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    My daily writing--emails, journal entries, marginalia, more emails, blog posts, and tweets--shapes me as a writer, helping and hindering the big stuff I'm trying to accomplish. Every word counts.

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My 2008 List, in No Particular Order

I love year-end lists. I hate year-end lists. It’s helpful to take time to reflect, and I invariably learn about music, books, etc. that I would have otherwise missed. But there’s also something lazy about this list-making.

There’s an assumption that artistic achievement is obvious and measurable, even though most critics’ arguments for the greatness of particular works reveal the subjectivity of individual taste. And I suspect those lists reveal as much about critics’ concerns about their reputations as what they enjoyed in the past year. Some like to show how much they agree with others; some insist they are nonconformist royalty.

I’m also frustrated by the assumption that what has been produced in the past year is somehow more important, more timely, than older works. Keeping up is difficult (and I’m a relatively devout consumerist), so I’m still learning about what I’ve missed in past years. But I also find myself revisiting older stuff. Whether it serves my current interests and needs is important; I don’t care when it was created.

So here are some of the artistic products that jazzed me this year, in no particular order.

La Vie en Rose (2007)
Hercules and Love Affair (2008) by Hercules and Love Affair
Seventh Tree (2008) by Goldfrapp
The Lost Language of Cranes (1986) by David Leavitt
Kansas City, Missouri, USA (photograph, year unknown) by Craig C. Sheumaker
Fun Home (2006) by Alison Bechdel
Anything (Ever Recorded) by Ella Fitzgerald
Metropolis: The Chase Suite (2008) by Janelle Monae
When You Are Engulfed in Flames (2008) by David Sedaris
Vauxhall and I (1994) by Morrissey
Skeletal Lamping (2008) by of Montreal
The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
Set Yourself on Fire (2005) by Stars

I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but there’s always next year.

Please share yours. Post your list in a comment here, or leave a link to your blog.

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3 Responses

  1. I posted my favorites. Go to the link above (or below, I don’t know how it will publish)

  2. […] Thanks to my always surprising friend James, who got me to do this.  And to Lydia, who heeded the call first and thereby inspired […]

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