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Heidi Waterhouse
Heidi Waterhouse

Posted on • Originally published at on

Word of the Year: Equipoise

Equipoise, the word, in fancy cursive with a circle around it and also little star stamps

When I started thinking about my word of the year, the image I kept returning to was an object at a Lagrange point. That’s one of the five places in the orbits of two celestial bodies where a smaller object is effectively balanced between the competing gravitational forces of the larger objects. It’s related to and part of the solution to the Three-Body Problem (not the book).

I want to work on balance this year, but not a static balance, not equalibrium , which although used as a synonym for equipoise has a connotation of being at rest. Not homeostasis , which is about the internal balance of a living organism. I wanted something that was abut going out and coming back and revolving and being — not unmoved, but in balanced motion, orbiting around math and using tension and glorying in the spaces between.

When I think about all the things that I care about, I don’t want to be standing still and reacting to them, and I don’t want to be sucked into their gravity well to burn up, I want to be in the taut lines of power without being torn apart.

Equipoise. It’s a good word.

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