You know how you always look forward to time off, and make grandiose plans for sucking the marrow out of every second, and then when the time finally comes you invariably squander it? I do that constantly, but summer is the worst. This year I decided to break down some of my larger goals and focus on making small progress on some of them.
On May 22, I wrote a list of 27 things to do this summer. I gave myself until the last day before I would go back to work–August 18–to do them. Now, two of them were very poorly planned, so I really had 25 things to do.
Out of those 25, I did 6. A few others were close or in progress, but only 6 can be confidently checked off.
Still, sadly, that makes this my most productive summer ever.
Here are the six things I did:
2. Study all of the Pimsleur Chinese CDs in unit 1A.
3. Submit James Joyce cartoon to The New Yorker. (No word back yet.)
4. Query article about the Book of Mormon to five major publications. I suggested to the editors that, as next year will mark the 180th anniversary of its publication, this would be a good time to review the startling story of its production, some fascinating trivia about the nature of the text, theories and controversies regarding authorship, and other such ideas. I’ve already gotten two (negative) responses. We’ll see if any of the other three are more open.
5. See five more AFI movies. I overachieved on this one (surprise); I saw six. They were:
A Streetcar Named Desire (an atmospheric and moody meditation on the weakness of human nature–very striking), Lawrence of Arabia(overwhelmingly beautiful masterpiece–so stirring that I sat enrapt during the Intermission),
Patton (Hollywood sure won’t ever make a movie like that again!),
The Searchers (another John Wayne flick that defies the easy, lazy stereotypes–his suppressed inner conflicts resolve to make him more sensitive at the end),
Treasure of the Sierra Madre (comparing this paranoid raver with Bogart’s most memorable, macho characters from Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon with his subdued, passive role in The African Queen really fleshes out his legacy, and I enjoyed seeing Walter Huston again after And Then There Were None), and
Gone With the Wind (I loved the dizzying first half, but the second half was a groaner–I’ve never seen a movie where so many characters who are inconvenient to the protagonists die so glibly!).
Incidentally, The African Queen is the source of my favorite movie quote: “I now pronounce you man and wife. We will proceed with the execution.”
6. Read five more books from list for the year. I read:
Death in Holy Orders, by P.D. James
Mr. Sammler’s Planet, by Saul Bellow
White Noise, by Don DeLillo (a weird but friendly philosophical satire of 80’s materialism that is so outrageously deadpan that it could all be true)
The Deluxe Transitive Vampire, by Karen Elizabeth Gordon
A Briefer History of Time, by Stephen Hawking (always fascinating, but I lament to confess that I was confused several times–still very worthwhile)
I’ll edit the next best ten goals on my list and roll them over until the end of the year.