Do you ever pick up quotes from movies or TV shows and then, for the life of you, can't remember where the quote comes from? There's one that occurs to me often, but I have zero idea where it came from, and it's this: a guy is talking to another guy about racing, and he says something about putting the pedal all the way down but you're "all out of car." I think about that one a lot because it's about how the spirit can be willing, but there are very real physical limits to things. You may want to go faster, but when you're at the absolute limit of the engine, there's no more car left for you to have.
That's exactly how I feel right now.
Which is strange, because I've had weeks of time off from teaching and away from writing and reading, but I'm all out of car. There have been times in the past when my winter break was fruitful. These past few weeks, it seems like all I can do to...well, you get the idea. The current novel has been hovering around 40k words for over a month. Even Reservation Blues, as magnificent a novel as it is, isn't inspiring me much. A lot of novels are winding up on the "did not finish" pile.
It's like the universe understands this in some ways, though, because no matter where I go, I keep running in to students that have already graduated who are doing well and have nice things to say about our time together. That helps. I was prepared for this last batch of course evaluations (though I have some pretty serious problems with the way course evaluations are set up these days) students said nice things in the comments. That helped, too.
Having to go back home for the funeral just kind of knocked the wind out of me and I'm not recovering super fast.
I'm getting a lot of anime watched, though, so that's a thing. I have to admit that I'm not as impressed with "Jojo's Bizarre Adventure" as I thought I was going to be when I first started it. "Rascal does not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai" has a fantastic concept, but the pace is slow...and if you know the kinds of films I love, you'd know that means glacial.
All of this is by way of saying that I'm not going to be doing an end of the year list like I normally do; I'm just going to do this quicky, down-and-dirty one-entry version. I hope that's okay:
Best book I read this year: Tatjana Soli's 2010 novel, The Lotus Eaters
Best film I saw this year: Alfonso Cuarón's film, "Roma"
Best album I bought this year: Jacob Collier's "Djesse Vol. 1"
Best anime I watched this year: Studio Trigger's "SSSS.Gridman"
So that's my list. You should check them out. If you get a chance, let me know in comments what you liked this year.
As always, thanks for the support for the books. It really does mean a lot to me that you guys are enjoying them.
I know you're going to get tired of hearing this, but let's collectively hope for a better 2019, ok?