Welcome to 2016, buddies. This year, curiosity is riding shotgun in my front seat.

I’m a big fan of having a word of the year. Like my friend Emily says, resolutions just get broken.

But…a word? It’s like a guide. It’s like reading a choose-your-own-adventure novel (remember those?) and making every choice based upon how well it fits with your word, only the novel is your life.

Embrace. Freedom.

Those were my words the last couple of years, and they steered me straight. Embrace got me a writing job, and Freedom got me a lot of adventure and empowerment.

Fresh Scratch, Elizabeth Gilbert, Big MagicAnd this year? Well, this year I had fully intended up until five minutes ago to Create. Last week I read Liz Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear in two afternoons at the beach, and I was – and still am – high on the importance of creating.

But then I sat down to tell you about that, and realized what really turns me on, and what houses the word create so beautifully, is curiosity.

It is lately the trait I find most appealing in others, and so I want to cultivate it in my own life. Because curiosity? Well, curiosity will get you everywhere. It will get you to all the other words of the year you may have chosen instead.

The people I like are curious. They might be curious about one thing or curious about a zillion things, but they’re always chasing something. And that means they have energy. Life hasn’t yet burned them out. And that, I think, is a good thing to strive for. I’m just going to follow what interests me and see where it takes me this year.

Right now I’m curious about what a little solitude will do for me sometime soon. Perhaps some time with nothing but some books and my journal. I know it’s something I need, but I also loved recently re-discovering in an editor’s note from Cook’s Illustrated a year ago that knowing how to be in your own company is sort of an old-fashioned, dying art. And y’all know I like the folksy stuff. Give it a read. It’s gorgeous.

I’m also curious about photographing the North Cascades when my leg (and the snow) will cooperate to get me to Diablo Lake. Because this little gem from Edward Abbey has me fired up:

One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast…a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there…..and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate awesome space.

And if you have the time, this talk on the importance of curiosity versus passion, by Liz Gilbert, is the bomb dot com. It inspires me to the max. What are you curious about? Tell me! Nothing intrigues me more.

And if you need a little magic, might I suggest:

Very curiously yours,

mrs. fresh scratch

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