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Thanks Amy, I love the ways you think about #the100dayproject and your advice has helped me select projects I enjoyed (and completed!) the past two years running. My topic seemed to find me this year, after lots of reflection on the trajectory of my art practice since my youth. The idea surprised me and maybe that is a good thing. I’m reminded of the advice from David Bowie “If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”

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That’s a great quote. I can’t wait to see what you’ve selected. You’ve done great series that I’ve seen in the past (including Inktober), so I look forward to seeing what reached out and grabbed you this year. I agree that sometimes the right thing just comes out of nowhere. Thank you for commenting.

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Jan 28Liked by Amy Cowen

Black. Always black. No other wish for colors, I like not having to choose.

Knack, knock, knives

I am considering the project. Will definitely tie it into ceramics in some way if I do.

No surprises in my week, just little glimmers to remind me life is good.

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That there are little glimmers and this awareness…makes me smile. That’s perfect. I had to laugh about the black socks (and I know this conversation then came up after in our drawing group, too). I look forward to seeing what you do…. Tying it to your current work with ceramics sounds wonderful. I know you could go lots of directions, so it’s very cool to see that’s where your energy is right now.

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Amy, as you know, I am part of Illustrated Life not because I am an illustrator, but because I appreciate how you approach creativity and how it is infused in everything you see and do. Your lists overwhelm *me* but I suppose my list would overwhelm someone else. It's all about what attracts us and holds our attention, right? Your opening paragraphs this week are SO perfectly timed for me (I imagine for all of us). --> "Don’t spend all of your time thinking that everyone else knows how to best walk the path." You were all the way inside my head on that one! That age-old tendency to think I'm the only one who doesn't have it figured out. I know that's hogwash, but the mind, she is a trickster sometimes! Thank you for helping me find my way back to the truth of myself.

Currently, my "socks" are tan, fuzzy slippers, and it feels good to have my tootsies otherwise free.

K: klunk, kaput, kindness

100 days of noticing something different

Surprises: So many birds singing! Also, 1/4 of all the bones in our bodies are in our feet.

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I’m so glad you are here….. some fluke of the Substack system that put us together the very first time as readers…. That list was really my way of showing myself…. “It’s a lot…. You don’t need to add in another daily.” Sometimes we really just have to break it down that way to see what should be obvious. (But at earlier points….counted projects were instrumental in helping build a creative habit. I know they can be powerful.)

I could hug you for responding to the opening letter. I’m glad to know the words had resonance for you. I see you as someone who can graciously fit in everywhere. That’s a good thing. But you also have your unique voice and perspective, and I love how it comes through in your writing.

Great K words. And the slippers sound cozy.

Your 100 days….. that’s wonderful. I hope that you do that…. And that you compile it at the end to post. It will be beautiful ….and a lovely log of days.

Thank you for the foot fact. I’m wriggling my (sock-clad) toes now in appreciation for my feet.

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Jan 28Liked by Amy Cowen

No socks...I prefer bare feet unless it’s so cold I can’t stand it.

Kerfuffle, kaleidoscope, kale

Not sure about a 100 day project...grateful for 18 days of February to ruminate about it before it officially begins.

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Jan 28·edited Jan 28Liked by Amy Cowen

"Kaleidoscope" twins! And "no sock" twins, too.

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Oh…my! It’s a rare moment to catch me sockless :) I love your comment, and I’ll be interested to see what you decide about a project. Great K words. It was good to see you this morning.

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Jan 28Liked by Amy Cowen

I'm not wearing socks and don't wish for any. My toenail polish is Berry Naughty, if that counts.

Knuckle, Kaleidoscope, Kernel

I will not be setting myself up to crash and burn on a 100 Day project. I love (ha) to give myself ambitious projects and schedules (exercise, reading, writing, art-ing) that I then scuttle 3 days later. So maybe I'm going to outsmart myself and not plan anything!

Surprise this week: It was so insanely windy Friday morning that I had to struggle to get my car door open and keep it from slamming closed on me.

