Lists, letters, and taking leave.

During a 20-minute phone call with a friend last week, I mentioned all of the books pictured above, only one of which I have read, long ago. After he asked me about a couple of them, “Did you finish ____ ?” I blurted, “I don’t read books, I only buy them!”

It’s partly true; three of the books pictured I am in the middle of reading. I think I will take The Cross of Loneliness with me on my travels this week, because it is little and is likely to be encouraging to my spirit, without demanding too much of my analytical abilities. It sets down the correspondence of Saint Sophrony and Archpriest George Florovsky from 1954 to 1963. These illustrations from the book of their kind faces make me eager to peek in on their friendship.

I’ll be flying to Colorado to visit my son Soldier’s family, and from there to Idaho to see friends Jacob and Rosemary, before heading back to California. Both of these families are in new towns since I last visited them! The excitement of navigating airports, riding in airplanes, being in strange places and beds; playing with grandchildren and chatting  with everyone will keep my mind plenty busy. It’s already buzzing with the challenges of getting myself ready for the big day, and incrementally taking leave, in my heart, of my home, and my garden with all the plants I have been nursing along; like the first golden zucchinis that will ripen while I am far away. I will say farewell to my stack of To-Read books, which if it actually were just one stack would be higher than my house.

But I know that I will like to read on the plane, and read in my room before going to sleep at night, so I must choose what to take along. This book that I discovered in my Kindle, Make a List, looks appealing for a few summery reasons.

(List of) Reasons why it’s a good book for this summer:

1 – Only a couple hundred pages.

2 – Not demanding content:

2a – No long list of fictional characters to keep straight.

2b – No complex-thinking philosophers to follow.

3 – It will help me keep engaged with my philosophical self and my life back home by simply jotting down a list here and there.

4 – It will prompt me to keep writing without my always having to make quality whole sentences, which are a lot of work. I might even compose travelogues entirely of short lists!

It occurs to me that my attempt at Bullet Journaling was kind of list-y. Unfortunately I always felt the need to elaborate and my bullet points swelled into paragraphs. It will be necessary to keep these lists in a different category from journaling altogether. I haven’t written one thing in my journal for a month or two, which feels scary. Maybe I’ve already made the break?

My college roommate Ann has been an inspiring list-maker all her life. She makes lists of the lists she needs to make. You might say that is the idea that Marilyn Chandler McEntyre has elaborated on; you can hear her talking for three minutes on the subject here.

Now I need to get back to the lists I have recently been working from, like:

1 – To-Do Before I Depart, and
2 – Carry With Me On the Plane.

Once I add “Kindle Reader” and “Notebook for Writing Lists” to that second list, I’ll be good to go! …. or will I…? One more very important list must be completed, before I shut the door on my tottering stacks:

Books I Really Want to Read Soon But Must Sadly Leave at Home.

But I’ll come back, Dear Friends!

10 thoughts on “Lists, letters, and taking leave.

  1. Take heart: you can read your books at any time while you are at home. After this long period of COVID-19 induced social isolation, spending time with family and good friends is worth a whole library right now!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish the list of thoughts that tumbled through me as I read your post were neatly bulleted and all ready to present.
    Okay, I’ll make a list:

    *regarding your blurt, confession is good for the soul.
    *their faces are kind
    *I wonder how many books for children there are on planes? Those are cute.
    * Yes, you’re going on a plane…a steep climb after so much stay at home.
    *What sweeties you are going to visit!
    * I hope you get as much leg room as Jackie.

    I am enjoying the book you lent me. I am reading it out loud to M.
    enjoy…enjoy…enjoy. stay well and via con Dios.


    1. I should ask the flight attendant to take my picture, to compare with Jackie’s. Packed in like a sardine, and wearing a mask. Reading with a mask on is a challenge to my brain!


  3. Your upcoming trip sounds wonderful. I’m glad you’ll be with your family. And yes, lists make sense. I think our minds are so cluttered with so many things, it’s less a matter of forgetting than pushing them out of sight for a bit and at least the list keeps them up front.

    You should google this: “Tsundoku: The art of buying books and never reading them” — it’s a BBC short article and wonderful. I feel your pain. I do that too! (But I’m trying!)


  4. My Kindle books could keep me busy for a lifetime! As much as I prefer real books the Kindle is convenient for trips when you can’t carry your library with you, lol. I haven’t written in my journal for ages. It’s only for very profound spiritual thoughts, and I’m repeating myself a lot already, ha ha. (And for baby announcements!) Have a terrific trip! Praying for a safe journey! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gute Reise, gute Freundin! Have a lovely visit with all. If you’re gone the 30th, we will miss each other at Liturgy until the 13th. I just got back from one trip and will be gone again soon. I’ll be happy to see you again.

    Yes, the mask is a pain, but I know I felt better with mine on, since I can’t know other people’s vaccination status.



  6. Just this year, I peacefully ended the long standing struggle with my bullet journal v.private journal v.list journal v., dates and commemorations journal, etc. that tangled my efforts to sort and identify my ‘writing directions’ for so long. I came across a concept vaguely familiar, researched its variations and adapted it to my own preferences; common place books. It is working so well and spans about seven areas of interest to me that I typically ‘lean into’ over the years. It’s been an enormous relief and breath of fresh air to look at the basket where they all went ‘to live in peace’!!! I heartily recommend this approach. God be with you on your travels. Christ Is Risen!

    Liked by 1 person

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