See, here’s the problem with sharing an idea. If you say aloud, you’re giving it one more atom of realness. Willing it into existence. Pulling it from the sterile confines of the theoretical into this world, and breathing life into it, such that it may take root and become something, either to you or the person to whom you mentioned it.

Twelve12s has not yet happened as conceived. To be honest, it’s barely happened at all. I haven’t even finished defining my original twelve projects to pursue, let alone gotten going on them, taking pictures of them, making notes about them. That said, a little bit of the inspiration has been with me since I started making gestures toward the larger goal.

At its essence, tweve12s is simply culling down the overwhelming of world of possibility, desires, dreams and demands into specific actions, quantifying them, and ultimately doing them. Over the past year I’ve successfully added a few habits to my life, such as flossing, running, weaving in ends and finishing lingering knitting projects, posting more regularly on my blog. I’m pretty darn proud of myself for them. They are proof of my NOT being an utter and complete failure. Of my agency against the tide of the easy way out or the stress of the day-to-day. A glimmer of hope that I can set out to accomplish SOMETHING. A little bit is better than none, and eventually they add up.

I shared my theory behind the twelve12s project with Kristine, an inspirational friend over the year-end winter break. She is a kindred spirit in an overachieving, driven, artistic kind of way. We both want to leave a mark on the world and live creative lives and grow and give back and be mindful and all that good stuff.

On twitter today, she mentioned she had been using my “12 x 12 methodology” and loved it. (Mind you, there is no methodology, nor have I been “doing” it myself, rather lamenting I haven’t given it a proper go.) She said, “It’s really helping my perfectionism.” I totally get that, in the same way the kernel of the idea has helped me embrace baby steps of my own. That was kick enough in the pants for me to dust off this here site, try the motor and see if I can get it to run this year.

Mention an idea, and it just may happen.

(cross-posted at hizknits.com)

A confession: I’ve never read Mr. Eco, but I did see his name on books around the house during my childhood. Nonetheless, I found this quote (from Brain Pickings) to be apt for this here project:

The list is the origin of culture. It’s part of the history of art and literature. What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order — not always, but often. And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries. There is an allure to enumerating how many women Don Giovanni slept with: It was 2,063, at least according to Mozart’s librettist, Lorenzo da Ponte. We also have completely practical lists — the shopping list, the will, the menu — that are also cultural achievements in their own right.” ~ Umberto Eco

This, too will be a cultural achievement.

time, time time / see what’s become of me?

either I was so terribly busy in 2011 that I didn’t get around to writing down my gross accomplishments in the twelve12s project or I dropped the ball. I never was good at sports.

with twelve days left until 2012, it’s time to clear away the cobwebs and see if this project still has legs. not for 2011, of course. what could be more apt for 2012 than twelve12s?

an inspirational chat with with a friend has me wanting to rev (re-rev?) my creative engines more. I still believe in the long-form format, despite last year’s two measly posts. by no means am I “writer.” I prefer the term “typist.” (sure, I’ve written professionally for the past 12 or so years, but never on a formal, long-term personal project like this. failed NaNoWriMos and sporadic blog posts do not count.) documenting 144 tasks to create a year’s-worth of memories is the goal.

I’m even keeping the 12 that I set out for myself, of which I’ve only explained 6. iou their description in the next post.

…he returned to this project.

after the hoopla of the New Year and a flurry of fresh-baked activities, I’ve finally settled on what I would like to accomplish over the course of 2011. not having posted anything just yet makes me a smidge concerned about this month’s success, but it could also be viewed as aligning my ducks in an orderly fashion, one behind another. as I made lists of candidates, combining and teasing out ideas, four categories emerged: make | cook | do | share. here are two of them:

make

at the heart of this whole endeavor is the desire to be more productive, to create the creative life I’ve always wanted to lead. it’s easy to complain that there isn’t enough time to act on a head-full of ideas, or that other people are more successful/driven/dedicated. at the end of this year, there will be a big irrefutable pile of things that didn’t exist before.

  • knitting- this is an easy one, especially since it’s now my job. whether original designs or stagnant w.i.p.’s (works in progress), a minimum of 12 items will flow from skein to hank to ball to needles to done. not sure if I’ll commit to this, but the idea of a variety of intended destinations for the items could be interesting: head, neck, vest, cardigan, pull-over, outerwear, hands, home, feet, shoulders, baby + doggie.
  • (non-knit) things- man does not live by wool alone. there’s an entire world out there of other objects (of my desire) that I would like to create. these could be worn, admired, useful, or mechanical, but mostly they should be smile-inducing.
  • pictures – c’mon. as the holder of an art degree, I should put out something aesthetic. I often complain that I haven’t kept a sketchbook since 1995. however, this doesn’t need to be limited to drawings or human mark-making. digital tools will be welcome.

cook

next to sleeping, eating is the only other activity for which I can claim unwavering passion and curiosity. in order to eat, one should cook. it puts me in control of my destiny and may have positive effects on my overall well-being. or not.

  • bread- give me each month, my monthly bread. there are lots of loaves to make and I haven’t ventured too far beyond the basics. in 2010, my bread cookbook library started with a whopping four books. pre-heat the oven, there’s no loafing here. there’s no need to no-knead it forever.
  • caramels- this was a new pursuit that appeared at the end of 2010. inspired by Paris and my conditional sweet tooth (sweet needs to be balanced or “cut” with fat or salt, ideally both), salted butter caramels are a candy I can (ugg, pardon the cliche) really sink my teeth into. over the course of the year I’d like to amass a portfolio of diverse flavors.
  • meals – not officially the most important meal of the day, dinners tend to get the most attention in creation. I want to cook around the clock and expand my repertoire. the kitchen is a place that can simultaneously hold my creative attention and engage my love for learning.

two more categories to go (do + share), but they will have to wait for another post. bed beckons. does any of this resonate with you? might you be inspired to pursue your own simple 12s, if only just one? you could be a guest contributors, with 12 Q+A’s and one set of 12s to share.

here we are, at the beginning. I’m not sure whether I’m looking down the hill of a giant roller coaster or up at the summit of a towering mountain. heck, I like both—the stomach-dropping weightlessness of a freefall and the sweat-encrusted struggle rendering a climb into a molehill.

as I’ve been mulling over the idea for this project, I’m torn between thinking it’s entirely possible and will result in the best year of my life, and an inevitable failure, like many a New Year’s resolution or annual goal. (I’ve got a dusty unicycle in our storage unit to prove the latter.) many lists have been made, including contenders for my own twelve, who else might want to do this with me and ideas to make this a more interesting read for those who aren’t twelve-ing it.

nothing is set in stone, just yet. nothing may ever be set in stone. all I know is it has begun. it was the deciding to do it. to do it publicly. to make it worthy of its own site. a domain purchase and less than $20 later, here we are.

I’ve got some more tinkering to do to make this site pretty, so I’ll be off for now.

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