For this week’s Discover Challenge, explore the poetic power of list-making.
I come from a family of list makers. At one point in my childhood, I remember my mother — managing full-time work and single-parenthood — running out of space for all of her to-dos that she started sticking her Post-it notes to her pocketbook.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as they say, and as I grew older, I started to rely on lists more and more. My personal worst? During college, I wrote out a schedule for myself, down to fifteen-minute increments, to organize all of the events of the day. Type As unite (in a perfectly straight line, if you will)!
Life is chaotic and messy. As humans, we try to make order of that chaos through schedules, spreadsheets, and task managers. That’s why I related to what Things We Like blogger Jessica Gross said in a recent Discover interview:
I am obsessed with making lists because I’m a very anxious person and it calms me. I was often finding myself making lists of things that I like to sort of remind myself of the fact that I have interests and that there are beautiful things in the world.
Gross’ site is an homage to lists, even elevating them to an artistic level. In a way, lists are a bit like disciplined poetry. Writing out lists of things you love, things you fear, things that make you happy, things accomplished in day-to-day life — these are all some of the best themes of literature.
For this week’s challenge, explore the artistic side of list-making. Write a poem consisting of ten items that remind you of summer. Describe your first love in five bullet points. Map out your bucket list using words that describe how each experience would change you.
Words aren’t your thing? No problem. What does a photographic list look like? How about a list comprised entirely of collaged images to express your thoughts? Using the list form as your foundation, turn it into something unexpectedly beautiful.
Use the chaos of day-to-day life and turn it into an organized, numbered biography of yourself. After all, it’s a) excellent practice, b) fun to try, and c) more challenging than you’d expect. (See what we did there?)