The Art of a List


By Marni Zarr Each morning when I wake, I make a list. First is dinner. What’s for dinner??? The question looms like a tiny splinter lodged under my skin, unnoticeable unless touched and then the annoyance lingers past the pain. You know, that miniscule one you can’t remove but it’s undeniably there so you either get frustrated attempting to ignore it, or accept it, and eventually it works it’s way out.

Next up, “trash out,” “kids to school,” “walk the dog,” “check mailbox,” “buy lunch bags and milk,” “get gas” . . . succinct chores neatly stacked like building blocks, always topped off with a load of laundry. “A load a day keeps the pile away” . . . I make up silly sayings, mostly to amuse my simply-amused self. Bashful to share half of what my mind writes while it’s busily lost in thought, I’ve finally come to appreciate the vastly under appreciated and valuable by-product of everyday chores, realizing that inspiration comes most easily when my hands and task-oriented mind are in motion.

Some of my best bursts of writing creativity occur when I am driving and listening to a song. It's usually a catchy tune with swinging lyrics that confide flirtation and first glances---the anticipation of discovering all those small things about a person that seem to spark your interest the moment you meet them. Some people are interesting, and then there are those whose unique mannerisms stick to your mind like a fly to a frog’s tongue. I don’t completely understand the science of it but I’ve felt the tension pulling taut like a slingshot ready to fire. Something in the back of my mind functions of it’s own accord sending sparks of Morse code to my sub-conscious to be stored and decoded later. Sometimes it takes hours and many times it’s not until days later that the replay becomes obsessive, starting and stopping as I try to pinpoint the moment the tiny spark flew. A game of catch from one to the other or both firing at the same time, laser beams pinpointed for collision and meeting at the height of their arc, then a little explosion sending back a blinking mission complete to some part of the brain. Is it the frontal lobe?

I jot that down on my list to look up later.


[image: Attribution some rights reserved by puuikibeach on Flickr]