Things to Do

Black and white self portrait in the mirrorI am listening to the Black Keys’ El Camino as I write this. In case you were wondering. After this, I will listen to my Christian Kane playlist on Grooveshark. I seem to get a lot done when I listen to Christian Kane. I also get a lot done when I allow myself to be a little ADD about it. Going straight down a “To Do” list never works that well for me. It’s more efficient for me if I work on several things at once as I wander from room to room. Wash the dishes while I’m in the kitchen, write a few addresses in my book when I move some mail from the kitchen to the bedroom, put away the sofa bed after I take an old receipt that I found under my bed to the living room for shredding. I wish I could figure out how to make this happen at work. Borrow my colleagues’ offices for various tasks, that is. I think the getting things done has something to do with constantly being on the move from one end of the apartment to another.

I like making lists of things to do. When I lived in Chicago I started a tradition of making a list of 50 things to accomplish in the new year. The lists were supposed to be written round midnight on New Year’s Eve and were supposed to be completely stream-of-consciousness so that I didn’t stop myself from dreaming big. They often included items like “Meet Matthew McConnaughey in a meaningful way.” I cut it down to 25 a few years ago, but this year I found myself scribbling on past 25 items. And it’s not quite stream-of-consciousness anymore, but I try not to labor over it or weigh the practicalities either. My sister also makes a list, and I just found out that for 2012 we both want to learn how to swim. My list includes prayer, going to arts events, writing, sending out submissions, cooking, and lots of other stuff. The most important items on the list—well, next to prayer and reading the Bible—are the four times I included “Do something that scares me.” Though I suppose reading the Bible and prayer counts as one of those things that scare me, partly because I don’t want to turn into my mother circa 1983 when she was so zealous that I turned my back on God cause all the joy was leached out of my relationship with him. And of course there’s that whole be all you can be thing that a relationship with God enables that, as I wrote yesterday, also scares the crap out of me.

By the way, in case you haven’t noticed, this blog post is incredibly influenced by Stephen Elliott’s Rumpus e-mails. Someday I should tell him that.

I was going to share with you my list from last year with annotations for what I accomplished and what I didn’t, but I think instead I’ll share a list from my 20s. So here’s my 50 Things to Accomplish in 1999. I was about to turn 29, and I was 10 months away from moving to Provincetown from Chicago though I didn’t know that yet. (I’ll asterisk the ones I actually did, and I’ll double asterisk the ones I did eventually even if eventually means last year…)

1. Take a class at the Old Town School of Folk Music.*

2. Get paid to sing.*

3. Have Ross [Bon] as a friend and colleague.

4. Get an article/freelance piece published**

5. Finish “Hollywood and the Queen of the B-List” [this was a screenplay I was working on]

6. Go to Rosa’s [a Chicago blues club I still haven’t visited]

7. Go swing dancing*

8. Get published in Brilliant Corners

9. Win a writing prize*

10. Buy another pair of Dr Martens**

11. Buy a pair of overalls*

12. Buy a pair of earrings from Tiffany and Company*

13. Get a boyfriend

14. Lose 50 more pounds

15. Buy some Jo Malone perfume in London** [well, it was at Pentagon City Mall in Virginia, but it still counts]

16. Pay off 1 credit card*

17. Read 20 books on the 100 Best Books List

18. Write a chapbook and have it published**

19. Watch Citizen Kane*

20. Write two fan letters

21. Learn to knit**

22. Make one new friend*

23. Go to the Aquarium*

24. Go to the Planetarium

25. Have a dinner party**

26. Have sex* [I am so mortified that this is on the list!]

27. Buy a pair of knee-high boots

28. Buy a bikini

29. Read all the poetry books on my shelf

30. Get a tattoo**

31. Visit Patty [Keyes] in Guilderland

32. Go some place I’ve never  been before*

33. See the Mighty Blue Kings  perform out of state*

34. Buy three more bowling/workshirts

35. Buy something from Bliss

36. Buy something from [can’t read what I wrote]

37. Color my hair*

38. Go to a real salon**

39. Get my eyebrows done**

40. Pierce the top of my ear**

41. Get drunk with the Mighty Blue Kings

42. Write a poem for Deeb** [it’s not a good poem though so I gotta keep working on that one]

43. Get one of Faith Ringgold’s quilts or a close facsimile thereof

44. Get that Blue Chicago picture

45. Recover my black chair

46. Bake a dee-lish-us lemon cake**

47. Learn a new sport*

48. Learn French** [I took a basic conversation class in Provincetown]

49. Relearn Italian

50. Rollerblade* [Editors Note: It was just around my apartment, but that counts, right?]

Posted on January 2, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Overalls??? Seriously??

    • It was very early in 1999, remember. Grunge was still around and lots of girls in Chicago were wearing them…which is why they had them at Target. And I looked darn cute in mine…though I had to roll up the bottom a zillion times!

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