Thanks for the good words.

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Kathleen - thanks for commenting! I think we don’t always need a project, and knowing ourselves and whether we do or don’t is pretty important. It sounds like you know where you are at the moment! That sounds like very intense wind!

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Oh - And thank you for the K words …. And for the sockless moment.

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Jan 28Liked by Amy Cowen

My socks are black. Orange socks would make me smile.

Key, kayak, kaleidoscope.

First inkling was collage but I did that last year. More noodling required.

Surprised how sick I was/am last week. Haven’t had a cold for years and it’s taking a toll.

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Oh, Jo! I am sorry to hear you are sick, and I hope you start to feel better quickly. I appreciate your K words! As for the project….. I often want to do “again” something I’ve done before and enjoyed. Sometimes, that works well. Sometimes, not. I look forward to seeing what you choose. If it turns out that collage is still calling you, maybe follow it!

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Jan 28Liked by Amy Cowen

As usual, overwhelmed by the weight of the material. The intro material was deep and comforting.

I like delimiters, too, so 100 appeals. But what? I like the image of toothy.

You mention socks. I could knit some more, but what does 10 minutes of knitting get you?

So still casting about for a project. Like your idea of throwing ideas at a wall to see what sticks.

Socks: bright pink compression hose from Figs with images of pills. Message on the bottom of the foot: Meditate, with the first “t” crossed out and replaced with “c” (medicate, like the pills). I love these socks. They are very easy to put on.

I tried to get all the ks in one word with kinnikinick. One meaning is a plant, red-osier dogwood, Cornus sericia. But an alternative spelling, kinnikinnick, is a Native smoking mix of bark, berries and tobacco.

I might think about finding an odd word each day for 100. Like shampoo or titter. But most words look odd if you view them crosswise.

If only I had time to do a 100-day project. Like you, I have an exhaustive list of things I’m already doing.

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Thank you, Fran. I like the image of you pink “medicate” socks. And thank you for giving a new word. That (either spelling) is not a word I know! Interesting words might be fun…. That’s a novel spin on a 100-day theme. Sorting out what intrigues you though might be a challenge - but a good one.

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I have an old project, shadow words: exploring a word a day that seems negative on the surface. I have a long list: despair, merciless, hardhearted, harm, etc, etc. I have a way of writing about them that rounds out the negativity. I was afraid every exposition would be the same, turning a cloud into sun, but it doesn’t work that way. Each word is different! I think I just talked myself into a project . . .

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Jan 28·edited Jan 28Liked by Amy Cowen

Amy, your list definitely sounds exhausting, but I have to say that I am grateful for all the creative things you bring into the world and the engagement within each community is a favorite of mine. Thank you.

Today, I am wearing my lucky Detroit Lions gameday socks that I have worn every Lions game day this season. They are grey and white tiger stripes. On the first game day, I said to myself, "eh, Tigers, Lions, close enough." Very much like a sentiment that every Lions fan would have on the first game of the season. This year is different, but the socks, they stay! After a brief discussion, my husband and I both agree that we wish our socks were sand. Its the time of year that every Michigander is craving sun and warmth.

Three K words - kudos, kookaburra, kewpie (which always reminds me of the Halo Burger chains in Flint, MI, near where I grew up, it's the name of the chain they started as).

I doubt I will be doing the 100 days challenge. Normally, in February I do the "WTFEB - what the February" challenge put together by Steve Chapman (@steveexoh on IG), but he's not doing that any longer. So, I think during February, I'll just continue to chug away at IYW and maybe finish the many books that I've started.

The most unexpected thing this week was seeing "ja-ikes" as the first word on the J list. 😂

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Jan 29Liked by Amy Cowen

Watching the game with my fingers crossed for Detroit.

