One • Art that has some dirt on it; recent examples include Sun Kil Moon's Benji and the films of Richard Linklater and Joe Swanberg. The latter shot Happy Christmas on film, spent the film's whole small budget in fact purchasing film. He shot the movie at his own house, with his own two-year-old son playing the role of his character's two-year-old son. I am grateful for imperfection and incompleteness. I am grateful for naturalistic, shaggy, informal, and spontaneous art-making. I am grateful for conversations.
Two • The essays of Gretel Ehrlich, her reflections on Wyoming's culture and geography, and in particular this passage: "Perhaps despair is the only human sin. Who am I to feel disappointed? Is a bird disappointed in the sky?"
Three • A website called DuoLingo that offers free, comprehensive language lessons. This is an amazing resource for language learning. It keeps track of your progress, lets you set a daily goal, rewards you with points and levelups and such. I am grateful for languages, for their sonic beauties, their odd back alleys and dead ends.
Four • Topography; simply topography. An earth that is not flat, an earth with mountains, canyons, river valleys, arroyos. I am grateful for the Sun Mountain Trail in Santa Fe, New Mexico. From the top you can see four different mountain ranges. I am grateful for each, and for a spot in between them.
Five • The United States Postal Service. Sending and receiving mail is the best. I love the feeling of hand-addressing an envelope. I am grateful for ZIP codes in general, because I think they are cool, and for each ZIP code in which I have personally resided, which have begun with the numbers 5, 6, 7, and 8. I'm grateful for this cool map that shows the nationwide breakdown of ZIP distributions. I am grateful for my friend Alex's Zip Code Memoir. (I'm admittedly unconvinced on this whole ZIP+4 situation.)
10 Best of 2014
January: Wyoming and the Open
February: New Mexico and the Holes
Notes on The Accounts