Andrews and McMeel Publishers, 1996. ISBN 0836221796.
Reviewed by Susan Wittig Albert
Posted on 01/08/2001
Nonfiction: Creative Life
When I teach life-writing classes and workshops, we also spend some part of our time making a list. Sometimes we write more than one list—lists of all the places we've lived, lists of teachers (or books!) that changed our lives, lists of friends, lists of remembered music that holds memories. We write lists not only to be sure that we are getting down what we want to remember, but because making the list is therapeutic, all by itself. As Segalove and Velick say in List Your Self,
Listmaking gives us the tools for being seen. Listmaking gives us the strategy for being heard. Listmaking is the road from unknowing to knowing...Memories deep in your consciousness will emerge to fill in the blanks.
The last sentence, I think, tells us what is so important about listmaking, and how it is related to the act of telling our stories. Lists help us to open the treasure-trove of the unconcious where memories are stored away, to lift out pieces of the past that we have totally forgotten, and to savor them once more. I like this book (which is essentially a list of lists, with blank pages for you to write on) because it reminds me of the thousands of lists I haven't made yet—lists that might be essential in helping me reconstruct the story of my life. If your memories are slow in surfacing and you want to help them along, this book is an excellent tool.
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