A to-do list, in its profound simplicity, will tell you a lot about someone. As with Leonardo Da Vinci, Johnny Cash’s list of things-to-do reveals that the rasping Arkansas genius bore an  incandescent sensibility.

At some point in his life, Cash wrote a list titled “Things to Do Today!” It consisted of reminders ranging from everyday tasks, like urinating and eating, to those more romantic, like visiting his mother, and kissing his wife (and of course, avoiding kissing anyone else). The exercise Cash set for himself is evidence of the eternal struggle between the duties of life and an attraction to chaos, the same conflict that nearly all of us experience and which might be reflected in any of our own similarly intimate portraits.  

The list draws attention to the simplicity of the habits Cash wanted to impress within his life, reminding us of the poetry of the mundane and an aesthetic of survival. It also opens up the possibility of self-deprecation and humor, and the self-inflicted irony for which the list shines no less brightly.

Personal cartographies be they lists of “things to do” each day, retrospective diaries, or the records of dreams, can be valuable tools for the navigation of this life. As a likely route directly to the heart of this character, delightful in its minimalist coordinates, we wanted to share this version of Johnny Cash:

  1. Not smoke
  2. Kiss June
  3. Not kiss anyone else
  4. Cough
  5. Pee
  6. Eat
  7. Not eat too much
  8. Worry
  9. Go see Mama
  10. Practice piano

NOTES: Not write notes

Image: Public domain

A to-do list, in its profound simplicity, will tell you a lot about someone. As with Leonardo Da Vinci, Johnny Cash’s list of things-to-do reveals that the rasping Arkansas genius bore an  incandescent sensibility.

At some point in his life, Cash wrote a list titled “Things to Do Today!” It consisted of reminders ranging from everyday tasks, like urinating and eating, to those more romantic, like visiting his mother, and kissing his wife (and of course, avoiding kissing anyone else). The exercise Cash set for himself is evidence of the eternal struggle between the duties of life and an attraction to chaos, the same conflict that nearly all of us experience and which might be reflected in any of our own similarly intimate portraits.  

The list draws attention to the simplicity of the habits Cash wanted to impress within his life, reminding us of the poetry of the mundane and an aesthetic of survival. It also opens up the possibility of self-deprecation and humor, and the self-inflicted irony for which the list shines no less brightly.

Personal cartographies be they lists of “things to do” each day, retrospective diaries, or the records of dreams, can be valuable tools for the navigation of this life. As a likely route directly to the heart of this character, delightful in its minimalist coordinates, we wanted to share this version of Johnny Cash:

  1. Not smoke
  2. Kiss June
  3. Not kiss anyone else
  4. Cough
  5. Pee
  6. Eat
  7. Not eat too much
  8. Worry
  9. Go see Mama
  10. Practice piano

NOTES: Not write notes

Image: Public domain