The industry shift from film to digital has been swift and dramatic and — despite the activist efforts of the high-profile likes of Christopher Nolan and the patron saint of preservation, Martin Scorsese — film on film has almost disappeared from theaters. Even features shot on film are digitally projected. (Almost all theaters worldwide are now digital.) Last year, I started following after Mr. Pogorzelski and Ms. Linville to understand the complexities of film restoration, largely because the medium is fast becoming a relic. More than 50 years ago, André Bazin asked “What is cinema?” But what is film?
Here’s the thing: reading and writing exhaust. They expend my intellect, deplete my creative capabilities, and tire my body. These are not, though, inherently bad things; in fact the only reason reading and writing have those effects is because they are both extraordinarily operative—it is difficult, then, to engage with them half-heartedly, because it’s basically the equivalent of not engaging at all. It would be like exercising without a rising heart rate: you may look like you’re doing the same thing as everyone else at Planet Fitness, but you aren’t getting any thinner or any healthier.
Cusk is now working on a level that makes it very surprising that she has not yet won a major literary prize. Her technical originality is equalled by the compelling nature of her subject matter, and Transit is a very fine novel indeed.
I write this as if surfacing from deep water, or looking up to find a bright world dimmed around me. I have just put down The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe and it is dark outside, a rush of wind constant as surf, and I find myself wondering if the stars will be uncountable millions or if there will be only ninety-seven of them studding a thickly textured sky.
What do Schopenhauer's insights boil down to, after all, but the tried and tested message of the needlework sampler: it's not about the destination, it's the journey. All the data suggests that we're living longer and beginning to adapt accordingly. What used to be pensionable age is now considered late middle-life; if you're not there yet, by the time you are, it will probably have been recalibrated again, to the bloom of youth - think of all that time you'll have to work on your Pokemon Go handicap.
The sounds of the outside world hover in the air — kids shouting, Wiffle ball bats smacking, burgers sizzling. But a simple swinging door provides all the insulation we need, relieving us of any obligation to respond.