Friday, October 2, 2009


Ever read Eat Pray Love? No? Me either. I am reading it at the moment. In the spirit of reading in the genre I write, I have read more memoirs this year than ever before. And I have a question. I want to know... what is my word?

In Elizabeth Gilbert's books she says (among many other lusty, pearl like sentences)
"...every city has a single word that defines it, that identifies most people who live there."
She names a few cities and their 'words.'
In Rome the word is SEX.
In New York the word is ACHIEVE.
In LA the word is SUCCEED.

This got Matt (husband) and I thinking...
We came up with a few of our own.
In Hong Kong the word is WORK.
In Brisbane (Australia) the word is LIFESTYLE.
On the Gold Coast the word is SELF or possibly PLEASURE.

Families have words too.
In my family the word was SURVIVE.
In other families the word could be PERFORM, ACCEPT, REJECT, or maybe, just maybe, LOVE.

But far more important is the question, "What is my word?"
I asked Matt what he thinks his word is. He said, "MATTER." I like that. And that word is very telling. Matt wants to matter. He wants to make his life matter. He wants to matter to himself and to others, and most of all to those he loves. He wants to matter right now and later and after he is dead and gone. In fact, he especially wants to matter after he is dead and gone.
This word is one of the reasons I love Matt. He does MATTER. A whole lot.

But it didn't help me answer my question.
"What is my word?"
I said, "CREATE." Create my life, my words, my writing, my wants and desires and passions. Create myself...
But Matt thought it was more than that, because there is a reason I create. Something beyond the creation.
I agree. But I don't know what it is.
I've been thinking about it all night. And finally I have decided...
Life has many seasons and I think that in each season, and possibly even throughout that season, our word changes.
Mine used to be ESCAPE. It has also been WORK, IGNORE, RUN, HIDE and SEEK... Later the word became US, BABY and FAMILY. I have always wanted to own the word BELONG and HOME. Sometimes my word is CHILD and PLAY... occasionally it is ME.

But right now, in this season of life, my word is ITCH. Yes ITCH. Like a dog. I want... I really want and boy, oh boy does that make me ITCH.

I've tried ignoring the itch, running from the itch and scratching the itch... Then I thought to myself, "Tab, why don't you just be still with the itch?" I mean if you itch, and you can't stop the itch or escape the itch, then let's just quieten down and oh, I don't know.... notice the itch?All my life I have been busy moving around trying to minimise the discomfort, trying to do something about that itch. Trying to lead instead of follow. Trying to fill instead of empty. Trying to fix instead of allowing something to be broken. What about doing...nothing? What about just letting it ITCH?

So that's my plan. I have just decided to sit still and notice the ITCH.
What does it want? What does it tell me about what I want? What does it tell me about what I need and what direction I should go in order to give myself what I need?
I'm looking forward to finding out.

What about you? What is your city's word? What is your word? And what does that tell you about you?


  1. What a cool post!!! I love it! I'd say my word is Truth.

    Okay, so no, this post didn't show up in my dashboard. If you don't already know, you can go into edit posts and just repost it. That might help it show up. :-) I'm guessing mine showed up? If it didn't, could you let me know? Thanks.

  2. I love this post Tabitha!!!

    My word would have to be PASSION. Right now everything seems heightened and tantalizing in my writing. There is an electricity that I cannot ignore.

    I am having the time of my life.

    Blessings to you...

  3. Ooh excellent post Tab! You're so darn clever.

    My towns word (I'm actually going to use my suburb here because we think we're a separate town and our mood here is very different than the rest of the city) is actually too words... LAID BACK.

    Me? Hmm. OBSESSED. I'm always obsessed with something.

  4. I've gotta come up with a word for Nashville. Thinking of all of the starving country music artists, playing in bars all over town... Desperation? :-)

    My word is DRIVEN. I have this drive that propels me to reach for the stars.

  5. Great post. Interesting how the word will change at different times in our lives. Mine right now is "regarded". :O)

  6. What an awesome post, Tabitha. I have read Eat, Pray, Love. I liked some parts of it, and others bothered me. Interesting read, though.

    The word for my town, I believe could be, "busy," but I try to stay away from that word. I'm going to give this some thought.

  7. A lot to consider in this post. As I was thinking of a word to define me, I remembered that a friend once defined me in words I never would have chosen. She saw things in me I would feel too insecure to say. That would be an interesting second-step in this exercise. To write down a word, have others who know you well write a word for you. Compare and see how close or far off they are. Is there another word that combines those? I'm babbling and going off to think.....

  8. What a great post! I have no clue what my word would be, but I need to find one better than the word CRAZY that keeps popping into my head.