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You wish your socks were sand! That’s a great line. Your tiger socks for the Lions game sound just right. That’s one of those traditions you don’t want to mess with either. Excellent K words. Thank you. I’m thinking K was a good choice. I laughed at your Ja-Ikes moment…. But the list is alphabetical, and so it happened! I look forward to seeing you continue in your IYW…. But that can easily be part of a 100, if you really “want” a count…. You could integrate 100 eye-guys or any other element….. part of your pages and also part of your challenge. NOT trying to talk you into it, but I always try and point out the flexible ways we can give ourself the rubric if we want.

And thank you for your kind words…. I appreciate your presence in these varied spaces, and I love that I always see you in the other group for Sunday coffee. Have a good week!

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Jan 29Liked by Amy Cowen

I’m also rooting for Detroit in these last few minutes of the game. We’ve been Chefs fans for a long time so our game is done today. I was surprised by that outcome!

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Hmmmm….. well….. sorry about those socks! I’m answering these Sunday evening, and there are fireworks happening (we can hear them). I’m thinking…. Hmmm…. Was there a game. LOL.

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Oh well, there's always next year. It was a good game and a fantastic season at any rate. And now you've now got me thinking of 100 days of something 😉

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Jan 28Liked by Amy Cowen

Your view on how to approach the 100 day project has been very helpful to read as I'm trying to figure out how to choose something to actually finish. Thanks!

As for socks, barefoot at the moment.

Wish I was wearing any of my BlueQ socks.

Key, kiwi, kin.

Still making lists of things I could do.

No surprises! Which seems pretty good for me ;)

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Tamara - thanks for commenting! I think finding the right project really makes a difference, and what is “right” for each of us is really individual. I’m glad to hear you are making a list. I’ve often been surprised by what ended up on my list….and sometimes surprised by what I ended up vetoing and why. Thank you for the K words! (And all of these barefoot comments are cracking me up :)

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Jan 29Liked by Amy Cowen

Loved this Amy... as I read I had to stop and write in this weeks Illustrated week

“100 days doing one project... or... one hundred projects in a single day”

Which sums up how I feel every year I attempt 100 days. Last year I chose two (collage a day and class a day) then we lost a family member and I had nothing left to give. I let both challenges go - it simply didn’t matter in the big scheme of things... but what I did realise is in the background I had continued on doing a daily 365 drawing of critters (which ironically lasted until day 110) at the end of the day I did the challenge and completed it, it just wasn’t what I envisaged.

This year I’m still percolating ideas, I might let it go to concentrate on my illustrated weeks, I might try to be nuts and do three this year. BUT all that to say I like your idea of “tooth” I do need something to grow with.

And alas no socks here - high humidity has me melting daily. Do eyeballs sweat? Because that’s the point I’m at!

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Thank you for reading and commenting! I’m really sorry to hear about last year and the timing of your projects and your loss…. But how wonderful that those critters were happening all along.

As I mentioned to Rebecca, if you are thinking of focusing on your journal, I think it’s really doable to build a 100 into it. You could plan on any “thing” that you want to add each day. But….the “tooth” matters. I’m glad that made sense to you. Several times, I’ve chosen something that I enjoyed but didn’t have enough tooth to warrant doing it for 100 days straight. Happy percolating.

And I’m sorry about those sweating eyeballs! This seems to be a sockless crowd today. I had no idea!

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Jan 29Liked by Amy Cowen

Keep, kindness, kettle. I'm wearing fuzzy white socks and one has a tiny hole starting in the toe. Lol. I've never done a 100 day project but it sounds fun. I'm not sure what I'd do for it. It would have to be something fairly simple and quick that I could incorporate into my journal, but interesting enough that I would stick with it. So far Illustrate Your Week is the only project I've been able to stick with. :-)

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I love that Illustrate Your Week has really worked for you — and you do such beautiful spreads. If that’s the main project, I might say just stick with what’s working! (But, yes, you could integrate something if you wanted to. But maybe that’s not the right fit for you. So don’t feel pressured. FOMO isn’t a good reason to do this project….. which I really should have added to the already too long post!)

Thank you for the K words and for being someone wearing socks today :)

Have a good week.

