the listography project
I have been creating lists for years and I began to notice that most of them were autobiographical in nature. I would often come across a memory, like running into it on the street, and tell myself "I've really got to write that down" before it's gone for good. Making an autobiographical list is somewhat like meditating. You have to still your mind and hone in on a time period and let it recall what was probably efficiently filed away years ago. In this way, making a list augments your brain's storage capacity. If it's in a list then it's never lost. And once you've started the list, it's easy to add to.
A completed list on, let's say, songs that remind you of loves from your past might bring up feelings and memories in the unique way a photograph can and sometimes even more so. I can't make a list on "my favorite games from childhood" without remembering what it was like to hit the white cubes nervously out of the "Don't Break The Ice" game or my neighbor's dad heading up the game "Simon Says". So autobiographical listing can ignite our memory of experience which may include loves, fears, successes, etc. All of these pieces make a map of who we are: an autobiography.
I've used practical lists over the years to help inspire me and remind me to get the things done. Even a "to do" list can be autobiographical. Making a list of all the countries I want to visit fills me with the hope that I might get there someday and maybe the universe will conspire to help me.
I recently made a list of things I don't want to forget about my Grandma Nola. As I sat there thinking of things to list about my grandma, I remembered much about her that might have slipped away. In a way, I felt as though I was honoring her. I realized that some types of lists are just that, a way to memorialize. It would have been fascinating to read my grandmother's Listography but she passed away before I was list-minded.
The Listography Project comes in both book and web form. The books are nice to leave on the table to share, or you can hide it away like a diary, or fill it in with friends and family. If you know kids, consider getting them the Kid's Listography book. They'll find it entertaining to read later in life. The Listography website is a place to keep lists collectively --a beautiful shareable database of our goals, our memories, our favorites, etc. New technology makes accessing lists a lot easier when you're away from home which is handy for referential types of lists, such as your favorite restaurants or your books to buy list, etc.
I want to say thank you to Adam who built and continues to build the website in his spare time, and thank you to the artists (Nat, Michael, Maria) who have contributed their illustrations for all the Listography books! I hope the creation of your Listography is fun and brings a lot of good memories back into your life.