In deference to my year-end review, I’ve looked at a couple areas of my life in the last couple days.
First up, my 2016 reading. Alas, I only made it through 37 books this year. And while I’ve only been keeping count and track of what I’ve read for the past few years, I have no doubt this was the least amount of reading I’ve done in a long while. It’s been a source of discomfort for me all year – I both love reading and I have an incredible backlog of books awaiting my attention. Since reading is such a source of pleasure for me, I’m planning to commit more time to it in 2017. But rather than making a sort of loose no-actual-plan commitment, I sat down and made a list of the books I would very much like to read in 2017. It’s a little over a 100, and I forced myself to stop there. It’s certainly a stretch, but intriguingly possible and I’m up for the challenge. I’m going to give myself a little leeway with the exact list, perhaps substituting out a few titles as I also have almost 500 titles on my wishlist on paperbackswap.com and if any of them become available, I’m open to seeing if they get one of the prized must-read-now slots.
Another tie-in to this project that seems rather delightful to me, is I want to start participating in the 100 Untimed Books photo challenge. The gist of the challenge is there is a list of 100 brief interpret-any-way-you-choose prompts, and when you read a book relating to it, you take a photo and post it. Read the specifics here.
The second thing I took a look at was the number of blog posts I published this year – 106 posts to date. While that’s a fair amount, in truth there were a couple months when I published almost daily and then a number of months when I barely made a once-a-week minimum. I love blogging, and I know all the arguments and trends insist it’s a dying art, but frankly I don’t care. My rambling, convoluted thoughts and connections are far more suited to blogging than quick social media posts, and so this is where I really choose to focus my time and energy.
I confess I don’t often fully remember what I’ve written – that’s the nature of my spontaneous ramblings I suppose. So I spent some time over the past couple days going over the posts, which was a fun way to cull some of the treasures of the year and allow me to celebrate them once again.
I’m definitely celebrating having done two blogging abecedariums this year, my favorite being my manifesto incorporating unusual words.
I enjoyed revisiting some of the more strange and odd words that captured my heart this year, including: ambedo, bibelot, blottesque, cryptonym, dendrophilous, eirenism, friggatriskaidekaphobia, fulgor, galimatias, Gezelligheid, heyday, ikigai, joyance, kinkle, ludic, mellifluous, mirabilia, nefelibata, Nothingarian, olent, periapt, quiety, quizzity, rhapsodomancy, sparklemates, spondulicks, telarian, uberty, valentine, windlass, xeno, yeasty; Zhi zi zhi shou, yu zi xie lao.
And my love of words continued to be deepened through the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows – the beautiful, ever-growing compendium of invented words by John Koneig.
I enjoyed sharing about my Doodling Dossier and Idea Reliquary journals, and my summer practice where I was creating little folded journals summarizing my week. I noticed too, how often I used pages from two books with fabulous patterns as backgrounds for photos – the books being How to Be a Wildflower by Katie Daisy and My Portfolio by Swedish artist and fashion designer Gudrun Sjödén. I suppose it’s not a surprise how much I love flower motifs.
I enjoyed playing around with anagrams some more this year, and I particularly appreciate how the once shaming expression “me myself and I” actually rearranged into “my fine damsel.” I think that’s pretty reflective of the entire year in a way for so many of us – letting go of things that don’t serve us and reclaiming powerful true expressions of ourselves.
I delighted in discovering Van Gogh clouds (officially called Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds) and circumzenithal arcs which are reversed rainbows. Both are now firmly planted on my list of things-I-must-see-for-myself along with Icelandic auroras.
I shared a number of brief blurbs about dreams I had during the year, but I particularly like the one about a garden of eyes pointing me in the direction of a lone tree in a meadow – a tree with eyes in its bark. I wrote a number of times about trees and my love for them, but I feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface and there’s so much more to say.
My year was filled with all kinds of treasures, both of the tangible and intangible variety, but I took special delight in my Mercury ring. How I love Mercury/Hermes and the fact I had the ring sized so I can wear it on my pinky finger, which happens to be the finger of Mercury per palmistry conventions, delights me inordinately.
I contemplated the wisdom of many folks throughout my year, but two bits in particular continue to turn over and over in my mind, inspiring me. First is Malcolm Gladwell’s admonition:
“I feel I change my mind all the time. And I sort of feel that’s your responsibility as a person, as a human being – to constantly be updating your positions on as many things as possible. And if you don’t contradict yourself on a regular basis, then you’re not thinking.”
I think it’s a real problem how stuck we can get in old ways of thinking/believing/behaving thus recreating the same old things over and over again. There’s never been a time when we need fresh views and expanded thinking and genius solutions more than now.
But the invitation I carry most openly in my heart, and feels like the rallying cry for all of 2016 is from Rob Brezsny, beloved author of Pronoia, who affirms:
“We are dissident bodhisattvas rebelling against all those forces that feed fear and ignore love.”
That’s certainly the energy I want to integrate from 2016 and carry forward into 2017.
What about you? Your turn. What are you celebrating about 2016? What are you carrying forward into next year? Have plans for what you’ll be reading? Do tell – you know I love to hear.