Monday, January 02, 2012

just one word

I often find myself inspired by Idelette McVicker (can I be her when I grow up?) especially when it comes to writing.  It’s actually her fault that this blog exists at all.  Years ago I was having coffee with her and she asked me, “So tell me, what are you writing, other than for work?” No one ever asked me that. I stuttered and stammered and made noises about time and focus and finally confessed, “Nothing.”

She looked right at me and in one of those moments where someone gently but firmly takes you by the shoulders and turns you toward the truth she asked, “What do you call a writer who doesn’t write?”
That was almost eight years ago and in the time since, I’ve kept up this blog, I’ve journaled more, and the last two years I have participated in, and won, National Novel Writing Month with it’s “50 000 words in 30 days” challenge.

The challenge from Idelette this today is much simpler: lay aside those new year’s resolutions and instead pick a single word, just one, that you want to focus on this year.  Sounds easy right? It is and also it isn’t.  (Remember the words of van Gogh, “How difficult it is to be simple.”) But it's right up my alley.

I had planned to think about think about this, to really chew on it and take my time with it.  But no sooner had I read Idelette’s challenge when a single word announced itself loudly in my head.  Really? I asked.  Are you sure? I remembered something I heard recently, in small group I think, where someone said not to dismiss those thoughts that come out of nowhere, because sometimes that is the voice of God.  So I took another look at the word. The more I thought about this word, the more sense it made.

So here goes.  My word for 2012 is SAVOUR.

I’ve been thinking about timing a lot lately.  Timing in the sense of feeling like the pace of things is wrong and timing in one particular circumstance where the timing is not what I wanted.  I am taking an amazing trip this year, but to do so will mean using almost my entire allotment of vacation days just six weeks into the year. I thought I'd made arrangements to make it easier, but it didn't work out. Now I worry that I won’t have time to do the other things I want to do. There won’t be a summer vacation this year and what if family comes to visit? What if the friends I went to Boston with last year decide to meet up again? What if there's an out of town wedding? What if there isn’t enough time?

So my word for this year is savour.  I will savor those weeks in Australia and not taint them with worries of enough. I will look for the good that’s right here in my life in the place I’m in right now and not dilute that joy by wishing for something different. When there isn’t a whole day to play I will look for play in the moment.   Webster's defines savour as to "taste and enjoy it completely". I want to do that.

I want to take the time to taste the day, to roll the words around on my tongue, to drink in my surroundings. I want to sink deep into the moments of this year until they come up over my shoulders.  I want to cuddle in, lean in close and really catch the details of what is going on.  I want to make memories and tell stories.  I want to be the kid on a swing who leans all the way back so she can stare at the sky. 

Savour.  What a delicious word.  It's scary and also exciting - just what a new year should be.