It’s been awhile.
I don’t mean to pretend like I ever took blogging here seriously. I figured it was a way to supplement the artwork I had on this site, a place where I could write about films if I ever had ideas worth writing about. And this blog would probably die in anonymity if I had kept having my way.
But then, Coronavirus hit the United States.
Now I find myself as one more Los Angeles-based entertainment professional out of work for the next few weeks. And I’m luckier than most. I get to sit around my two-bedroom apartment that I share with my lovely, beautiful girlfriend. We have plenty of groceries, and we’re both in good health. I’ve got a little savings set aside for these kinds of extended breaks. Any work or personal projects I have can be done in the comfort of my pajamas. I can allow myself to let some of the dishes in the sink stack up for a little while, so I have something to clean when I run out of other things to do. But the mind is always looking for something to fix. Even though I’ve kept busy, my mind drifts to one or another of my problems.
Back in high school, and just after college, I had a number of blogging sites I collectively called “ek’s domain.” Unfortunately, yes, you can still find them. And yes, they are embarrassing to look back on. Back then I was consumed with an unfounded sense of patriotism, contradicted by a deep need for futile rebellion. I was consumed by my own feelings of heartbreak, remorse, and love. And as much as I can laugh from a distance at my teenage self, I was doing something important back then that I didn’t even realize. I was publicly declaring who I was, no matter how anonymous I thought I could be. Those who wanted to know me inevitably found me.
So here I am, years removed from my post-college heartache, sitting in relative comfort as an entertainment professional in sunny LA. Why this interest in a return to blogging?
Perhaps it’s because I’ve been a long-time reader, who has never found the guts to be a commenter. Rather than allowing the internet’s great (and horrible) anonymity to armor me on my path towards speaking Truth, I let Anonymity swallow me up, like a wave washing over sand on the beach, slowly letting the water shape them. Many times have I sat in awe at the intellects of Film Crit Hulk, Lindsay Ellis, Wait But Why’s Tim Urban, CGP Grey and other cultural critics on the internet, without mustering the courage to join in one the conversation.
Perhaps it’s because my failed attempts at writing fiction implore me to try harder at something else. My screenplays feel like they fall flat of proper structuring and dialogue. My short stories feel emotionless and all-too-vague. This is, of course, an overly-critical self-appraisal. But if there is one subject I can write about with clarity, it is myself.
Perhaps it’s because there have been years of journal entries left only as a breadcrumb trail for myself. Writing can be an opening to self-discovery. But my pages and pages of journaling, while fruitful and insightful, are a breadcrumb trail left only for myself.
Besides being interested in film scholarship, I have also developed a deep interest into broader cultural and psychological editorials, outside the realms of film & TV. My reading list has included Jonathon Heidt, Jordan Peterson, and Brené Brown. But all of this newfound blogging boldness can be summed up by one thinker’s directive. I stumbled upon Marie Forleo’s YouTube channel while I was supposed to be working, sinking in a mire of self-pity and resentment in a dead-end position at a job I hated. She was interviewing entrepreneur Seth Godin, and one piece of advice stuck out to me:
“Even if no one read it, I would blog every day. I think everyone should do so. And here’s the reason why: If you know that tomorrow you have to say something about something you’ve noticed, about something that might help someone else, about an idea that might stand the test of time – you will form those opinions. You will notice those things. You will invent that idea. And if, day after days, week after week, you leave behind a trail of thoughtful examination of your world, you can’t help but get better at whatever it is you seek to do.”
This also reminds me of a passage I read in Akira Kurosawa’s “Something Like an Autobiography.” When it came to his Assistant Directors learning the tricks of the film-making trade from him, he noticed:
“I am often asked why I don’t pass on to young people what I have accomplished over the years. Actually, I would like very much to do so. Ninety-nine percent of those who worked as my assistant directors have now become directors in their own right. But I don’t think any of them took the trouble to learn the most important things.”
This scathing rebuke of his colleagues sticks in my mind even more because it is the very last piece of knowledge-advice in the entire book. No one knows the name of any directors who were once Kurosawa’s assistant. I don’t want to be the kid who had everything handed to him, but never took it up.
I describe myself as an artist. I aspire to letting myself be “out there.” But I have long held myself back from speaking too forcefully; from letting my ideas, emotions and thoughts escape into the air. The fear of reciprocity and denial from the faceless “they” has terrified me for a very long time. But as scary as that can be, I believe that the consequences of bottling myself up are far more dire in the long-term.
The way I see it, the world of art and expression is a jazz club of the mind. A place where thoughts, ideas and expression should be bouncing off one another, testing each other, making music. Now that’s a scene.
And I want to be on that scene.
I want to be seen.
So please allow me to re-introduce myself. My name is Evan Koehne. I’m a writer, illustrator, and film-maker. I endeavor to speak the Truth, in big and small ways. You can find me here, writing about the things I believe in, trying and testing new ideas out on myself and others. Feel free to hack back at me. Perhaps we can all get a little bit better at whatever it is we seek to do.