November 17th, 2009
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November 10th, 2009
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drinking cold green tea. my family has caught a cold (not of the swine flu variety thank god). as I come out of the fog I have so many ideas for projects. It’s like the excess snot leaving my body cleared a pathway for ideas to flow out. How serendipitous. not had much time to write lately as I am hard at work on a new book, (still in top secret mode).
I have been very moved by the responses to “this is not a book” lately. Yesterday I received in the mail a completed copy from an anonymous user. It is incredibly beautiful to read what someone has done with it. Kind of like receiving a book that someone else had written in it’s entirety, full of poetry and thoughts, and artwork. It is really a journal that had bits glued into it, things you could pull out and unfold, letters, even a couple of pop-ups (a lot like Griffin and Sabine). There were many personal bits, I hadn’t realized how much more personal this one is than “wreck”, but there is a lot more sharing involved. I couldn’t help but think that this person must have been more than a bit sad to let it go, (and truthfully I would send it back to her but there is no return address). And yet what a beautiful gift in the form of a mystery. And so I put together the little bits and pieces like a puzzle, all the while knowing that is the beauty of it. The not knowing.
Some nice things to share,
Not a Book made a bestseller list in Chicago.
For X-mas I am giving people the totes I did for Social Designer, proceeds go to Global Green. (I do not receive royalties for this, just for good karma. I had to buy them myself.)
I quite enjoyed the film Man on Wire this week.
Not a Book was picked up by a German publisher this week. More info to come.
love this online exhibition from the moma, color chart

November 5th, 2009
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October 22nd, 2009
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go now to the best drawing blog in the whole world! doodlers anonymous
They have a really cool giveaway happening. (And I’m not just pandering to them. I have been a fan of theirs for a long time and recently I wrote them to tell them so and Okat wrote me back saying how much a fan he is of me! It was a mutual thing. haha! so a giveaway it is.)

October 16th, 2009
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One of the things I been thinking about lately is how the internet is causing me to take many less risks in my life. I find myself doing entirely too much research on too many things, (god knows I love researching). But is it necessary to do it with everything? Every purchase. Every question. Every topic? My book purchasing has changed dramatically given that I am now prone to sifting through dozens of reviews trying to determine which ones are most similar to my own thought process and intellectual leanings. Instead of making judgments on the publisher’s comments, I find myself endlessly judging reviewers, people I know nothing about and probably have nothing at all in common with. This seems a strange thing when you really start to think about it. If I walked into a classroom with a hundred people in it, I would assume that only about 1% of the people would be of a similar personality to myself (maybe this percentage is low, but then I sometimes fall into the category of “fringe”). Would I take advice from the rest on what to read? Definitely not. So how is it that I judge a book on how many stars it has received?
I don’t mean to be hard on myself for this. If I am going to spend money, I like to know that I am making a good choice based on as much information as I can. Hell, I love when people make book recommendations to me, even when they are total strangers. But I am starting to think about the implications of a total risk free world.
More importantly, what ever happened to just reading the back of a book and taking a chance? What of the learning that arises out of making a mistake and having to live with that? What of the amount of time it takes away from our lives to conduct research on everything? How are we being altered psychologically by the process of trying to ensure that something is perfect? How will we change if we do not ever take any chances? What if we never made any mistakes again?
I think I am going to try an experiment. No research allowed for a month. Just a leap into the unknown with every endeavor. I pledge to buy books based on the jacket alone.

