I’ve often considered living in Portland, Oregon, where the prevailing motto is Keep Portland Weird. I’ve already lived in The City Different, and I know these places do their very best to uphold their reputations.
Now I live in Maquoketa, Iowa, where the weirdest thing today is the ridiculously cold weather, but overall is how many different ways people who are not from here will attempt to pronounce the town’s name.
I like to pronounce Maquoketa in as many weird ways as possible. Often times I call people, places, and things by names other than their given name if those names don’t do them justice. Other times I do simply because I can’t remember their real names. It happens more often than you might think once you reach a certain age.
Names that describe things or people or places perfectly, I can remember. Like Dr. Groaner, the dentist. I kid you not. Or Hell, Norway, one of the 7 coldest places on earth. Yes, I’m still on the cold kick.
Words are important to me. I’m a huge believer in what I call Name It & Claim It, especially for New Year ceremonies, birthday parties, new additions or subtractions like babies, pets, spouses, jobs, or any occasion that ushers in a significant change.
Once you get crystal clear on what you want, you are bound to go after it. Take this writing challenge, for instance. I’ve known that I wanted to write since the day I picked up a pen, but until I got clear on the who, what, when, where, why, and how – or how many in this case, I didn’t get too far. I dilly dallied and only occasionally got busy.
Until I named my intention to write at least 500 words a day for 40 days, I didn’t fully claim my right to write. I’ve journaled daily for years. But that stuff stays hidden from the world at large. It’s amazing what has happened in just 5 days by letting a few people in on this adventure.
The words wake me up. Ideas abound and just like my dogs when they know we are going for a walk, they jump up and down with such enthusiasm I can barely get a leash on them.
What I’ve learned from the dogs is despite the fact that we walk the same path almost every day, they act as if this is the most exciting thing we’ve ever done. They stay continually curious and always a wee bit weird. (Like what’s the allure of freeze dried fish – we live on the Maquoketa River – and why must they bring it to me like it’s a treasure?)
My ideas are equally thrilled to be brought out into the light of day. And it is very curious how the brilliance they seem to possess during the walk gets lost in translation once they hit the page and show up as the idea equivalent of freeze dried fish.
It’s as if my muses have realized they are being rewarded for their half century of silence and are free to explore and express all the weird and wonderful things the world has to offer, at least for the next 40 days. Consequently, they are not holding back.
So, stay curious, and we’ll see what they have to say tomorrow.