Lists Can Tell Stories

Your lists can tell so much about you. Where you’re going, what you’re doing, how much you have left to do, if you need milk, etc.

More Than a Grocery List

An artsy guy named Bill Keaggy collected a bunch of grocery lists in his blog and book, “Milk Eggs Vodka: Grocery Lists Lost and Found.” People from all over sent in their lists or ones that they found and the results were pretty telling. There were normal grocery items like milk and eggs.  But some offer strange combinations like the one that includes hair detangler and Prozac. Bill’s commentary always makes me laugh.  Check it out for a chuckle.

A Life in Lists

Another curator of lists is Karen Rizzo. No relation but we must be long lost cousins or something.  We both share a love of lists as a way of organizing thoughts. Her book, “Things to Bring, S#!T to Do… and other inventories of anxiety” is a really fun read. It tells all the ups and downs of her life through her to-do lists. Why didn’t I think of that? I’ve tried to reach out to her to tell her I love her book but I can’t seem to find her — if anyone does, please send her my way.

Short Story is Really a List

Yet another smart cookie is using a list to tell a story. Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jennifer Egan wrote a piece for the Guardian called “To Do,” which is a short story disguised as a list. In about 300 words she tells a sinister story that people with short attention spans can love.

Your lists can be introspective, functional, fun, happy, sad, creative or even pointless. I love to hold on to my old lists and look back at what I was doing and what mattered at the time. Take a look at your own lists and let me know what you find!

4 replies
  1. Nancy Borg
    Nancy Borg says:

    Unabashedly, I admit that my lists have mini-lists (with sub-categories) As a Professional Organizer, I am constantly making lists, checking off, crossing off, and re-writing NEW lists! If I have something left-over on my list at the end of the day…I am compelled to draft another brand new list.

    Now, how’s that for story telling, and what do you think it’s saying? Hmmm.

  2. Darcie Rowan
    Darcie Rowan says:

    Actually, this is very true. If for some reason I was missing – my husband could look on my desk and read through my lists and calendar to know exactly what I was doing that day and where I was going next. WOW … I guess i’m telling a story that I’m really busy … good entry today.


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