Sunday, March 28, 2010


3 a: having a touch or trace of : somewhat b: having the approximate age of (fortyish)
ALSO: a fabulous children's book by Peter Reynolds

If you've not read Peter Reynolds' wonderful book, Ish, here's a brief summary:
A young boy Ramon loves to draw. Anytime, anything, anywhere.

Until one day, his older brother sees him drawing and says scathingly, "What's THAT supposed to be?"

Ramon crumples up the paper and for a long time thereafter, nothing he draws satisfies him. He sits at a table, surrounded by crumpled pieces of paper.

Then one day, his younger sister is standing by as he crumples and throws a piece of paper. She grabs it and dashes off. Ramon chases her to her room, where he finds a gallery of crumpled masterpieces. He stops dead in his tracks and the little sister points out her favorite.

"Yeah," Ramon say, "that was supposed to be a vase, but it doesn't look like one," "Well... it looks vase-ish," she replies. Ramon pauses, sees it through her eyes and agrees that it does look ish.

After that Ramon's passion for drawing returns and he approaches all of life in an ish fashion. He writes ish poems, draws ish draws and lives ishfully ever after.

It's one of my favorite children's books for several reasons:
1) Ramon's passion for drawing at the beginning is cheerfully innocent
2) We see how our words can rob other's joy when Ramon loses his enjoyment in drawing after his brother's comment
3) His sister is the one who restores his vision for art and life, so that
4) We get to see how our words can build up and encourage one another

Not long after I started sharing this blog address with others, a friend told me it was unlike any other blog she'd ever read. So, I've decided my blog is blog-ish because it "has a touch or trace of" what other blogs contain. Initially, I was hesitant about sharing Word Girl with others, but I've decided I'm not writing for others, I'm writing for me. I want to live an ish life and not worry about whether my blog posts are funny enough, deep enough or relevant enough. They are "enough" because they are enough for me. I know not every post is as good as the previous - or the next - but it's important to me, like Ramon's drawings are to him.

Ramon saw the world in drawings and I see it in words. I don't want someone to laugh at my writing, but even if they do (when they do), I won't crumple it up and throw it away because it's mine and my words don't have to be validated by anyone else to be valuable.

Are you living an ish life? Do you cook soup-ish meal or bake casserole-ish dishes? How are you seeking and using outlets for your creativity, no matter how big or small? Are you living like Ramon's sister and validating other's efforts? I want to live like Ramon and talk like his sister...

Re-posted from the archives