A new word

I’m really excited about my February Blog project. A couple of weeks ago, I went to Santa Cruz – a beautiful coastal town near me – and in one of the shops I saw these wonderful photographs…

I loved these! Not because of the words that were spelled, although there is nothing wrong with the words, but because they stirred my imagination. I am not a visual artist at all. I think in words. I read books and revel in the language, listen to music and lose myself in lyrics, watch movies and obsess over the dialogue. I love the idea of creating words out of the details of my world. As soon as I saw these, I thought, “I want to do that!”

So I did. I ventured out on Saturday, and I looked for letters in the branches of trees, in the angles of architecture, in the geometry of household things. My first word was easy to pick. It was the theme of 2009 for me; it is my command to myself for the future, my goal, my constant inner chant.

I had so much fun doing this, wandering aimlessly, soaking up the California sunshine, moving (uncharacteristically) slowly because that’s what the project demands. Like my Beckoning the Lovely project, this one will force allow me to do something creative and out of my normal routine every week, and – bonus – I’ll be stopping to take notice of where I am, right now.

So here we go. Every Monday in February. A new word. It’ll be fun.


  1. Becky on February 1, 2010 at 12:02 am

    I want that framed and on my wall right now! You are an artist– no distinction between what kind. An artist allows people to see things in a new and different way — with words, with pictures, with actions. You!

  2. terrepruitt on February 1, 2010 at 12:14 am

    J!!!! You never cease to amaze me with your awesomeness. This is a great idea. I love it. I am so impressed.

    And then . . . your “LEAP” is so great! I am impressed with the angles at which you took the pictures so the letters popped out. Awesome.

    I so bow down to your awesomeness!!

  3. wolfwriter on February 1, 2010 at 1:16 am

    So I’m trying to come up with a new word for how just — well cool, this is. And cool doesn’t do it justice.

    So much for you not being visual. It’s visual poetry.

  4. ~Tim on February 1, 2010 at 5:23 am

    What a very cool idea! And you are off to a great start with it.

  5. judy on February 1, 2010 at 5:24 am

    Becky, Thank you! I know this is going to sound like I’m being falsely humble, but I could never take pictures before we got this camera. It is AMAZING. (And, I’m glad you like it. I’ll be framing it up for your bday.)

    Terre, Before I posted I found my boys to ask them if they could recognize the word. I was nervous I’d get it up here and everyone would be scratching their heads. 😉 Thank you!

    Wolfwriter, Cool. I like that, especially from you. Maybe cool should be one of the words…

    Tim, So nice to see you again! Big smile! Thanks!

    • Becky on February 1, 2010 at 9:23 pm

      Ha! I won’t hold you to that. You’re not going to want to part with this.

  6. karen from mentor on February 1, 2010 at 5:38 am

    Oh My Gosh that LEAP is just too cool. I love the E especially. I see faces and letters in objects all the time. So I can’t wait to see your awesome j discoveries out there in CA every Monday. I’m sure that they will be like alien vistas to me. Ones that open my horizons to infinite possibilities……

  7. Caroline on February 1, 2010 at 6:00 am

    Excellent! excellent, excellent, excellent. In addition – you are amazing. ;o)

  8. chezhui on February 1, 2010 at 6:20 am

    J. That’s the word I told Jane B. ‘LEAP’ was my 2010 word. Too funny. Maybe I’ll have to choose SOAR for my new motto.

    I love the art and the wood letters. As always you leap beyond the bounds of my imagination; a natural talent!


  9. adamslisa on February 1, 2010 at 6:37 am

    This is so wonderful… looking at the world in a different way, with possibilities previously unseen. May I share this on my FB page??

  10. judy on February 1, 2010 at 6:38 am

    Karen, I know, the E! Like a gift. We were driving and yelled, “Wait Stop!” and Chad did right there. I had to say, “Well, maybe we should pull to the side of the road…”

    Caroline, I think I should post your comment above my computer and read it daily like an affirmation. Thank you!

    Mairi, I’ll share the word! It’s an awesome word. It’s what got me through last year. (Although I like the idea of soaring in 2010!)