October 16th, 2009
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Page 42 of This is Not a Book is missing. Many readers/users have attempted to explain what has happened to it, (you can read the entries here). A most interesting response showed up this morning, and from that it seems a bit of a duel has begun.
from: John
Ok, here’s what really happened to page 42. President Bill Clinton was the 42nd president. He was also a democrat. Now JFK was also a democrat. So naturally page 42 has the answers to who assassinated him, and was therefore removed by someone trying to cover it up. Now JFK was also a Catholic. And you know how Catholics are big into holy relics and such. Well, him being Catholic and all, page 42 would obviously have the wereabouts of the Holy Grail. Now Hitler, was big into collecting religious artifacts. Made him think God was on his side. The USA was in WW2 in 1942. SO on page 42 is the answer to where Hitlers body is, AND the real reason why Germany lost the war. Now being that the USA was in the war in 1942, it would also include the secrets to what is ACTUALLY contained, at area 51. And since area 51 is 9 numbers higher than 42, John Lenin is also involved. Now John Lenin was british. SO in conclusion, on page 42 describes in detail why bill cheated on his wife, ! who assassinated jfk, where the holy grail is, where hitllers body is, what is contained at area 51, and why John Lenin was such a great rocker. It all boils down to this. The Queen of England, was in fact black mailing Bill Clinton to cheat on his wife, she also is old enough to remember the JFK assassination, and also had a hand in the act, and that she is also hiding the Holy Grail from the catholic church because they are protistant, also she is the one who taught John a thing or 2 about rock, but it was her mother who saved the body of Hitler, and buried it, AND hidden at area 51 is page 42 because, the government doesnt want the public to know how much Britain is gaining back her lost colonies. So in conclusion, page 42 is located at area 51, because the queen of england is trying to retake the USA.
and then from Hayden Fletcher
Page 42 contains only one thing. It does not show why Bill cheated on his wife. It does not show who assassinated JFK. It does not show where the Holy Grail is (duh…Indiana Jones knows that…why don’t you ask him, instead of bothering poor Page 42?). It does not show what is contained at Area 51 (Indy knows this one too…go ask him). And it most certainly is not dead.
Page 42 contains only one thing. That one thing is a picture of a bunch of Scrabble letters laid out on a rock in the middle of a forest which spell out the following question:
What do you get if you multiply six by nine?
Now, as to what happened to Page 42. Zaphod accidentally dropped it on his way to the restroom at Milliway’s. It was then eaten by a Mattress.
And that’s that.

You are hereby invited to get in on the ensuing debate. The future of the universe depends on the answer.

October 7th, 2009
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This weeks winner is Noor Umm Bilal from Saudi Arabia!
I just love the perfect blend of weird, kind of creepy and also political.
Thank you for all who entered.
Next challenge: Create a chalk outline of yourself holding “this is not a book” (or with a place that “this is not a book” will go when you get it). Send a photo to info@kerismith.com

September 28th, 2009
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a new interview is up over at ink on my fingers. Thanks Susannah!

September 28th, 2009
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It is a tie, as I could not decide which one I like better. The first one is is from Design Doll Studio, and the second is from Alan Li.
We also have a winner for the class giveaway, it is Kate Stasik. Here is an excerpt from her email:
I teach at Little Wound High School on Pine Ridge Reservation in rural South Dakota. My students, Lakota Sioux children, are descendants of Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, and the members of the 1973 AIM Movement. Despite this, they face seemingly insurmountable obstacles: alarming levels of AIDS, STDs, diabetes and heart disease; widespread poverty; poor family lives; abuse; gangs; alcohol and drug problems. Shannon County, where LWHS sits, is the second poorest county in the nation with an average annual per capita income of just over $2,000.
My 10th grade English class has an average reading level around 5th grade. Many are much lower level readers. I have been trudging through teaching them literature, though most of them do not have the self confidence (or the reading skills) to delve into a novel.
Enter you. “This is Not a Book” is perfect for my reluctant readers. Traditionally, Lakota students were purely hands-on learners: they practiced skills such as beadwork and hunting repeatedly before being asked to perform the skill publicly. Often, my more traditional students just don’t see the point in being asked to read in class. However, they love acting out skits, creating murals, making collages, and listening to presentations. “This is Not a Book” will be the perfect way for me to bridge the gap between active learning and passively reading a book.
Furthermore, many of my students have never “owned” a book. They are assigned textbooks in poor condition and told that they can’t take them home because they will simply lose them. To give these students a book, any book, would be an incredible gift. But to give them a book that meets them where they are and asks them to really take ownership of their own creativity would be priceless.

Kate will be receiving books for her entire class.
I really want to thank everyone who entered, it was a difficult decision and I truly wanted to give the books to everyone who entered. I am considering finding a way to do this in the near future so don’t despair. I am keeping all your contact info and will let you know if I can manage it at some point. You may get an email from me in the coming months!
The next giveaway challenge:
Come up with the weirdest use of “this is not a book” you can think of.

September 24th, 2009
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i am a big fan of Ozu. link.
we can learn a lot from his films. a quick list:
1. life and people are impermanent.
2. slow down.
3. look people in the eye.
4. drink tea.
5. be kind.
6. simple things hold the secret.
tidbit: Ozu is mentioned quite a bit in the novel “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” by Muriel Barbery. I both enjoyed and had trouble with the book (though I seem to have a lot in common with the main character. read: love of Ozu and phenomenology). In the end I can’t decide whether I liked it enough to recommend it. I suppose I wanted to like it more but felt it was a bit “forced”.
p.s. tomorrow is your last day to submit a solution to “create a carrying case for ‘this is not a book’”.
p.p.s. A new challenge will be announced tomorrow.
p.p.p.s. there were too many quotes in the first postscript.


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