This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.
Sunday, January 23, 2022
I have no idea what to write about. I was thinking of doing the word “nothing” as in nothing is occurring to me, I can think of nothing, nothing inspires me or interests me at the moment.
But that’s stupid.
Then I thought maybe tea. I’ve been drinking a stupid lot of it, I could find some story. Except I can’t.
I need a word that sparks a thought or a memory or an idea. It doesn’t have to be meaningful. It can be literally any word in any language and yet.
Also I keep thinking about making cookies but I AM NOT GOING TO. I was thinking I’d make muffins later. Healthy ones.
Something with oat bran.
I can’t have another food related word or story otherwise this will have to become a cooking blog.
It can’t be a reflective word since I reflected on nothing today. I just existed and played a lot of vicarious Destiny.
It can’t be a profound word because I don’t have it in me.
I tried a random word generator. That was not inspiring or fun. It came up with words like owner. And concern. Besides, I just kept generating words because it’s not like I promised myself I’d use the first one.
This is why I stopped writing three years ago. And now, 23 days into a 365 day project I’m already out of words.
Play. I was playing with that word. See what I did there? Mostly because we all need more of it. But I did none of it today. I sat on the couch, I cooked and cleaned, I exercised and put boxes in the car to take to Goodwill.
If I’m going to use a word like that I should probably do it.
Do you know what I was going to do? Buy playdoh. Somehow I always want playdoh and don’t buy it because I’ll use it for the first five minutes then never pick it up again. Also all the colors will blend together and that bothers me. I never said I was sane.
Then it turned into a project because of the colors and cutters and sets and things and reviews. It was much easier when you went into a store to buy a thing. Now you have to read a hundred reviews, and they all tell you why the playdoh is bad. Playdoh turned into nothing.
Maybe I’ll use nothing after all. And make it short and be like… got nothing.
But that is not my MO, I need all the words.
Maybe I will go make a list of the words I’ve used, and the ones I can.
Maybe my word is list. Could I possibly say anything about it? Highly suspect.
I’m really leaning toward nothing.
It’s the only thing that came to mind today.
Maybe that’s what happens when you let your brain unwind for five minutes. Everything just falls out of it.
Let’s percolate on nothing. Nothing doesn’t have to be bad. It’s sort of empty’s cousin. Stillness taken up a notch.
Nothing can mean a peaceful state, nothing much going on in the noggin. Noggin is a stupid word. But I already wrote it so I’m leaving it there. Maybe the word should be “edit”, as in “do more of it.”
I am going to do nothing about it.
The more I write the more I’m getting into this word.
It’s not that I did nothing today. I did quite a lot, actually.
Things I did:
A 30 minute Peloton power zone ride. A 30 minute DDP yoga. I didn’t even phone it in.
I bought Ralph’s mom a birthday gift. More importantly I bought a birthday gift that will get there by her actual birthday.
My brother is visiting in a week and it’s his birthday, too, so I want to plan a meal and cake and cocktails. But I got stuck on what kind of potatoes to make. And no idea what kind of dessert to make.
I should have planned this menu weeks ago. Maybe bought a gift.
Always last minute, always harried over what to do or whether it’s good enough, so I do nothing.
Other things I did: brought a bunch of stuff to the recycling bin and the dumpster.
Bought new kitchen mats.
Got the mail.
Cleaned out my inbox and set up my client projects for the week.
But the word nothing wasn’t about doing nothing. More about thinking nothing.
Which isn’t what happened either. I thought about a lot of things. The DDP Facebook group, full of people I’ve never met but who feel like I know them. The books I’m reading. The things I need to clean before my brother gets here. People I love and things that are important to me.
So why does nothing keep popping up in my head? It’s not that I want to write about nothing.
Maybe I just want to write about nothing in particular.
I actually like this project, quite a lot, so it’s not stressful, even when I don’t have a particular inspiration.
Inspiration is a good word, I have things to say about it. Nothing I’m going to say now.
See what I did there again?
Actually I’ve been wanting to percolate and expostulate (both excellent words) on motivation, but that requires… motivation. It’s not in my repertoire today.
Still, nothing keeps surfacing, wanting to be talked about.
Sometimes thinking nothing is a great thing. I was talking to a friend the other day who lives in Los Angeles and recently spent a weekend with family in a much colder, much norther state. The visit involved shoveling snow, not something he gets to do frequently in Los Angeles. Or, to be fair, ever.
My initial reaction was, “Ugh.”
His initial reaction was, “This is great!”
Why? Because for people like us, whose entire lives revolve around thinking, planning, figuring things out, organizing, managing, communicating, wording – doing manual labor was a perfect reprieve.
He’s right. It’s hard to get philosophical when you’re lifting ten pounds of ice and snow over the driveway edging.
It’s why I love getting on the Peloton so much. I queue up something that is going to make me want to die, with someone who yells at me, “Yes you CAN!” and I yell back, “I hate you so much!” And there is no thinking happening whatsoever.
It’s not that I had nothing to say today, it’s just that I had nothing in particular to say. The result is that this is more meandering and plotless than usual. Twenty-three days ago that would have been cause to not write. Now it’s cause to write a lot about nothing.
This is surely very boring for a lot of people, but I’m not writing for other people. I’m writing because sometimes there’s nothing to say but it feels good to do it anyway. Because sometimes nothing is something.
So yes, that’s today’s word. Nothing, where nothing is a good thing. It’s like having your brain full of clouds, which are nothing in particular or anything you want them to be.
Several years ago, when Ralph and I went on our road trip, my friend Kaarina posed a challenge. Part of the challenge was to find pictures in the clouds. That stuck with me, because even though I’ve always loved clouds and found innumerable pictures in them, I didn’t always pay attention or give them the credit they deserved. Now I can’t see clouds without turning them into something I can tell her about if the occasion arises. It’s taking nothing and turning it into something.
Nothing is pretty great.
I started writing this feeling bad about having nothing to say, now I feel bad about nothing at all. This is one of the great things about life. It’s not about the words you have, but what you make of them.
I think, if you can make nothing into something, even if nobody approves, then that’s everything.
Photo: the clouds over Harlinsdale Farm in Franklin, Tennessee. They never disappoint.
Because I cannot see any clouds in the sky today, I looked up “nothingness” in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. That was above my pay grade. So then I figured, let’s check out synonyms for nothing. Drum roll please, for your reading pleasure : naught, nullity (I didn’t know that was a word), nonexistence (although I think Stanford might have something to say about that), and finally, zip, zero and zilch (I like zed words…the Canadian in me yes, said zed, not zee), Here’s to nothing!
There is a lot in nothing after all! And suddenly I feel the urge to use a Z word 🙂
Nothing is kind of like “not the pink”.
Yes! One day the word has to be “notthepink”.