    Lisa, Yes! And if you’re on FB, how come we’re not friends. Must fix that.

  11. Amy on February 1, 2010 at 7:08 am

    Really love this. I will take more notice around my neighborhood now. See the hidden letters.

    You’re an artist, all right. Every time you take pen to paper…or keyboard to monitor 😉

  12. Linda on February 1, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Wonderful. You are such an inspiration. I ask myself often, what amazing thing will J do next?

  13. Kathleen on February 1, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Fun! You have great ideas.

  14. jb on February 1, 2010 at 7:49 am

    O WOW O WOW O WOW!!! (I am a visual person – those are the first words that popped into my head, proving that words are not my strength.)

    I think you’re much more visual and artistic than you realize. The angles are perfect to show the letters, and the size of each letter is consistent, too (so it doesn’t look like a ransom note – which also might be fun, actually!) and the exposure is perfect.


  15. BOBBY on February 1, 2010 at 7:57 am

    Well, from one that is all about the visual, love the melody, veer away from the obvious and always see things from more than one point of view, I will definitely look forward to all the mondays of February. Fun J project!

    side note, have you seen the American Express commercial with the faces? I think its called Take Charge or Be In Charge. (I’m sure its on you tube, what isn’t?). If not, you will understand when you see it!

  16. Walker Lawrence on February 1, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Please send an ordering slip asap.

  17. peggi on February 1, 2010 at 8:10 am

    awesome… need i say more?

  18. judy on February 1, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Amy, Aww, thank you. I’m blushing. For real. It does change how you see everything. On the other hand, when you’re busy trying to see letters everywhere, a conversation is almost impossible!

    Linda, I ask myself that too, but I don’t always mean it in a complimentary way. (Thank you!)

    Kathleen, Every now and then. 😉

    jb, High praise from my photographer friend! I’m going to be impossible to live with now! It was fun, moving in just the right place to make the letter. (I took more… some are VERY creative. Future words.)

    Bobby, Thank you! I’ll go to You Tube next.

    Walker, You’re awesome. Thank you!

  19. judy on February 1, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Peggi, Nope! I’ll take that! ::Hug::

  20. Jane Bretl on February 1, 2010 at 8:48 am

    LOVE this idea! What fun it will be to see the new word each week. I hope you have a wall in your house to frame and hang all this new art — how wonderful it would be to look back at each of these projects later, and think of the days when you weren’t a famous author, yet…

  21. swampynomo on February 1, 2010 at 10:08 am

    That is really pretty cool. I look forward to your words.

  22. Jordan Drew on February 1, 2010 at 10:11 am

    That is AWESOME! I wanna go walk around town and see what I can come up with now. Too cool, man!!

  23. Tana on February 1, 2010 at 10:19 am

    This is one of my favorite posts on any subject, ever. I love when something turns your mind sideways and you have new perspective on something that seemed so obvious.

    The person for whom I am named, Tana Hoban, was a photographer who worked in a similar way—turning ordinary objects into simple shapes in children’s books.


    Also, I want to share with your readers the name of the place that has the display that inspired you. It’s called Chocolate, a bistro on the downtown Pacific Garden Mall in Santa Cruz. It’s owned by a very good friend, and I know he’d appreciate knowing if Judy sent visitors his way.


    Thanks, Judy. I’m spreading the word on this post, and hoping to follow suit with my own camera.


  24. judy on February 1, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Jane, I love that thought! Yes, go take pictures. It’s good for the soul.

    Swampynomo, Thank you. Have to decide what to write…

    Jordan, It is fun. And I think it uses some other part of your brain, so your writer brain gets a break. Which is nice.

    Tana, Wow, thank you! I loved doing this one. And like you, I so want to turn my brain sideways as often as possible. Thank you so much for the links! We need a field trip when the weather clears!

