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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

I’m having quite a bit more fun writing this time around than I did last time.

I think last time it was more of a challenge to self, a gauntlet thrown in front of my keyboard. This time it’s more… meh, whatever. But in a good way.

I’ll do it, or I won’t.

I want to do it. I will do it. Until it stops being fun and I don’t.

It’s so much simpler that way.

The other reason it’s more fun is that I have changed up my strategy. I used to try so hard to come up with a word and then think of something to say about it.

I had people throw words in the ring and I’d do battle with them.

I’d name every object in a room, every color, come up with every adjective I could think of and see what kind of ideas came up from the muck with them.

It was kind of tedious.

But now I come up with the story first and eventually a word falls out.

I mean, something happens every day. It may not be the most exciting thing or the funniest thing or the coolest thing or even remotely interesting at all, if you really think about it.

But that’s what the story is for. I think this is more of a story challenge than a word challenge. It’s a story-about-a-word challenge.

I’m trying to stretch my imagination and creative skills. Not read a dictionary.

So when something happens, I tell the story. And when nothing happens, I make one up, usually about something that did happen, at some point.

Maybe it’s a memory or a reflection. Maybe an incident or a sorting of the mental pieces.

Another reason this has been more fun: less complaining. I went through a phase last year where everything felt like a crisis. To be fair, I go through the same phase fairly regularly, but it does get boring. And I consciously decided that this would be less about complaining and more about… fun.

Of course, I’m a New Yorker so everything I say sounds like a complaint or an accusation or both, but I assure you this is as congenial as it gets.

So yeah, it’s been fun. Not easy, but I’m enjoying the process more and feeling more creative and less angst-ridden.

Fun is underrated. It’s also over-inflated.

Fun doesn’t have to come with balloons. It doesn’t need to be planned and put on the calendar. It can be helpful to put it on the calendar, say, if you have tickets to the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. But it can also be had on any given Tuesday afternoon when you feel like working on your 499 piece puzzle during lunch.

Synonyms for a Tuesday kind of fun:

Enjoyable. Pleasant. Gratifying. Satisfying. Engaging. Entertaining. Amusing.

Synonyms for fun that put very high expectations on it and are ok for a birthday party or a special night but don’t always lead to a full appreciation of the many varieties of it:

Boisterous. Lively. Rollicking. Uproarious. Energetic. Thrilling.

Fun can be had in less boisterous ways.

You know what’s fun? Walking the park trail and seeing the wildflowers bloom. Playing a game of Trivial Pursuit and getting a sports question right even though the only thing you know about sports is Brett Favre.

Stopping for a burger with tots and a cocktail in town even though it wasn’t on the calendar.

Hanging out on the couch on a Friday night with a book and a cigar while Ralph plays Destiny and I periodically insert myself into the conversation with his game buddies.

Cooking dinner for friends.

You know what else is fun?

A bounce house. Coincidentally, as I was toying with the idea of fun, someone in my family texted me an old photo of me in a bounce house. I used to love those things as a kid. Maybe even as not-quite-a-kid. You want to have fun? Bounce.

On one of the last nights that my brother was staying with us, we were hanging out having cocktails per usual, playing some 80s tunes like you do, when Erasure came on with Yahoo! and without an actual coordinated effort or so much as a look we both jumped off the couch and started bouncing higher, higher, higher.

Because sometimes you just gotta have fun.

Writing may not be a bounce house but it’s still fun, as this project has been since it’s resumed. That, and a sunflower, are sometimes all you really need.

Photo: the aforementioned photo of me in the bounce house. Come on, tell me you don’t want to get into one of these right now.