The Writing's on the Wall

A few months ago, I reconnected with an old practice of mine: making lists on my bathroom mirror in dry erase marker. Why? Because that's the one room I'm guaranteed to visit every day, for one reason or another, and having to see the list keeps it fresh in my mind, making me more likely to remember what I put on it.

I'll tell you what's on the list right now, as I just saw it:

short screws
shaving cream

Frequently it's my list of things to get at Target, but sometimes it's a list of things I don't want to forget to do, like "Go to the gym five days a week," or "Eat more vegetables," whatever.

I'm experimenting with putting this same philosophy to work in writing. I haven't been writing poems lately (fiction instead), but I'm sensing some are coming, and I keep feeling connections to things I'm running into out in the world. I want to save these things, encourage myself to think more about them, and so I did this:

It's times like this when I most miss working in Residential Life, with its unlimited access to reams of butcher block paper. I'm just tossing ideas, phrases up on the list, things I think my next poems might be about or address in some way.

The last poem I wrote, incidentally, was called "Poison."


  1. Hi Charlie,

    I'm a list writer too. And also someone who needs to *see* her projects so things like that work well for me too.

    I know many authors, esp. ones who use historical timelines will map out their stories on around their room.

    I like the dry erase on the bathroom mirror. Though I'd probably end up using it for self-motivational message like, "Hey Foxy!" ;-) "Wow, great smile!" This could offer a lot of fun at a dinner party...

    Hope you're well!

  2. I too write on stuff, keep lists. Here are my favorite tricks:

    1. The local newspaper sells/gives away end rolls from the press (too short to print on, but usually a few hundred feet). It also makes great wrapping paper, timelines, whatever.

    2. I just discovered that there is a spray paint (in either green or black) that turns any surface into a chalkboard. I just turned a countertop into a chalkboard. Total cost: about 5 bucks for the paint and 87 cents for a box of colored chalk. Apparently Martha Stewart has a recipe somewhere on the web that will turn any paint into chalkboard paint.

    I'm considering doing the exterior of my house like that and leaving chalk for strangers.