Saturday, 19 November 2016

Novelty

These days, I am all about novelty. I don't mean novelty in the sense of "novelty items" or "novelty stores."  Novelty items are small and cheap toys or doodads that are entertaining or eye-catching. I love novelty items, don't get me wrong. Recently I received two novelty items as gifts: a Batman Pez dispenser and and a Wolverine action figure.

No, by novelty I mean newness. To dedicate oneself to creativity, novelty or newness is a given. Creativity requires the belief that doing something no one else has done is good. I am talking about novelty for novelty's sake. I am not speaking of pragmatism. Certainly novelty may have pragmatic applications or results: acquiring a new hobby, meeting a new friend, learning something to help a person at work or home, saving myself from starvation during a bout of poverty by eating Pez (a theoretical example).

The aim of novelty, at least in the way I define it, is simply to encourage oneself to do something new.

I have been feeling stuck, thwarted and downcast lately. A life dedicated to daily newness seemed to be a solution to these feelings of feeling stuck. If I am doing something I haven't done before, how could I be stuck?

I have become a devotee of novelty. Whom should I worship, then? Who is the patron saint of novelty?  Perhaps Claude de la Columbi√®re or Nicholas of Myra, both patron saints of toymakers, depending on whom you ask. I don't need an anthropomorphism to bow to, however. Instead, I have made a pledge. I pledged to do something new every day for one year: 365 days of novelty.

So far I have done well. Since Oct 31,  I have recorded one novelty per day.  I keep a diary of novelty in a notebook. Newness doesn't have to be like a so-called "bucket list" that involves far-fetched, far-flung destinations. I have gone for coffee in two cafes I haven't been in before, I wrote a one-act play, I coloured my hair red, blue and green (temp colour only), I taught my dog a new trick ('phasers on stun: ZAP!'--that is, play dead), I registered two domain names (vivianzenari.ca and vivianzenari.com), and I visited a malthouse. Some of these things are creative, some are related to things I had to do anyway but for which I found a novel way of doing them, while others are whimsical. The benefit, for me, is the idea of novelty as something open to me no matter how stuck I think I am and how powerless I feel at times.

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