I used to play a lot of Scrabble as a child and I always hung on to a U until the Q showed up. It was a strategy that paid off. Then I took a break from the game for a few years, until I discovered various online word games that approximated Scrabble (close but not so close that there is copyright infringement, you know the ones). Not only could I now play any hour day or night, but I could find opponents, good opponents, willing to do the same. Better yet they were from India and Australia and all sorts of exotic places and some were happy to chat with me about where they lived and what they thought about life.The world was now my oyster. Wahoo!
The very best part, however, was discovering all the wonderful letter combinations that were now considered words. ZA. Acceptable as short for pizza though I have never heard anyone of any age actually use it. KI. A plant from the South Pacific. But the very best has to be QI. More useful than QAT, QAID, QOPH and QWERTY combined, I used it happily for over a decade without having much of clue as to what it meant.
Meanwhile, my online words games began to shape my writing as I began my first novel x0. My relationships with my community of unseen kindred spirits gave me ideas for the worldwide organization x0 and helped me design its imaginary website. An accountant in England who I play with regularly served as a model for the British tax accountant who shepherds Lola and Nwanyi safely on to a plane at Gatwick Airport. One British woman who beats me regularly was even a beta reader for x0, and her husband chipped in with an amazing job of proofreading. My world of happy telepaths was a reflection of my own happy hours spent making words worth lots of points while chatting with people I enjoyed.
But I still didn’t know what QI was.
And then last week I spent five entire days learning about my qi. Turns out qi is the modern spelling of chi, an Anglicized attempt to capture the Chinese word for the life force or energy within all of us. While I am only a beginner, I did learn enough to understand that moving ones qi in healthy ways while meditating and doing light rhythmic exercises is both invigorating and relaxing. At least it is to me and apparently it is to many others. So it turns out that I’m a real big fan of QI, I just didn’t know it until last week.
Kind of ironic, isn’t it?
For post-vacation thoughts on change, click here.
For post-vacation attempts to hold on to the joy, click here.