(1) I Like Lists

My notebooks are scattered with set lists, grocery lists, grand goals and mundane administrative daily to-do lists. Somewhere in the pages, I have lists of songs I want to learn, people I need to email and stuff I am curious about.

For example:
Things that are Spirals.

  • Whirling Dirvishes
  • Spinning electrons
  • Earth & planets spinning
  • Bathtub drain
  • Galaxies, black holes.
  • Streams of convected steam, smoke whorls
  • Skater’s axle

How are these things connected, I mean, beyond the physics?

I write these lists down in my notebook and on slips of paper in an attempt to dump out my confusion about what the heck to do next and convert it into tangible bullet points. To avoid being swept under the vastness of choice. Lists are comforting. Not that I’m any more certain about the “what’s my life about” question, but at least things are on the page and not in my head.

Often my lists are jumbled and expansive, spanning several pages and levels of priority. They are filled with everything from the dullest of the minutiae (“fold laundry”, “clean my room”) to the noblest of goals (“play massey hall”, “start a blog”). I include self evident things like “take out the green bin” and “make a to-do list” because it’s satisfying each time I get to cross something off. I can look at a page filled with horizontal strokes and think… “Ah, good. Done. I ate lunch.”

In contrast, my physical world – my room – is a manifestation of my brain and does not resemble a list. There is a huge stack of papers and leftover trinkets from launch parties heaped in a pile in front of the red book shelf. Actually, you can’t really say stacked because that implies there is a sort of order. Luckily “clean my room” keeps making the transfer from one list to the next, so I’m sure to get to it soon.

Sometimes I envy people who live in homes and work on computers whose shelves and document folders are neatly organized. Colourful, not cluttered! Their spaces are spotless and gleaming, and every kitchen utensil has its place and things are easily locatable in an emergency.

But it seems my affinity towards the disorderly is a function of an associative thinking style, and I don’t know if I’m willing to give that up to be able to find stuff more quickly. After all, it’s the b ‘n butter of writing to leap across chasms of disparate ideas and create synthesis. And in conclusion, surely it’s creativity not procrastination that explains my messy room and proclivity for list-making! (See how I leapt!) For now, any urges for tidiness will just have to be subsumed by the act of making lists.


Filed under Short Essays, Writing

3 responses to “(1) I Like Lists

  1. ..I’m totally into spirals :-), and you can’t cross those off any lists because you simply can’t. It’s all about VORTICITY


    I’m happy you decided to make a blog, I’ve written a song inspired by your first post, it’s not finished yet..

    Peace and Happy new year

  2. VORTICITY!! Thanks for the link, Peter.

    Being more of a philosophical physicist rather than a factual one, I admit I got lost when the equations started. But I LOVE the word, and that there is such grand science behind the concept.

    When it comes to spirals there’s also the wonder of the Fibonacci Series…

    And… a new song. Awesome news.

  3. Pingback: What The Mayans Can Teach Me About Setting Goals, Or What Are You Doing December 22nd, 2012? | Letters To My Editor

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