Kentucky in One Word: Iconic


Colonel Sanders. The Twin Spires. Muhammad Ali. George Clooney. Some of the most famous images in the world. Icons. Symbols of Kentucky.

To me, the one little word that describes Kentucky is "iconic." The defining imagery that conveys the Bluegrass State. The pageantry of the Derby. The limestone fences that outline the Central Kentucky countryside. The quilts. The actual blue grass, and the unique genre of music which shares its name. The college basketball tradition.

You can go anywhere in the world and identify yourself as being from Kentucky and, invariably, you'll get the response of "Fried Chicken" or "Derby." Our horses and our whisky are unparalleled. Our local boxing legend is The Greatest and our hometown heartthrob is The Sexiest.

Kentucky is a land of unmistakable images. Kentucky is iconic.

(All images Leroy Neiman.)


Kentucky in One Word

A single word can be a powerful thing.

This week, some of the HerKentucky team members have written about their commitment to the One Little Word project in the New Year. Lydia's mantra for 2013 is "commitment." Sarah's word is "simplify." Both are great words that have the power to transform a year.

As I read Lydia and Sarah's respective mission statements for 2013, I thought about the One Little Word that I plan to use personally and professionally in 2013, which is "Do." I have so many ideas, plans and dreams that have seemed just over the horizon lately; it seems time to bring them to fruition. I also started thinking about the power of One Little Word to characterize our unique Commonwealth.

In recent weeks, it seems that the use of One Little Word has polarized Kentucky. As y'all have probably seen by now, the guys behind the Kentucky for Kentucky project are once again spreading the message of a Kick-Ass Kentucky.  This time, they're suggesting a re-branded state.


Image via Kentucky for Kentucky
While advertising experts and social media users have overwhelmingly embraced the Kick-Ass Message, the Kentucky Department of Tourism was less than amused. Now, I personally find the idea of re-branding Kentucky as "Kick-Ass" kind of hilarious and edgy and irreverent, even if that opinion places me in the Department of Tourism's "constituency of no one."  The word "Kick-Ass" makes people take notice -- they high-five, giggle, or squirm, but they don't readily forget it. It doesn't have much gravitas, and I would imagine that there are a lot of people who don't want to see a mild expletive on billboards and license plates. I sure do like the idea of an upgrade to a hipper, more modern view of Kentucky, though. 

We first started HerKentucky was to provide an outlet for Kentucky women's voices. We wanted to share our unique experiences of life in the Bluegrass State. Along the way,  we found that there were few absolutes. Our respective backgrounds are rural or urban, equine or agrarian. We identify with different colleges, cities and sports teams. We sit on different sides of the partisan aisle.  Some of us fall into the "Kick-Ass" camp, while others identify with an "Unbridled Spirit." Kentucky life is a little different for each of us. In a way, we each have "One Little Word" that sums up our Kentucky experience.

And so, as we begin 2013, I'd love to hear from our writers, readers and friends. What One Little Word describes Kentucky for you?

2013 : One Word

“One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In stopping to think through the meaning of what I have learned, there is much that I believe intensely, much I am unsure of. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”—Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)

This new year, I've decided to work on living with intent. I'm participating in the One Little Word class presented by blogger and life-documenter extraordinaire, Ali Edwards. This is the first time I've decided to let a word guide and shape my life for a year.

I've chosen the word "commitment" as my guiding force for 2013. This year promises to be one of big changes for me, for my family and for my future. In order to succeed in life, in happiness, in my career, in my new business I need to commit to the goals in each of those areas. Some of those goals are tangible, defineable. I want to run another half marathon, for example. Others are more on the intangible side. I want to become successful in my business while still honoring the commitment I have to my 9-to-5 job through the end of that engagement.

My family, independent of my move toward One Little Word, started thinking about this concept over email at the beginning of January. Aunts and cousins and other various relations have chosen words like 
  • Do
  • Relax
  • Healthy
  • Moderation
  • Listen
  • Active
  • Serenity
  • Gratitude
  • Discipline
  • Spontaneity
  • Focus
  • Now
  • Open
 Do you choose a word to guide yourself through a year?