Everything Went Black: Hello, I Must Be Going ...
After nearly 22 years of involvement in one form or another, I'm leaving my current Austin Chronicle position of staff writer behind me as of today. I'll be returning in a year's time or so, as a freelancer, but for now this is au revoir. But hey, we'll always have Paris.
I'm loathe to dwell on this farewell, since, really, I don't consider it to be permanent, but I'd be remiss if I didn't note for the record just how insanely great my time at the Chron has been. From my first film review – Peter Greenaway's A Zed & Two Noughts (talk about your trial by fire) – to twenty-plus years of SXSWs, AFF's, Spikes, Mikes, Slackers, and John and Janet Piersons, it's been (almost always) everything I ever dreamed of when I first decided to become a writer, at age 8. (Still no goddam jetpacks, however.)
Inevitably, though, as Austin has grown beyond everyone's expectations and we've tried to keep pace with it at the Chronicle (and done a damn fine job, I'd say), a certain amount of workstress-related burnout has begun to accrue to my creativity, and, indeed, my passion for what I do. And that's no good, for me, for you, or for the Chronicle.
I promised myself a long, long time ago that I'd never be one of those writers who sidestepped a missing muse by switching over to autopilot and faking it. That'd be easy to do. A lot of writers, artists, and, god knows, filmmakers manage it and apparently get along just fine. But the mohawk-and-leather-jacketed punk rocker inside of me would kick my patoot but good if I went down that half-ass path, and so this is goodbye, for a bit, while I recharge my passions and rediscover, with any luck, what I loved about film and film writing to begin with. (I'm starting with The Marx Brothers and working my way forward.)
Thank you to AusChron editor Louis Black, and publisher Nick Barbaro, for taking a chance on Ben Davis' dodgy-looking punk rock roomie back in the day; to Senior Film Editor Marjorie Baumgarten, who didn't fire me for missing a deadline because I was in jail (twice!) and for being just flat-out fucking brilliant; to Screens/Books Editor Kimberley Jones, who shares my love for romcoms if not horror films and who probably suspects one of the main reasons I'm taking a leave of absence from the AusChron is to go in search of True Romance (and she would not be entirely wrong about this); and to Senior Music Editor Raoul Hernandez, who rocks, period. To all my friends
It strikes me there that this is beginning to take on an unnecessary feeling of finality, which isn't how I want to leave things. This isn't a suicide note; it's the exact opposite. I'm taking a year off to blow the doors off my heart and soul, and I've got a brand new Dodge Challenger R/T Classic V-8 Hemi and a whole lot of Old Route 66 blacktop to do it in/on. If you happen to be in the EU in late March, look for me. I'll be there. Otherwise, hell, I'll be all over the place. Buy me a Strongbow if you run into me, and I'll return the favor. Cheers!
[Personal to Ant Timpson: I have your movies. Give me the moolah and no one gets hurt.]