Friday, January 20, 2023

1 WORD FOR 2023

Howdy from California, Campers ~


Soggy California! Sorry about the drips on this page (I'm in Southern CA and we're fine, thank you).

And Happy New Year and Happy Poetry Friday to all! (The links to Poetry Friday, my poem, and my upcoming class are all below.)

Our theme for this round is Moving Forward in the New Year. We began with Esther's enticing review of the book, THE stories BEHIND THE stories (read her review here and enter to win it in our first BOOK GIVEAWAY in this fresh new year)

I'm up next.

In the 13 years I've been privileged to be part of TeachingAuthors, I've learned rain barrels-full about writing, teaching, poetry, and friendship from my fellow TeachingAuthors, from many of you, and from the Kidlitosphere and Poetry Friday communities.

One thing I've learned is that many of you move forward by choosing a word for the year.

So I tried it. Sometimes I'd choose a word and then discard it because it didn't seem to move me forward. But one year the magic happened. That was the year I chose the word CAPABLE.

I chose it because the nasty noises in my brain continually convinced me that I was never going to be capable of doing whatever it was I was doing. 

That word set me on the road to discovering I was, indeed, capable.

                                drawing (c)2023 by April Halprin Wayland

Good old CAPABLE. We're still very close. 

Usually, instead of choosing a word for the year,  I choose a word for the day. The book I read each night has one page for each day of the year. The page begins with a quotation, followed by a paragraph expanding on the quote, and then a gentle resolution for the day.

For example, one recent quotation was: "Competitions are for horses, not artists." ~ Bela Bartok

The words from that reading that resonated in me were: "People who have developed the art of living...are as respectful of their own values and opinions as those of others." (underlining is mine)

Every night I read a page and every morning I forget what that page was about.

So I decided to condense the whole page into one or two words. In this case, my word for the next day may have been "self-respect." And guess what happened when I woke up the next day? 

Nada. Nothing. 

Even if I created a visual for my word--for "self-respect" (which might be someone looking in a mirror and liking what she saw) even then, I still couldn't remember what I'd read. 

Finally, I decided to write that word on the top of my foot each night. In the morning, before I sat up, I'd challenge myself to remember the word, and sometimes I could. But if I couldn't, I'd lift my leg and read my foot. 

 
I write my word on the TOP of one foot. I do NOT draw faces on my toes. But, boy, it sure looks like fun...maybe I'll try it. (photo: Pixabay)

All day long my word walks with me. And if I feel scrambled, I'll stop and focus: what's my word? I rarely need to take off my shoe to remember it. 

Here's the draft of a poem I wrote about it:

IN INK 
by April Halprin Wayland


I write the word I'd like to think

on the top of my foot each day in ink.

 

Absurd, absurd, some friends may say,

to walk with that ink on her foot all day!

 

How odd, so odd, some will assert,

to write on one's foot—imagine the dirt!

 

You know what I mostly wish from this?

to tune out the voices and follow my bliss.

          poem © 2023 April Halprin Wayland. 

(That last stanza is super corny, but that's what I've got for you today ~ says this recovering perfectionist)

As this new year rolled around, I thought I'd try a word for the whole year again. I sifted through many. The word that felt exactly right is SIMPLIFY.

It's already working its magic: each time I'm overwhelmed by too many emails, too many TO DOs, too much noise, I think: SIMPLIFY. A calm washes over me. I focus.  And guess what? In simplifying the tasks I take on, I've begun writing a picture book I'm totally in love with!πŸ’—

I haven't felt this excited about writing in a long, long time. 

What's YOUR word for today or for the year? I'd love to read it in your comments.😊

And hey, Campers ~ my one day, three-hour Introduction to Writing Children's Poetry will be held again on January 28 from noon to 3pm PST. We read a variety of poems and have time to write our own. Come join the fun! It's offered through the UCLA Extension Writers' Program

Thank you for hosting Poetry Friday, Marcie!

posted by April Halprin Wayland, with help from Monkey and Eli, posing with one of their favorite, very old poetry books.


31 comments:

Carmela Martino said...

I LOVE this post, April, and the image of you writing your word on your foot. It's not absurd, it's BRILLIANT!

author amok said...

Hi, April. I'm giggling about the words on your feet. (What might happen if one foot said "fast" and the other said "slow"?) My word for 2023 is Innovate.

Esther Hershenhorn said...

My word just for YOU today, April is LOVE!

