10 Items or Less: Keepers

I use the film 10 Items or Less in my writing classes for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a damn fine film that I like sell by saying is “82 minutes of joy,” and it is. The students love it because it’s chock full of cursing, which is something they can relate to. But it also has some valuable lessons about life, acting, and even writing, which it shows through the meta-lens. Craft-based lessons ring so true to everyday life precisely because life is art. Or art is life. Or maybe there is no difference. At least that’s the conclusion I came to years ago with my poetry. It’s not just about the words; it’s also about the moment. Poetry happens in front of our eyes every single day, but a sort of lens is required to reveal it to us.

Anyway, I’m meandering way off topic. At one point in the film, Morgan Freeman asks Scarlet (played by Paz Vega) to name the parts of her life she’d like to keep, keeping the list to 10 items or less. She can only name seven. He names eleven. There’s a lesson even in that. But because my life sucks so bad right now (I won’t bore you with the details) and will for a little while longer, I find myself trying to keep perspective by creating my own list, 10 items or less, of keepers. Here’s mine:

My daughter
My husband
My job
My new (used) washer and dryer, which I bought with my bonus. Hooray for no laundromats!
My Comp I class–would that I could keep this crew together forever. They flourish and delight in writing in this group.
My teeth. My horrifyingly large, extremely buck teeth turned into a pretty and toothy smile once subjected to braces’ straightening force. My teeth hurt because I have 18 cavities, but with no insurance of any kind, the cost of fixing them is beyond me. Still, I’d like to hang on to them as long as possible. They’re still pretty in the front.
My car, which I received as a wedding gift, which is pretty astounding in and of itself. The fact that I don’t have to worry about it breaking down takes a lot of worry off my plate.
My laptop. which was paid for partially by funds raised here on this blog. It’s a reminder to me that my voice is heard, and there are still generous people with an agenda of justice.
Season three of Dexter: I get one gratuitous item, right? Right now, that’s it. It rocks my world (also very meta, ftr)
Finally, last but not least, my Mom, who is my rock and role model. She got me started in feminist thinking, even though she’d never read a feminist treatise in her life. But she knew to avoid taking shit, and that’s just what she taught me. I can’t tolerate half of the shit that women put up with day in and day out because of her.

What about you? Got 10 items or less? Keepers, anyone?


8 comments on “10 Items or Less: Keepers

  1. Patti says:

    My husband
    My house
    My computer
    Anna Belle’s blog
    My excellent insurance
    My feminism
    My new neighborhood
    running out of things…
    My USA citizenship (I think, heh)
    My eyesight
    All My Children (my gratuitous item-taped for late night viewing)

  2. Cher says:

    My cameras
    My photographic ‘eye’
    My family/friends
    My intellect
    Supplements that help keep me healthy
    My photography & USANA incomes (every little bit helps)
    My curiosity
    Love of self
    My sense of humor
    The Rachel Maddow show

    Thanks for doing this, Anna, it’s what I needed to see at the end of an insane day.


  3. whatweneedismusic says:

    hello belly, it’s bill…

    my kids
    my parents and family
    my friends
    walks with lilly (my chocolate lab)
    my camera
    karin bergquist’s voice


  4. Anna Belle says:

    Nice lists, folks. Good to see you here, Bill. 🙂

  5. apishapa says:

    My four children. All four have made my life worth living when I felt like I didn’t really want to go on at different timmes.

    My mom, she has been there every time in my life I ever needed help.

    My brother, Mike. I have three brothers and a sister and I love them all, but Mike is always there. We fight like cats and dogs, but he is the one I can count on. He’ll do anything for me and I’ll do anything for him.

    My dogs. All four of them.

    My car. I just love it.

    Jetski. I love to take my kids camping and fishing. The jetski makes a lot of fun.

    My job. I love my job. Sometimes I think I don’t but I really do enjoy what I do. I just want everyone to leave me alone and let me do it.

    My dining table. My son built it in shop class for me. It took him almost all year and we had to finish it after school was out, but it is incredibly important to me. It was a gift from him.

    Every picture my daughter ever drew. I have them all over my house. I love that she is so talented. I wish she believed it.

    The trampoline. Keeps me sane when my hyperactive son is on a tear.

  6. nwbblu says:

    My husband and daughter.

    My friends.

    My intellectual freedom.


    Maxim #1: It is what it is.

    Maxim #2: Let kindness enlighten aging.

    My love of language, especially Latin and Classical Greek, which I learned in my 50’s. As I became able to read foundational texts in the original, I finally entered a space which I call simply, The Work. This was the fulfillment of a life-long dream and continues to be a life-changing experience in always unexpected ways.

    People who know much more than I do about all kinds of things.

    The planet Venus rising over Crater Lake.

    I think I’ll keep the Silent Sentinels.

  7. bluelyon says:

    My daughter and husband – equal footing – I need both of them in my life
    My critters – unconditional love is a wonderful thing
    The Internet – the worlds and friendships it has brought me has no equal.
    My friend CJ – there through thick and thin
    My car – it is my independence
    My job – never thought I’d say that, but I love it.
    Combining the above three in an evening with friends.
    My mom – who has taught me more than she can realize

  8. […] 10 items or less Posted on October 26, 2008 by bluelyon My ten items. For explanation, go read Anna Belle’s post. […]

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