The To-Be List, And How It Can Sometimes Surprise You

As I checked the sked for the blog posts earlier this morning, I had no idea I was supposed to be blogging today. I mean, I know it was somewhere close to the 20th, but not today today, you know what I mean? Suddenly I'm at a loss, and though that's strange for me, the one who's always got a grip on things, lately I'm finding it less and less strange not to be on top of my game. Why I can say this - the staggering amount of To-Be Lists around me.

I have the To-Be-Read list of books I bought on impulsive raids of the bookstores, not to mention lists of books I chose for reviewing. I have the To-Be-Watched list of movies I got from the movie store but which are gathering dust on the shelf. Speaking of dust, I also have the To-Be-Done list of stuff needed around the house. Looking at work, I have the To-Be-Undertaken list of works requiring my attention. Checking my email, there's the To-Be-Answered list of emails. Does it ever end? No, unless you tackle those lists, and I frankly dunno where to begin.

I'll admit I got a head start on the To-Be-Done one, because my vacuum cleaner and I got reacquainted yesterday when we chased a family of dust bunnies outside the house. So at least some cleaning done. The next one up on that dreaded list is the antiseptic cleaning liquid pistol and its soft cloth (run for cover!!). At least the thing smells nice...

I then decided to tackle the To-Be-Watched list of DVDs. And the strange thing, I stumbled upon a movie my husband had chosen but which completely blew me away. It's Wanted, starring James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman. The story starts slowly, almost like an omniscient read. You're in the main protagonist's head, Wesley Gibson (played by McAvoy)and you see what's happening around him, how boring and mundane his life is. Until someone tries to kill him, and there steps in this woman who tells him she knew his late father. Wesley thus finds he shares his dead father's unusual abilities, which would make him, like his dad before him, a terrific killer when trained as an assassin. Starts then the quest for him to bring down the man who killed his father. But, all's not as it seems... I was surprised by the twist they brought to the story, and here comes the spoiler, the rogue assassin he thought had killed his father, is in fact not a rogue agent at all but the one who was really in the right, and it's he who's Wesley's father! But Wesley learns this after he has shot the man, Cross (played by the delightully sexy Thomas Kretschmann) down, and his father dies in his arms. In another twist I had not seen coming, Wesley thus goes for the organization that just trained him, but which sent a young man to kill his father, because the father would kill every other assassin but never his own son!

That's the kind of thing that always uplifts me - when something I had completely not expected grips me from my seat and turns a hum-drum, boring, mundane experience into something from completely out of this world! I love those stories, both in written and in visual form, that manage to take me by surprise and strike me. The problem with being a writer is that you think every story you come across through almost automatically. It sort of takes the fun out of things, because you already 'know' what's gonna happen and you simply wait to see if you'll be proven right or wrong.

But when you are proven wrong - wow! The rush, the elation! Have you ever experienced this?

Another one that surprised me, book form this time, is the novel Night Whispers by Judith McNaught. I had never read her before, and since I was toying with the idea of an intrigue story, I thought I better read some intrigue stories for research, to see how they are penned. That's why I chose this book, that otherwise I'd have passed upon seeing as it's not, at first glance of the blurb, a romance the likes of which I enjoy reading.

So there I start the story, off the To-Be-Read list/pile, on a Friday afternoon while my kids are watching TV. I can frankly tell you I only put that book down because otherwise my husband and children would kill me for not bothering with anything else! I went to bed close to 2 AM because I was reading, and I woke up on Saturday, got the chore of breakfast out of the way, and read some more. Finished the book on the dot of noon, 18 hours after I'd started it, and I'd have finished it sooner were it not for life and its To-Be-Done list bumping in there. If there's one book I'd recommend a lover of intrigue and romance to read, it's this one! You go from surprise to surprise, and the romance (yes, there's one of the best, strongest romances I've ever read in there!) takes you into its storm of conflicting and powerful emotions and simply does not let you go! Some might say Judith McNaught writes 'strange' as her POV is in Omniscient, but I've never seen an author write head hops and POV switches so effortlessly and so masterfully! Really, read this book, it's more than worth it!

So there you go, some of my experiences with the To-Be Lists, and how they have at times managed to rock my world. Tell me now - has anything like this ever happened to you, when something completely unexpected takes over you in an experience you thought would be mundane at best?

Photos: Wanted poster courtesy of
Night Whispers cover courtesy Simon and Schuster website

Aasiyah Qamar - Cultural Romantic Fiction, With a Twist
Coming out October 2 - Light My World - Eirelander Publishing
Nolwynn Ardennes - The Promise of Fulfilment
Coming out in January 8, 2010 - Storms in a Shot Glass - Eirelander Publishing

Aasiyah Qamar/Nolwynn Ardennes - Romance the world over


  1. I used to LOVE Judith McNaught! (Well, I still do) :)
    Z, you have to read "Perfect". That one is on my keeper shelf.

  2. Z, I know just what you mean about all those lists. It's enough to drive you crazy. lol

    I don't why, but I thought Judith McNaught wrote historicals. I'm going to have to pick up Wanted.

    Thanks for a great post.

  3. I LOVE Wanted, Z! Love the director, love James McAvoy, love Angelina Jolie. Love the training of Wesley story arc. Just love it!

