Roll Credits On 2017


Lots of people write a piece about the year that was.  What it meant to them, what they hope for in 2018.  I've struggled with writing in general because it always feels self-indulgent.  Even writing with good intentions can be misinterpreted.  All I know is that this was a year of tremendous change and peaceful transition.  That's not to say that there isn't some form of chaos knocking at the backdoor, because there always is.  The world may in fact end at given moment, but we still awake to our morning coffee in hopes that it won't.  Whether if it's inconsistent immune system response or the realization that mistakes can lead to moments where you reconsider how much of an asshole you can be.  Regardless, there is always a need for resolution knowing that a new year is around the corner.  

It was the year that Twin Peaks gave me an episode of television that rivals most movies in the past decade.  It was a year in which most of my choices for favorite films were very quiet, low-key and non-confrontational.  It was the year that I began the process of slowing down my podcast recording, so I can read and write more.  The good news is that I experienced accomplishment and triumph in the midst of one of the worst political climates I've ever witnessed in the history of this country.  I just feel a little bit of guilt that I can't help more of the less fortunate out there, who continue to be victims of an incredibly horrific system.  Suffice to say, things are horrible for so many right now and it's hard to not feel defeated.  Many times throughout 2017, I thought to myself "There is no need to podcast, write, or compose songs when this country is being beaten to death by bullshit."  Whether it's misogyny or plain stupidity, I have witnessed a lot that has made me rethink my optimism and my faith in humanity.  I had to confront a lot in therapy in regards to how I perceive myself.  I decided that the most I can do is simply to write letters to congressmen, provide donations and reach out in support for many causes.  Whether it's the devastation of mother nature in the form of a hurricane or new laws being considered regarding net neutrality, it's safe to say that foundations have been shaking and a sense of futility kicks in.  There's no way I can quit my job, build houses, or abandon ship when the need for a personal niche exists.  I miss having a consistent social circle that I can see on a regular basis, and I miss seeing my mom's health be way better than it's been.

What's helpful is owning up to mistakes or confronting issues head-on.  I wrote a long piece about what's happened in the Hollywood industry and tied it to an admission of abuse I experienced earlier in life (it's on this site if you're curious).  It's safe to say that it may have clouded my perceptions surrounding sexual expression.  I've never approached those feelings with ease and openness before.   That's not to say I would ever put myself on a pedestal or even proclaim to be a victim.  In fact, being a white male in this society currently makes me question my own importance and personal identity.  Do I need to be defined at all?   Other people deserve the attention and need some form of emotional compensation for all the pain they've endured.  My story is of little importance.

Until I came around to the fact that now I want to be a more assured writer for the future.  Soon year 40 will roll around, and it's time for yet another change in habit.  I used to podcast my thoughts and interview individuals that way.  Now I would like to sit down in the comfort of a coffee shop and write to my heart's content.  There may be a life story there, including a dark one surrounding mistakes and regrets made in hopes of rectifying them.  Or I may simply expand my blossoming science fiction idea into a novella / short story of some kind.  There's no way to know.  I'm grateful for 2017 in a lot of ways:  I've found a career path that makes me happy and fulfilled.  I work with incredibly talented, wonderful people that inspire me to be a better person in a lot of ways.  Grateful for new friendships and the possibility of changing lives for the better there.  Also, I can now write movie reviews again now that I was selected as a member of the CFCA.  I can also consider more education on how to become a better teacher/mentor.  There is a lot on the plate and on the table to ponder over.  There were a lot of movies I watched, a lot of music I heard, and a lot of new people I've met.  All of it fills me up with gratitude for this weird, wild rollercoaster called life.  It's actually quite messy, and sometimes the bad outweighs the good, causing immobility and paralysis, but there's some semblance of resilience in accepting that as a part of having a brain. 

I expect 2018 to be complicated, inconsistent, and strangely wonderful all the while.  There is a lot of work to be done in this country, in the entertainment industry, and in myself.  I have a lot of music to compose, words to put down, and movies to dissect.  I want to continue to do more good even if sometimes my execution turns out sloppy and misinterpreted.  The act of trying to be a better human being should garner some continued sense of peace and grace, even if it feels like the world is completely devoid of both.  In about a day, I will be seeing the latest movie from my favorite director with one of my favorite people, and somehow, I expect to feel both peaceful and grateful for the fact that I am alive to experience moments (both good and bad) that remind me why being an imperfect, fallible, punny pile of bones and flesh isn't such a curse after all.

James Laczkowski