Shoulda Coulda Woulda

I turned in my 3500-word* Travel Literature essay on Friday night at 11:59pm. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I wrote about Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise / Before Sunset / Before Midnight cycle of films… have you heard of them?

I know it looks like I turned the paper in at the last second, but that was editing and shaping of the argument (always the hardest part for me). I’ve been researching and writing this thing for weeks (months?), so I was pretty happy with it.

Still, writing is a recursive process and it is tough to turn in off, even after you’ve met your deadline. All weekend, I’ve been having those little attacks of the shoulda-coulda-wouldas. They’ve mostly been mild, though there was one moment when I panicked that I might have left some snarky “I’ll come back and smooth over this” placeholder text in the middle, but that turned out to be a false alarm.

About 10 minutes ago, it occurred to me that I omitted something fairly obvious. See, my whole premise had to do with the space-time continuum; how these movies are travel narratives with temporal limits (the titles). And I have a very fitting literary quote about that sitting right here in the About Me section of my blog:

“The past is a foreign country:
they do things differently there.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between

It’s fine. It is. I really don’t know what I would have done with that. But I think I’m picking up on a larger theme here – not a literary theme, but a life theme.

*I had originally posted that it was a 5,000-word essay. Actually, it was two essays: the Before Sunrise/Sunset academic paper and a 3,000-word creative piece.

Sugar’s Cabaret Invitational Long Ball Championship*


Another week, another big event happening in Austin. Meanwhile, it’s still cold in Ireland.

The Veronica Mars Movie Project is winding down its Kickstarter campaign on Friday, and Rob Thomas (the director, not the musician) is hosting a countdown party for backers at the Dog and Duck Pub. I’m a backer! I’ve been to the Dog and Duck! I like countdowns!

This is probably a case of “the grass is always greener in Ireland” or something like that. Last year, I made a big production about going to see a college friend’s band play a 1am show during SXSW (I believe I used the phrase “this crazy train is leaving town at 10pm”), but I was fast asleep on the couch by 9pm. C’est la vie, especially when you’re getting old.

So even if I were in Austin right now, I still might not be making it to all these great events. The Before Midnight premiere and the Veronica Mars Movie Project countdown party? Nah, I would much rather stay curled up at home with a good book and some cocoa.

That’s what I keep telling myself.

*The title of this post is one of many Austin references sprinkled throughout the series.

Time to grow up now, missy.

I’ve been pouting for three straight days because Before Midnight screened at SXSW on Saturday night and I couldn’t be there. To make matters worse, tonight, in about 30 minutes, my favorite Irish musician is playing an acoustic gig on campus, just across town, and I still can’t go. You know why? Because grad school is hard. I’ve got three weeks of class left, an exam and a paper due on Friday, and my internship is finally gearing up with a full day tomorrow. Not to mention the 462-page book I need to have read by Wednesday. I simply don’t have time to have fun. There are worse problems to have, I know, but I just need to have my little temper tantrum right now so I can sit down and do some work.

The plus side? I got permission to write about the Before Sunrise/Before Sunset films for my travel literature class. The angle I’ve chosen works without me having seen the third film, so I’ve just been watching the first two on iTunes and taking copious notes. When I finally do get to see Before Midnight, I will be so prepared and appreciative that it will have been worth the wait.

But being responsible really does suck.

Before Midnight, Part II


Photo courtesy © Berlinale

Once again, somewhere in the world, audiences are seeing that movie I really want to see.

Before Midnight had its European premiere tonight at the Berlin Film Festival. In reality, the film is already over and they’re all talking about it at the theater’s bar. It was some event called the Presentation of European Shooting Stars 2013, and I really, really, really wanted to go.

Really. I tried to buy a ticket online. They went on sale at 9am Friday morning, and I was at my laptap promptly at 9am. I went through a 30-second pop-up “waiting room” window twice, and when I finally thought I had booked a ticket, I was denied. Then I saw on the programme page that the event was sold out.

I would have gone, too. I was trolling for hotel deals within a kilometer of the theatre and scoping out Berlin travel sites. I haven’t been anywhere since Christmas and was looking forward to a quick getaway.

It’s definitely for the best. I really can’t afford the jet-set lifestyle right now, and as badly as I want to, I don’t need to skip any more classes.

What gets me is that the festival had a massive spoiler about the film in its programme. I say massive, although they really just gave away part of the set-up, but if you’re familiar with the story at all, you know that giving away the set-up of one of these films basically steals nine years’ worth of magic from the audience. I can also see a review up online, but I only read the subheading, which contains a slight criticism that really could apply to any of the Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight films.

You can probably expect another of these posts when Before Midnight plays at South by Southwest. My boyfriend has offered to sneak in with a video camera, but that is generally frowned upon at film festivals.

UPDATE: Of course, the film’s stars were in Berlin tonight.

Before Midnight


I write a lot of my blog posts late at night, right before I go to bed. I try to get them posted before midnight Irish time, but sometimes I settle for “oh well, it’s still yesterday in Texas” when I’m trying to post daily entries. It’s gotten worse this semester, with these four-day weekends and the amount of reading I have to do – I’m not sleeping at night.

All this to say, in my mind, it’s still January 20, which means: Happy Before Midnight Premiere Day!

As I write this, audiences at Sundance Film Festival are watching the world premiere of Before Midnight, the third film in Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise / Before Sunset storyline. The films follow Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy around various European cities in the timeframes indicated by the titles. The installments are spaced nine years apart, with release dates in 1995, 2004, and now 2013.

Take the film-release frenzy of your Harry Potter, your Twilight, your Hunger Games, mix in a little indie-movie snobbery, stir it all together and allow to steep into a strong arthouse brew, then add a splash of Gen-X disenchantment and a sprinkle of wanderlust, and that is how excited I am about this movie. I am completely invested in these characters, and I cannot wait to find out what happens to them.

Before Midnight is screening at the Berlin Film Festival in a few weeks, and I’m very tempted to just go…