I LOVE your honesty, your authenticity, your talents, your brilliant ideas - such as the one presented in today's post!

YOU are SIMPLY one-of-a-terrific-kind.

Your Fan Esther

mbhmaine said...

I'm enjoying the gift of a snow day and your post felt like the perfect accompaniment. Another gift! I love that you write your word on your foot each day. (I'm now going to wonder what else might be going on under people's socks. A whole new world...)Your OLW is such a good one! I've been noodling around with choosing my own OLW again(after years without doing so). I love hearing how "capable" worked for you and how "simplify" is as well. The power of a well-chosen word!

Kay said...

I love the writing the word on your foot to carry with you through the day. I haven't chosen a word for the year because in the past I've usually forgotten the word by the end of January.

Tabatha said...

Great post, April! I am a fan of figuring out what works best for you and Going For It!

Linda Mitchell said...

It's always amazing to me the number of people that I am sure are like super confident...maybe are more like me than how I picture them. Of course you are capable. Because you are capable...I can be capable too. My OLW is, "word." I know, it's odd and we are getting used to each other...blind date style. I might need to keep a pen near my slippers now.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Wow, Carmela ~ Thank you! πŸ’•

April Halprin Wayland said...

That's hilarious, Laura! πŸ‘£ (Also an idea for a picture book.... Go for it!)

April Halprin Wayland said...

And I adore and admire you back! πŸ’

April Halprin Wayland said...

When they work... They sure work, right?
I had to look up OLW, which I now know stands for one little. Google kept trying to tell me that I meant OWL πŸ¦‰

April Halprin Wayland said...

Yup, Kay... Forgetting the word seems like a sure sign that it's not working its magic...

April Halprin Wayland said...

Yes, Tabatha ~ Figuring out one's fingerprint seems to be the key to life, don't you think?

April Halprin Wayland said...

Linda ~ I LOVE the image of you and your word going on a blind date!!!!

April Halprin Wayland said...

OLW stands for One Little WORD, of course

laurasalas said...

April, this made me laugh! And hooray for starting on a picture book you love! Simplify is a great choice.

Mary Lee said...

OLWs turn out to be huge when put into practice. I'm loving the idea of a temporary foot tattoo as a memory aid...

Linda B said...

I love the prompt on the feet, but sadly it's too cold here & I would need to take off my socks to look. And I certainly need the word "simplify". I haven't chosen a word in a long time, but maybe. . .? Thanks for the giggles, April!

Carol Varsalona said...

April, I love hearing how others find their one word. I have been on this pathway since 2014 so this year my word is "be". It reminds me of your word simplify and all those who want to rest in the moment of each day. I learned the hard way that multitasking creates stress. Simplifying life's tasks brings joy. I enjoyed your post and the pathway to find your word.

Marcie Flinchum Atkins said...

I love that you are writing your word for the day on your foot! So great (as is your poem about it).

My word for the year is NOTICE. Some days are better than others with this.

Patricia Franz said...

April, Love the "Six degrees of separation" connection from OLWs to a PB! I hope SIMPLIFY sticks with you (for your feet's sake)
:)

Ruth said...

I love this, April!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Mary Lee ~ People sometimes do ask me if I have a tattoo there...

April Halprin Wayland said...

Linda B ~ some years hand me a word and some years don't...

April Halprin Wayland said...

Carol, that's an interesting choice. And it feels as calming as my word. In fact, I'll bet they're good friends. 🌞

April Halprin Wayland said...

Laura ~ I haven't felt this way about writing it a long time. It feels like someone has scrubbed me clean and I'm all fresh and shiny each time I sit down to revise it.πŸ’•

April Halprin Wayland said...

That's a wonderful word, Marcie ~ I do my best to notice on the hike, but sometimes my brain flies off and I haven't noticed anything at all. Oh, well... how very humanπŸ™ƒ

April Halprin Wayland said...

Patricia, so far so good! Each day I write the word simplify down before I start my work. It's very calming.

April Halprin Wayland said...

I'm so glad, Ruth. Thanks for stopping by! πŸ‘£

Michelle Kogan said...

What a fun post April, I'm so glad I finally made it over. And Simplify sounds like a grand word to ponder on this year, hint, hint I stuck my OLW in the end of this sentence… Love your drawing of you– good thoughts to ponder on. All the best with your new PB ideas and Happy New Year!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Michelle, I'm pondering your comments ~ and so appreciate them. Thank you for making it over. I'm so bad at reading other blogs...oy! Love and simplify <3