Progress Report: April 2014

April 20, Los Angeles: I have now passed one quarter of my year spent in review. It’s been good so far! I’ve re-read some absolutely wonderful books, reconnected with some old, lost emotions and written about it along the way. It’s been hard to not read new things (Teju Cole’s new book sits on my desk at work and murmurs to me throughout the day) but I’ve created an email folder for 2015 recommendations and I’ll share that at the end.

How have we done so far? How about a mathematical accounting?

So far I’ve re-consumed and reviewed 16 works!
TV shows: 1
Albums: 4
Books: 6
Movies: 5

That number comes with fewer exclamation points when you look at the expectation.
TV shows: 1 of 12 | 8 percent
Albums: 4 of 55 | 7 percent
Books: 6 of 41 | 15 percent
Movies: 5 of 38 | 14 percent
Games: 0 of 4 | 0 percent
Total 16 of 150 | 11 percent

If time in the year is twenty-five percent consumed, I’m a bit off my pace.

A few things have been hard to keep up with. First is that my writing is slipping far behind my consumption. I watched Do the Right Thing on the plane back from London and it took me three weeks to write it up. Second is that my plan for tackling music was entirely off. I’ve always listened to music in the background— a soundtrack to whatever was happening in my life at that time. Usually one album, on repeat, for multiple days or weeks. So I assumed that each week I would choose a different selection and let it play on in the background. This was not the case. I found I needed to focus at work and work is the place I consume the most music and the music I would have been consuming would have shattered that focus. Imagine Boyz II Men’s II all day, all week? I’d selected fifty-five pieces of music, roughly one for each week, but now I most often listen to an album once through and then walk away.

One other thing that does not seem to be working is that the writing does not flow into a story. There is no real throughline unless you are quite the connoisseur of Andrews Fitzgerald (a big fan of this guy, for example) and have an unending well of patience. I cannot imagine keeping up as a reader of this project. So I am going to try to organize the next 75% into a few themes. Themes such as:

  • My Aquatic Childhood and My Dad the Pirate
  • Concocting a Persona through Media Consumption
  • Kicking through the Darkness to Become a Stable, Productive Adult
  • Influences on My Own Creative Work, And the Inevitable Results
  • A Long Waltz Through Nerddom

While these themes will not capture all of the works remaining to be consumed, they should offer some structure to the rest of this year. And hopefully some structure to the reader or follower of this project. I’ll tackle one theme at a time, and work through that theme chronologically, telling that story along the way. I’ve got one book to finish and then I’ll kick off the first.

The inevitable question, when making a long list: What has been left out? A lot, of course. But even with an editor’s eye, there are still a handful of books and movies and albums that I must add. Who could not re-read The Gunslinger or re-listen to Jesus Christ Superstar? There are a few new additions, but I won’t make a big fuss out of them. And also that second to last theme raises another point: What about the things I *made*, not just consumed? While this material might not be canonically good, has certainly left its impact upon me. I’ll need to weave that in, too.

Some highlights so far:

I also made a page of all the post in chronological order.

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