How does the choosing of a single word move from phase to phenomenon?
I have been in conversation, listening to or reading about, the words friends are considering or have chosen to be their One Little Word. Whether or not this is a tradition for you, consider the challenge of this practice and contemplate how it could be significant for those who do it.
I love words – exploring their etymology, definitions, use in colloquial and literary forms. When I heard of One Little Word in 2011, the concept of taking “ownership” of a word for a year seemed like an armchair adventure. What I hadn’t counted on was that one word would have me engaging with the world more attentively than I had before.
Moving into my second year with a new word, I realized quickly I wasn’t putting one word down and picking up another; both words became a part of my life. This practice was not a phase, it was becoming a phenomenon.
The revelations shared by friends are just as phenomenal. For some the word is like a sonar they send out pinging in the depths of their days, trying to figure out what is out there. For others, it is like a personal coming home parade with signs on every corner, ribbons on every tree, a confirmation of who they are or have become. Some of my friends use the word like a prayer or mantra to remind them to stay on a chosen course.
Now in my fourth year, for me each word is like a private Hubble telescope in my backyard. What I see tells me plenty about myself, my world, and helps me think more clearly about the future.
And here is a note from a teacher involving her students in an OLW project, how cool!