Listing, Listless

| January 31, 2001

Listing, Listless, Maggie Trapp, To-Do List
In an essay that reads as smoothly as a bolt of silk unraveling, Maggie Trapp analyzes why we make lists. This article is required reading for any of us (you know who you are) who feel unhinged and incomplete without regularly scrawling on various surfaces -- in Trapp's case, 'date books, notebooks, the backs of my eyelids when I'm trying to fall asleep -- not to mention all the ephemera my lists manage to subsist on (Post-its, receipts, any white space near the crossword.)' Trapp relays several interesting anecdotes, including the time she spied the intimate structure of another woman's to-do list -- 'Be more aggressive' was nestled in the same space as 'Call mom' and 'Buy leeks.' To-do lists represent an unwieldy mixture of both 'the mundane and the meaningful,' and for that reason, Trapp is loathe to share her list with anybody. 'Although I love them, lists are often a source of some shame for me. I don't want people to see them, to see the quotidian, very banal scaffolding of my life; to note that I can't even do the seemingly simplest of things without reminding myself over and over, without my own little booster club of asterisks and exclamation points.'
--Anjula Razdan
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