A List of Places Where I've Been Distracted

(Written in Cindy Cunningham’s Tuesday Night Life in 10 Minutes Class)

1. This class. Right now, when I checked my phone under the table a moment ago to see if that important email had come in and saw that it hadn’t, but that a semi-important text had.

2. This morning, during my writing hour, and yesterday morning during my writing hour, and the morning before that. What a luxury to have a whole writing hour to get distracted and not write in!

3. Maybe this list can just be a list about all the ways I’ve been feeling crappy about my writing lately.

*5. No! I will not be distracted by my own writing-related gloom.

6. Age 17, making out with a boy whose name I no longer remember in the basement of my friend’s parents’ beach house. I do remember that he had a tongue ring and kept his mirrored sunglasses on the whole time we were kissing. Sometimes distraction protects us.

7. This afternoon, while walking from the kitchen to the bathroom to get a Q-tip.

8. Tonight, on the phone with my mother. Sometimes distraction can masquerade as not caring.

9. Two weekends ago, pulling out of the parallel parking spot in front of the restaurant, where I backed into the silver Audi behind me. “Do you think I should get out and check?” I asked my boyfriend, who was in the passenger seat. “What do you mean? Of course you should get out and check,” he told me.

10. Lately, I’ve felt distracted everywhere and anywhere around my emotions. It’s like they’re trapped beneath a layer of cellophane—I know they’re there, but I can’t seem to touch them. My emotions used to feel too close, too present all of the time, so I guess I should feel grateful for this change, except it also makes me feel a little less human.

11. Lists are the friends of the easily distracted!

12. Originally, I had thought this list would end on something funny.

13. The thing about lists is that it’s hard to know where they should end.

*Reading this piece out loud to the class I realized I also got distracted from writing a number “4.”

Elizabeth Ferris is a writer, reader, teacher, and word-lover living in Richmond, Virginia. She’s the executive editor for Life in 10 Minutes Press and also teaches at Life in 10 Minutes. Find her on the web at

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