing a single film, I will usually shorten my observations on movies to capsule size - I have a tendency to get long-winded, case in point this very post!), others will be more ambitious formal analyses of film style, complete with pictures, videos, and text, and some may be fun or pithy observations. Really I don't want to publicly set goals which I then have to scramble to catch up with, but privately I've already filled several notebook pages with ideas.
Most importantly, over time, I hope to make The Dancing Image a forum for filmmaking - both for myself (premature to speak of, as right now I'm just barely scratching at the shell of the egg to break out) and for dedicated, creative, and scrappy filmmakers with limited resources but big imaginations, many of whom have contacted me over the past few months proposing interviews to expose their work. I sense in them kindred spirits, and I hope that they too will become part of this site's legacy in the long run.
Thanks to all of those who offered support, silently or otherwise. Thanks to those who have read, commented on, lurked, followed, or tweeted The Dancing Image over the years. Please continue to do so. It's been a fun ride - and I'm glad it's not over yet.