Jan 18, 2011

Things Add Up

Do you keep a mental list of everything you get done in a day or a week?  Does your head keep track: five loads of laundry, three loads of dishes, one trip to Safeway, one trip to Costco, a stop at the vet for cat food, wrapped two packages, took them to Fedex, searched for daughter's car registration, made turkey meatloaf, and on and on. Obviously, I make such lists.

Sometimes, I keep an actual, on-paper, list.  On a slow day, I keep track of everything.  "Made the bed."  Making the bed takes ten seconds but if the list is thin "made the bed" goes on the list, even if I write it in at night, long past the actual making of the bed and as obvious filler.  Sometimes "called the plumber" goes on the list, as does every call I made that day.  A list of five phone calls looks like five actual tasks, whether the call was five seconds or twenty minutes, whether the call accomplished anything or not.   I imagine if I had a very, very,  slow day "brushed my teeth" would make the list but I've never fallen that far.  I'm wimpy but not that wimpy.

Sometimes, when I make an actual, physical,  list and I look back at my week's accomplishment, I am actually impressed.  I did get the car serviced, plan the vacation, arrange to have the trees trimmed, take the old clothes to the Goodwill, design a rooftop windmill, make bread, cook three dinners, pay all the bills, cure cancer, and cut up the boxes in the garage for recycling.  Whew, what a week.

Now that I'm in an MFA program, I imagine that "read five pages of poetry" will make my lists on slow days, and "wrote five poems" will go on the list in full weeks. Maybe I should vary the type?  Sixteen point bold for big jobs, 14 point for medium jobs, ten point for my little fake jobs like making the bed?   Would creating the system make the list? You bet.