Joan Didion, Abigail Thomas, and Writing Lists, Memos, Messages

Annah Elizabeth5 Comments

In the past two days, I have written the following:

·  Numerous text and e-mail responses.

·  Numerous text and e-mail correspondences.

·  Two hand-written notes to send in the mail. One to my son. One to the mail lady.

·  Messages on two birthday cards.

·  Lengthy responses to an application to speak at a TEDx event.

·  An e-mail to administration to try to resolve some communication and transportation issues.

·  A note to send home to the parents of sixty-eight elementary students.

·  A grocery list

            o   30 ounces black beans
            o   3 cups fat free sour cream

o   8 ounces green chillies
o   Red. Fat Mexican cheese
o   Corn tortillas
o   Alfredo sauce
o   Diced tomatoes
o   Meatballs
o   Swiffer pads
o   Clorox wipes
o   3-whole punch

·  A supplies list
o   Kinesiology tape
o   Pre-wrap tape
o   Soccer cleats

    ·  A To-Do/Reminder list

o   9 AM walk
o   Pick up check
o   File paperwork (which I didn’t do)
o   Add trip for tomorrow night
o   Birthday gift for 3-yr old
o   Write (What if/excerpt or Rearview Mirror Part II)
o   Post (what I wrote)
o   Pay bills (which I must get to ASAP)
o   Open house Thursday eve
o   Arrange soccer pick up
Last night, as I became frustrated that I wasn’t going to meet my writing goals, I thought about the book I’d read years ago. The highly regarded and prolific author was reeling from an unexpected loss in her life. She commented that sometimes all she could write was: Milk. Bread. Eggs.  

I thought it was Joan Didion, in her The Year of Magical Thinking, a work about the year her husband died within days after their daughter was unexpectedly hospitalized.

I couldn’t locate the passage at quick glance.

And then I thought it might have been Abigail Thomas, in her memoir A Three Dog Life, written after a tragic accident that forever altered her husband and their relationship.

I couldn’t find what I was looking for in her book either…
But it doesn’t really matter.
The whole point is that I have written.
It might not have been what I’d intended to put into words, but there are messages on paper and on screens…
Sometimes we have to accept that what we want will materialize in a different form than what we’d envisioned…
That said: If you know who wrote those three words on a grocery list, please end my search and give my brain a reprieve by providing her name in a comment below.
You know how it is when you know you know something but can’t come up with it, and it bugs you until you remember?

5 Comments on “Joan Didion, Abigail Thomas, and Writing Lists, Memos, Messages”

    1. Ah, I didn’t think about Liz Gilbert…but I’m still pretty sure it was Joan Didion or Abigail Thomas…

      Do keep your thinking cap on and your eyes peeled for me, yes? 😉

  1. I make lists all the time. I have a book that’s only lists. As much as I love technology and would die without my iphone, I still write lists. So glad to know that it means I’m writing!

    1. Sharon,

      I recycle paper by tearing it into quarters, and keep a stack by each phone, just for lists and more lists.

      The megnetic pad in the photo hangs on a board in my kitchen, where each family member adds whatever item we need.

      I am notorious for sticking my lists into the fuel gauage rim in my car, so that I don’t forget that I have the list and head home before running my errands…

      Where do you keep your lists? 😉

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