no time like the present

In Inspiration

It’s that time of year again, a fresh new calendar and the hopefulness that goes hand in hand with new beginnings. It’s also the season, for at least the last seven years or so, when I cosy up to a new little word. If you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, check it out over here.

The exercise of choosing a little word as my personal touchstone has been such a positive force in my life, and so much more effective than a laundry list of resolutions ever was, that I start to get excited about a new word for the year as early as autumn.

Last year’s word, Wonder, came to me in a flash as I was reviewing film scans. I immediately loved its magic and when I realized that both of its dual meanings spoke directly to me, I knew I was home. It was good for me in ways I couldn’t possibly have imagined. The best little words always are. I am pretty sure I have Wonder to thank for the 90 books I read in 2016 despite the fact that I fell short of my 35 book target in 2015. The word prompted me to prioritize time for thinking which in turn sparked a whole lot of reading and lots more wondering.

But after a year of contemplation and deep thought, I knew it was time for a word that would spur me to bring some of the ideas I’ve spent a year percolating out of my head and into the world. I needed an outward-facing word. It came to me in the fall, and from the first moment I was unshakable. I’m upping the ante, instead of a double meaning this year my little word is a triple threat with three powerful, personally motivating definitions.

1. Pres·ent
adjective: present

(of a person) in a particular place. existing or occurring now
noun: present; noun: the present
the period of time now occurring.

2. Pre·sent
verb: present
give something to (someone) formally or ceremonially

3. Pres·ent
noun: present; plural noun: presents
a thing given to someone as a gift.

Just two weeks into the new year, in an effort to live my word, I have stepped out of pattern by asking friends for their input on a set of images for submission to a photo competition, I’m pushing myself to talk about my photography with others with the objective of getting it shown offline and in the world. I don’t have the words, and I’m a woman of many, to explain how wildly uncomfortable this is for me, but I believe it’s what I need right now. This word of mine reminds me, and will continue to remind me, that as much as I love making my images and sharing them with friends, in order to grow I need to share them with a wider, likely more critical, audience.

Being present, presenting my work, and making active gifts of my photography. As we begin 2017, this is where I think my word will take me, but in the spirit of being present, I will take the days as they come, keep my word in mind and see where we go.

If you choose a word of your own, we’d love to know. Do share it with us in the comments!



  1. I hesitated to choose the word No as my word of the year, a word that is so clearly negative. There are beautiful choices like Abundance, Connect, Listen and Open. And these are things I desire as well. It’s just that I’ve learned I can’t have it all. I can’t keep everyone happy. I can’t avoid negative feelings. And saying No may well be the magic word that opens the gate to all of those other wonderful words. Thanks so much for sharing your word, your intention and for inspiring me to be present, too!

  2. I chose LAUGH. 2016 was not a great year, but we received some good news almost at the very end – I won’t share that just yet – but it will be clear in my photography.

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