Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2018 >Daily Dispatch #98

April 8, 2018: The ABC’s of Listing

It is looking like it is an ideas day. Haven’t had one in a while. I am never sure when an ideas day is going to occur, but a safe predictor is that I have gotten enough sleep. I never really get enough sleep, but I only need some sleep in order to have much-needed powers of concentration.

So today’s big idea. A book on the subject of keeping lists. That is, a book about the types of lists that people keep, and how, when, and why they keep them. I wrote two lists this morning. My first was a list relating to the things that I have to do this week, in preparation for going away next week. I had this brilliant idea, which was to first write down the days of the week and then write down what I am to do on each of these days. This made me feel a little less overwhelmed and also provided me with a much-needed framework for the days ahead.

The, without thinking about it, I wrote ABC’s of Listing on a 3 x 5 index card and placed it next to my computer. This list is going to keep me accountable as I work on this book. A-Z, there, I had the list headers.

I will write each one up as a dispatch because this is low stakes writing. The word accountable jumped out at me – it starts with the letter A is why we keep lists. We are being accountable to ourselves and to others when we start attempting to organize what it is we are planning on doing.

I could include excerpts from writers who have kept lists. What first comes to mind is Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. In there, a character, I think a matriarch, begins writing down the names of things on objects, such as a cow, so that she does not forget what the name of the object actually is.

How is it that writing something down and then returning to it at a later point in time brings what needs to be done back to mind? I am going to have to do some research and also interview neuroscientists. And what do we do with our lists? Most, we throw away.

This will primarily be a book for writers because listing is an integral aspect of the composing process. We tend to bypass it because it is erroneously believed that early drafts are the writer’s responsibility. We are also, in coming up with lists, our first audience. Secondary audiences assist us in filling in the blanks.

This will be a book that I’ll write in between doing other projects. I’ll carry around my list topics and when a good one comes to mind, I’ll fill in the blank. And I’ll write the early drafts as dispatches.

Well, this is a start. Heave ho. In a way a form of procrastination. I am now resuming revising the Fork book.

Next: 99. 4/9/18: The ABCs of Listing: Audience, Accountability, and Alternatives

Horse Care Home About Us Dispatches Trips Alys's Articles