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.

September 23rd, 2009
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September 21st, 2009
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I was excited to read this article in Seed Magazine about the process of artist VESNA JOVANOVIC. She touches on several ideas I worked with in “how to be an explorer of the world”, most importantly to me the meeting point of art and science. This touches on some of my current research as I’m halfway into writing/assembling another book.
a couple of great quotes:
Art and science are generally considered very separate today; they have very different connotations, even stereotypes associated with them. Yet I find that my interest in these two fields stems from the same place: a deep curiosity about the world and the human position within it. Ironically, one of my biggest frustrations as an art student was the accuracy and precision that I could not let go of. I wanted to work more from the imagination, to leave some things to chance; I wanted to create opportunities for unpredictability and serendipity—for numerous “happy accidents.”
But with time and experience I have learned the value of pausing to consider, at least for a quick moment, if anything could benefit from what appears to be a problem or mistake. I believe that it is these moments of apparent setbacks that are actually some of the most valuable in both art and science. They break the normal flow of events, introducing a junction that can lead to greater, more significant discoveries.
~Vesna Jovanovich (seed magazine article The Rorschach Paintings, August 18 2009)

September 17th, 2009
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(real world tweets)
enjoying we love you so a blog for Spike Jones’s film Where the Wild Things Are. A way of getting into his head and seeing what influences him.
also the work of Richard Long

September 14th, 2009
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You really have no idea how challenging it was to select a winner. I did not know how swamped with great ideas I would be. There were some ideas that were quite popular (random acts of kindness, treasure/scavenger hunt, pass it on), so I steered away from these as I would be giving away 10 copies to all the winners.
In terms of great ideas I think there was one person who stood out from all the others, (and maybe reflected my own ideas best, read: kinda weird). Because she had so MANY good ideas, I have decided that I am going to a weekly challenge for five weeks. That means you will have five chances to win a copy!
so without further ado….the winner is Julie Hendricksen!!!
Your first challenge is: Create a unique carrying case for “this is not a book”.
Send photos via email, or post them on the flickr group. Keep in mind that I will be posting some of the photos here, so don’t send them if you don’t want people to see them.
I am still in the process of sorting through the class submissions (it’s killing me that I can’t send them to every single teacher that wrote). But check back later this week.

September 11th, 2009
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wow! The “not a book” giveaway ideas have been pouring in. It’s going to take a while to sort through them all. You are all brilliant!
As an experiment, I have a new facebook page I am trying out. I have resisted facebook for a long time, (mostly because of the ads but also because I do not wish to have more technology in my life). But so many people have asked for it (my publisher as well), that I have buckled under the pressure. Consider it a test run. If it’s a manageable thing, I will continue. Please add to it as you like, (no I do not have a personal profile page).

September 10th, 2009
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I had a good friend who sadly passed away a few years ago named Peter Wayne. I think of him often, wishing I could go for lunch with him and talk about books. He was a kind and generous soul, a bit pompous, in the older generation brit style. He had a wonderful knack for speaking his mind in a way that was so incredibly honest yet tactful. I both admired and feared this ability, as he would do it on a regular basis in restaurants. The waitress would walk over to you to ask “how is your soup?” and Peter would reply, “I think it’s a little tired“, the word tired would be whispered slightly. But in truth the soup was a little tired, but I would never have the courage to say so, instead just wolfing down my food in silence and telling the waitress that everything is great! with emphasis on the word great.
I mention this as a segue. I enjoy remembering my friend, but I wanted to say I am not really a fan of ‘book giveaways’ because they seem a little, well, tired. The format I mean. You know the standard “write about why I should give you a book”, “add a comment” etc. So I would like you to write me with your idea of what I should do for an interesting giveaway activity. Something different. Something in line with the concept of “this is not a book”. Something weird. I will send out books to the best five ideas. Then I will implement one of them and give away some more books. Does that make sense?
so write me with your ideas.
I will also donate 30 copies to one class (a few more if necessary). for this one I ask all teachers to write me and tell me a bit about your students. I hope to be doing more and more of this in the coming years. Last year almost 200 copies of “wreck this journal” were donated to classes.

September 9th, 2009
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People are starting to post completed pages from “this is not a book” on flickr, and they are fantastic!
warning: contains spoilers from the book, do not read if you want it to be a surprise!
see the flickr page.

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