It's a weird feeling when you discover an old list you made and yet have no memory of what any of it means. Literary scalawag Jonathan Caws-Elwitt found this great description in Evenfield
, by Rachel Ferguson:
Sometimes I come across an old overlooked worry-list. The items on one ran:
1 Row with A.
2 No letter from C.
4 Look for green overall again.
5 No ideas for magazine story.
6 What D said last week (Wed: 7th).
7 People I ought to be dining.
And I am harassed this time by occasional total failure to remember who the ‘C’ of the missing letter was or what the deuce ‘D’ had ‘said’, which only shows that if you sit tight long enough nothing matters at all, while I know that this particular brand of philosophy is no good and never will be to people like myself. One must live. And worrying is probably a part of the business and a sign that one is still in the swim! It is rather the same thing with old letters that you re-read. Like a rude, whispering couple who exclude you from the conversation, they indulge in allusions you can’t trace, hint at emotions you can’t recall, and make infuriating plans of the outcome of which your mind is a complete blank. ‘Who is this stranger hissing in a corner?’ one despairingly thinks, and it is oneself, as little as five years ago. And as for the letters dating further back, you get well-nigh to the stage of begging the correspondence to let you in on the conversation, to give you at that moment a little of the love expressed for you in the letter of which you are dimly jealous! You almost whimper, ‘It’s Barbara asking my best friend, in those days’, and it’s no good at all. The Barbara of the note excludes the Barbara who holds it in her hand (though you feel she would be miserably remorseful, eagerly, tenderly explanatory, if you did meet again). Meanwhile, you are left hiding a secret from yourself, and a most extraordinary and forlorn sensation it is.
The Lady Dowager Oddfellow has long been perplexed by her own list on the cardboard back of a pad (pictured). Though it's unmistakably her handwriting, she has absolutely no idea what any of it means. The words are:
I'm not in my body
any vague sexual reference
IGNORANCE is too harsh
mush in people's mouths
Indian accent jokes
carried list in wallet
screaming into pillow