Put simply, I'm living in a period of immense change - you might even call it being in a state of flux. Two months ago I started a new job, training as a reporter for The Western Gazette in Yeovil. It's hard work but I love it, it's the best job I've ever had and I've finally found myself something I want to do as a career, not just a job. On top of that, I got engaged at the end of September, having asked my wonderful, beautiful girlfriend Aimee to marry me - I love her so very much, and she brings me so much happiness. And then, to cap it all, I have just moved out of my parents' house and into my own place for the very first time. I'm living in a lovely one-bedroom flat in Yeovil, literally a mile from my office. I'm still unpacking and getting stuff sorted, but I'm going to be very happy here.
All of this means that I've not been able to focus my energies on the blog - and quite rightly so. The job has to take priority, with probation finishing and exams on the way in the spring. Most of my copywriting energy is being expended on generating content for a weekly 'paper, which is no easy task on a rural patch like mine. I'm reminded of the passage in Matilda where Matilda tells her teacher, Miss Honey, that one day she tried to use her powers to tip over a glass, just for fun, and found that she couldn't do it. Miss Honey replies that Matilda has been using all her energy up in competing at the top of her class. Without wishing to cover myself in glory, I feel that's a pretty accurate analogy.
I do want to stress, however, that I won't be abandoning Mumby at the Movies - not yet, at any rate. It's always good to have a personal outlet, and I still get a kick out of putting reviews together. Also, stubborn creature that I am, I'm not going to shift to shorter reviews - that feels like a disrespectful cop-out, and I've always preferred lengthy, in-depth analysis to flashy, sensationalist opinion. What that means in practical terms is that I will keep writing reviews, but they will be a little more sporadic, certainly until I get internet access in my flat. My evenings and weekends, which were once near-monopolised by the blog, are now a battleground for my attention, being split as they are between work, my fiancee, family, friends, exam revision, and whatever social and church life I can cultivate here in Somerset.
So, you'll still be getting reviews - what about the rest of the blog? Well, I'll still post about events which sound interesting or close to my heart - such as the Butterscotch Sunday screening of Antichrist which I talked about the other day. And if an interesting Letter of Note comes along, I'll probably do something on that too. However, a lot of the other stuff will be scaled back.
For starters, I'm stopping Blog Spot. Once I reached number 25, it was getting harder and harder to find reviewers or sites that I loved enough to publicise in that much depth with that much honesty, so rather than drag it out I'm leaving it at 26. My Twitter feed is as good a place as any to find some of the sites that I like, and it saves me banging on with all the unbearable sycophancy of James Lipton (host of Inside The Actor's Studio, in case you weren't aware).
Likewise, you probably won't be getting many more WhatCulture! articles from me. There's no professional conflict of interest here - I'm still on good terms with the staff and there's nothing in my 'paper contract which forbids me from writing for other publications. But while I'm immensely grateful for everything that Matt Holmes and the WhatCulture! staff have done for me, especially in my development as a writer, I simply don't have the time to produce articles to the frequency and standard that was expected of me before. I don't want to commit to things and then let people down, so it's best to draw a line under things. I may well contribute the odd article in future, but certainly not 2-3 a month like I used to do.
Other matters that I've publicised on the blog have pretty much been sewn up already. I've already done my last Phonic FM show, and made my last appearance with Broadclyst Theatre Group (though I will still publicise their production of Cinderella come December). I'm going to miss both community radio and amateur dramatics an awful lot, and I'm certainly not ruling out coming back to it in the future. But right now, my priorities have to be my job, my lady and my security here - and I hope and pray that God will guide me in all three aspects.
So, there you have it. This is where we find ourselves. I hope that you stick around in spite of the more sporadic or occasional nature of forthcoming posts. I want to thank you all for your immense support, and I look forward to your continued company. God bless you all.