Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Packing List

by Lisa Bullard

9_10SpiralNotebookI gen­er­ate a flur­ry of lists for every road trip: A “bizarre attrac­tions to stop and see” list. A “things to tell the cat-sit­ter” list. A pack­ing list.

I love lists. I love them so much I have a whole jour­nal full of dif­fer­ent sorts of lists—I write down every­thing from house­hold repairs to my buck­et list. And I don’t keep lists because I’m one of those super-achiev­er types who expects to get all those things accom­plished.

Instead, I make lists because I man­age to for­get even the most obvi­ous of things if I don’t make note of them. Some­times when the tem­per­a­ture is below zero here in the win­ter, I actu­al­ly for­get to breathe while I’m walk­ing out­side.

Okay, I don’t real­ly write down “breathe,” because I’m not quite that hope­less.  But I do write down most prac­ti­cal stuff.  My lists are the best way I’ve found to suc­cess­ful­ly de-clut­ter my brain. By mak­ing them, I clear out space for my imag­i­na­tion to play.

And then what­ev­er quirky, catawam­pus ideas were pre­vi­ous­ly shoved to the cor­ners of my mind have room to grow, to end up on their own lists. These get filed away under head­ings like “great ideas for a book some­day,” or “awe­some odd­ball char­ac­ter pos­si­bil­i­ties.” They are the best resource I have when I need a prompt to get me start­ed on a new writ­ing project.

In hon­or of this kind of list-mak­ing, the type that feeds the imag­i­na­tion, I offer you a “list poem” activ­i­ty here. It reminds stu­dents not to for­get four impor­tant things: name­ly, the oth­er senses—sound, touch, taste, smell—that writ­ers too often over­look. It also reminds stu­dents to “feed” their imag­i­na­tions by notic­ing the many things that they are thank­ful for this Thanks­giv­ing sea­son.

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