8 Stories About Lists
- •I started keeping lists when I was six. I wrote them on scraps of paper and stuffed them into an empty Blue Diamond almond can.
- •I kept lists from then on. Most of the time, I would make a list and never look at it again.
- •In high school, when graffiti was a part of my identity, I devoted myself to a spin-off: incredibly precise handwriting that mimicked the flair and soft corners of tags while remaining entirely legible.
- •The lists remained a favored ritual, a physical act and calming process that didn't have much to do with recording information and everything to do with the pleasure of execution, until 1986, when I formed my second band, the first I was really proud of.
- •I started filling notebooks with lists of song titles, lyrics, ideas for arrangements, and homegrown notation that used lines and circles and dots.
- •When my third band, Ui, started recording and touring, lists became central to my life. We played instrumental music, which led to a mathematical trade-off. No words to memorize, but we needed to remember more data: pedal settings that fluxed, tunings that would change from song to song.
- •After the band broke up, my lists migrated to Evernote and Google Docs. Now I record ideas for articles and names of products and names of people I want to work with. I revisit these lists often. The romantic notion is that handwriting is magic but, for me, my hands only summoned the magic of doing. The digital lists are much more useful.
- •I still make a list every day, to remind me of immovable tasks. I use bright green paper I swiped from one of my boys. I write everything in a chisel-tipped Sharpie marker. My flair has faded.