April 2011, we started The Favorite Words Project, a
publishing experiment that collects
people’s favorite words and publishes them as a “living installation” on bumpers
stickers and T-shirts. Why? We wanted a way to celebrate language, to begin a conversation about the importance of words in people's lives, and to see what exactly the community at large was saying through favorite words. And because putting your favorite word on a T-shirt and bumper sticker is an evocative way
to communicate attitudes, ideas,
opinions, or aspects of your personality to the world. It also makes other people laugh, think, and wonder.
find that people like this idea. Since April, our inbox has been flooded with
favorite words from around the globe, and the installation has been growing
beyond anything we imagined. People have sent us “pickles” and “love” and
“furkids” and “floccinaucinihilipilification.” They have sent
us "dream," "whatever," "meander," "intaglio," and "doofus." We could go
on for many many pages.
makes us very happy, but has also put deep holes in our pockets. Each time
someone sends us a word, we print them a bumper sticker with their word on it and a certificate of
authorship, and send both out in the mail for free. Our printers were never
designed for doing mass mailings; one is
not up to the task and the other is
threatening to die. We were asking for a $10 donation for the
T-shirts, but it turns out people like free things better.
a year of collecting words, we will compile them in a traditional book that will
showcase all the words in one place. Every word will be used, even repeats. We
believe as a collection, people's favorite words speak for the society at large, and we want to
show what people have to say and why. There are some words that are very
popular (“love” and “peace” for example), and when repeated, these words become
powerful. Other words seem to be symbols for the people who like them —some are
jaded, others are hopeful, silly, warm, smart. Some words are chosen for their
sound; others are labels or agendas. People are masters at using words, and all of us people are an interesting group, right now.
keep close track of the words (a lot of spreadsheet work…), logging in the type,
tone, timing, and meaning of each, the frequency of each, and the reason why
people have chosen them. All this attention to detail and documentation pays off when we see "lollygag" or "dude" going by on the back of someone's car!
we started this Kickstarter project for four reasons:
help fund the printing and mailing of the stickers and author certification
cards for the remainder of the year through April 2012. We are gladly doing all
the labor for free.
To buy a new laser printer which is more suited for printing outdoor bumper
stickers than our current injet printers.
help fund the printing and marketing costs of the final book.
To invite our Kickstarter backers to become official authors of the project by not just giving us money, but by giving us their favorite word,
thereby funding and growing the project at the same time.
What's your favorite word?