No words but lists

urlWords seem to fail me today, this week, last week – writing has come to a stop! Certainly not my thinking – it is almost as if there is so much going on inside my head I can’t sort out what to put on paper ( screen).

That leads me to the idea of lists –

City garden

  • flowers in bloom
  • back garden weeds to be pulled
  • tiny cucumbers growing
  • tomatoes waiting to turn red
  • beets to freeze
  • carrots to eat
  • onions small and sharp to taste
  • potatoes are you growing under there


  • Lily – your story is put away for now – the plot just won’t move forward
  • garden journal has more words than my personal journal
  • listening for new words – little treasures to hold on to and save
  • reading like an author  – such good authors to read this summer
  • searching through old writing to find the new
  • listening as other writers struggle to find their story
  • what stops our words when we are writing


  • I become a weather watcher – for my garden, for me
  • storms gather at night leaving branches as gifts in the morning
  • the cool of the day greets me at sunrise
  • the heat slides in the porch door by mid day
  • a periwinkle blue sky greets me most days
  • rain – 7 1/2 inches in July – means mildewy plants

Remembering Mother

  • last year this time we were losing you
  • to much I still want to talk with you about
  • you are physically gone now
  • remembering is hard but helpful
  • thinking about rye bread, rhubarb pie and applesauce


  • round the lakes
  • into the wood
  • moving to remember
  • moving to let go


  • fresh veggies
  • fish from the lake
  • food from the garden


  • stuff
  • words


  • quiet for now


About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
This entry was posted in Reflection. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to No words but lists

  1. Joanne – What an inspiration. Your lists feel like poetry. This line “potatoes are you growing under there” is so playful. I can see it turning into a children’s story. I’m so encouraged to keep writing now! Thank you for sharing with us.

  2. Amy says:

    I love lists!!!! This is a great way for others to see into your daily happenings. Thanks for sharing and hopefully your writer’s block will soon be over.

  3. glenda funk says:

    Making lists helps us remember what to write later when life slows down a bit and time beckons. I need lists for lots of reasons these days, and since lists are words, they, too, embody successful writing.

  4. What a lot you have going on! I can see many of your list items developing into something longer. I’d love to read about what happens with the food items!

  5. Linda Baie says:

    You may not think that lists are writing, but you’ve made them your own special voice. I love each part that you shared, Joanne. “he heat slides in the porch door by mid day” – at my house too!

  6. rosecappelli says:

    I love making lists, especially when my mind seems full of random thoughts. I think lists help us record ideas, organize thoughts, and make discoveries. I agree that many of the items could lead to longer pieces. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I just suggested lists ARE writing today on another site! Funny, how those lists will give us other writing opportunities another time. I’m sick of the rain, too! Have a good evening.

  8. Ramona says:

    Wonderful way to sort your thoughts. I love the structure you had of reducing each list by one until you reached the final entry – “Me – Quiet for now.”

  9. newtreemom says:

    These lists say so much. The “Remembering Mother” together with the final entry spoke to me… my mom passed away last year, too, and the memories replay and I need to find that “Quiet for now” place so often

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