A Master List

I’m guessing that you’re one of the gainfully employed, and that, at the moment, you’re sitting somewhere you’d really rather not be.

Two can play at that game — that’s what I have to say about that. But! Better times are up ahead. Time is just motoring by, really really. Wouldn’t you agree?


It’s okay — sometimes I don’t feel very agreeable either. I’m sorry it’s Monday and it’s still too early to think about lunch.

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Let’s make a list — a list will help get us from now to then. Let’s make it a master list. An end-of-July list.

-The text you have hanging out in drafts? Send it.

-Don’t forget to get milk. Skim and 1%, both.

-Keep an eye out for fresh figs, while you’re at it. Do a little dance, in the middle of the aisle, when you find them. Forget to photograph them, they’re so good.

-Commence consumption of Last Lobster, every day for the next twelve days.


-Hold out for someone who wants to learn as much about you as you want to learn them. (I know it’s hard to be patient. Practice with peaches. It’s too bad a brown paper bag can’t speed up everything, isn’t it?)

-Write something. A chapter, a letter, a grocery list. A note on hotel paper you poached. A poem you can’t scratch out, etched on the glossy side of a receipt. Let it be good, bad, enlightening, embarrassing — whatever.

-Make a phone date. Keep it. Don’t worry about running out of things to say, or about talking at the same time, or about being generally awkward. Everybody feels awkward about something.

-Walk a little longer. You might not want to look down.


-Wash your sheets. Sub the pretty ones out for the soft ones.

-Say hi, to someone sitting alone outside.

-Be yourself, in the most weird and hopeful ways.

-Buy fancy eggs, because right now you can.


-Tell someone they could reach right up and rattle the stars, if you believe they could. Believe they could.

-Think about a place you could go, next weekend, if you really wanted to. (For me: Angel Falls. Or Moosehead Lake!)

-Think about a place you could go, in a not-too-far-off future, with a little bit of planning. (For me: The Columbia River Gorge. Or Mt. Hood!)

-Order what you really want.


-Entertain a new thought. Example: “Think of how many people have sat down next to you. On a bus, train, whatever. Now think how many people have sat next to you on purpose, with their fingers crossed in hope that you’ll talk to them. I’m sure somebody has. There have been plenty of times when somebody has seen you and hoped that you would speak to them, but you never did because you didn’t have the guts and neither do they. Don’t go around thinking nobody likes you and that you’re not loved. There have been plenty of times when a stranger has spotted you and thought, “Oh, they’re just my type” but haven’t had the courage or confidence to open their mouth and initiate a conversation. The funny thing is, neither have you.”)

-Make something you know your dad will like. Hug your mom.

-Think about all of the good things, still left.

-Go to the farmer’s market, because natural light + nice people + dark leafy greens + good intentions!


-Don’t be so reluctant to date. Because it can be kind of nice. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be a home run. Even if you just get to dress up and think of twenty questions to ask and hope he will want to split something sweet, at the end.

-Remember you’re not the only one afraid to end up alone.

-Thank the first teacher who mattered. Who still matters, even after all this time.

Load your tea with honey. It’ll be good. Then bake baklava — it’ll be a good attempt.


-Let somebody take your picture. Resist the urge to filter it to death.

-Help someone carry something heavy. Do it before they ask.

-Start your own library. This is your portrait.

-Go, when that’s the best thing for you to do. Go to a quiet place and re-read an old favorite and come back when you’re ready.



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