Found in the Vault, a Weekend Writing Prompt: Paint Chip Memoir

Benjamin Moore
Benjamin Moore

Did you know the list is a legit narrative nonfiction form? Yep, and it’s ancient. McSweeney’s did not invent the list. Around the first day of the first month of Noah’s 601st year, as the ground was drying out, a writer in Sumeria (now southern Iraq) carved wedge-shaped letters into stone tablets, composing a work of wisdom scholars consider to be the first work of literature. It was different from the lists kept for commerce or civic life: goats, bushels, grapes, and the like. The List of Ziusudra showed the writer’s mind in thought. It was, arguably, an essay. Some of the most well known examples of the form come from ancient writers whose lists persist as time capsules, preserving the writers’ thoughts and cultural contexts. So for your weekend writing prompt, sharpen your pencils and write away. Make up some paint colors that describe your day, your week, or a month or year in your life, and list them. It’s fun, and discovered years later a list can be a little bit fascinating. I found this list in the free-write vault, no doubt leftover from 2010 when I was eyebrow deep in kitchen remodel decor decisions. It’s not the most refined list, and to say it’s an “essay” is a reach, but each silly little entry instantly revives in my memory a story from my family life at the time it was written.

My Paint Chip Memoir (2010)

  • Mono Throat
  • Pink Slip
  • Age Spot Tan
  • First Gray Hair Greige
  • Bathroom Floor
  • Enchiladas
  • Blood Blister
  • Mono Palor
  • Stubborn Toilet Ring Gris
  • Heart Cath Bruise Purple
  • Dust Bunny Taupe
  • Burnt Rhubarb Pie Crust

I want to read your paint chip memoir, I really do. Post them in comments?

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