I keep a to-do list. Every Thursday I fold an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of recycled paper in half and begin the two columns that make up my task list for the week ahead. The first elements to make it on the list are the to-dos that were left undone from the previous week. Some of those to-dos were left over from the prior week and the week before that. It's hard to imagine that I won't remember these items on my own; they're like a splinter in a knuckle that's an ever-present irritant, but not a large enough problem to require an immediate response. Still, I note my chronically undone to-dos faithfully on my sheet as if the very fact of their appearance on the list will somehow boost me into action. Action that will result in the ultimate mark of success: a thick Sharpie line that renders the item completely unreadable, the twin burdens of past inaction and future procrastination obliterated with a simple stroke of a black felt pen.
The to-dos on my list are written in my own particular shorthand: codes and glyphs understood, mercifully, only by me. There are arrows and ampersands, capital letters that stand in for first names or locations, ordinary words represented by their desiccated text-message counterparts. Often one word will be the icon for an entire event. Just as one brush against the splinter in the knuckle can conjure the complete narrative, it takes very few scratches on the page to trigger my recollection of what needs to be done. For instance, Lane4Bark might mean that I need to find a day when it's not raining and head over to Lane Forest Products to pick up some mulch to put around the bushes. I live in Oregon. It rains here. A lot. So Lane4Bark might appear on my list for several weeks until the synchronicity of dry-day and sloth-relegated-to-the-kennel puts me in the pickup truck with sufficient enthusiasm to get a dreaded yard chore done. And then, well, the Sharpie gets to work its magic.
One item that has been appearing on the list for many more weeks than I care to admit is a four letter word spelled b-l-o-g. As in, Pick something out of the air and talk about it. As in, They've been asking, so give it to them. As in, Monday morning's as good a time as any to make a fresh start. So welcome to Monday Morning! Now where's that Sharpie?
Nancy Carol Moody
I'm a poet and a letter-writer. Yup, that kind. The kind who uses pens and paper and actual stamps. The kind who will leave the house with nothing on the agenda but to get to the mailbox before the scheduled pick-up time. The kind who understands that technology is a wondrous thing, but nothing quite beats finding a real letter with a real stamp on it amid the credit card solicitations, pizza coupons and seminar catalogs.