Friday, January 8, 2010

“Filaments, filaments, filaments…”

For the past two years, I’ve picked a theme word at the beginning of each year representing an idea or quality to focus my intentions on for the year. This year’s word is “connect” and although it presented itself as The One only three days ago, the choice has already brought a surge of energy, new resources and surprising insights .


“A Noiseless Patient Spider” by Walt Whitman ( The Complete Poems, 1975)

It launched forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,

Even unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you O my soul where you stand,

Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,

Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,Till the bridge you will need be formed, till the ductile anchor hold,

Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O, my soul.

Musing on the image of my own soul patiently sending out filaments to form bridges led to furiously writing down waves of ideas about how I wish the theme of connecting to run through my life.  Rewriting the list in my journal, they already number 23 –quite a manifesto! -- and more ideas keep flowing, so the list will no doubt keep growing.

If you feel the same desire to connect on many levels, you may find my focus this year of personal interest. If so, please share your insights and comments. Connecting with you through this blog is a continuous source of insight and growth for me!

Here are several more great quotes on this theme:

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”  –Chief Seattle

“Writing fiction has developed in me an abiding respect for the unknown in a human lifetime and a sense of where to look for the threads, how to follow, how to connect, find in the thick of the tangle what clear line persists. The strands are all there: to the memory nothing is really lost.” –Eudora Welty, One Writer’s Beginnings, Chapter 3 (1984).

This bears repeating. The strands are all there. Hope you’ll join me in looking for the clear lines of connection this year.


  1. Hi Jeanne,
    First of all, thank you for the beautiful card you sent me. What a treat. I will make sure to use it on someone special:-)
    I chose two words this year: 1) Pathways-I'm really looking for the route to moving some stuck laces forward. 2) Dare-I want to end the year with no regrets about what I didn't do. Here's to a magical 2010!

  2. Walt Whitman, Chief Seattle and Eudora Welty...such perfect words about threads and connecting. My choice of word for this year is resolute...I'm so resolute about staying the course on a few of my goals...'resolute' fits me right now and calms me in a way of focus. Thank you for opening and discussing this word business of 2010.

  3. Hi Tracy, will join you in envisioning 2010 as magical -- I am truly excited for you to venture down some daring pathways this year.

    And Blue Sky Dreaming, your name sounds like heaven to a resident of the grey sky world of the northeast. Resolute is a good, strong word -- means bold, steady, marked by firm determination.

  4. Connect -great word, I love the poem and the picture to go with the word. I've chosen the word bold for the year. I want to be bolder in my art work and I need to be bolder as a person. I'm usually the quiet one in the background, the person on lists that doesn't post and one who reads blogs without posting. So by being bolder and posting I'm also connecting.

  5. Linda, thanks for posting, which also introduced me to your daily photography blog and lovely images. Here's a quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe that relates to your theme: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

  6. Hi Jeanne! love your spiderweb photo and your comments about connections. I know many people, including myself, who are feeling the same kind of energy surge at the start of the year. My wish for all of us is that we can keep the energy going.


  7. Hi Kathy, let's imagine that we CAN collectively keep it going and growing. I look forward to connecting with other artists in 2010 who choose to do just that.

  8. Hi Jeanne,
    Well I am totally delighted to have re-connected with your glorious blog. I lost you when 'Exploring the Surface' went bust, and have mourned your absence for months. But yesterday I found, (and bookmarked) this site, and have spent rather a long time catching up again.
    My word for the year is 'Success', and I love the way it is quietly asking me to consider what it means to 'be successful' in this situation, and in this one, and .....
    So it's not some large clamorous, one-time thing, but a gentle accretion of small integrities. It is bringing a surprisingly centered peacefulness to my core, no matter what the situation is.
    As an aside, do you happen to have any of those 1lb goody bags of assorted fabric pieces left? Because if you do, I would love to buy one or two.

  9. Hi Nikki, I'm so glad you found my blog again after "exploring the surface" got highjacked or pirated or whatever explains it. Sadly, the goody bags are all gone. Your word "success" is a fertile one to focus on, because of course it can be interpreted and realized in so many subtle and truly personal ways. I have fewer readers of this blog than a year ago but I consider it even more successful now because the people who choose to read and respond to it feel a connection with my ideas and my work and my way of being in the world. So contemplating "success" from a personal perspective is eye opening. Welcome back!

  10. interesting thoughts. as a writer, surely you know "Only connect" from EM Forster's book Howards End, one of my all time favorite books/movie.

  11. Seems to ring a bell, Suki -- I will do a search and see what I can find. Or I might have to finally read that book -- loved the movie. If I can't find it, do you have the quote handy?