Lists have a bad name on the internet, where websites use them to suck in viral views: "Top 10 Celebrity Bikini Fails," "5 Foods You Should Never Eat if You Want to Lose Flab!"But in real life I love them: to-do lists, shopping lists, checklists, playlists, bucket lists, phrases-that-rhyme-with-bucket lists. I more than love them - I live by them. Umberto Eco said "The list is the origin of culture." The full quote reads:
"The list is the origin of culture. It's part of the history of art and literature. What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order -- not always, but often. And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries."I was recently gifted a large and beautiful book called "Lists of Note," based on the site of the same name. While sitting outside and flipping through the book on a sunny day, a list of parenting rules from Susan Sontag caught my eye. I think of her as an inspiring writer and intellectual (and yes, list-keeper), but not as a mother. This, despite that fact that her son edited her journals for Farrar, Straus, and Giroux and wrote a powerful account of her death from cancer. This short list originally comes from "Reborn," a collection of Sontag's journals from 1947 to 1963. I found it moving — clearly a single mother trying to figure out how to balance raising a child with integrity, while staying true to her path in life.