50 Things I’d Like to Do Before the Gig is Up

by Larkin Vonalt

Almost a quarter century ago, in Zurich, at the grave of James Joyce.

Okay, not a song- more like a set list. Still, getting to half a century tends to make me want to order my priorities. Here are fifty, in no particular order. When I finish the list, then I can sleep. Comments are welcome, of course. 

  1. Have a little absinthe with friends
  2. Learn to fly
  3. Visit my friend DG at his bookstore in Bangkok
  4. Buy a little wooden boat to sail
  5. Go riding again.
  6. Publish the damn book.
  7. Publish the damn book
  8. Publish the damn book
  9. Exact some justice for the dead women of Livingston, Montana—and Nelson, too of course
  10. Make the US20 trip from sea to shining sea.
  11. Rent a cottage on the Island for a month. Eat lobster rolls every day.
  12. Spend more time on Folly Beach
  13. Visit my mother-in-law’s village in Toisan.
  14. Morocco, at last.
  15. Trap, neuter and release the alley cat colony behind the house
  16. Get the Nikon cleaned, get rid of the dust spots.
  17. Find more grace.
  18. Go back to that part of Mexico where there are no tourists.
  19. Work to implement a no-kill philosophy in every animal shelter in America
  20. Make peace with those that haunt me.
  21. Put radiant heat and slate floor in the kitchen.
  22. One more litter of puppies.
  23. Sit on Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings front porch.
  24. Learn to count to a hundred before I lose my temper.
  25. Reykjavik
  26. Get all the filing finished.
  27. Paint the bedroom the color of the sea. What color is the sea?
  28. Help the boy launch himself
  29. Learn to use my grandfather’s Speed Graphic
  30. Westminster one more time
  31. Yo-Yo Ma, live.
  32. Drive La Carrera Panamericana, an antique car road race across Mexico.
  33. Forgive myself for all the things I screwed up
  34. Make flan, well.
  35. Finish the kennel.
  36. Be more charitable.
  37. Have a little old car—a Deux Chevaux or Morris 1000 or Volvo PV544
  38. Doze at the Metropolitan Opera
  39. Help lift the Jane Reece neighborbood back on its feet.
  40. Find an Hermes shawl in a thrift shop. I can dream, can’t I?
  41. Paddle: in a boat, on a lake, on a river—or just myself in some body of water
  42. Make Baked Alaska. Or hell, just eat one.
  43. Have a conversation with Steve Martin. Or Stephen Colbert. Or Stephen King.
  44. Buy a new toilet for the downstairs bathroom. I really hate that toilet.
  45. Afternoon tea. Often.
  46. Paris, again.
  47. Meet a dancing bear.
  48. Learn to observe without judgment.
  49. One more beer with Harry Crews.
  50. Cuba, before.