Here is a list I will be adding to in the downtime I pry from the jaws of my current situation for a future book. What will that book entail? It's going to look at overlooked masterworks that have much to give us, from the realms of music, film, art, literature, but here's the rub: each work will be covered in roughly 600 words. I'm thinking 100 entries. It'll be lively, ingratiating, conversational, learned--and fun and meaningful--and one can painlessly gather up a lot of new knowledge and have a good time doing so. I don't believe someone else could do quite this book. They could do a book focusing on a single subject--say, rock and roll songs you need to hear before you die, or overlooked films--but not this sort of integration. Learned and accessible at the same time is kind of my thing, so why not put an entire liberal arts education--or a kind of one--into a snappy book? I am engaging in none of that quota business of "do I have enough of this kind of people, of this color, this gender." I'm not interested in those games, which strike me as truly racist and truly sexist. These will be works that have meant much to me, and which I feel can mean much to others. Or, that failing, will be entertaining to read about in a "I never knew that" kind of way. That's my criteria.
(Edit: It's Halloween 2020. Thus far, ten entries have been written in book on John Clare's "I Am," Robert Freeman's With the Beatles cover, Judy Garland's first live performance of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," Steve Reich's "Come Out," Nick Drake's "Black Eyed Dog," George Pal's Tubby the Tuba, Leo McCarey's Make Way for Tomorrow, the "The Thing on the Fourble Board" episode of Quiet, Please, Jean-Honoré Fragonard's painting The Meeting, Hilton Edwards' Return to Glennsascaul.)
* Eugène Delacroix's journals
* George Frideric Handel's "Amen" chorus from Messiah
* John Clare's poem "I Am"
* Robert Freeman's With the Beatles cover
John Millington Synge's journal-travelogue The Aran Islands
* The Eid Mar coin
* Franz Liszt's transcription of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony
* Judy Garland's first live performance of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
* Jocelin of Brakelond's Chronicle of the Abbey of St. Edmunds
* Billie Holiday's first live performance of "Strange Fruit" (Philharmonic Hall)
* Flann O'Brien's short story collection The Various Lives of Keats and Chapman
* Hank Williams' song "Alone and Forsaken"
* William Sloane's novel The Edge of Running Water
* Jean Vigo's film Zero for Conduct
* Ken Dryden's memoir The Game
* Radiohead's song "Let Down"
* Ring Lardner's short story "The Golden Honeymoon"
* Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe's song "Two Little Girls from Little Rock"
* Nicholas Ray's film The Lusty Men
* John Wilmot's poem "Tunbridge Wells"
* The first season of Cheers
* The Five Royales' song "Dedicated to the One I Love"
* Eric Dolphy's solo clarinet rendition of "God Bless the Child" (Five Spot)
* Bob Dylan's song "Dink's Song"
* The Peanuts TV special You're in Love, Charlie Brown
* The Beach Boys' album Wild Honey
* TV film Whistle and I'll Come to You
* H.P. Lovecraft's study Supernatural Horror in Literature
* The Who's song "Baby Don't You Do It" (live)
* Robert Motherwell's painting Open in Ochre
* Lawrence Ritter's oral history The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It
* Tommy McClennan's song "Bottle Up and Go"
* F. Scott Fitzgerald's personal essay "Handle with Care"
* Disney's cartoon The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
* Andrew Hill's song "Dedication"
* Laurel and Hardy's film The Music Box
* Auguste Rodin's sculpture Iris, Messenger of the Gods
* James Audubon's blue jay plate and text from The Birds of America
* Sun Ra's album Jazz in Silhouette
* William Dawson's Negro Folk Symphony
* TV series Children of the Stones
* Hilton Edwards' film Return to Glennascaul
* Jean-Honoré Fragonard's painting The Meeting
* The Flamin' Groovies' song "Shake Some Action"
* Suspense's radio episode of The House in Cypress Canyon"
* Buster Keaton's film One Week
* Franz Kafka's short story "The Burrow"
* Jelly Roll Morton's song "The Murder Ballad"
* Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Twelve Variations on "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman"
* X Minus One's radio episode of "How-2"
* Ella Fitzgerald's live performance of "How High the Moon" (Berlin)
* Marsden Hartley's painting Rock Doxology
* Van Morrison's live recording of "Cyprus Avenue" (Boston, 1968)
* Igor Stravinsky's ballet, Les noces
* Steve Reich's tape piece "Come Out"
* Owen Chase's Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex
* The Rolling Stones' song "Cocksucker Blues"
* Robert Nighthawk's album Live on Maxwell Street 1964
* Fitz Henry Lane's painting Fishing Party
* The Quintet's album Jazz at Massey Hall
* Franz Schubert's song Erlkönig
* Mauritz Stiller's film Erotikon
* Elvis Presley's song "I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water" (undubbed)
* George Pal's film Tubby the Tuba
* Oliver Onions' short story "The Beckoning Fair One"
* Jimi Hendrix's song "Hear My Train A Comin'" (acoustic)
* Lord Byron's poem "When We Two Parted"
* Stan Brakhage's film Mothlight
* The Byrds' live performance of "Eight Miles High" (Untitled)
* Beethoven's opera Fidelio
* Daniil Kharms' short story "An Unexpected Bender"
* The Twilight Zone episode "Walking Distance"
* The Yardbirds' song "Shapes of Things"
* Henry David Thoreau's Journals
* Robert Bresson's film A Man Escaped
* Harold Pinter's play The Dumb Waiter
* Arnold Lobel's children's book Frog and Toad Are Friends
* Stephen Foster's song "Hard Times Come Again No More"
* Leo McCarey's film Make Way for Tomorrow
* Thomas Love Peacock's novel Nightmare Abbey
* Robert Burton's study/memoir/exploration The Anatomy of Melancholy
* E.W. Hornung's story collection The Amateur Cracksman (A.J. Raffles series)
* Carter Family song "Can the Circle Be Unbroken"
* Nick Drake song "Black Eyed Dog"
* Quiet, Please's radio episode of "The Thing on the Fourble Board"
* Thorold Dickinson's film The Queen of Spades
* Early Shakers spiritual "Come Life, Shaker Life"
* Johnny Burnette and the Rock and Roll Trio's song "Lonesome Train (On a Lonesome Track)"
* Bruce Robinson's film Withnail and I
* Francois Gilot's memoir Life with Picasso