The Memory Project
Off the top of my head, natural (Johnny Ketchum)

The Return of the One-Word Resolution Challenge
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Last year, an open invitation to boil one's New Year's resolutions to a single word ended up generating more comments than almost any other topic in the history of this little blog.

To recap, I chose "stretch." In the literal sense, I failed. I simply don't stretch enough and my hamstrings are tight as . . . well, I find myself failing to find a good Raymond Chandleresque simile here. Tight enough to make a bishop put his foot through a stained glass window? Tight as a tarantula on a slice of angel food cake? Doesn't work. The bottom line is I need to do more yoga to complement a fairly intense program of cardio and strength-training.

Did I stretch figuratively? I think so. I wrote more than I ever have before, and the three works I produced -- a novel (Life Sentences), a serial novella (The Girl in the Green Raincoat) and a novella for the short story collection (Scratch a Woman) were all attempts to do something new/different/more challenging. As always, others get to pass judgment on if I succeeded, but I was definitely in Robert Browning* territory.

So what one word can sum up my 2009 goals? I considered "moisturize" -- and, really, if there's one thing I need to do every day, it's probably that -- but it lacked a larger sense. "Loosen up"? That's two words, but not bad advice. I have always been enamored of an old 70s phrase, which I happened on in The Serial, about gnats in the yogurt, small things that shouldn't upset us. But just try reducing that sentiment to a single word.

Besides, although I could definitely go with UNWIND, I don't think it encompasses enough of what I have to do. So I choose: VENTURE, in almost all of its meanings. (The last thing I'm going to do in 2009 is put any capital on the line.)

Your turn. One word, one resolution.

*ETA: I was trying to make a subtle allusion to "A man's reach should exceed his grasp," which would have been mildly impressive if I had gotten the poet right the first time around. But, hey, this is a blog about memory's vagaries.

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