  4. Great post, Z.

    I haven't seen Wanted but I'm more than familiar with the to-be lists. Though mine usually consist of reading and housework. which is an everyday list in one form or another.

    Again, great post!


  5. To be, or not to be... lol.
    Always something on some list to be handled in some way, Z. Good luck with yours - I'm off to find Wanted.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Hello Z!

    I have missed your wonderful and insightful comments on my own posts, but I'll be the bigger woman here and write my comment about your beautiful piece! ;-))

    I really enjoyed reading about your lists and felt a pang of empathy when I read this. I am filled with the anxiety and stress those things sometimes carry with them! I mean, I have a list to keep all my lists in order...

    So, kudos for reminding us that even a successful writer is a woman first, and a fantastically organized wonder being second!


  8. Hi Z! Love your post! And boy do I know where you're coming from. I do make lists but I try not to update them every day and just add a few To Do things on them when I'm in "normal" every day mode - if I'm working on a deadline then suddenly the list has a gazillion things on it! LOL! It can get overwhelming - but honestly we can only do one thing at a time right? ;D

  9. My to-do lists are long too. They seem to grow no matter that it tackle it every day. I too have a few dust bunnies that need to be run out. Do you want to come over with the vacuum?

  10. Lists! Ah! The nerves! Yeah, all my lists, to do, to read, to see... it's all behind. All I'm trying to do right now is... well, honestly, To Sell. :) Great post!

  11. Hey everyone!

    Thanks for the comments! Would you believe it? The day I post my Internet dies on me and it's only now that I get it back! Grr. So please forgive me for replying you all in the same comment!

    Jen: Yay, another Judith McNaught fan! She's completely won me over, and when I'm a the bookstore now, she's an automatic pick up. I just finished Remember When, and looking for Whitney, My Love. Will add Perfect to the list (another list, lol!).

    Sandy: Whitney, My Love is a historical, which may be why you think Judith McNaught writes only historicals. Do check Wanted, you'll love it. It's the kind of story we're always talking about!

    Julia: I adored that movie! Had me completely glued to the screen! Loved the twist about being immersed in that special bath that makes you heal faster. And lol, who knew mice/rats loved peanut butter, eh? I admit the one who most won me in the movie was Thomas Kretschmann, I'm a huge fan of his!

    Liena: I think we cannot escape the housework list. It's like we can do whatever we want, be whoever we want career-wise, but we're women too and as such, always get saddled with the housework. Frankly, we ask the guys to help us, but then we most probably need to go back and do the work again, better. Sigh...

    J: Do watch that movie, it's awesome! Lol, to be or not to be... Very much the question here!

    Nina: Darling, I'm so sorry I'm not commenting on other posts as regularly as I did. Add to the list the fact that there's a terrible flu outbreak here which leaves me with my son home on me hands for the past 4 weeks, and you can imagine the madness I'm wrangling with! Oh, a list to keep lists in order - why didn't I think of this before? It would really make things simpler, innit? Lol

    Joanna: Have you noticed that those lists always seem to blow up and get inflated when you have a deadline looming? It's like they got sensors, like, let's make her life even more hellish!

    Mageela: Lol, my vacuum cleaner is thinking of dying on me I think! It doesn't get used for ages and then suddenly I'm filling it up with dust and little minute pieces of Lego strewn all over the place! If it recovers, I'll definitely bring it round!

    Leanna: How could I have forgotten THAT list? To Sell, and also for us writers, To Write? Did we really need another 2 to add to the growing, uhm, list?

    Lol, thanks all for your lovely comments and bright words! You really brightened my day, in between glancing at two lists...



  12. Great post, Z! I have many To Dos, but am not even organized enough for a list! What a novel idea... I'll have to try it. And then organize it!
    Hope your son's feeling better! And don't forget to take care of yourself too.

  13. Hugs to you and special get-well wishes to your son. You know I am pulling your leg, but I do miss your brilliant comments and bits here and there!

    Another winning post from the Divas!

  14. Hey Cate

    Yup, we're on the mend, but still not there yet. Kiddo loves it as he gets to watch DVDs and play his GameBoy all day. Oh well, minus the few hours I try to get him to do some revisions and catching up!

    Do try the list. It's almost fun trying to keep it in order, and then like Nina said, having another list to list all your lists and keep things going!



  15. Hey Nina

    Yup, the Divas rock!! Ok, I'm gonna scour for your latest post and comment, even a month late! Did anyone say fashionably late around here...? We're Divas after all, innit?



  16. Hey Z,

    Great post! I hear you on the to-do list. One of my To-Do tasks had been to catch up the PCD posts. *grin* Now here I am on a Sunday with fifteen minutes left to go before I have to hit another waiting task.

    I think one movie that surprised me was The Rocker starring Rainn Wilson. I expected it to be way over the top (like Rainn himself) and low on the IQ level. Which is why the Netflix envelope gathered dust on the shelf. Surprisingly, the movie had some depth and a lot of heart. Rainn's character developed nicely. We both ended up enjoying the movie much more than we expected to.

    Another one that surprised me was Fifty First Dates. I blame the stupid trailers for that misconception. They always seem to overly focus on the slapstick or raunchy humor, and this flick actually was very sweet.

    Good luck with your To-Do list!



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