August 23rd, 2007
It’s here! The new project I mentioned earlier from Little Otsu.
now I know what you’re thinking, “what do you mean a non-planner datebook? isn’t that a contradiction in terms?”
in a word…yes. and it’s been something that I grappled with the whole time I was working on it. but, dear reader, if you will bear with me for a moment I will explain.
it had occurred to me that at times all of my planning and life controlling and goal setting and to do list making was making me a bit crazy. you see, i seem to be the kind of person who is simultaneously an over achiever (read: controlling) and also one of the laziest humans you have ever met, (I know some of you will find this hard to believe but you can ask those who are close to me, it is entirely true.) I flit between the extremes of these two things constantly. yet somehow it all gets done. but let me get to the point…
all the planning and controlling and “trying to make things happen” was not what made things happen. Instead when I look back, all of the really exciting and important things happened when I put stuff out into the world because it felt good (and because I was drawn to do so), and then, LET IT ALL HAPPEN ON IT’S OWN, (whatever that meant).
So the non-planner datebook is a project that gives you permission to not freak out about everything and not try to control the shit out of it. to document thoughts and ideas and experiences as they happen. to partake in the unknown and absurdity in equal measures. to not take yourself or your life so seriously. and most of all to have fun!
yes, it’s partly a journal, but it has monthly pages too (you put in the dates, calendar page included), and some crazy pages too like day of wandering (or wondering if you prefer), day of indecision, the semi-blank page for you to customize, page for epiphanies, and the lucky elephant page (which I’ll keep a mystery for now).
are you still with me?
i’m very happy with how it turned out and I hope you will have some fun with it too. you can get it from Little Otsu. only $16 and it’s printed on recycled paper using soy based inks! They are the coolest company ever, but I’m sure you know that already.
and some links for you:
a really nice review of the guerilla art kit in Tokion Magazine, scroll down a bit.
Rebar is having another Park(ing) day and it’s happening on September 21st in cities all over the place. Go read about it! It’s one of the best projects going.
so now the weeping camel is one of my favourite movies ever! I want to live in an yurt and practice buddhism for the rest of my life.
also, a new podcast I did with Stephanie of cool people I know which we did at the Blogher conference. (i recall being really tired for this, read: pregnancy exhaustion, and that we hit on some heavy topics, death, etc. So I hope it is good. sometimes tired makes for interesting thoughts that you don’t expect.)
August 20th, 2007
I find myself a bit overwhelmed with mail, thank you to everyone for all your well wishes and congratulations! I am grateful for every word.
I’ve been busy working on a new book and haven’t had much time to think about baby things. To be honest I was starting to think that it wasn’t going to happen, that I might be one of those moms who doesn’t prepare at all and just wings it, only getting the bare essentials. I have spoken to many new parents who bought a lot of things they didn’t really need, or that their child didn’t like. But a week ago I saw this quilt, and it sparked something in me, a primal need to sew. (actually I love everything at otchi potchi.) and it’s all i’ve been thinking about ever since. My mother and grandmother made everything for my sister and I and I want to continue that tradition. So I’m going to create my own version in a similar style. I’ve been searching for organic linen like crazy. if you have any good leads on organic cotton and linen please let me know. I found this list at the worsted witch which is helping somewhat. But i’m really interested in bright, flat color, which seems harder to find.
in other news, the Guerilla Art Kit is already going into it’s second printing, (and it just came out)! So that is extremely exciting, (it’s #2 in the Activism category on Amazon, though this changes hourly). I haven’t talked much about it here because I’ve been busy. But I wanted to say how proud I am of this project and how it turned out. It was a rather long process getting it to print, it was rejected many times by various publishers (who I suspect were fearful of the subject matter.) But I persisted with it because I believed in the idea so strongly, (finally landing with Princeton Architectural Press, who embraced it completely and jumped right in. thank you!).
I believe this book is really about tuning into your environment and paying attention to little details, something many of us forget to do at times. This is the common theme amongst all of my work these days, and through all of my reading. The theme evolved from researching and noticing the affects that the overuse of technology has on north american society. Sitting at screens for so many hours everyday results in a dulling of the senses. Because of this we are losing touch with with our animal nature, our sense of our surroundings, our intuition, our ability to tune into the natural world (and respond to it). We stop using our sense of smell, touch, our hearing, there is little that actually links us with nature in any definitive way. And so this book evolved (in part) with finding ways for myself to reconnect with the senses in a way that would work in modern society, (urban settings). I wanted to show that reconnecting was possible without having to leave the city or retreat to the woods.
