Recapping the Lovely

Way back on August 1st, I posted a movie by Amy Krouse Rosenthal that I’d stumbled upon on YouTube. It was called The Beckoning of Lovely, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. The next day, August 2nd, I posted My Amazing, Wonderful, Big, Fat Fun Idea. I had decided to tackle Amy’s list of wonderful things by myself, in this blog. I had no idea how I was going to do it,  but for the next twelve Mondays, I fearlessly beckoned the lovely like an intrepid blogging explorer. (And by “fearlessly,” I mean “nervously and with a vague sense of dread.”)

There were some things I expected to happen. For instance, I knew I’d have to step away from my keyboard. From colorful Sharpie artwork, to musical wine glasses and artfully arranged cherry tomatoes, the lovely took on many forms. Getting away from my preferred medium was good for me – like suddenly getting an office with a view. It reminds you there’s a whole big world out there.

Another great thing to come out of this? I rediscovered a more playful j. For a lot of reasons, things had become very serious for me over the last couple of years. I had lost touch with my playful side. But, more than any writing project ever had, Beckoning the Lovely taught me the value of letting go. My self-imposed, publicly declared Monday deadlines made it necessary for me to simply leap, often without a plan or any clear destination. I never knew exactly what I’d have when I was through “beckoning,” and there is something wonderfully liberating in that.

Those are the things I expected. Here’s what I didn’t expect:

  1. Unwavering, unquestioning support. Not one of my lovely things was created by me alone. I needed help every single time, and when I asked for it, no matter how silly, or time consuming, or messy, people said yes. The sense of community I felt throughout the 12 weeks was amazing. My “Lovely” posts are among my most commented on.
  2. My own sense of daring. There were times when the items on the Lovely list would freeze me in my tracks. Make music? Make out? Make up? Make a movie? Just the thought of bringing those ideas to fruition on my blog made me panicky. How goofy was I willing to be? How blatantly imperfect? As it turned out, pretty damn goofy. In the end, it felt amazing to let go of the idea that I had to be good at everything I tried. I didn’t. The important part – the most exciting and rewarding part – was the trying. I became good at that.
  3. Fun. I had no idea how much fun this project would be. I mean, I wore face paint, hiked the SF shore, made a collage, drank a cucumber martinni (or two)!

And maybe the coolest thing of all is that Beckoning the Lovely made me want more – more creative silliness, more out-of-my-element adventures, more collaboration, more exploration, more daring… more fun.

I think you should try it: make something unexpected, do something out of character, try something that scares you. What can you beckon this week?

Oh, and starting in December, we need something new and fun for Mondays. Suggestions are welcome. I am on the look out for my “next big thing.”


  1. Christina on November 3, 2009 at 6:11 am

    Though I only found you and your blog partway through “Beckoning the Lovely,” I’ve been so impressed with what I’ve seen! You said you lost touch with your playful side, but you certainly hadn’t lost touch with your bravery, not if you decided to do this and then follow through. Even if it’s just for fun — sometimes, especially if it’s “just” for fun — it’s tough to try something out of the ordinary. I’ll have to look back through all of your posts on this and then think about what I can do to get out of my comfort zone. (I’m so fond of my comfort zone!)

  2. BOBBY on November 3, 2009 at 9:48 am

    hmmm, ideas for the next big thing….

    — you can tell everyone about your latest 25 week course on how to write a novel using only words beginning with the letter “u”.

    — you can tell everyone about your new lyric writing seminars devoted to making sure everything you write comes out as a song!

    — Mondays = home improvement updates. every weekend a new project followed by monday updates. beginning project…. a third story, “hey, Chad…”

    WAIT, I got it! Your VIDEO BLOG project!! Yep, I think video blog mondays is now in order — December would be a good month to try it out!!

  3. karen from mentor on November 3, 2009 at 10:17 am

    I love this line:
    “The important part – the most exciting and rewarding part – was the trying. I became good at that.”

    I’m so glad that you’ve rediscovered your playful side….. it’s lovely to look at. It’s so shiny now that sometimes I need sunglasses…..and that’s a great thing.

    As far as The Next Big Thing in December? For a lot of Americans it’ll be their waistline……….

    But I’ll work on something for Mondays for you.

    hugs honey!
    Karen :0)

  4. judy on November 3, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Christina, My comfort zone was starting to feel small. I’m finding myself seeking out opportunities for nervousness… stretching myself. (And I don’t just mean the yoga!) If you click on “j’s lovely things” in my categories you can see all the silliness.

    Bobby, Well, a video blog definitely makes me nervous. Thing is, I look much more sparkly and alluring in writing… (Still, you’ve got me thinking. As usual.)

    Karen, You’re awesome. I would like to order my pocket-karen, who will ride around on my hip like a secret weapon and say things like this whenever I’m feeling hesitant. HUGS!

  5. terrepruitt on November 3, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Bobby took the words right out of my mouth. Ok, not really because I could never say anything as wonderfully as he does, so . . . . I was on that same wavelength. I was thinking videos . . . . .

  6. judy on November 3, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    Terre, be careful what you encourage! (But thank you for encouraging it.) 😉

  7. Estrella Azul on November 4, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Maybe you feel you’ve discovered your playful side, but the funny one was always there… I started reading your blog way before the lovely projects and I never doubted you had a fun and playful personality!

  8. Estrella Azul on November 4, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Oops, wrong button… back to track:
    I really enjoyed your beckoning the lovely, I’m sure you’ll find more projects that will make you this happy.
    I’ll think of something for Mondays and get back to you 🙂

  9. judy on November 5, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Estrella, I’ve always been more playful in writing. It’s safer. What I loved about his adventure was how playful I found I could be when I step away from the keyboard. Too bad you’re so far away, or we’d have a play date! 😉

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