Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Get a skull"

For my writer friends, I wandered into this passage on writing lists in Ross King's Leonardo and the Last Supper:
 Leonardo enjoyed making lists. His notebooks include many catalogs and inventories evidently made on the occasions he packed up his belongings for a trip or move. He also composed lists of things he hoped to learn or acquire. Quite often the two lists got jumbled together, making for some strange juxtapositions. In one such list he made himself a note to get Avicenna's work on "useful inventions" translated, before going on to itemize such artistic necessities as charcoal, chalk, pens, and wax. Then he abruptly added, "Get a skull." The list rounds off with mustard, boots, gloves, combs, towels, and shirts. Another list combines his ambition to learn the multiplication of square roots with a reminder to pack his socks."
Skull by Andy Warhol
How I would love to see these lists.

As a Fellow of the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project I have come to understand the usefulness of lists and try to impart them as a strategy to my students. However, it is (geekily) thrilling to find someone of this ilk who kept a notebook...and better yet...kept lists.

I imagine many writers out there have to smile at this small note about Leonardo da Vinci.

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