Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Signing Up For Eternity

I just added 59 movies to my netflix queue.  Every academy awards best picture winner.  I've only seen 19 so far.

When I was looking for a bookmark to use for a book I was starting today, I came across one that I had picked up at powell's this summer.  It's a list of all the pulitzer prize winners in the fiction category since the award was first given in 1918.  I decided that I'm going to read all of them.  I've only read 4 so far.

Of course, after I finish these two lengthy lists, there are many other lists.  There are the golden globe winners, the sundance winners, AFI's 100 best movies, the Criterion collection, etc.  There are the National Book Award winners, the New York Times bestsellers, Oprah's book club selections, and on and on.  And apart from these notable lists, there are personal goals I would like to accomplish in the form of lists, such as reading every Steinbeck, or Vonnegut, or Hemingway, or watching every Hitchcock, or Allen, or Altman.

And right now, even though I am excited to get started, it worries me that I might not ever finish.  That I don't have enough time!  Even deeper than that, I'm getting worried that I won't enjoy the lists eventually, that my strict adherence to the lists will decrease the amount of spontaneity and increase the predictability in my life.  Whether or not these concerns are superficial, they are closely related to the amount of uncertainty in my life (if I have enough time to accomplish lists that really matter, i.e., things I need to do to start a career, places I would like to visit and/or live, or in other words contained in this one list; what to do before I die).

I would much rather worry about movies and books.

Either way though, it reminds me of a line from a Five Iron Frenzy song:

"It's a little disconcerting, signing up for eternity."


Anonymous said...

I think you and i should be the kind of friends that grow old together. I can just imagine you and I living fairly close as old men and no matter who comes and goes, we'll be pals thru it all. Isn't that kinda cool to think about?
see you there.

kylee said...

that was really sweet of chad.

your lists are exciting, you've kind of already been at them the last year or so... i would like to join you for many of these. i promise if we start by nine and i actually sleep the night before, i will make every effort to not fall asleep during the viewing. This could even mean sitting on the coffee table

Peter Roy said...

I know what you mean. I've tried to make my way through many lists as well. Got about 35 or so of AFI's top 100, have been making my way through the Harvard shelf of classics for some time now, and I actually have that same Pulitzer list somewhere...

But it turns out, like you were worrying about, it was too hard to limit myself to a list. While I certainly would like to read and see more from those lists, to set it as a goal was too much. It's not good to feel guilty about reading or wanting to read some book just because it's not on your list. I definitely think you'll miss the spontaneity.

The other thing is some of my favorite books and movies probably aren't on any lists, while some listed things I can't stand. Like I really have no idea how anybody could make it through Moby Dick. Ha.

Well good luck, I'm interested to see how it goes!

Anonymous said...

get a life chris...

interesting that i'm reading this.

anyways, chris. i like you a lot. You're a good person