I'm grateful for language, ways we put language into forms and shapes and then attempt to explain our lives. I'm grateful there are people who try to do so. I'm grateful for everything I haven't read yet, for every line that moves me or confuses me or crystallizes something. I'm grateful for fiction and non-fiction. For the object of the book, for its weight, pages and fonts. I'm grateful for books found buried in thrift store bins, books I've loaned and given away so many times that I must buy them over and over (I'm looking at you, Jesus' Son). I'm grateful for unfinished and forgotten books. I imagine the lucky person who picked up my 5 cent copy of Doris Lessing's The Summer Before The Dark from the seat back pocket on the Jet Blue flight from Boston. I'm grateful for Doris Lessing. I'm grateful Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize and for her sad, elegant, structurally incomparable short stories. I'm grateful for small presses and literary magazines, even the ones I don't have time to read piling on my end table. I'm grateful that I could read forever starting now and never get to it all. I'm grateful for everything I've ever read, for the jolt of each discovery, for The Count of Monte Cristo in 5th grade and The Flamethrowers last week, and everything in between.
I'm grateful for drama and melodrama. For example, I'm guiltily grateful for the glittery, inexplicable perfection of Nashville and the country stars whose soap operas unfold within. I'm grateful for how weirdly addictive it is, for how fraught and sexy every duet seems. I'm grateful for fraught and sexy scenes in general. I'm grateful for the fact that I cannot stream Nashville and so I must just watch it episode by episode, old school, the cliff hangers actually able to work their car crash/explosion/fade to darkness magic. I'm grateful for guilty pleasures of all sorts, for our eclecticism that allows us to encompass all we're attracted to -- the trashy, entertaining and sublime.
I'm grateful I somehow missed out on watching Breaking Bad for years, even though it was a cultural phenomenon, and now I get to start from the very beginning, while for many people it's already over. I'm grateful for suspense and anticipation, for the million delights, pleasures and surprises of narrative. For Scandal and Homeland, for quadruple agents, spies, and love affairs with the president, for juicy plots of all varieties.
I'm so grateful Tempers finally has a new song. I'm grateful for music, for how it's inextricably linked with our personal history, identity and memory. I'm grateful for the moment in the bar when I hear The Lemonheads and get all nostalgic, remembering some ephemeral fragment of being 13. I'm grateful for how it feels to listen to music while I get ready to go out, while I cook, while I work. I'm grateful for how, so often, a song says something sweeping and visceral and blood-level, that can be said in no other way.
I'm grateful for Spotify and Shazam, for record players and juke boxes. I'm grateful for concerts, for standing in the dark, shoulder to shoulder. I'm grateful for how what we love and discover musically helps us understand and be who we are. I'm grateful there is always something new to hear. I'm grateful for Skin Town and Hunters, two bands I randomly read about today and have been listening to for the past hour. I'm grateful for the countless moods that can be evoked, transcended, and relished, with the right song as the soundtrack. I'm grateful for the music I listened to as a teenager. I'm grateful for the music my parents listened to while I was growing up. I'm grateful for the music my teenage students tell me is cool now. I'm grateful for mixed tapes from boys. For dancing. I'm so grateful for dancing.
I'm grateful for movies and movie theaters. I'm grateful for Michael Fassbender and his handsome face and how he chooses to mostly play such brutal, unattractive men. I'm grateful for artsy movies and action movies. I'm grateful that the Embarcadero Center Cinema re-opened, and that you can drink wine at the Kabuki. I'm grateful for Sunday afternoons that feel the exact sort of cozy way that makes going to the movies the exact right thing to do. I'm grateful for Antonio Campos, Brit Marling and Todd Haynes, to name just three of thousands. I'm grateful for previews. I love previews. I'm grateful for really great cinematic scenes, the scene where conflicting expressions pass over the character's face while he dances and we understand something horrible and new and illuminating. I'm grateful for B movies starring Paul Walker. I'm grateful for the ways we absentmindedly, casually touch each other while watching movies in the dark, a hand to an arm or knee or forearm. I'm grateful for popcorn. For 16mm. For boring movies that drag on too long. For the obscure movies I studied in college. For the romantic movies I watch alone and keep secret. For the movies that have shaped my ideas about no less than love, beauty and life.