4 minutes reading time (726 words)

DOWN WITH LIST POEMS!

On my desktop I have a file titled To Do List AUGUST.

That’s because I belong to a species of human beings known as listmakers. It’s not a bad species. They are never ever listless.

The list on the desktop varies in length. Just now it comprises 24 items. It will never become a list poem. (I espouse lists, not list poems.)

I add and remove things to this list daily. In fact, just now I added eight things just because I started to think about what I needed to do today in addition to what was already on the list.b2ap3_thumbnail_MAILSHOTONE.jpg

However, seven items of the 24 have been on the list all summer. Two involve having cups of coffee with friends, or writing reviews, or whole publications.

An interesting (to me) aspect of lists is how all the items look the same size. But individually some are much bigger than others. A great advantage of a list, though, is that deleting a quick item (like ‘make dentist appointment’), removes a significant proportion of the string. It shortens the list just as much as, say, ‘write autobiography’.

Five items on my current list are connected with the Blame Montezuma! anthology (there were eight yesterday, which is cheering). But I have photographed the chocolate fish and added them to the webpage. I have designed and ordered the badges. I have ordered and received the chocolate tasting buttons for the event at the Conway Hall on September 6th. I have sent out the copies already requested (though not the sample copies to shops.) Have I mentioned how the first 25 website orders will get free fish? But they won't go out till Wednesday because I don't pick up the fish till Wednesday (it’s on my list).

Only one item on the August list has to do with the garden. It looks small. ‘Do garden.’ But it is big.

When August ends, I will save the list to the 'To Do' list folder (2014) and rename it To Do List SEPTEMBER and save back to the desktop. There is a system to all this.

I shouldn’t have started thinking about the list. The act of thinking has caused me to add two more items. No, three.

Also I’ve just realised that writing this blog isn’t even on the list. That means I need to add that too so I can have the pleasure of deleting it later. Oh – I’ve just thought of another thing. Posting the mail. That’s 28.

Item 28 involves a car and filling several postboxes. The photographs with this blog are what’s going into the postboxes.

Inside the envelopes, there are flyers and postcards and a newsletter. For every publication, I make a flyer. Four of those flyers were on the list last week, but I removed them when they went to Robert at Dolphin press. I hope the flyers are nice things in and of themselves: they try to be. They have a sample poem on them and order details – because we are also desperate to sell poetry here. (It’s not edible and you can’t sit on it.)

You could think of all this HappenStance activity as an admirable occupation. Or you could think of it as crazy. Why the hive of industry? Why the flying flyers? Why the persistent communication with four hundred subscriber/readers?

Poetry. That stuff. Once I just wrote it. Now I write it, and write about it, and print it, and publish it. And finally, the most difficult bit of all, peddle it. I am not a member of the salesperson species. I am, in fact, a fully-trained understater (as well as a listmaker). And I have never ever been good at making money, though I can make a number of other things, lists being only one.

You don’t need to know any of this. But if you’re one of the 400 subscribers, an envelope will reach you on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. All you need to do is open it, read the contents, and buy something.

Then enough money may arrive here to print the next publication. Which would be good. Or not; depending on whether all this is admirable or crazy. It could be both.

Oh! A semi-colon got in there. I must be weakening. Time to cross ‘write blog’ off list.

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Comments 11

Guest - Gill Learner on Sunday, 17 August 2014 12:11

Listmakers of the world … er, add yourselves to a list!

Very relieved tht someone else confesses to adding to a list a task you've just completed for the pleasure of crossing it out.

Listmakers of the world … er, add yourselves to a list! Very relieved tht someone else confesses to adding to a list a task you've just completed for the pleasure of crossing it out.
Guest - Nell Nelson on Sunday, 17 August 2014 12:15

Very pleased to know more than one fellow listmaker is listening.

Very pleased to know more than one fellow listmaker is listening. :)
Guest - Clare Best on Sunday, 17 August 2014 12:45

This here list-maker even lives in a listed house, which lists alarmingly in places too many to list. It's a shame the word listeria has been co-opted by the medics for an unpleasant (?cheese-related) illness - it would have made a fine term for that listful state - for instance before one goes to a conference, book fair or away on holiday - when every list in the head, on the desktop and around the house suddenly presses in on the psyche. And have you other list-makers noticed how far too easily the word list is translated into lust by predictive text?

;) This here list-maker even lives in a listed house, which lists alarmingly in places too many to list. It's a shame the word listeria has been co-opted by the medics for an unpleasant (?cheese-related) illness - it would have made a fine term for that listful state - for instance before one goes to a conference, book fair or away on holiday - when every list in the head, on the desktop and around the house suddenly presses in on the psyche. And have you other list-makers noticed how far too easily the word list is translated into lust by predictive text?
Guest - Ama Bolton on Sunday, 17 August 2014 13:38

Such a heartening post! I can identify with much of this. Lists are what keep me going. Without them I'd get very little done. And there is real satisfaction in crossing items off.

Such a heartening post! I can identify with much of this. Lists are what keep me going. Without them I'd get very little done. And there is real satisfaction in crossing items off.
Ingrid Murray on Sunday, 17 August 2014 16:07

My lists (when I get round to them) are always lost before they are completed. They also always begin with at least two things I have already accomplished to give me immediate satisfaction.

My lists (when I get round to them) are always lost before they are completed. They also always begin with at least two things I have already accomplished to give me immediate satisfaction.
Guest - Nell Nelson on Sunday, 17 August 2014 17:04

Ingrid, you are a mistress of the art! I like the lists that people abandon in shopping trolleys. I often pick them up and read them, convinced they're more meaningful than mine. I have even considered using someone else's list rather than my own, just to see what would happen. We would eat quite different things and maybe turn into different people. Not so many tomatoes and toilet rolls, for example, and possibly no cabbage.

Ingrid, you are a mistress of the art! I like the lists that people abandon in shopping trolleys. I often pick them up and read them, convinced they're more meaningful than mine. I [i]have[/i] even considered using someone else's list rather than my own, just to see what would happen. We would eat quite different things and maybe turn into different people. Not so many tomatoes and toilet rolls, for example, and possibly no cabbage.
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Tuesday, 15 October 2019