January 18, 2015, New York: I can’t believe it’s over. I can’t believe I actually did it. 150 works consumed and blogged about: 10 TV shows, 56 albums, 43 books, 36 movies, and 4 games. Wow. I also can’t believe I never got tired of it. I’ve enjoyed this thing all the way through, was still looking forward to the upcoming works right up until the end.
This is something everyone should do in some form or another. A year-long monastic vow against new media? Perhaps not that extreme. But a thoughtful reconnection with one’s personal canon? Yes. We’ve spent so much of our lives defining ourselves by the media we consume, let’s relive those lives through it. That’s how it felt for me. I spent the bulk of this year thinking about moments in the past I would never normally think about. Re-touching emotions I’d long-buried. I’ve spent 33 years becoming the person I am today and I was able to condense that experience into a year-length highlight reel.
Actually 34 years, now. So what’s next? Well, in 33 years I plan to do this again. A 66 Project: To re-consume 75 works from this list and 75 new ones. This year’s 75— that’s the canon we were promising to re-asses. And here it is:
Books: The Moviegoer, Lord of the Rings, X-Men, Dune, Immortality, The Master and Margarita, On the Road, Lolita, The Odyssey, Invisible Man, If on a winter’s night a traveler, Neuromancer, The Control of Nature, A Moveable Feast, Project for a Revolution in New York, The Invisibles, A People’s History of the United States, VALIS, Parting the Waters, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Europe Central
Shows: TVTV, Evangelion, Battlestar Galactica, The Wire, The West Wing
Albums: Randy Newman, John Prine, Jimi Hendrix, Notorious BIG, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Tori Amos, Ani DiFranco, Wu-Tang Clan, Jesus Christ Superstar, Van Morrison, Velvet Underground, Rachmaninoff, David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Jeff Buckley, Neil Young, Mos Def, Black Star, Miles Davis, Jay-Z, Belle and Sebastian, Kanye West, Mountain Goats, Donny Hathaway, The Faces, Ryan Adams, Dr. Dog, Shostakovich
Movies: Star Wars, Lawrence of Arabia, Independence Day, Usual Suspects, Goodfellas, Casablanca, Apocalypse Now, The Godfather, The Killer, Hoop Dreams, Gimme Shelter, Wonder Boys, Akira, 8 ½, Sherman’s March, Battle of Algiers, The War Room, The Big Lebowski
Games: Civilization, Dragon Age
I’ve already begun the list of new things for the 66 Project. The Power Broker and Infinite Jest should have been on this year’s list but I pushed them off because of their length. Not next time. Breaking Bad will definitely be on the next one, but I’d just finished watching it at 32. Also, maybe change out a few things: The Iliad for The Odyssey; For Whom the Bell Tolls for The Sun Also Rises. But from here on our I will be keeping a list of contenders.
Also looking to the 66 Project, I learned a lot of valuable lessons about the technological hurdles in consuming your favorite media of yesteryear. There were things that were cut because they could not be obtained! So a goal for the coming months is to make a Media Ark. And to carefully maintain said ark into the future so that everything will be in appropriate, consumable formats come 2047. This is especially true of my own work, much of which I couldn’t even access this year.
I’ve also learned I want to be better about reconnecting with good books and movies. Not to wait 33 years, but to make time in my busy schedule of forward-looking media consumption. There were a handful of things I marked to reconsume, tangentially from items this year, that I plan to get to at some point in 2015.
But not now, damnit! Now I have SO MUCH 2014 MEDIA TO CONSUME. I have a whole list from True Detective to The Peripheral to Boyhood to Interstellar to a very long list of albums from Aaron Kyle. Oh wait. Did I make myself another aggressive list of media consumption? Great. Well at least I won’t need to blog about it all.
Thank you for reading along. This site will exist as an archive. I’m also planning on collecting the posts into a physical book (much more durable than a WordPress site in 2047, I fear) and I suspect I will do some more writing in the next couple of months about this process and what I’ve learned.
Also, I have a new favorite book now, if anyone is asking. It’s The Moviegoer by Walker Percy. I’ll try not to wait 33 years before I read that one again.