I did write a few pieces in the fall -- I'm including August, since Skylar was in school and I was teaching then -- under my own byline and was happy with them, by and large. Strangely, my most productive month in this regard was October, which would probably seem to have been the most stressful to an outside observer, since Kim's father died on the 2nd. That said, I've always been the sort of person, as my therapy is reminding me of, to box up stress and unpack it later, over time, which may explain why November and December were less productive. Not that those months were devoid of stress, mind you!
Anyway, here's the rundown on what I published as "Charlie Bertsch":
• a long review essay on my former student and friend Justin St. Germain's superb memoir Son of a Gun, which I highly recommend to all of you;That last piece is more peripatetic than I generally like my writing to be, but my interest in tackling the topic from several different angles made it hard to tighten up its structure. Plus, it's not like Montaigne stayed zealousy focused on his central thesis.
• an autobiographical review of a Deerhunter concert I attended in Phoenix, the last event I was able to attend before my father was confined "temporarily" to a wheelchair, which strikes me as odd now both because it seems so long ago that I could do that sort of thing without weeks of advance planning and because I have written so little about music lately (and indeed have listened to so little music of late);
• the tribute I wrote for my father-in-law during the week after his passing, featuring photos of the work space in his dimly lit garage that I worked very hard to get right (one of which I posted here on LJ without comment);
• a piece about the government shutdown in Washington D.C. in which I further elaborated on the "late Weimar" analogy I've been developing for a while;
• a short photo essay on Watts Towers, documenting the few hours of meaningful alone time I was able to secure for myself during the insane -- for me -- trip we took to Disneyland for Skylar's birthday, in which I ended up driving the 500 miles between Tucson and Los Angeles four times in a few days;
• a review of the Alexander Payne film Nebraska, which I was lucky enough to see before its national release, thanks to Kim's offering me a ticket;
• a review essay on the first two Hunger Games films that I am especially proud of, which concludes with the following lines: "When every possible refuge is potentially under surveillance, the only secrets worth keeping are those that can survive the light of day. Exposure can kill as easily as a knife, but you are more likely to survive if you acknowledge that you are always already exposed.";
• a short piece prompted by photos of an IKEA in Germany in which I muse, in a roundabout way, on what that nation's role in the European Community is doing to its cultural legacy;
• and, finally, the rather strange autobiographical piece Souciant published yesterday, in which I riff off a photograph of graffiti in Stuttgart to reconsider the concept of Heimat and my own feelings about it
Anyway, that gives a decent sense of what I've been up to while not posting here. I do post regularly to Facebook, since it is so easy to do from my phone, but that doesn't count as real writing in my book. I would like to find a way to do more work that isn't cobbled together for Souciant on a tight deadline, but the priority there has to be the composition of truly long-form pieces, such as academic essays or even a book. Assuming I make headway on that sort of thing, though, I will probably share bits and pieces here to build my presence back up.