December 2013 - January 2014


Ryan O’Neill

The Lists

A story


No. 787: The 5 most beautiful places in the world

5. Glencoe, Scotland

4. Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China

3. Halong Bay, Vietnam

2. The Grand Canyon, Nevada, USA

1. The corner of Barton Street, Mayfield, NSW, Australia


No. 792: The last 6 text messages I sent from my phone

1. Where r u?

2. Why dont u answer?

3. Whats taking u so long?

4. Where r u?

5. Where r u?

6. Where r u?


No. 806: 3 of Lisa’s novels I gave away after she left

1. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë


No. 902: How not to get up in the morning

1. Wake.

2. Keep your eyes closed.

3. Turn your head to the left.

4. Say a prayer.

5. Open your eyes.

6. Stare at the empty space on the bed next to you.

7. Accept that she is still gone.

8. Close your eyes.

9. Sleep.

10. Go back to step 1.


No. 955: 4 ways I take my mind off Lisa’s departure

1. Drink one glass of whisky per sad thought.

2. Masturbate.

3. Sleep.

4. Make a list for an obscure topic.


No. 991: How to buy a second-hand car in Bombay

1. Check the classified listings of the Mumbai Times.

2. Find a suitable car and inspect it.

3. Pay 20 rupees to the local government Roads Office to obtain an I416 Form.

4. Give the form to the vehicle’s owner, with payment for the car.


No. 1011: The top 6 things I hated about Lisa








No. 1083: My favourite lists

1. No. 24: 19 ways she could say I love you without saying I love you

2. No. 117: Her favourite colours

3. No. 200: The ways she could smile (part 3)

4. No. 341: 22 things she left behind

5. No. 345: 7 television shows she found amusing

6. Nos 438—589: Things I remember her saying

7. No. 786: 3 of her recurring dreams

8. No. 897: The 5 parts of Lisa’s body I think about the most

9. No. 899: 10 sounds she made while making love

10. No. 991: Her favourite baby names (boys)


No. 1122: 5 things only I knew about her

1. Her first orgasm was from a rope swing.

2. This was her favourite font.

3. She detested obese people.

4. Nothing frightened her more than needles.

5. Her dream job was to be a children’s TV presenter.


No. 1178: The last 5 text messages I received on my phone

1. No, the other ones.

2. I think so.

3. Do we need bread as well?

4. Me too. See you soon.

5. X X X


No. 1199: How to lose your friends

1. Never return their calls.

2. Scream at them, “Don’t you dare fucking tell me that you know how I feel!”

3. Drunkenly proposition their wives.


No. 1200: How to kill the woman you love

1. Make yourself a large bowl of cornflakes for lunch.

2. Call her at work, and leave a message saying that you have run out of milk.

3. Agree to her suggestion that she stop off at the supermarket on the way home.

4. Wait.

5. Send impatient text messages.

6. Wait.

7. Answer the door.

8. Say, “Can I help you, officer?”

9. Repeat the word “Accident?”


No. 1250: My 5 most serious psychological disorders (according to my psychiatrist)

1. Depression

2. Low self-esteem

3. Anxiety

4. Acute stress disorder

5. Compulsive list-making


No. 1496: How to meet the woman of your dreams

1. Agree to a blind date.

2. Buy a new shirt and shoes.

3. Get a haircut.

4. Start driving to the restaurant.

5. Before you get there, have a flat tyre at the corner of Barton Street, Mayfield.

6. Open the car door.

7. Knock over a cyclist.

8. Help her up from the ground.

9. Apologise.

10. Ask her name.

11. Say, “It’s nice to meet you, Lisa.”


No. 1502: How to go on when you can’t go on

1. Breathe in.

2. Breathe out.

3. Repeat.

Ryan O’Neill

Ryan O’Neill is the author of The Weight of a Human Heart and Their Brilliant Careers.

December 2013 - January 2014

From the front page

Adani repeater

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Photo of Leonard French underneath his stained glass ceiling at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Leonard French’s Balzacian life

Reg MacDonald’s biography may return this Australian artist to the national imagination

Book cover of Choice Words

The desperate, secretive drama: ‘Choice Words’ edited by Louise Swinn

Personal stories consider questions of choice, legality and stigma surrounding abortion

Fair gone

The Coalition’s aspirational pitch worked a treat

In This Issue

Jonathan Teplitzky’s ‘The Railway Man’

Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman on the Burma Railway

We don’t want to believe in climate change

Fire, climate and denial

Ocean Drive, Miami. © Virginia Duran

Back to Miami

A dip into childhood

Bill Garner’s ‘Born in a Tent’

NewSouth Books; $39.99

More in Summer Reading

Children performing for tourists in Sinuiju, North Korea. © Linda Jaivin

A day in North Korea

Big statues, high swings and a ‘Sound of Music’ sing-along

 Warrego Highway, Miles, on the Western Downs. © Nicholas Purcell

Pianos of small-town Queensland

A tour of instruments and their owners

Ocean Drive, Miami. © Virginia Duran

Back to Miami

A dip into childhood

Vincent van Gogh, The Night Cafe (1888). © Wikimedia Commons

To Holland and back with van Gogh

In search of home

Read on

Image of former prime minister Bob Hawke

Remembering the Silver Bodgie

Bob Hawke’s ability to build consensus reshaped Australia

Doomsday is nigh

The ALP’s policies are mild – why are they being treated as a mortal threat?

Image of Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Our distorted politics

Why is the Coalition even competitive under Morrison?

Image of the News Corp Australia office in Sydney

When journalists revolt

New Corp’s influence is being tested this election