To commemorate the spanish release of Wreck This Journal, I did an interview with Visual Mag. I am very excited about this as my Spanish readers have been asking for it for a LONG time.
I am right in the thick of finishing a new book so my words are few. Life is so rich and full right now. Fall and winter are my most inspired and productive times. This summer was so hectic with moving and trying to get a house in order (still working on that). A lot of adjustments to deal with (preschool, teething, sleep problems, etc.) But we are absolutely loving our new town! In the treehouse every day. We have been exploring the area with our new Bakfiets, which we also love. The most beautiful thing about the bakfiets is the attention it draws from strangers. People wave and holler. Young girls yell. Some stop us to find out where it came from. Most smile or laugh as we ride by. It’s a beautiful thing! Makes it all worth it.
When we were going back and forth debating whether to get it we had a realization. It is important for many reasons, but we felt it really important to help to influence and impact the bike culture of the area, (which is great but there is still room for much improvement). So we are working to do our part. And I am going to use it for a mobile unit for the Society for Exploratory Research.
…putting in new raised beds this week.
…researching chicken coops.
…knitting striped mittens for my kids out of scrap yarn.
…my top secret new book.
…the light at this time of year.
…local apples, (we just bought three apple trees).
…every minute spent with my family, cooking, exploring, planting.
…our new favorite bakery the hungry ghost.
back to work (she says to herself).
I like the idea of making things that exist quite happily without me being around them. In music, you talk about releasing records, and I always liked that expression because that is exactly what you do: you release it from yourself. You release it from you standing around and defending it and saying this or that about it. You set it free and it is just floating with everything else out there and then it takes whatever value is conferred upon it. I am very keen on this idea of conferral of value. The old idea with artists is that they take dead material and fill it with value, and I never liked that. From the age of fifteen I didn’t like that. What I liked was the idea of making things that attract value to them. They can be quite small. You put something out into the world and either it disappears completely, which often happens, or it starts to accumulate resonance.
–Brian Eno, from Interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist, 2000
This is a photo of Till Kresslein on a secret mission, (sorry to blow your cover Till). If you are wondering what mission Till is on I cannot tell you. Then it wouldn’t be secret. I will only say that it is assigned in “This is Not a Book”. This is an example of what I get every day in my inbox. What a great job I have, non? For some reason “This is Not a Book” has been growing in popularity of late. Sometimes my books have a slow burn, it takes a while for them to creep into the consciousness of the world, but once they do…
My days are completely filled with yummy family life, unpacking and setting up a house, and bookmaking. I have so many wonderful projects in the fire, none of which I can tell you about yet. I always hate it when authors say things like that, but there you have it. I have some things that you are going to love, just know that. I know it because I love them and if I love them then usually others respond to them too. I love my work. And I love my readers. And I love all you teachers who are writing me every day. Together we will change the world!
What can I share with you that you might enjoy right now?
Some things I am excited about…
…The Natural Navigator by Tristan Gooley. I am learning to navigate the world without technology. So cool!
…after dreaming about it for so long we bit the bullet and bought a Bakfiets, it arrives this week! we are crazy excited. really!
…Wreck this Journal is still rockin the bestsellers list in Canada! I love my country for this!
…for my eighth wedding anniversary my husband gave me a copy of Where the Heart Beats by Kay Larson. Excited to start it (after I finish the navigation book).
…in our house we have seen every episode of River Cottage at least twice. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is such a fixture here that we walk around the house saying “What would Hugh do?” (My path recently crossed with Hugh’s after he too became a resident thinker for Nowhereisland, a few weeks after my post. I was rather giddy and proud when I found out. I wanted to write him to introduce myself but decided against it, as I don’t like want to sound like a crazy fan. Maybe I’ll send him some books instead.)
…I just knit Otto for my babe, with a few of my own alterations (I made his arms skinnier and somehow his face is pointier, photo to come). Mine looks quite a bit like a rat (he’s brown) and we are quite in love with him.
…a few years ago I picked up a very musty copy of a book called “And it Came to Pass Not to Stay” by Buckminster Fuller at a garage sale on my street in Troy. I almost didn’t keep it because the smell was so intense. But as many of you now know I have a bit of an obsession with Mr. Fuller and so the book got packed away before I could read it. This week as I was unpacking my beloved books I came across it again, this time opening the front cover and to my great surprise and delight found this:
Now you must also know that I am not one to shy away from a mystery. So immediately I am thinking, who is/was Ned Pattison?
A search was in order. I find that there is a Government Center named after him in Troy. Then I see that he was a former US Representative and named Edward “Ned” Pattison. I found his obituary here. So what were Ned and Bucky discussing? Immediately images of secret meetings and undercover operations filled my overactive imagination. What were they working on together?
Man do I love it when this happens.
Let me know if you find out anything.
Have you seen these yet? Wreck this Journal has been expanded and given several new covers to choose from. I am very pleased with how they turned out! My personal favorite being the paper bag. But interestingly it is the red one that people are responding to the most. The story behind it is somewhat serendipitous. I had created the first two covers and we were needing a third, but nothing was working for me. I tried EVERYTHING I could think of (I am rather particular about how I want my books to look). But none of my hundred or so attempts had the right feeling. Immediately after I got off the phone with my editor, after feeling a bit frustrated with it and wanting to give up, I found the perfect solution while making my dinner. Do you know what it is? Sometimes you just have to let go and let the answer come to you on it’s own.
I also have some very good news for all of my teacher readers. My editor at Penguin has been hard at work on a teacher packet for “wreck”, (she has done an amazing job), and you can download it here for free Keri_Smith_teacher_packet (it includes some pages from Wreck, so you don’t have to buy it, unless you want to.) As you may or may not know, I am totally over the moon when I hear from teachers who are using my books in their classroom (it happens a lot now in all levels of education), and I have wanted to create something like this to help them in the process!
So to celebrate the release of the new covers and the teacher packet I am going to donate copies to three classes (one for each student), so to all you teachers out there, write me and tell me why your class is great!