Friday, May 9, 2008

Making Lists

A list is a wonderful thing. A list is an ogre, a sulphurous, devilish nag sitting on the desk, reminding me of what a mean putter-off I am. Today's list runs the lenth of an 8 1/2 sheet. I'll be lucky to get to half of it today. My list mixes writerly tasks, domestic chores and errands, long-range things, like plane tickets for a summer trip. It's all me.

People make poems from lists, use lists for bookmarks, flopsam in the bottom of a briefcase, bludgeons to beat themselves up and make sure they feel bad about their life: "Look at all the things I have not done."

The evil list can, however, be a good friend. It reminds me of who I am, a writer, a mom, a grandma, active citizen, etc. All the things I am show up on that plastic clip board. It reassures me that I have a busy, full life. And it keeps me focused, most of the time. I tend to get lost in my writing and "research" and lose sight of far off goals. Losing track makes for a scramble when I find a deadline sitting right in front of my face, when I could have anticipated better.

So, I'm off to tackle today's chores. It includes work on a new short story, submitting poems, and cleaning up my "collected" poems notebook. (It's great to have one.) I'll vacuum, and I'll edit a letter for The Cafe Review, and email my son and daughter-in-law. In other words, I'll be me, all day, right to the end of the list.

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