Just ONE Word? You’re Kidding, Right?

Apparently, this has been a “thing” since 2009. #OneWord365.  Choose one word to focus on as your personal theme for the coming year. I keep seeing this proposed as an alternative to resolutions, but the first word that came to my mind, on hearing the idea, was “pigeonholed.”

“Got a problem with commitment?” Oh, God, it’s Edna, my Inner Critic.

“No, I’m just not comfortable with my whole year being defined by a single word. I’m supposed to, what, open the dictionary, blindfolded, and stick a pin in it?”

“You’re a writer. Can’t you pick a word that’s big enough to encompass an entire year?”

“What if I pick the wrong word? What if I want to change it?”

“Since when did you become such a little rule-follower? Pick a damned word – own it!”

I glare at Edna. She looks a lot like my 7th grade Latin teacher: tough, stolid, curly blue hair. Sounds more like my 3rd grade Math teacher: pure spite and meanness. The only word that pops into my head is recalcitrant. I’m feeling it to my toes. “I don’t want to be defined by one word. I want the whole damned dictionary!”

That stops Edna dead in her tracks. “Maybe your word should be dictionary. Hat tip to you, finding a loophole.”

I allow myself to feel smug for just a minute, but it doesn’t last. I slouch, defeated. “Nah, that would be cheating.”

“Then don’t do it.” Edna feigns disinterest as she returns to knitting a blanket woven with descriptions of all my imagined shortcomings.

“Fine, I’ll do it. I’ll–”

“Yes? You’ll–”


“To what?” she asks, raising her eyebrows in astonishment.

“That’s my word.”

“You sure? That’s going to involve a lot of commitment for the next 365 days. You might even have to stick to those New Year’s Resolutions.”

If looks could kill, I would be serving hard time.


There’s even a Linkup thingy-doodle over here on Laurel Regan’s Alphabet Salad blog! You still have a few days to join in, if you’re the joining in type.

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Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; Innocents & Demons; and A New Leaf for Lyle. You can find her books on Amazon at http://amazon.com/author/hollyjahangiri. For more information on her children's books, please visit http://jahangiri.us/books.
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16 thoughts on “Just ONE Word? You’re Kidding, Right?”

  1. Commit is a great word! I don’t know if I could do this, you’re right, as a writer, it’s really hard to have just ONE word! You are the second entry I’ve seen on this though, so maybe I should think about it! Thanks 🙂

      1. I will think about it! If I come up with a word, I will come back and let you know 🙂 I don’t want to be too cliche, but I also don’t want to steal some of the great ones I’ve already seen…commit is hard to beat 😉

  2. Holly,
    Ha! I love this clever conversation! I can just imagine me having it with myself. I chose one word too, for the first time, and hope to stick to it. Mine was “fear” (as in revere). I’ve never really thought much of the one-word system before but let’s see how it’s going to work out this year! I love your description of Edna and also when she knits the blanket with your imagined shortcomings! Great read!
    Amy B recently posted…Where the Heat is, the Heart isMy Profile

    1. Please. You’ll give Edna a swelled head, and I’ll never hear the end of it.

      I’m still skeptical – I keep reminding myself it’s just a theme, not a single-word definition of me or the year. “And why does this bother you?” asks the cigar, doing its best imitation of Sigmund Freud. (Writers all have MPD. We’ve just learned the art of sublimation.)

      You’ve chosen quite an interesting word. I hope that when you fling it out to the universe, you keep that parenthetical explanation at the forefront! 😀 I’ll be interested in hearing how it goes throughout the year. Did you sign up at the #OneWord365 site, too? If so, were you all alone in your “tribe”? Mine, even with “commit,” was surprisingly small.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…Tips for Leaving Comments When There’s Nothing to SayMy Profile

    1. I’m trying to figure out how, after I whitelisted you yesterday, TWO of your comments went straight to spam. That shouldn’t happen, Roy. I’ll have a stern word with my bouncer.

      I think you’re having the same reaction to this “one word” business I did, initially. It seems limiting. But as Edna points out, when did we become such little rule-followers? Or imagine that a theme might somehow be a “limit”? How many variations have there been on the Cinderella story? Some of them wildly different – yet still recognizable in a basic, thematic sense.

      Take my word: commit. I’ve never been “afraid of commitment.” Unless it’s to one word, one path, one way of doing something. I mean, I’ve been married – happily married – for over 30 years. But when it comes to other things – I like to keep all the doors and windows open till the last minute. Lately, when it comes to things like personal goals and resolutions, I’ve been a slacker. And I think that symbolizes a lack of commitment to myself. So that’s the word I chose, because it’s through this wholehearted commitment to my own goals that I’ve achieved many things in the past – like quitting smoking.

      I think there’s a difference between lack of commitment and fear of failure (or fear of success), although they can be intertwined.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…Tips for Leaving Comments When There’s Nothing to SayMy Profile

  3. Great word, and great post – your interaction with and description of Edna made me smile! Here’s to a wonderful 2015! 🙂

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