I’m looking for a new book to read over the upcoming holiday break. I want something that lives up to my last read – Tamara Shopsin‘s Arbitrary Stupid Goal.
I was drawn to Arbitrary Stupid Goal when Austin Kleon mentioned it was a favorite from his own reading list last year. He promised quirky autobiographical characters that live in my dream ‘hood. (NYC’s Greenwich Village).
The opening describes a family that once took a family vacation by mapping their way to places that had ‘Wolf’ in the name. So, Wolfpoint, Wolfville, Wolf Lake, etc. It’s all based on the fact that their last name was Wolfawitz. A random trip full of third rate or non-attractions that was actually amazing.
When I was dating my (now) husband we took a road trip out of Washington DC (where we lived at the time). Very much falling in love, we haphazardly took off on Labor day weekend and navigated purely by the alphabet.
The “alphabet trip” (as we affectionally still refer to it) was a directionless Wolfawitz style holiday. Our “A” town was Annapolis, Maryland. I can’t remember what “B”was but C was Chestertown, Maryland where had the most amazing crab soup that was served with a shot of sherry to pour over the top. As we carried on, “J” was Jersey City, and we arrived in northernmost point “N” – Newport, RI – as the whole town was being boarded up for the arrival of hurricane Edouard.
Achieving the alphabet was our arbitrary stupid goal…and I could not help but think, as I read the book, that I don’t currently have enough arbitrary stupid goals in my life.
Lately, the only place I let them sneak in, is in my garden.
Can I grow enough strawberries to get all my friends drunk in an epic fresh daiquiri barn party? (A: yes, yes I can)
Let’s grow every variety of horseradish we can find to see which is the hottest (this was one of my grandma’s arbitrary stupid garden goals when I was a kid).
My friend Matt grew a mind-boggling amount of sweet peas a few years ago – just to learn about them, write about them, photograph them and ultimately throw a pretty party with them. (ok, maybe that isn’t quite as arbitrary given he is a garden writer…but I think you get what I mean)
There are the giant pumpkin growers. Those who pursue the blue daylily. Or maybe someone just wants to make something delicious in the kitchen from something not bought at the grocery store.
Chase the storm.
Drive with no final destination.
Create. Experiment. And then don’t be afraid to tear it all down and start again.
I’m casting about for more ways to be arbitrary and stupid. Not just in my garden but in my whole life.
I’d love to hear about some of your arbitrary stupid goals.
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