One Red Notebook

Where do you keep your life?

Not the living, breathing, soul part (I’m not feeling that philosophical today) but the organizational part.

I know more and more people who keep it all on their phone. Personally I find this horrifying for a many reasons like…

  1. What if it spontaneously malfunctions?
  2. What if I break it?
  3. What if I lose it?
  4. What if I drop it on a gravel path and the screen shatters? (True story)
  5. What if I run it over with an F250? (True story)
  6. What if I jump in a lake to save my kid with it in my pocket? (True story)
  7. What if I forget it?


Instead I currently keep my life in a red notebook.

It has…

  1. Notes about what to talk about at an author program.
  2. To-do lists for marketing a picture book.
  3. To-do lists for writing a picture book.
  4. To-do lists for managing a capoeira group.
  5. Things to prepare for Thanksgiving.
  6. Three months of who’s spending which weekend with Granny.
  7. Notes from a meeting with publisher and illustrator.
  8. Notes from talking with stores about carrying my book.
  9. Notes from talking with schools about doing capoeira demos.
  10. E-mail addresses.
  11. Blog post ideas.
  12. To-do lists for the poultry
  13. To-do lists for the week.
  14. Things to remember. (That’s a good catch-all page)
  15. Lists of butterfly houses and exhibits in the Midwest.
  16. Lists of favorite winter/snow books.
  17. And notes on how to plan and serve Thanksgiving dinner to 45.

And no, while bullet journaling sounds great in theory, that’s not a thing I do.

I am not unaware that while this is a system, it is possible it’s not the best system. It also occurs to me that a red notebook is just as prone to flood, fire and forgetting as a phone. But, for all I write on the computer and share documents over google drive and set things up in shared calendars, there is a perceived permanence to writing things down in my own messy, illegible, misspelled handwriting that I’m reluctant to give up. It’s as though in my mind a to-do list isn’t a to-do list if it’s not written at two different angles with big bold scribbles when something is crossed off.

I keep my life in a red notebook. Where do you keep yours?

Was I Supposed To Bring That?

I am a great list maker and a great list forgetter.

I like making lists, shopping lists in particular are a must. But I’d be lying if I said that the list made it to the store with me more than 50% of the time.  Often it never leaves the house. Sometimes it gets left in the car. Occasionally I misplace it in my pocket, and on one memorable and confusing occasion I brought an out of date grocery list into the store with me.

Then of course there is the handwriting/spelling factor. You are perhaps blissfully unaware of the fact that my handwriting is mostly illegible because you are blessed with being able to be able to read what I type instead of what I write. Don’t even get me (or anyone else) started on my spelling. I confuse spell check. Regularly. What all this all means is that when I do make it to the store list in hand there is a good chance I may spend half my trip trying to decipher my own handwriting.


Here is my last list. Created for a Menards run, it never left the list

Later that day I found it still on the counter covered in scribbles. Now days later, it’s still sitting here and have no idea what the last word is.

2 Outdoor Lights


White Lights

Broom ___?

I think it was “thing.” Why did I feel the need to write “thing” after broom? Why if seized by such a need did I attempt to spell it “ting” and leave out crossing the “t”? Is that what my scribbler was attempting to help me out with?

I’m not sure it’s worth the psychoanalyzation because, as usual, I remembered everything on the forgotten, illegible list but forgot to buy the item that wasn’t written down.

I make lists because they help, even when I don’t bring them.

Written in response to For The Promptless S.3 E.10 Shopping List hosted by Queen Creative.