In So Much for That, a Lionel Shriver novel I recently read, there's a wonderful paragraph towards the end where the main character - his wife is dying, he's lost his job, his life's ambition is slipping away from him - makes a list (I love a list).
'Thank-you notes and surreptitious sponging of gravy stains; heat-crimped packaging that only opened with pruning shears, and incompatible software. Ramadan, Columbus Day, and picnics. National self-determination, recipes for banana bread, and Amazon.com. Bungee-cord jumping, suicide bombing, and falling in love. Space stations, purdah, and male pattern baldness. Right-to-life protests, self-defrosting refrigerators, and hemlines; Christmas-tree air-fresheners, presidential assassinations, and ten-year retrospectives on the fall of apartheid. Micro-lending, woodworm treatments, and anti-vivisection leagues. West Bank settlements and genetically modified cron; nuclear antoproliferation states, National Salt Awareness Week, and fluoridated water. Narco states, dust ruffles, and bus shelter vandalism; lucky numbers, favourite colours, and button collections. Tribal scarring and Polka Album of the Year Awards, tea ceremonies, buzz cuts, and alternative energy. Feature films, the Fifth Amendment, and weather forecasts; Arctic exploration, affirmative action, and cell phone contracts. The South Beach Diet, elder abuse, and the Battle of Waterloo; burkhas, bedsteads, and the designated hitter rule; heirlooms, insoles, and the European Union. From IEDs, GDPs, and MP3s to Gore-Tex, gas shortages, and gardening tips; he was sick of it, man. Of people and their shit.'
What I wouldn't give to be able to write like that.