It's Monday and I'm here to provide some updates. I've been doing this more often recently and I like the idea of using a grab bag post to work through thoughts and ideas in an attempt to organize them. Mainly, it gives me an opportunity to understand the nature of blogging more completely. And the nature of blogging is what this is about, in a roundabout way. A few of you may have noticed that Synchfish and Toys of Desperation are gone. Well, I know at the very least that Brian and Rick noticed because they asked me about it in my comment section. Yes, they're gone. I deleted them yesterday along with a lot of other things.
I went through a bit of a crisis yesterday in which I, as is often the case, questioned whether I should be doing this at all. I do it because of a love of writing about film and a love of interacting with film enthusiasts on a range of topics. But personal issues take center stage sometimes and since this is not my job it always seems like the first thing that should go.
First of all, some background. I blog a lot. I have had at any given time multiple blogs or websites but Cinema Styles is the big one, the one that I love. I sold photographic art on Etsy as well under a different name and I record music and make short films under a third. I say "I sold" in the past tense because I deleted my Etsy account yesterday too. And except for putting some stuff up on YouTube, I've never made any serious attempt to get any film work in the public eye. But I keep coming back here, to Cinema Styles, which by the way, almost disappeared too. I got as far as the "are you sure" question for deleting Cinema Styles, which after a few seconds of thought, I decided against and hit "No." Obviously, or you wouldn't be reading this.
I've mentioned the "different works under the different names" thing before here and on other blogs in their comment sections but I don't think it's fully clear. Some time ago on Brian Doan's blog, Bubblegum-Aesthetics, I mentioned it again in a discussion Brian, Larry Aydlette and I were having on Blogger identities. The question was, from Larry specifically, which name was mine. The short answer is "They all are." The long answer's a bit more complicated.
I have a job at a high-profile institution in Washington, D.C. It is internationally recognized and often the subject of media attention. And much of the time I'm at work I am (ahem) blogging. And commenting - a lot - on other blogs. You might say I'm addicted to it. And blogging and surfing on the job are definite no-no's. If anyone at work were to discover I was spending valuable time on the job commenting about which actors belong to the Kelly School and which actors belong to the Astaire school I'd most likely be shown the door. And with my current financial situation and a family to support that would be devastating. So why am I even taking the chance? Well, for one thing I am fortunate to be in a position that deals with confidential information. As a result, no one is allowed to access or monitor my computer without my permission. There's even an icon that changes color if anyone has accessed my hard drive. Very convenient for blogging on the sly. Still, it's foolhardy and I should make an attempt to pull back a bit. There's plenty of time to blog at night. And I plan to make such a change, in fact, I already have. I don't like the idea of doing something I shouldn't and given the ample breaks I get at work there's plenty of time to blog and comment then. Some of you may have even noticed a more conspicuous absence by me in the comment sections on your blogs recently. That's why. Personal responsibility always reels me back in and this is no exception.
Which leads us to the name thing. I've written short stories over the years and even had a few small things published, but in no big venues, mainly local paper kind of stuff. I have a pen name that I took from a character I created years ago that I use for my writing. And since blogging is writing... well, you get the point.
So am I Jonathan Lapper? Yes, I am. I also have two other names but I am only one person. And I assure you, I am Jonathan through and through. The name may not be the one my parents gave me, but the man with the name is no different than the one you read here. So what's in a name? I don't know, I just know that I have used different names my whole life. Maybe it came from my love of classic movies and the knowledge that so many stars did not use the names they were born with. Maybe I wanted to emulate that. I don't know. I do know this: If you Google "Jonathan Lapper" you will be flooded with links to posts here and comments, thousands of comments, I have left at other blogs, all dated and time-stamped. I can't afford to have my employer Google my work name and discover the same thing.
So why not go the "handle" route? You know, adopt a handle as so many do. Larry Aydlette used to be "The Shamus." The Siren goes by Campaspe on her great blog The Self Styled Siren, her real name unknown. And Arbogast is a published critic who prefers anonymity while blogging. So why didn't I adopt "Movie Guy" or "Charlie Kane" or some other clever handle. Because I have used the name "Jonathan Lapper" for so long in connection with myself that it feels like me. It is me. It feels like I'm not using a pen name at all. And that was important to me. I wanted to feel a connection between my readers and myself and between other writers and myself on their blogs. Nothing against using a handle you understand. I have no problem with it at all, so please, for all those who use them I'm not implying anything negative whatsoever. It's just that already having a pen name that I was familiar with and that was close to my heart gave me another option.
So I hope that makes things a little clearer on the name front. I'd mentioned it before but got the distinct feeling it had gone largely unnoticed and I didn't want anyone to think I was trying to hide it. As Samuel Clemens made no attempt to deceive anyone with the name "Mark Twain" I make none myself with "Jonathan Lapper" (and dear lord don't think I'm egotistically comparing myself to him - just the name part). Larry Aydlette began an e-mail exchange with me after the discussion at Bubblegum-Aesthetics and he now knows my name as well. I told him because quite frankly I don't care who knows it, I just don't want it coming up on a search in connection with this blog.
As for the deleting of blogs and websites that's a different story. I may yet again (if fact, I know I will) have other blogs that I post to but for now I just want one. This one. Events occurred yesterday that made me feel powerless and out of control with what I want to do artistically in my life and I felt that the only way to get the feeling of control back was to streamline things. Simplify. So I did. I don't think many people were stopping by Synchfish anyway to tell you the truth but for anyone who found my useless commentary on YouTube clips and old pictures of The Rat Pack invaluable, I apologize. I tried to make it into a catch-all pop culture blog but didn't have the time or talent to succeed at it like Larry and Brian. I think Welcome to L.A. and Bubblegum-Aesthetics are two of the best pop culture blogs in existence and I just wasn't talented enough to play on the same stage. It was becoming a place for quips and jokes and nonsense commentary and the thrill of it all had gone away. As the song says, I felt a little like a dying clown. And if you know the song that comes from you know why I chose it for the title of this post. Now let's just hope I don't start throwing punches around and preaching from my chair.