We write lists. For example: need coffee; water salsa garden; work out Monk’s “Blue Monk” on the Tele; write post. We use our Joe Mitchell reporter’s sheet. But sometimes we write in a hurry, and, later, find our list barely discernible – what did we mean by “eh”? But a list just might be a prelude to a masterpiece. One never knows. Often we find old ones in the pockets of a fresh pair of jeans, the folded pieces stuck together, the writing lost to the wash.
We wonder what the lists of some of our favorite writers might have looked like:
Jack London: pick up six-pack; finish John Barleycorn.
Samuel Becket: take trash can to curb; finish Endgame.
Ernest Hemingway: tie new flies; finish “Hills Like White Elephants.”
J. D. Salinger: finish Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters; buy shredder.
Georges Simenon: finish book; start new book; finish it; start another one.
Li Po: note to Tu Fu – good night for wine and barbecue.
A writer has to start somewhere. Make a list.