I’m not talking about grocery lists – I’m talking about lists. I’m talking about obsession. I’m talking about the things that fascinate us, revolt us, move us. I’m talking about the things that push us to create, to think, to become someone different.
My lists tend to begin when I get that little tingle of interest, when something comes up two or three times in a short period of time and I go – AHA! I’d like to see / know / understand more of that – whatever that is.
First, I find a notebook. The perfect notebook. The one that is the right size, shape, paper, cover for the subject. How do I know this when I only have the smallest beginning of what may turn out to be a list? I don’t. I just keep looking at notebooks. I usually start with the many empty ones I’ve bought and keep in my office at home. Occasionally, though, the obsession captures me so quickly I have to shop right there and then. At that point, cost becomes no object. The notebook is more than necessary, it’s absolutely crucial.
And then I begin. And then, generally pretty quickly, I stop. I have dozens of notebooks with five or ten or maybe even twenty pages of a list – very seldom more than that. And yes, it’s a waste of paper, but I can’t take the notebook that contains X-obsession and use the next pages for Y-obsession.
So what that means is I have a whole bunch of notebooks with three or ten or twenty (occasionally forty or fifty) items in them. I have lists of –
- Names of all kinds – people, places, boats
- Books I’ve read (I actually kept this notebook for years and then stopped)
- Movies I’ve seen – I do this most years shortly after the nominations come out for the Oscars, the Golden Globes, the Directors Guild awards
- Potential titles for stories of all kinds
- Ideas for blogs (and I wish I could find that notebook!)
- Art postcards that I’m sure at some point will inspire me (I know it isn’t actually a list, but in my brain it is)
Here are the list notebooks I could find – I know there are more of them, but I’ve just moved and the rest of them could be anywhere. Maybe I should start a list about the things I need to find? Probably not worth it, though, as I have no idea what the things are that I need to find – that’s why they’re missing.