James T. Green is a conceptual artist, radio producer, writer, and educator from Chicago, Illinois, and now in Brooklyn, New York.

thoughts + feelings

05: 2014, In One Word

As the holiday season was ramping up during last week's newsletter, I wondered how you all celebrated. Rashid Zakat cheered me up with a very familiar scene.

"My mom, uncle cousin and I sat around, made fun of each other, looked through old family photos and visited my 81 year old aunt, who’s the last member of her generation".

Hearing stories of togetherness honestly gets me ramped for the new year. These thoughts especially began to fester towards the end of December, where my mind began to float about the last year, and those dreaded resolutions. While resolutions are great, I was growing old with them.

I was introduced to a new concept by a friend, La Keisha Leek, called a word of the year. The trick is to start off the year with a focus that you can drill down to one word, and loosely structure the year's goals and plans from that word. Since I didn't do this last year, I looked back at what happened during that time. 2013 was a period of transition. It was a year of moving to Chicago and refining those awkward moments of being in a new city, meeting new friends, and trying to find myself. I learned a lot of lessons, hence the choice of my word for 2013: refinement.

When New Years' Eve rolled around, I was faced with this question again. My fiancée and I were hanging out with some Little Caesars and beers, daydreaming about what 2014 had in store, or at least what we hoped to see. I thought about the goals I planned to take on in 2013, but didn't try hard enough to complete. The thing I realized was I didn't make enough mistakes outside of my comfort zone. Much like the last discussion I had with you all two weeks ago, I needed a little more bravery, which happened to be my word for this year.

What is going to be your word for 2014? What will be the thing that you choose to focus on this year? Just let me know by hitting reply.

Thanks for reading and see you next week,

-James

P.S. If you're in the Chicago area and looking to brave the cold, this Friday I'm going to be in a group exhibition at Chicago Artists Coalition. Would love to see you there!


What did I find interesting this week?

1) How to Be Alone: I was reminded of this old favorite, a lovely video poem by Andrea Dorfman and Tanya Davis.
2) Some Lessons I Learned: I really enjoyed the lessons Frank Chimero learned in 2013. Clever and insightful.
3) Goodbye, Cameras: A nice piece at The New Yorker about a photographer's experience with using cameras over the years, which eventually led to the smartphone.
4) My Uncurated Life: I love anything Jen Hewett writes. Here she is discussing how fullest lives aren't always the ones that look like Pinterest boards.
5) Take Small Risks: Rob Loukotka of Fringe Focus looks back on 2013 and how taking small risks worked better for his bottom line.

James T. Green