Tuesday, January 18, 2011

School today; homework due on Tuesday. I have to start keeping a calendar again, so I can write down things like, homework due on Tuesday.

Luckily it's one of those 18 month calendars, so you can just rip out everything up to January and pretend it never happened. I got this calendar when I was taking bookings for my friend Caroline. So the first few weeks of the calendar is just men's names and phone numbers and lengths of time. Then I stopped, and after that there's just blank pages, weeks and weeks of nothing, of the same stuff every day. Then it says GRE and some dates.

I never write down anything interesting here, or I try not to. These are secret, squirrelly times, the times when I'm trying not to write things down. Words are a tough habit to kick. They still spill out from time to time. It starts with lists, but lists turn into more: a line of words, an arc of them, a drum beat of meaning, an scab that keeps breaking open. If I can't quit, at least I try to keep it corralled in the book with the black covers that I leave snugged in the bottom of my purse with the rubber band around it like a straight jacket. Sometimes the words escape onto the backs of envelopes, the bottom of old grocery lists. It always starts with lists. List of things I can't forget. Things I ought to do. Things I never said. Lists of other lists.

Old memory: my brother thrusting a sheet of my own handwriting in my face. What is this? Why do you do this? Snatching at it. Oh my god, don't touch that. Give it back, don't you get it? This is how i keep the world in order. This is how I spin to make the force of gravity that keeps us all in place. You don't know it but the only reason you are not flying off the face of the planet right now is that i have you on a list that says you can stay.

6 comments:

Scout said...

Windows 7's invention of 'Sticky Notes' has been my lifesaver. I'm a list-maker, too, it's hard to function without it.

Anonymous said...

There's a character in Cat Valente's novel Palimpsest that makes lists that sound similar to yours. Not just to dos, but lists of things--groupings to impose a sort of order. It's not just a character quirk, as her tendency to do this comes into play at a crucial plot point.

I don't comment much, but I read every word.

I would like to see your lists.

Sofi Stellar said...

I love your blog. I'm so glad you're updating again.

Meg said...

I recently saw a movie called Chaos Theory about a guy who keeps lists of every action he takes. Interesting :) You write beautifully.

Frank said...

Bank robbery on Friday at 10:12 am. Must try to impress cute brunette teller by putting a cap in fellow robber.

And by bank robbery, I mean going to the library.

For books and stuff.

PH said...

Grace! I am so happy to read your voice again--and how was the GRE? I was surprised when I took it. Somehow it wasn't as hard as I thought. Then again, I was terrified about the math.

So are you applying to the Michener program...?