Hello my dear readers:
I’ve been terribly remiss about writing my blog this past few weeks; I’m getting back on this proverbial old horse, what with the turning of the old calendar, literally, turning the page.
I used to roll my eyes when the news all turned to “most, least, best, worst of…” during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Oh god, is there nothing really going on these days? Of course, I exaggerate, what with young children dying at the border or in Yemen, among other horrible and wonderful things in the world. But I used to think, “oh please, talk about filler?”
But I’ve changed my tune (what? Again? How consistently inconsistent I am).
I love lists… I used to tingle with excitement over Harper’s Index. l
I live by them. They are beautiful, utilitarian, even poetic at times.
I’m all for inventory—in fact, I take inventory almost every day of my life—I’m a little addicted to TO-DO LISTS.
I could write yet another book for the masses on “how to keep track of your life.” It might have to include writing 20 pages a day, but hey…that’s no problem, right?
As contrived as it is, New Year’s seems more than apt for such activity. Where have I been, where am I going, where am I today? So I’m taking on a series of LISTS that you, otherwise, might not see in the daily headlines. Want to join me? Put aside the grocery list, the chore list, the monthly budget spreadsheet, —time to tackle some not-so-common lists together:
Little things I got wrong in 2018; I mean, substantially wrong.
- I thought that writing a blog, getting it boosted and linked and visible to the world would somehow draw some attention to my incredible prose. (okay, I know, that might beg some argument, but hey…I’ll take response over indifference any day.) I thought that if I tickled the world wide web with my pithy observations, then presto…someone out there would read my words and say, “wow…let’s pay this woman to write things for us. Maybe editorials ,essays, fiction, even plays… let’s unleash her pen to the world somehow, it must be done. This is a rare gemstone and ‘we’ found it here in the billions upon billions (trillions?) of internet musings, aren’t we the lucky ones?” I was so WRONG. What with all my piercing insight, sometimes I miss the most obvious thing in the room. Marketing is marketing is marketing is marketing. Just because we have this new toy to play with has not really changed the playing field out there. I’ve been trying to get my work OUT THERE for decades; why would this new platform really play out any differently than the old fashioned submission, resume, ass-kissing methods of yesteryear? Marketing is marketing is marketing and I just suck at it. Period.
- I can’t let my dog off its leash just because I feel like the dog deserves the freedom. I shunned these laws in the name of liberation, as I said to myself, “hey, deal with it people, a dog running around, we’re outside, we’re in a park, big fucking deal, you can walk the other way if it’s a massive freak out moment.” But the rules actually take OTHER PEOPLE into consideration. Go figure. Who wants a strange, barking dog running in their direction while they’re trying to jog quietly, or muse about the formation of leaves? I get it. I was so WRONG.
- Trying to settle the Family Will issues within 2 weeks of the death of my father seemed the right thing to do—get the whole thing ironed out so we can plan, execute and go with our lives. Bringing dollars and cents into the discussion of the Memorial planning…WRONG. (obvious reasons? Okay, shoot me)
- Sending extra emails to try to get someone to listen to me—oh my, did I fuck up in this regard… I keep expecting people to write me a quick note: “too busy to talk now, I’ll respond soon,” or “got it…more soon.” I sort of freak out sometimes (surprise surprise), and then soon my emails get longer and more strident, more demanding and perhaps just spinning out of the rational universe. Sending just one more? WRONG. Let sleeping dogs lie, and shoot them out of their misery and yours perhaps.
- Flying without an editor, convinced that first drafts are the best drafts (at times)—well, seeing as how I do not have one, and haven’t hired one, and don’t want to pay a friend to do it, and certainly don’t want to ask someone to do it for free…I am so WRONG.
- I’m transitioning to quick notes here, almost all of which fall under one big heading: WRONG. Most of these will also fall into the category of having too many and/or too high of expectations… Oh, just that? Again? only in 2018? Are you fucking kidding me?
- Wanting my students to acknowledge my spilled blood for their opportunities.
- Wanting my boss to read any documents/reports and give me thoughtful feedback.
- Thinking that the old friends I find on Facebook and Linked In are tickled to hear from me and immediately want to reconnect.
- Thinking that tweeting about NPR would get me followers on Twitter.
- Thinking my mom might call me fewer times if I called her first.
- Thinking that anyone would delight in my sense of humor as much as I do (in writing).
- Thinking that singing in a choir once a week might make a real singer out of me.
- Thinking that returning to music would answer all my unfulfilled hopes and dreams of being a jazz singer, leaning on a piano in a smoky bar.
- Thinking that swapping Best Foods Mayonnaise with Safeway Signature was a smart choice.
- Thinking that feeding my kitty the expensive cat food would make him purr more often.
- That observing the changing of the seasons on my morning walks, would turn me into an expert gardener.
- That thinking about music in new ways would improve my finger coordination on the keys and my ability to match my pitches with ease.
- That going to a bunch of plays and congratulating the director/writer/actors would make them want to work with me on their next project.
- That emailing my son’s teachers and gushing about how hard they work would result in higher grades for him.
- That I can fix my printer… if I just press “print” over and over.
- That expressing my opinion is always a healthy choice.
- That holding my tongue is always a healthy choice.
- That watching Jeopardy makes me smarter.
- That the readers of my blog might actually notice I haven’t written for a bit.
5 thoughts on “LePell’s Index: (Remember Harper’s?)”
I noticed you hadn’t blogged in a bit! Maybe I’ll do a similar list…
Wonderful stuff. As a first time reader and long time procrastinator (including dying), I simply love your lists. Finally, a list of “won’t”s that has real meaning and that makes sense. I am going to share this with all five of my ex-husbands (not including the two dead ones). Have the happiest of new years.
Hey…thanks for the quick read and response… would love to hear from you again–let me know how the ex-husbands do with your shares…five? really? this is impressive! Follow me? we’ll keep connected.
Let me go backwards…
I noticed you hadn’t posted a blog entry recently, and I knew why so I just figured…
I cannot function efficiently, or otherwise, without a list, so I applaud the conversation on lists. Let keep this one going, as there are so many calls for accomplishing each day, that where would we be without the methodical accountability of self imposed checklists. I do do them night and day, often with fascinating pictures, drawings, and graphs, for clarity…
And your list here magically reversed the frown on my face into a genuine smile, just as a rain-drenched flower hangs heavy until the suns light warms it to lift its arms to the heavens above. Your humor is the kind that lingers in my mind for the rest of the day.
I thank you for your time to share, for your insight and honesty, your authentic humanity, bearing your vulnerability to us. It offers for me to do the same…
This is a very funny post. I laughed and laughed.
I have this book I picked up, Zen as Fuck: A Journal for Practicing the Mindful Art of Not Giving a Shit. in general, it’s pages offer small exercises for self-improvemnet, both positive (not appreciated enough) and negative (get in the way), You take five minutes to pause and consider it. Maybe write something.
I am pessimistic and see very little on the horizon except more storm clouds. I open the book and revise its headings: “Dreams are for Dickbags” became “Land of Lost Dreams.” I then filled in all the dreams I have lost or am losing. Another page provided a list of affirmations, all beginning “I am fucking ________,” where the blanks are filled with positive terms. I crossed off the positives and filled with negatives.
I share all this because turning this book inside out is my version of what 2018 taught me I got wrong about myself and life. I got a lot of shit wrong. But, you know what? For the most part, it doesn’t seem to matter.