Lists of Things

At the end of the year, NPR, The New York Times, and my FB feed are full of Best Of lists. Music and books and movies. I could make a list of my own favorites this year, and perhaps I will. I’ve seen a few movies: Boyhood, Birdman, and Interstellar. Also lots of documentaries and indies, mostly on my computer screen, via Netflix and Amazon. I could make a list of books, of course, because I’ve read many this year and have lots of passionate opinions about the best ones, and why they are the best ones. All The Birds, Singing by Evie Wylde, An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine, Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend trilogy, Linn Ullman’s The Cold Song. Karl Ove Knausgaard’s Book Two. These are off the top of my head.

Of the three categories, I’m least able to make a list of the best music of the year because I’m aware of so little. Friends sent their CD’s and I enjoyed those. Through NPR, I learned of Luluc. Through Jeremy, Mark Kozelek’s (or rather Sun Kil Moon’s) new one, Benji. My friend and former songwriting student Geoff Schroeder has a band called Second Hand. I listened to their blue-grassy debut quite a bit. I bought Haley Boner’s, War, and Aaron Lee Tasjan’s EP, Crooked River Burning. My friend, Amanda Kravat’s EP, and most recently, I’ve been listening to Sylvie Simmon’s record, Sylvie, produced by Howe Gelb. I’m writing about it for Salon. It’s very good. Maybe everyone’s music list is like this now. Songs you happen to come across. There is so much out there. How to even find it, let alone absorb it?

I could make a list of other things, such as: best days, best friends, best dog, best three cats. Best cake eaten all at one time. Best nurse at Lenox Hill Hospital. Best poem for a friend’s lost son. Best reason for a resentment. Best sleepless night. Best things to forget. Best song I haven’t finished yet. Best laugh. Best silly moment. Best reunion with an old friend. Best sentence written today. Best hope for the future. Best wishes for the new year.

Yeah, best wishes for the new year. Love, health, happiness, and prosperity. Now, there’s a list. x

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