Cutting Room Floor

Found: Your Lists

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It's not my list, but it's a good one! Source:astrangegirl hide caption

itoggle caption Source:astrangegirl

I am an obsessive list-maker. My roommate, who is well-aware of my compulsion to write lists for everything, often finds my notes scrawled on the backs of receipts and envelopes. She's much classier than me, so she brings me back post-its and notepads from wherever she travels to indulge my obsession... so now, all over the house you can find a to-do list here on paper that looks like the Alamo, a shopping list on paper from a French museum, or library books tallied on Westin stationery. There's just something so satisfying about crossing each grocery item off as I drop it in my cart, or X-ing out "clean litter box" after completing that odorous task. Once, when browsing through my favorite bookstore six years ago, I happened upon a total oddity — the first issue of Found magazine, a periodical dedicated to my detritus and that of people like me. Found doesn't only compile lists — they'll take anything from photos to lists to love letters to homework, so long as the submission was found by someone other than the creator (my eyes were glued to the sidewalk for weeks after I read the magazine — my best find was a photo of a toddler at a drum set). Found has yielded at least five books, and if the latest round of books from other folks is any indication, the transient jottings of a population are only becoming more popular — see our show last week on life lists, and add to it the Illegal Art Post-It note project and this book of grocery lists. What makes these little missives we pen to ourselves so appealing to outsiders? What kinds of lists do you make, and do you have little rules for them*?

*Cross-out color should be different than item color, handwriting should be neat, pencils should rarely if ever be used, items need not be completed in order...

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Sarah asked: "What makes these little missives we pen to ourselves so appealing to outsiders?"

I think it's pretty simple, really. I think there is a closet-voyeur in all of us (whether we choose to admit it - even to ourselves - or not). We perceive this compulsion to be unattractive, something to be mildly ashamed of and certainly not to be admitted publically, but it's there nonetheless. Found magazine satisfies this compulsion, but does so in a deniable sort of way. "Hey, I just picked up the magazine at the news stand. Could'a been Time or Newsweek. I didn't paw through anyone's trash for this stuff, I just read about it in the magazine (which ought to be ashamed of itself, by the way, for trafficking in this sort of thing)!"

Reading Found instead of pawing through the neighbor's trash personally is sort of like the difference between reading Playboy and peeking in the neighbor's windows. Neither is a particularly praiseworthy activity and both satisfy a compulsion, but there is a world of (perceived) moral superiority - or at the very least a fig leaf - to the former (in both cases).

Thos

Sent by Thos | 11:31 AM | 9-4-2007

There is also Sasha Cagan's To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soulmate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us which have over 100 lists and be out in November

http://www.todolistblog.com

She earlier did a zine called To-Do List

Sent by Steve Rhodes | 12:55 PM | 9-4-2007