Monday, January 2, 2012


My poet friend and creativity consultant Molly Fisk structures her new year around choosing, not a set of goals or resolutions, but a special WORD. She says that sometimes she finds her word, and sometimes the word finds her; sometimes she starts the year with her word firmly in place, other years it might not disclose itself until as late as the middle of March.

I decided to try Molly's choose-a-word system last year. I was starting to grope for my word when it suddenly became clear to me that that WAS my word: "grope." And so began a year of transitions, trying to figure out what to do next with my life, with my writing, with my heart. I no longer minded that I didn't KNOW any of this, because, hey, "grope" was my word, right? It was okay to spend 2011 in groping mode.

This year I thought I might preach my new year's sermon on Molly's find-your-word system. So that sent me to the Bible to look for possible words for me this time around. I opened it to Paul's first letter to the Corinthians and let my eye fall upon this passage: "For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." And there was my word: "foolishness."

So now I'm going to spend some time in 2012 thinking about foolishness - bad, costly foolishness - good, playful foolishness - and how to tell them apart.

I think I've started the year with some good foolishness. After I flew back to Indianapolis yesterday, instead of driving directly to Greencastle and getting a sensible start on all I have to do for the new year, I drove in the other direction to my friend Keith's family home in Goldsmith, Indiana, population 200. I didn't get in until 1 in the morning, and then Keith and I talked until 2. This morning I walked in the bitter Indiana cold - windy flurries - and explored the town, picking out which house I would like to live in if I decided to move here someday. Who knows, maybe I will? Then I had persimmon pudding for breakfast, something I've never eaten in my life before.

Day two of 2012: persimmon pudding for breakfast. I'm liking 2012 so far.

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