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Jan 29Liked by Amy Cowen

I was wearing pink socks this morning when I first read your post. You gave me the courage to try two new things today. Thank you! I was wonky me but I did them! K list: Killer Keller (a personal high school reference) kickball and kinetic

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Pink socks give me a smile. But wow…. I’m so curious what new things you tried! Good for you …. Or…. With the K in mind…. Kudos! I’m so happy to hear you embraced something wonky. Happy to see you here today. Thank you for reading and commenting — and maybe do those things again tomorrow, too?

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Jan 29Liked by Amy Cowen

Another shot to the heart.

I thought immediately of Keening and Kerning, two ways we respond to a world that does not fit our expectations. Two ways of closing the space between heartbreaks. Two expressions of rage and resistance, one orderly and controlled, one decidedly not. And of course Kryptonite, because I am failing yet again to comprehend the source and limits of my power.

Perhaps I will let all that go for now, put on earmuffs, and refill my pen again. And again. It never occurred to me that I would not have to make 100 things.

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Such a level of mystery in these words…. And yet I am left worrying about this kryptonite moment for you…. A moment that has been paired with contemplation of keening and kerning. I hope everything is okay. But I am all for the earmuffs, turning a blind eye, and keeping on keeping on while the noise or storm swirls. Refill the pen. What color is the color these days? And….. we make our rules. Interpretation matters! I hope you have a good week ahead.

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Jan 29Liked by Amy Cowen

I am OK! I am so grateful for the weekly reminders that I matter, and for your extensive engagement in these comment conversations. I love the poetry (text and visual) of your essays. It is an invitation to make broad and creative and metaphorical connections. My responses are a personal, emotional, and philosophical. I am often exploring the frustration of ongoing inequity and injustice writ large, and not addressing an immediate personal crisis. You invite us to think in new and abstract (and up close tactile) ways. This is my way of getting out of some mental ruts and connecting dots. And, hopefully, connecting with you by lifting up phrases and images that really speak to me.

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Thank you. This is a perfect way to read and to make connections and spin new tales and insights. I appreciate the poetry that drifts free in a variety of ways from those who read and comment here.

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Jan 29Liked by Amy Cowen

I wore green heathered socks this morning but took them off as the day got warmer. I was just hanging out at home---trying to kick this little cold out of my system so I can work tomorrow. If I could choose, I’d get turquoise fuzzy socks.

I think I won’t do a 100 day project this year, but as we get closer to Feb 18 FOMO may get me! I adore the ICAD in the summer.

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Jan 29Liked by Amy Cowen

Koala, Kelly green, Kajagoogoo ( do you remember that band from the 80s?)

I was surprised to hear that Charles Osgood died this week.

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Heathered green and turquoise both sound good! I hope you are feeling better — and that you are up to teaching tomorrow. A low-key day resting was a good thing, I hope. Don’t let FOMO be the reason! I think we are all susceptible to that. Instead, I think we should always really have a “reason” for deciding to do things. But maybe it is the right time for you - or a good thing. You know you best.

Thank you for the K words. And no…. I don’t remember them. You have such great music recall!

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Jan 31Liked by Amy Cowen

Handknit rainbow striped socks with black heels and toes.

No wish for something else. Most days I wear colourful hand knit socks. They make me happy.

Kindness

Kaweco

Knick Knack

I am still thinking about the 100 days. I made a shortlist and going to do a trial the next week to see if it could work. If not, I will just keep going with the 365 somethings and do them 100 days in a row :)

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Your socks sound perfect! I saw your recent post showing your faces so far. That project is looking wonderful. I look forward to hearing what you decide. That project would be easy to count both ways. You could always make that 100 somehow specific (like 100 faces in x medium or x color or something) if you wanted to make the 100 somehow distinct within the larger series of the 365.

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Feb 1Liked by Amy Cowen

My socks are black. I wear a lot of black (it matches itself and most anything else) but I would kind of like to be wearing rainbow socks! Kaleidoscope, kite, Kringle. Thanks for all the ideas and inspiration in this post!

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I also wear a lot of black, and I like the peek of color in socks. Thank you for the great K words.

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