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At the end of last year Slarek announced there would be a weekly blog, but for the past few weeks it's not been posted. Here Slarek briefly shares the personal reasons for this lack of literary activity.
5 March 2017

It may seem a little shabby that, a mere few weeks after starting a weekly blog that I made a pledge to keep going, it ground to a halt. It thus seemed prudent to use that very blog to give anyone interested an idea why. For me, this is a difficult balance to strike, as the reasons are personal and I'm not one for sharing details of ongoing crises, but since this also has the potential to effect other aspects of the site, I feel obligated to at least provide some explanation.

The basics are this. A few weeks ago my mother suffered a heart attack from which she has only partially recovered, and matters have been complicated further by a number of other serious health conditions. My sister is her principal carer and is on the job pretty much every day and night, but I am also devoting a sizeable chunk of my spare time (a good part of each evening plus afternoons at weekends) to looking after her. And it's been tough. At her best, she is stable but weak and always battling pain, but over the past three weeks we've experienced some terrifying dips and a small handful of genuine emergencies. Films, as you can imagine, have tended to take a bit of a back seat and I'm currently living in a state of continual tension and emotional exhaustion, one that is unlikely to ease in the immediate future.

And yet these same films that I've had to push aside also repeatedly come to my aid, providing a welcome distraction when health stability allows, while writing about them can help to focus my wayward mind. Right at this moment we're having a small respite after a nightmarish Saturday of pain and confusion, and I'm writing this while watching over my mother as she catches a couple of hours of pain-free sleep. At present, I thus tend to be watching films at the very end of day, by when my sister has gamely taken over for the night. Disc special features I tend to transfer onto my laptop for viewing whenever I can find the time.

As things stand at the moment, we can't even predict how the next day will play out, and there will doubtless be times in the near future when circumstances will see the site put on hold, possibly for several days at a stretch. But site work still provides some focus for my frequently fried brain and intermittently can have an oddly calming effect. There's still nothing quite like losing yourself in a good film even in troubled times – it doesn't make you forget, nor should it, but it does allow me feel a just little less isolated and give me enough of a boost to help me keep going and even face my worst fears. One thing I have learned, however, is to steer clear of overly emotional scenes, as something that has the power to move you under normal circumstances can reduce you to an emotional wreck when you're in a vulnerable state.

In the mean time I'll try and get the blog back up and running, as there are plenty of film-related topics I'm keen to explore or sound off about, from the frivolous discussions to more serious subjects and those of genuine concern. But currently I'm make no set-in-stone promises. These are difficult times and my priorities have shifted, and while I'm not planning to post updates on my situation (I want to discuss it about as much as you want to read it), you can safely assume that if nothing gets posted for a few days on the trot, then it's because we're having a rough time. Normal service will eventually be resumed.

Peace and best wishes,