Leaving things in public places or altering our environment in some way causes us to connect with a space in a way we haven’t before (or at least recently). We begin to take ownership of it, a feeling of not being seperate. It is a kind of “marking”, as is done by tribal cultures who leave objects behind to say there where ‘there’, as a ‘note’ to others or a map of some kind. and it can also be remeniscent of children who play and leave traces of themselves (toys, grass, rocks) in a hole in their favorite tree. children often leave hidden secret places wherever they go, and they connect with their immediate environment in a very direct and intimate way.
when I started out writing this book a few years ago, I had no idea of the impact of this kind of ‘marking’ and what it represented. I only knew that it was incredibly satisfying as a creative medium and that I wanted to do it more and more. Over time it has become more clear to me why it is important on a cultural level. Many of us have lost all forms of ritual in our lives and there is little to help us connect with the place in which we live. And I’m hoping that maybe by sharing a few ideas for ways to do this that others will come up with their own versions and methods. Or even on a most simple level, just to recognize that there is a need for us to reclaim a sense of ownership with the place in which we live.
addendum: there is also a wonderful phenomenon that occurs, a kind of “snowball effect”, which I talk about briefly in the book. This happened in my town after I started chalking, many others started adding things (writings, found objects, stencils) to the community. I was just sent this link about a woman in Richmond VA who has been participating in a community “shelf”, where people started anonymously placing homemade or found objects. it’s fantastic! (thanks Craige and Mim). Every community needs a shelf!
I have a piece in the Learning to Love you More exhibit currently touring in Eindhoven, NL:
August 24 – September 10, 2007
A project by Harrell Fletcher & Miranda July
Curated by the second year students of the MA Curatorial Practice Program at
the California College of the Arts, San Francisco
5611 AZ Eindhoven
August 15th, 2007
this has been the summer of adventures and surprises, (and emotional ups and downs). when i look back on it in the future i think i will see it as one of the biggest transitions I have ever had. today i write almost bursting with energy, which has been lacking for the last few weeks, (soon you will understand why).
i am not one for keeping secrets. if I cannot share something then I would rather keep quiet. it feels dishonest somehow, especially with friends. so I am ready to share something with you now and let my body let go of the weight of holding back. i am twelve weeks pregnant!
yes, it’s true.
my life (our lives) are about to change in a big way.
but I’m feeling so excited and ready for it in so many ways. the timing really couldn’t be better, (finances could be but I’m trying not to think about that too much.) already a team of women friends have jumped in to be my support network, how lucky I am to have them in my life. i already feel taken care of, while I take some time to enjoy the process and feel the changes in my body directly. For baby stuff we’re doing everything reused or recycled or handmade and i’m really excited about that. It just feels good to not have to partake in the consumerist side of things, (I learned really quickly that there is a huge industry out there targeting me right now, something you don’t learn about until you are in it. even the literature at the midwives office is trying to sell you things).
i remember talking to the artist Gord Peteran many years ago about what it was like to have children. I watched him glow as he spoke about his girls. So I asked him if he felt having children had made his life “better”. He smiled and sat thinking for a moment, (something he often did) and replied earnestly,
“not better, bigger.” What a wonderful way of putting it, I thought at the time. Better is a kind of good/bad judgement. But bigger spoke of growth, and change and challenge. All of the things that force us to move into new, stronger versions of ourselves. i pictured a heart growing several sizes. it was the best response about having kids that I had ever heard.
i am amazed at other women who appear to take pregnancy in stride as if it’s the most normal thing on the planet. natural yes. but i find it very strange. interesting and strange. certainly out of the ordinary. i feel everything in my body shifting and pulling. making noises and doing some things I’ve never seen it do before. it is a total trip.
i find myself fascinated by it. and in love with it. sometimes scared.
kind of like everyday life really.
August 1st, 2007
the summer is not my best creative time. I’ve been trying to figure out why this is. the heat wears me down and leaves me feeling as lifeless as a deflated balloon. i find myself asking, where is that excitement i usually have about getting up in the morning? normally i will sit in bed and smile about the thought of breakfast or going for a walk. but these days it’s all i can do to even sit down and do the simplest of tasks, read a book, or eat a meal.
I read a post on Katherine’s blog that expressed perfectly what I have been feeling and left me relieved and feeling like this is where I meant to be. just a part of the creative cycle of things. we are a part of nature and subject to it’s influences. this thought comforts me to no end right now.
last night I sat outside, lit some candles and just watched the stars for a couple of hours. this simple act was perfect. all i need is to give myself permission to be, whatever that means in the moment.
i suppose my psyche just wants time to be in the world and not try to shape it in any way. I resist it, feeling like I should be producing something. but that pressure is tiring too.
if you look at nature you might start to notice that animals slow down at this time of year. they retreat to a shady spot or wade lazily in the water. they are not pressuring themselves to exercise or create something for others.
eat, sleep, retreat.
If I place myself into this cycle it leaves me feeling connected to something much bigger and more powerful than just my own thoughts.
i am watching and taking notes.
i will replace the thoughts with stones found on the beach. dried up leaves.