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Reverb #4: Cultivating Wonder

Today’s reverb#4 prompt: How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

I wondered what happened to my waist-line. I wondered what happened to my (aging) skin. I wondered when my children would stop squabbling with each other 45 out of every 60 minutes they spend together. I wondered why so much of my brain has to be devoted to logistics (see reverb #2, on “what gets in the way of your writing?”) I wondered how I could possibly make room to work on a novel, a screenplay, an academic article. I wondered if all the fashion designers in the world got together and decided en masse to forever erase the concept of “hips” from the clothes they design.  I wondered about where we’d go if Sarah Palin & Co actually won the White House in 2012.  I wondered why Barack doesn’t stand up and tell the Repugs to go fuck themselves because there comes a point when trying to play nicely with playground bullies is just dumb. I wondered how I got so lucky as to find a collection of sane & creative mommies to have as friends. I wondered how much it would cost to live in a brownstone with a garden and whether it was too late to become a hedge fund manager. I wondered why sports stars and Kardashians make so much money but give so little away. I wondered if Caleb knows how much joy I derive from listening to his elaborate Lego stories, which spin on literally for hours at a time. I wondered about taking a month off to follow Michael Franti. I wondered why in the hell I live in New York and came to the disconcerting realization that I might be miserable anywhere else. I wondered if I could learn to make a perfect roast chicken and then remembered that because I live in New York I don’t have to make a perfect roast chicken: I can have one delivered to my front door.

In short, I’m not sure I cultivated much wonder this year, but wonder sure seems to have cultivated me.

Next year, I’m going to think about wonder as a noun. And cultivate it. Maybe in a little pot right here on the window sill. I wonder how you cultivate wonder? Probably with the same sorts of seeds you use to cultivate joy. Put that on the list for 2011.

Continue Reading · on December 4, 2010 in reverb10

Reverb 10

Last month was NaBloPoMo, which sounds a bit like a kind of baby food, maybe with squash in it. I wrote a post every day for a month, which I also did last February. Writing every day is a bit like doing any other kind of exercise – hard at first, but then it feels really good. Alas, writing a post a day did not make me skinnier or define my abs in any noticeable fashion.

November ended with a blustery storm and I’ve not posted in a few days (I know, your world has no meaning as a result of my dereliction. Sorry).  Then I noticed a few people doing this “Reverb 10” thing and I got curious. It’s another post-a-day thing, with the intention of reflecting on the year that’s passed and articulating goals for the year to come.

There are big changes brewing in 2011–moving out of this apartment, one kid starting middle school, Husband turns 50, maybe moving out of the city–and that’s just the stuff I know about.  Seems like reflecting and articulating might not be a bad thing to do–and writing about it is a hell of a lot cheaper than therapy.

I’ve missed the first three days…but here are the prompts and responses:

Dec 1: 2010 in one word, and explain. And then what would the word be for 2011?

2010:  Tension. Moving too fast, doing too many things, going in too many directions at once. I realize that this description just about sums up the lives of any working person who lives in New York, but sitting here right now, I think Husband and I have spent most of 2010 scrambling to make sure that not too much stuff falls off the edges of our very full plates.  So that means I’d like 2011 to be the opposite of tense. Calmer? Slower? Centered? Any of those would be good.

Dec 2: What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing and what can you do to eliminate it? Ha! Eliminate that which doesn’t contribute to my writing? Gosh, is it part of this reverb project that I can abandon my family? Get a room of my own and all that? Or hey, what about that day job? Reading student papers really gets in the way of my writing. Ditto laundry, housecleaning, and miscellaneous meal preparation.

Dec 3: Pick a moment when you have felt most alive this year… Walking in the desert outside Qasr Al Sarab, along the ridge of a dune. The side of the ridge in the sun was so hot it burned my feet; the other side was deliciously cool.

Reverb…maybe the idea of doing this sort of writing is to find the good stuff in the year that’s sliding to a close and find ways to let that good stuff reverberate into the new year.


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Continue Reading · on December 3, 2010 in writing

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