In Which We Celebrate Notebook Month

Sunday, January 24, 2016

For me, January is supposed to be the month of notebooks and journals.

Instead, it's largely been the month of catching up, getting started, and painting all the things for the 30-in-30.  I've been keeping my notebooks pretty religiously, like here, on my first photowalk:

...or here, for planning:

...or here, for practice.

I've even talked to some other folks who are willing to share what's in their own notebooks with you.  (As soon as I gather all my wits in a pile, I'll get those up for you, too.)

Today, though, I happened upon a pile of stuff salvaged from the tornado, and was thrilled to find that inside, there was this:

THIS, my friends, is part of a rather obscene extensive Moleskine collection.  

There are lined books and squared books and blank books and hardcover books and softcover cahiers and special edition books and books that aren't even Moleskine but are roughly Moleskine-sized.  I got most of them for a couple bucks a pop when a local Waldenbooks was closing in 2004-ish.  To date, it's my biggest Notebook Score, ever.  Were I a lion, I'd be roaring over my kill as we speak. :)

They're relatively unscathed from the storm.  There's a few scuffs here and there from where the wind got through, and there's a pretty distinctive Tornado Smell in some of them.  (If you've never experienced tornado clean-up, there is An Odor.  It's identifiable.  Old, wet drywall baking in the sun, a smoky creosote smell, must and dirt and possibly some corn in there, too.  It fades a little, with time, thankfully.)

In my glee, I also had just a little panic.  I have a lot of notebooks to fill.

One might almost say too many.

I know.  Heresy.  But it's kind of true.  Since I had a little panic post-storm about not having enough books, I went a little nuts in the past year or so, making and buying enough to last me roughly forever.  Plus a few months.  

But I thought that instead of keeping them all to myself, these books that have already seen a ton of history might be more fun to share.  To do some kind of collaborative thing that puts new, non-traumatic energy back into them.  To play together rather than just waiting to be used.  Because there's no point in getting stagnant, y'know.

So here's my thought:

I want to make these into a kind of round robin that will eventually come back here for scanning.  I'll pop the final bits on the website here, even.

I'll do something quick in the first few pages of each one (so it's not scary blank when it arrives to the first person), give it a theme, and send it on to you.  You have it for one week, wherein you can do a page of art, or a page of writing, or a page of pasting things in that fit the theme (or not), or just stick in a photograph and write a haiku.  I only ask that you date it and sign it, so we know it's yours.

Then, you just mail it on to the next person on the list, or back to me if there's no one up next.

When people work together, there's a particular magic that happens.  Everything becomes greater than the sum of its parts.  A poem might end up being illustrated by the next artist in line, or a collage might end up with a story from the writer that's up next.  It's creative alchemy at its best.

Want to play along?

Just drop me a note by next week (Feb 1st) using the "contact" link up there at the top of the page.  Tell me who you are and if you have any shipping preferences.  (I, personally, can't swing international shipping right now, due to logistics -- the husband is working out of town for the forseeable future and I can't get to a post office for mailing, sadly.  But if you're able to ship internationally, let me know!)

I'll gather all the participants as soon as I can, and start in on the first pages in the meantime.

Just to clarify:
It'll work like this.

1.  You sign up.
2.  I'll grab one of these notebooks, give it some beginning art and a theme, and mail it to you.  When it arrives, you'll comment or email that it arrived.
3.  Inside that notebook, you do whatever you want with as many pages as you want.  Follow the theme, break out and go nuts, whatever makes you feel alive.
4.  One week after the book arrived in your mailbox, you drop it into the mail, headed toward its next destination.  Once that person receives it, they'll email you AND me so we can keep track of our work. :)

5.  When it gets full, or gets to the end of the list, whoever has it will mail it back to me, where I'll digitize that sucker and pop 'er in the sidebar for the world to see.  Yay!  Alchemy!

1.  Yes, you can get more than one.  Just tell me in your email how many you want and I'll make sure you're on more than one list.

2.  Please be a good neighbor and send things on.  Or let me know, so I'm not worried, at least.  Life happens, stuff comes up, and I'm about as laid back as you can get.  But I need to know. :)

3.  No art, writing, or expression is "not good enough".  I don't care if you stick down a sticker and write a haiku in crayon under it.  Or if you draw the world's worst stick figure.  Or if you stick in an extreme close up photo of your dog's nose that's all blurry and weird.  There aren't any rules regarding your creation here.  Go wild.  Go not wild.  Go primitive and draw me something with a stick.  Just be you.  You is good enough.


Seriously.  :)


© G O * E X P L O R I N G Maira Gall.