  9. I think the word for Cambridge, MA is BALANCE. We want to do amazing work and see our families. We have commitment to many things, but try not to let one overwhelm the others.

    My own word right now... PATIENCE. I'm at a very in-between stage in my life, and it's not what I'm used to, and don't like it much, but I have to hang in there.

    Great post! (I also had mixed feelings about Eat, Pray, Love... worth reading, but ultimately not a favorite.)

  10. I live in a teeny town. Our word, since our council decided we needed a mega mall and huge shopping center, would be Traffic. The nearest nearby town, Austin, claims Weird as their word.

    As for me, I don't know. Until your fabulous post, I'd not thought about it. Perhaps Contented. Doesn't sound like a great word, but I'm at the point in my life that I'm becoming contented. I have more women friends than ever in my life and I love them all. My kids are grown and doing well. I'm traveling more with my DH now. I'm getting the opportunity to write (about to start on my 4th book for the same publisher), and I have the privilege of editing for some wonderful writers. So, I guess Contented works.

    Straight From Hel

  11. I live in Washington, D.C. so word would have to be POLITICS, of course.

    My word? Hmm. Maybe: Learning

    Still living and learning so never bored.

    Thanks for your post!

  12. Hi Tabitha: I see your little butterfly everywhere and decided to stop by. I was an exchange student in Adelaide, write for children, and used to teach. I'll be back!

  13. What a fun post! I read that book years ago and although I felt a void in it still liked the writing. I would have to say my word might be MANY lol. Too many words to narrow it all down unless I use JESUS. That would be straight to the point I suspect.

  14. Hmm...that's a hard one. I'm not sure what my word is, but thanks for giving me something to think about.

  15. My word? Boy, I'll have to think that over. At first thought I'd say DRIVEN. But like you, I'm sure there's an underlying word that drives me! And the word for my town is STATUS.

  16. Gorgeous post. I'd say my word is Fulfill. I want others to be fulfilled, and I want it for myself too. Have a lovely weekend!

  17. Eat Pray Love is on my list. You just moved it to the top. My city...LITTLE SISTER (Boston, to NYC). My word...I don't know if I'm happy about this, but I think its EARNEST.

  18. I tried to read Eat Pray Love, but it didn't catch my attention enough to make me want to buy it. My favorite memoirs are, The Glass Castle by Jeanette Wells, or Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.

    The word for this town we just moved to would be OUTDOORS.

    My word, at this juncture of my life would be, ACCEPTANCE. Not very glamorous, but that's where I'm at.

  19. Love this post, as always. My city's word: WIND. My word would probably be: MORE.

  20. Well, this is a fun game! Now I'm sitting here racking my brain about what my word might be....maybe, passionate? Or impatient. But passionate sounds better.

  21. One word for my village--small. One word for me-..that will take some thought... Great post as always :)

  22. I adore this post!! I may write about this tomorrow.

    When I read your first paragraph I had already decided my word was CREATE, even before you said it. So funny that you would think the same thing! But I like ITCH better, much better for you. I'll think on mine and post it tomorrow, I think.

    The word for my town is definitely SIMPLE, in a good way. Simple life, simple people, simple land. We like our pace to be slow and our worries to be few. And we work hard at keeping it that way!

    Very cool idea, Tab, you are so smart!


  23. thank you all for your comments. I so enjoyed seeing what everyone thought was their word. I love the suggestion to ask others what they think our word is. Sometimes others have a different view. It might shed light on what our words really are. :) Interesting cities you all live in too :)

  24. Oh, this is interesting. You really take a lot from the books you read, don't you? I never get so far. I am thinking of words for myself. I thought of a word for Bucharest. MOVE.

  25. Very thought provoking post. I would say for my hometown New Orleans, RESILIENT. For my current town, Dallas, TX...hmm, not sure, FRIENDLY maybe. As for me, that's tough. FOCUSED perhaps

  26. Calm. Clean. Sit. Wait. Expect. Loss. Accept.

  27. What a fantastic post Tabitha! I like how you looked inside to find your current word and admit openly that it could change at a moment's notice. I would be the same way.

    Here in Boston, Massachusetts I'd have to say the word would be PROUD. Our town is proud of its past and present and know that will bring all of us into a very secure future. For me I am almost at a loss, things shift with me so frequently I guess I have to go with CHANGEABLE or FLEXIBLE.

  28. Thought-provoking post as always. I read EPL a long time ago and spent quite a bit of time trying to do the word thing.

    The word for my town, Battle Ground, would be Confused. My word, for now, is Be.

    I love your word, and can truly relate.

  29. What a great post! Gives me a lot to think about . . . the words for town and self seem elusive at the moment. Perhaps that's the word. :)