  25. Tana on February 1, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Heh. A “feel trip.”

    • judy on February 1, 2010 at 11:30 am

      Oops. Fixed. *blush*

  26. Mary (azsky13) on February 1, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    As I said earlier on Twitter, a true artist is frequently talented in many venues. I disagree with your contention that you are not a “visual person.” It is just that you have never perceived yourself in that way. You are accustomed to painting your pictures with words, but you must first see that picture in your mind and appreciate it in order to find the perfect words to describe it. To do that you must be a “visual person” as well. The process of doing this with words is sometimes even more difficult than actually physically creating art.
    As you grow older, your creativity will most certainly manifest in ways that you might not expect. You already have the tools at your disposal, a perceptive mind, a willingness to explore the world around you and the soul of an artist.

  27. Louise (aka @batpoet) on February 1, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    What an inspiring blog piece. From now on, I will look AND leap!

  28. judy on February 1, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Mary, Thank you… maybe I’ll discover latent talents. That would be very cool. “The soul of an artist…” That’s lovely. (Thanks for taking the time to comment over here too.)

    Batpoet! (Oops, I mean, Louise!) Thank you for commenting! I think we need to create a whole tribe of leapers! (And before Bobby says it, that should not be confused with lepers which is a completely different thing.)

  29. Kevin @cookerguy on February 1, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Wow. What an interesting idea. Can’t wait to see more.

  30. HippieChick on February 1, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    I love, love, love this. So much so, I would hang it on my wall!

    Great job, j. I would never guess this is you first time doing this. You’ve got some mad skillz, woman!

    (And, excellent choice of words! I have been doing a little leaping of my own lately)

  31. BOBBY on February 1, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    holy reflections in windows being used as letters Batman, did she just say “tribe of lepers”?!?! I may certainly come at you from different angles on some things but that comment would never have been one of them — rest assured on that point!

    By the way, I will keep an eye on the ice cubes in my cocktail later —- I am hoping that they form a perfect letter “J” for your project! (I will take a pic!ha)

    • judy on February 1, 2010 at 10:27 pm

      YES! Take a picture for me. That would be awesome! Ice j!

  32. Lake on February 1, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Awesome and beautiful.

  33. George Angus on February 1, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Well, I can’t wait.

    How about capping it off with:


    Get to steppin’!

  34. dh127 on February 1, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    J, you are evolving into a true renaissance woman! You are SO talented. My own personal belief is that the more we create, the more creative we become. I ADORE this project. Mondays this month are going to be FABulous! You are too cool for words, Ms Sparkly Awesomeness.

    BTW, the American Express “smile” commercials? I saw a report on the news or 20/20 or somewhere. The woman who originally came up with the idea of photographing objects that resemble smiles is a teacher, if I remember correctly. I hope she’s getting some kind of financial compensation from AmEx. 🙂 Dani

  35. Joanne (Twittlededum) on February 1, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    This is so damn cool J! You will be seeing your world through a new pair of eyes. So creative and refreshing. Love it!

  36. judy on February 1, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Thanks, Kevin. Me either. 😉

    Hippiechick, Why, thank you! Ginormous smile! I would happily let you hang it on your wall! I should have everyone send me possible words for the project…

    Lake!!!! Where have you been? (Thank you! Hug!)

    George, I thought of that. It hasn’t been ruled out. “Get to steppin’!” <– Why I love George.

    Dani, first, thank you big!!! Second, there's a blog you might like called Faces in Places. (Just made a note to myself to add it to my blog roll, but here is the link. http://facesinplaces.blogspot.com/) Very fun!

    Joanne, That's what I'm hoping. I'm sure it's going to be fun, and it will take me out of my daily routine for a few hours each week. Always a good idea!

  37. vvdenman on February 2, 2010 at 10:54 am

    I love this! You must’ve had so much fun doing it, too. I’ve seen these given as wedding gifts, spelling out the couple’s last name. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

  38. judy on February 3, 2010 at 9:30 am

    VV, I just checked out your blog, and I love it. I’m so glad you commented on mine! And yes, this project is going to be fun, I can tell. I’m only beginning to explore the creative side of me that isn’t about writing. It’s an adventure. A leap. 😉

  39. ramblingscotsman on February 5, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Nice one J! V creative, and I think the b&w really adds to it, gives it a classy feel 🙂 keep taking leaps, it suits you!

  40. judy on February 5, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    RSM, Why, thank you! I love the idea that leaping suits me. *Hug*

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