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List 1: Literary Heirlooms.

To keep myself from descending into one of the deeper depressions of my life to date, I’ve decided to compile a list–well, a series of lists, actually, between now and then, for you.

You’ll find that, above all else, I’m aspirational.

I want you to believe in old things and to find the literary in the mundane. I want you to be patient with minutia, so you’ll know its meaning. I want you to learn how to tolerate tedium, because so much of life swells with it. I know, because of who we were, that you’ll be eccentric and sensitive and perceptive. But I need for you to have things to hold–insurance of a sort–tangible and intangible talismans of art so that your doubts, which may proliferate rapidly and without warning, will always find themselves undermined by hope and then conquered.

Here is where we’ll begin. These are the things I will hold to your ear, before you are here:

1. Walt Whitman’s “Pioneers, O Pioneers!” as read by Will Geer:

2. Gwendolyn Brooks’ “We Real Cool”:

3. “Generations” by Suji Kwock Kim (2:35-7:28)

4. The Seven Seasons of Man monologue from As You Like It (5:14-:7:46):

5. Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening:

6. Chimamanda Adichie’s “The Danger of a Single Story”: