Tubes of paintMy son Colin lists and catalogs whatever captivates him, filling homemade notebooks, backsides of school papers, and 3×5 index cards with scribbles, doodles, and written lists:

Geometric shapes, colors, elements, candy bars (real or made up), book and movie titles, United States presidents, the names of galaxies, stars, planets, quasars, and nebulae (both real and imagined), trees and leaves, flags, gemstones, Willie Wonka outfits, neighborhood dogs, street names, alien species, famous explorers, pop singers, state capitals, imaginary cities, tubes of paint, movies he will make (and their ratings), dog and horse breeds, classical composers, constellations, classmate’s birthdays and addresses, the chemical or crystalline power sources of Jedi light sabers, world nations, Harry Potter spells, exotic vegetables, made-up words and languages, relatives seen only in photographs, and obscure Pacific islands.

As you can see, I am myself under the spell of lists. So perhaps Colin’s obsession may be no more than genetic predisposition. Can a love of lists be passed from father to son?


About slcantwell25

A writer focused on the transforming power of memory, autism, parenting, and the ways we know what we know.
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2 Responses to List-o-mania

  1. Yes, yes, yes! Your sons lists remind me of my friend Tim sharp. He also loves lists and is a truly wonderful artist. As a Facebook friend I get a lot of lists from him but what I really enjoy is when he sets a challenge – eg rolling stones. Then you take turns in naming as many songs as possible. If you are interested have a look at

  2. dow wilson says:

    loved Morning I and Morning II. have lived them both, though morning II is more in line with my experience. you’re a star, Mr. Cantwell. keep up the high quality writing!

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