What’s So Great About “Great?”

 

selective photo of gray shark

Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS on Pexels.com

Yep, that’s right. “Great” is overrated.

For quite awhile, I have been thinking about the possibility of eliminating the word “great” from my vocabulary.

Is “great” a noun? An adjective? An adverb? Or, most likely, all three? What makes it so great to use “great” in a sentence? What is the meaning of “great?”

I always took “great” to mean “large,” as in the phrase, “something greater than myself.” Or, to use examples from the animal world, “great white shark” or “great horned owl.”

Another bothersome point for me is that “great” can refer to things both wonderful, like great art — and devastating, like great destruction during wars or storms.

And, I’m confused why so many of us (myself included) answer “Great!” when asked, “How was your weekend?” Does that one-word response really mean “large?”

It’s almost as if “great” has become an easy catch-all, something we use when we’re too lazy or uncreative to use a descriptive, attention-grabbing word — whether we’re speaking or writing.

What if, instead, when asked by a friend or colleague, “How was your weekend?”, I answered, “Delicious — A friend and I tested several new French recipes on Saturday night and we can’t wait to try more!” Or, “Mind-numbing — I spent the entire weekend working on my tax return!”

And, what if I worked to delete “great,” as an adjective, from my vocabulary?

I might challenge myself to be more descriptive in these instances, as well. Rather than saying, “That was a great concert last night,” I could replace “great” with a more thought-provoking adjective: “That was an emotional concert last evening, don’t you think?” Perhaps this change would open up a real conversation about emotions and feelings around the music for both myself and my concert-mate.

What’s your take on “great? I’m thinking “great” might not be so great any more.

Is Gray a Color?

Color

Having just read Meghan Flaherty’s eloquent piece, Ode to Gray in the Paris Review, I’ve been thinking about color again. Flaherty makes numerous points in favor of gray. She refers to gray as “the color, rather than the sound, of silence.”

Flaherty cites numerous others’ disparate thoughts on gray. She refers to a color psychology article, stating that “grey is emotionless.” She quotes the French painter, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres who said, “Better gray than garishness.” And, she shares, “Paul Klee called it the richest color, “the one that makes all the others speak.”

She also writes that, “according to Eva Heller, in her Die wahre Geschichte von allen Farben, only 1 percent of people surveyed named gray as their favorite color.” Contrast that with blue. Supposedly, half the people on earth list blue as their favorite color.

In one of my earlier posts entitled, The Lure of BlueI wrote about what draws my eye towards blue. Truth be told, nearly every article of clothing I own is blue. My office walls are blue. My automobile is blue.

Hmm…maybe I’ve been taking the easy way out all this time…

After reading Flaherty’s excellent article, I vow to seriously think through the possibility of gray being an actual color. I may even introduce a few bits of gray into my wardrobe because, after all, gray pairs so well with blue…

by Rebecca Cochran

Walk. Look. Create.

footprintsI’ve been walking daily since I was a little girl. I have my father to thank for that. I relished my evening walks with him during my adolescent through teenage years. We’d set out, just the two of us, every evening after dinner, walking, sometimes talking, always observing the world around us. When we’d return, we were ready to tackle the dinner dishes and relax into the evening.

Walking is a gift. It is something most of us can do for free. Walking doesn’t require any special talents. We don’t have to buy any special clothing (although a comfortable pair of walking shoes is recommend). Most of us can simply head out our home or office door and just walk.

Walking is nature’s cure-all. No matter how I feel when I set out on a walk, I always feel better by the end. If I’m tired when I start my walk, I’m rejuvenated when I finish. If I’m feeling overwhelmed with work or personal issues when I begin a walk, I am clear-headed and focused by the end. And, of course, the long-term physical benefits of moderate-impact aerobic activities like walking are well known.

As an adult, no matter where I’ve lived – city or suburban setting, no matter the climate, I’ve always kept up my walking ritual. A daily walk, even a short one, is a must for me. I’m not one to listen to music or the news while I walk. I focus on my stride (to create a sort of natural rhythm). And I focus on my surroundings, trying to notice things that I’d miss if I were driving the same route.

I walk best alone. (Sorry, Dad.) Friends regularly invite me to join in their walking ritual, but I usually decline their offers. The benefits I derive from walking come when I’m able to think and observe in silence.

The simple act of a daily walk allows me to solve problems. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve begun a walk thinking I had a big problem to sort through, only to determine, 10 minutes in, that I’d been blowing the issue way out of proportion.

And, best of all, I regularly experience creative breakthroughs when I walk. These breakthroughs happen when I’m not even trying. The act of walking and focusing on my stride clears my head. Ideas flow naturally. Dots connect themselves.

Walk. Look. Create. It’s really that simple.

by Rebecca Cochran