Lists

The Book Hoarder

I’ll admit it–I am a borderline hoarder. I keep things I know I probably won’t need, thinking that in some convoluted wrinkle of fate it will come in handy during a future crisis. In truth, I’m afraid the ironic tendency of the universe will cause me to need any item I  dispose of, most likely moments after the recycling truck takes it away forever. Some items have travelled with me through numerous moves, and though I don’t need it currently, I just might someday, and then who will be laughing?

But books are different. Back during my impressionable twenty somethings I used to love to go to used book stores and peruse the shelves for esoteric and thought provoking books that I didn’t necessarily want to read, but I wanted people to think I read. Sometimes I actually attempted to sit down and read the books, but for some reason or another never finished. I usually read just the introductions or maybe the first chapter so I could sound like I knew what the book was about, in case anyone asked. I wanted to seem all philosophical and well read without actually putting the time in to read. My problem is I am a pretty slow reader and I have ADD. Sometimes I read so slow that I get distracted in the middle of the sentence and have to start over. I can’t read fast enough to keep my own attention.

I bought the books because I was always told that writers must read a metric ton to find inspiration and to learn the craft. I was also told that if you want to be a writer then you should buy books written by other people to support the business. I liked to imagine what my own book would look like on the shelves. At one point I had milk crates full of these used literature and philosophy books that I schlepped around with me so I could put them on my bookshelves and look at them. I have sold and donated boxes of my books in recent years, but not all of them. Some I have held onto. Some I still hold the illusion that I will sit down and read someday, which is why I haven’t gotten rid of them yet. I was curious what books I hadn’t sold, so I went into the garage and looked.

So without further adieu, here are twelve plus one of the outrageous, audacious, and courageous books I found hoarded away in my garage. I will include a jacket blurb, and just what in the hell I was thinking when I bought it in the first place. (more…)

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A List of Lists

As someone lacking basic organization skills I find lists very useful. Inside the collection of neural tissue so optimistically called my brain, all my words, ideas, and plans for tomorrow are flying around like bats in a belfry. By writing these things down in list form I am able to find meaning in the madness. I am able to see my ideas, prioritize them and wrestle with sequence. I am able to cross things off and forget about them forever. Whether it is a grocery list, a list of places I want to visit, or even a list of chores I hope to accomplish on the weekend, lists allow me to organize the chaotic jumble of my thoughts.

In fact I like lists so much that I have even gone as far as to make lists of lists I want to make. Making a list of lists is like organizing your organization skills, like vacuuming the vacuum cleaner, like breaking your hand while trying to further break your broken television.  I present to you a short metacognitive list of lists I want to make.

  • Bucket lists are lame. I want to make a fuck it list–a list of the things I would do if I had one day left to live. What would you do?
  • The list of mistakes I didn’t make. This list is much shorter than my list of mistakes and therefore depressing to think about.
  • The list of books I pretended to read in order to seem erudite and cool in college. I used to buy stacks of used books and put them on my bookshelf in the hopes that someone would see them and think I was smart. How dumb is that?
  • A list of heirloom tomato cultivars. Seriously though. The mortgage lifter. The green zebra. The banana legs. The scooby doo. The alien vs predator. Okay some of these may be movies and not tomato cultivars, but they should be.
  • The list of reasons I don’t want to be (and never wanted to be) president.
  • The list of stories I started to write and never finished.
  • The list of places I don’t want to visit, like the slaughterhouse for instance.
  • The list of songs I wish I wrote but didn’t because I have never actually written a song.
  • A list of the times I broke the law and/or got arrested. Thank God for statutes of limitation.
  • A list of ways to drive a teacher crazy. I am currently writing a how to guide about this.
  • A list of lists I want to make. Um, wait a second. Cross that one off the list.

Making a list and checking it twice (by kylesteed on Flickr)

Composed for the DP Weekly Writing Challenge: List Lesson

Now to start working on some of those lists.

Pretending to be a Grown Up

I feel like I’m always pretending to be something I’m not. I won a Teacher of the Year award a couple years ago and I still worry that they’ll eventually  discover I’m some sort of fraud and cart me away, just another impostor pretending to be teacher. Apparently pretending is one of my strongest skills. Sometimes I wonder what I’ll really be when I grow up, if I ever do.

Here’s my list of things I’ve at one time or another wanted to be when I grow up.

  • Comic Book Artist
  • Dinosaur Expert*
  • Stephen King
  • Professional Baseball Player
  • Circus Clown*
  • Ozzy Osbourne
  • Fireman
  • Pizza Artist*
  • Hobo
  • Herpetologist*
  • Matt Groening*
  • Zookeeper
  • Graphic Designer*
  • Photo Journalist
  • Mountain Climber
  • Bank Robber*
  • Entomologist
  • Radio Announcer*
  • Screenwriter
  • Science Teacher*
  • Marine Biologist
  • Professional Skateboarder*
  • Cowboy*
  • Fabulously Wealthy
  • Stunt Man*
  • Retired
  • John Carter of Mars*
  • Professional Surf Bum*
  • Organic Farmer
  • Microbiologist
  • Landscape Architect*

When I was younger I used to think that I could be anything I wanted when I grew up.

I wonder when this idea of endless possibility became some silly childhood fantasy?

Hopefully it’s never too late to grow up and become anything you want.

( * indicates things I have actually been and/or pretended to be)

when i grow up i wanna (by globochem3x1minus1)

Posted for the DP Daily Prompt: The Great Pretender

When I Grow Up

When I was younger I used to think that I could be anything I wanted when I grew up. When did this idea of endless possibility become some silly childhood fantasy?

Here’s my list of things I’ve at one time or another wanted to be when I grow up.

  • Comic Book Artist
  • Dinosaur Expert*
  • Stephen King
  • Professional Baseball Player
  • Circus Clown*
  • Ozzy Osbourne
  • Fireman
  • Hobo
  • Herpetologist*
  • Matt Groening*
  • Zookeeper
  • Graphic Designer*
  • Photo Journalist
  • Mountain Climber
  • Bank Robber*
  • Entomologist
  • Radio Announcer*
  • Screenwriter
  • Marine Biologist
  • Professional Skateboarder*
  • Cowboy*
  • Fabulously Wealthy
  • Stunt Man*
  • Retired
  • John Carter of Mars*
  • Organic Farmer
  • Microbiologist
  • Landscape Architect*

Hopefully it’s never too late to grow up and become anything you want.

( * indicates things I have actually been and/or pretended to be)


Mommy works at Home Depot and sells snow shovels during blizzards.

What were you thinking?