A time for wild and crazy list making

  1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
  2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
  3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
  4. Be in love with yr life
  5. Something that you feel will find its own form
  6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
  7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
  8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
  9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
  10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
  11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
  12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
  13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
  14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time
  15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
  16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
  17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
  18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
  19. Accept loss forever
  20. Believe in the holy contour of life
  21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
  22. Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better
  23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
  24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
  25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
  26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
  27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
  28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
  29. You’re a Genius all the time
  30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven

The list was allegedly tacked on the wall of Allen Ginsberg’s hotel room in North Beach a year before his iconic poem “Howl” was written — and I found it via the former Brainpickings website, now The Marginalian.

I love the combination of #19 and #20 – accept loss forever, believe in the holy contour of life.

And I love how random and private the list is – like you can tell that he scribbled out things as they came to him, an inopportune times, like, while out walking, or in the shower, or dreaming some wild dream…

I saw another list last week, that also tickled me: from Courtney Martin, called Fragments of a Year, a practice inspired by another poet, Ocean Vuong, that basically involves skimming through your phone’s notes, and selecting a handful.

This is the first part of hers:


Give me the baffled.

Every family is fucked up. White people mostly have ways of privatizing and hiding their pain that money affords.

shoshito peppers, cherry tomatoes, salt & vinegar potato chips 

No new adds til we get the ground beneath us again, some momentum. 

The hardest party of activism is often personal sustainability and internal politics. 

Butter (no additional text)

Haha. The sheer number of orphan notes on my phone! This delights me, the idea of casting back through and pulling out little threads and tying them into some kind of weave or knot or something…

What if, instead of berating yourself with a to-do list or a list of resolutions, you tried something more playful and messy like this… something looser, more free-form, more collage-like… What might emerge? What might surprise and delight you?

Find those notes to self that you scribbled out over the past year, excavate them, and make some kind of collage.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s