Words are harbingers, messengers of our time. They come into the world one way, and as the world turns, they evolve. It strikes me that this year of challenge and change makes for the perfect moment to renew our words. Agree? Then come aboard! Each week on A Word, Please, we’ll be turning a new word around—how it began, how we’re using it now. Some weeks I’ll invite guests, or I’ll read a passage from something I’m working on, or a poem or page that I think will inspire us.
All you word lovers: please join me! Let’s look at the world one word at a time.
November 16, 2021: NEGATIVE CAPABILITY
November 9, 2021: AUDACITY
November 2, 2021: SNOB
October 26, 2021: BARDO
October 19, 2021: SHAME
October 12, 2021: SMILE with Sarah Ruhl
October 5, 2021: NIHILISM
September 28, 2021: STYLE
May 25, 2021: GRADUATE
April 14, 2021: ESCAPE with Sarah Lao
April 6, 2021: ADULT with Julie Lythcott-Haims
March 30, 2021: NUANCE
March 23, 2021: VOICE with Kathe Mazur
March 16, 2021: VERITAS/VERA
February 23, 2021: APPROPRIATE with Paisley Rekdal
February 16, 2021: AUDACITY
February 9, 2021: CHOCOLATE with Greg D'Alesandre
February 2, 2021: AUTHOR=AUTHORITY
January 19, 2021: INAUGURATE
January 12, 2021: INTEGRITY
January 5, 2021: RESOLUTION
December 15, 2020: SOLSTICE
December 8, 2020: SONG with Maggie Wheeler
December 1, 2020: GOSSIP
November 24, 2020: CAPACIOUS
November 17, 2020: EMOTION
November 10, 2020: DARE
• to perform an action especially as a proof of courage
• to confront boldly: DEFY
• to be adventurous, audaciously bold
• to be brave enough
Dare As a Work in Progress
1. In this moment, this time dare to say I don’t know.
2. Dare to ask with equal vigor: What is the opposite point of view?
3. Dare to pass by the quick fix in favor of something worth waiting for.
4. Dare to trust life.
5. Dare to preface your opinions with the phrase I believe.
6. Dare to be a romantic in a cynical time.
7. Dare to think of your body as a glass, with everything you pour into it visible, including harsh judgments.
8. Dare to consider your unadorned face and body with tenderness.
9. Dare to be curious, even when the currency champions those who appear cocksure. Look at that word and ask with your curious self: What’s so great about being cocksure?
10. Dare to talk from the heart, though others may judge you with closed minds and sharp tongues.
11. Dare to spend days alone, without your laptop or phone. Dare to know the inside of your mind when it’s quiet. Blank.
12. Dare to question your assumptions.
13. Dare to appear foolish, unrehearsed, spinach in your teeth, chocolate on your face, messy . . . authentic.
14. Dare to be truly, forever, all in with someone or something.
15. Dare to care so deeply about that person or cause or project that you become a wool-less lamb in an open field during a thunderstorm.
16. Dare to be the farmer who fetches that lamb and sees that she is warm, dry, fed—then send her on her way with a blessing.
17. Dare to call poison by its real name—envy, bigotry, small-mindedness, misogyny, shame, fear—especially when it lives inside you.
18. Dare to not broadcast slights or complaints.
19. Dare to honor your elders.
20. Dare to approach decisions with the question, What would love say?
21. Dare to celebrate a stranger—to walk them across the river, give them a meal or shelter or money or praise or your undivided attention—especially when it doesn’t serve you.
22. Dare to practice gratitude. First thing in the morning, last thing at night. Think of three things for which you’re grateful. It won’t turn you into a puffball, and it will set you up for the next day of daring.
October 27, 2020: HARBINGER
October 20, 2020: GAR OO CHUGAR
October 13, 2020: VOTE/VOW with Bridget Quinn
October 6, 2020: HUBRIS
September 22, 2020: JUDGMENT
September 15, 2020: WITNESS