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ImageAccording to Klout, I am influential about three topics: Writing, Film Festivals and the Pope. I don’t know how the Pope got in there, but I do have a passing acquaintance with the art and business of writing and as of this month I have become somewhat of an expert in at the least one film festival: The Montclair Film Festival.

All in all, I went to at least 12 events during the festival’s six-day run between May 1 and 6. On Saturday May 5 alone, I saw four films: First Position, Perfect Family, Robot and Frank and Hysteria. Robot and Frank, starring Frank Langella as an elderly cat burglar who cons his robot/caregiver into helping him on heists, was my favorite. But doing a festival, as it turns out, is about more than just your favorite movie. It’s an adrenalin-fueled whirlwind of cinematic gluttony, which involves running into friends and rubbing shoulders with celebrities past, present and future. And, if you’re a journalist, filing.

In the three hours between Perfect Family and Robot and Frank that penultimate day of the festival, my husband talked me into taking a nap. I’d been running at a fairly frantic pace in the week leading up to the festival, and the pace didn’t slow down afterwards, there being a municipal election two days later. Finally, this past Saturday, after two weeks of going out every night straight, I took a night off to screen a movie at home — with guests. I actually fell asleep in front of everybody. I thought I’d finally caught up over Mother’s Day weekend, but as it turns out putting in a new perennial garden and cooking for your mother-in-law, even in splendid weather, is still not rest.

Tonight, after the gym, my body’s needs finally asserted themselves. I had planned to go cover the debate between two congressman playing musical chairs for New Jersey’s ninth congressional district. But I had zero energy. And when I realized that none of the towns we write about were even in the ninth, I decided to bag it. I took a shower and crawled into bed, muttering occasional instructions to my 23-year-old, such as “turn off the oven” and “turn on the porch light.” The word sleep doesn’t begin to cover what happened next. I pretty much upholstered the bed with my body. I’m sure I’d have slept straight through until morning — the spaghetti squash in the oven be damned — if my son hadn’t arrived home from college. So I came down, hugged my son, and made the spaghetti squash after all.

So this much I can tell you about film festivals. They are fun and they wipe you out. Let me amplify: they are really, really fun and they really, really wipe you out. I can also tell you a little something about spaghetti squash. It’s simply okay if you take it out of the oven after one hours, per your recipe’s instructions. But if you leave it in the oven during a post-film-festival crash, it caramelizes and is actually sublime.

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