Friday, December 11, 2009

A History of Listmaking

First off, I know "listmaking" should be a hyphenate ("list-making"), but in an effort to establish it as a real term, I am dropping the hyphen. This aggravates the grammar freak within me, but it makes life easier.

So, I don't actually know the history of listmaking. However, I do know that people have been making them for a very long time. Case in point: Sei Shonagan's Pillow Book, written during her time as court lady to Empress Teishi during the 990s and early 1000s in Heian Japan. Admittedly, I haven't actually read the whole book (blasphemy? Perhaps.), but I've read portions of it, as published in Ruth Ozeki's My Year of Meats. In fact, it was Ozeki's novel that gave me the idea of making this blog. Certainly, I've spent my whole life making lists and schedules for myself, but I figure spewing them out to the public will be a new challenge; a challenge to avoid making them boring and mundane. I'm not sure how well that will work out, but we'll see.

I suppose I should briefly introduce myself and my experience with listmaking. My name is Natanya, and I'm a college freshman (finishing up my first semester--I am in the midst of finals as I write this) planning to major in comparative literature and sociology (I really care about comp lit though; soc is more of an interest). As of now, I aspire to be either a lawyer (if I want to kill myself and possibly eventually like it) or a book editor (if I want to actually enjoy my job and not be tens of thousands of dollars in debt). But, given that I am just a freshman, I know this all could change. I consider myself very organized (at times hyper-organized), and make lists of practically everything I need to do. This is largely a result of my very poor memory--if I don't write something down, I'll never remember it. Even when I write things down I may forget to do them.

I love reading and analyzing literature (hence the comparative literature major). Lately I've spent a lot of time on the website goodreads. It's a great site. I often find myself surrounded with science majors, so it's nice to have a connection to the literature lovers of the world. I am also a Francophile, currently learning French and planning on studying abroad in France. I can't wait.

I could go on with more random things about myself, but if you're reading this (should anyone ever read this), you probably know me, so I will stop here. I can get a bit carried away when writing; I once wrote someone a 1200 word email.


Alex C. said...

Hey! I'm procrastinating by following every link I can find on Facebook! Just wanted to say that it's really cool that the Pillow Book gave you the idea for this. I really liked those excerpts too so I went to the library and picked up their copy. It's really worth the read. Shonagon has such a great sense of self-worth and she's damn smart and a proponent of female independence too (not bad for the 900's...).

Almost everything in there is either poetic, revealing, or, best of all, hilarious: the first item on her list of "Things That Should Be Large" is priests...then fruits, houses, and provision bags.

She's made me start my own lists too!

Natanya said...

Haha that's great! I'm hoping to get to read it over break.

Jamie said...

Love your blog! I'm such a list maker too! I'm excited to keep up with your blog!

Natanya said...

Thanks Jamie! :)

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