Each Friday, I post a different photobooth frame or strip from my personal collection and write about it on my blog. In my 36 years of living, I’ve built up quite a collection — personal strips taken at drugstores, amusement parks, restaurants, nightclubs (at so many different stages of my life), as well as beautiful old strips I thankfully inherited from parents and grandparents and other relatives. And my collection is not limited to personal strips — there are also vintage ones that I’ve found in the bottom of boxes at fleamarkets or junk stores or that others have thoughtfully passed on to me.
The idea behind this weekly creative exercise is as simple as this: share the image and tell the story, be it fictional or non-fictional. Also: it’s a place to share a collection that means the world to me. It’s motivation to write every Friday. It’s reason to drop everything and go out and find the nearest photobooth.
I invite all to participate once a week, once a month, once a year, whenever and however. The only thing better than sharing my own photobooth strips and stories are the ones posted by others that I get to check out each and every weekend.
Weekly entries and links are posted on my blog — as well as the Photobooth Friday flickr group.
My project is designed to encourage people to cultivate the fine art of wishing. On Valentine’s Day 2007, I launched Wishcasting, a blog designed to be a safe haven for wishes, a fertile field in which to plant wish seeds and have them witnessed and tended lovingly. This project was built on the belief that it’s powerful to share your wishes with the world and exponentially so when those wishes are witnessed and encouraged.
There are 2 parts to Wishcasting: sharing and supporting.
Participants email their wishes in for posting.
The wish can be a sentence, a picture, a poem, a piece of artwork, a list, a collage, whatever form you like.
A wish can be posted anonymously.
The details of a wish don’t have to be revealed.
You can support a wish in the comment section by saying "As (insert name ) wishes for her/himself, so I wish for her/him also."
You can add to your commentary, but supporters are encouraged to begin with the above phrase. There is something very special in this simple statement. It carries the weight of trusting and believing in the wisher as well as the wish.
I wish for a virtual explosion of wishes and an ever-growing community of wishers. What do you wish for?
My project is a knuckle tattoo website. Knuckle tattoos are typically two four letter words or an eight letter word tattooed across the tops of people’s hands so you can see them when you make a fist.
I’m collecting pictures of people’s knuckle tattoos and the stories behind them. Knuckle tattoos fascinate me on a lot of levels. On one hand they totally appeal to the word geek in me, all the combinations of words and ideas. On the other hand, in a world where being tattooed has become socially acceptable, knuckle tattoos still carry the tattooed-scary-person stigma. Many of the people who have knuckle tattoos do live outside normal society, but they all have a story and/or a reason for getting them.
My project is to collect their stories and spread the word. So far it has been really great. Everyone I’ve talked to has been really incredible and the stories are always great.
What I need are more pictures and stories. I can understand that approaching someone with a lot of tattoos (especially knuckle tattoos) and asking to take their picture and asking them fairly personal questions can be kind of intimidating, so if you want, just point them to the site and suggest they send in their info.
The site can be reached at guess where: knuckletattoos.com.
P.S. — Puns intended.
Have you written down the story of your 9/11 experience, your memory of that day, your thoughts and feelings?
I was in New York that day (though not near the World Trade Center), and I’ve read so much about it, seen so many images, watched so many news reports and documentaries and movies, and talked about it a great deal, with friends, co-workers, family — and yet, I don’t think I’ve ever written anything down on paper about that day. I need to do that.
It’s the events and experiences that are sad or frightening or horrific that are usually the hardest to process with the written word, mostly because you just don’t get started — you avoid it. But once you do get going, the words just flow, and they are often the most revealing and profound words that you write, they dig to the core and lead to a deeper understanding.
Put the date at the top of the page, and start writing…
I keep a dream journal that I write in several times a week. Here’s how to start one of your own:
1. When you are brushing your teeth before going to bed, brush for awhile with the hand you don’t normally use. This activates the non-dominant, non-logical side of your brain and gets you ready to be tuned into your unconscious.
2. Even more important, as you fall asleep, have the intention to bring a dream back with you when you wake up–I think of it as similar to going fishing. Sometimes you will catch something, sometimes not.
3. Keep a journal by your bed. There are several approaches to this. You can be very disciplined about it, making sure to write down every fragment of dream that you can recall, especially when you wake up during the night. Or, you can take a more relaxed approach and just write whatever’s left in your head in the morning.
4. I am using a journal with black pages that I write on with silver and gold ink, because that has a cool look that differentiates my dream journal from my regular journal. Choose whatever notebook and pens work for you, fancy or simple.
5. When you write your dreams down in the morning, just write everything you remember. Then go back and reread, and try to do a little analysis. If any words or phrases are lingering in your head, look them up in a dictionary, even if you know their meaning. There will be cool second and third levels of meaning to discover.
6. Make sure to keep a playful and respectful attitude toward your unconscious mind, which is very powerful and wants to make your life more fabulous!
Jamaica Plain, MA
Collect up all the stories you’ve written, the ones from long ago, the stories that have been rejected, the ones that have been published, the one from that writing class four years ago. If you take on this
project, you’ll be surprised what stories are lurking in folders within folders on your hard drive. Put these stories in one document and print them out. Then read your work. Oh, the pain. The horror. You will
think, as you read various pieces, that you truly are the worst writer that there ever was, and you will throw those papers across the room and stare at them and wonder what the hell, just what the hell were you thinking, sitting there for all those hours and struggling over those terrible, terrible words. And yet, wait, pick those papers up, keep reading, and you will find a passage here and a passage there, and
think, whoa, did I write that? That’s not too bad. It’s not great or anything, but hmmm, that’s not too bad, if you don’t say so yourself. That’s just writing, you know, that’s just what it is, and as long as
you keep doing it, you’re going to nail that sentence, that passage, that story, that book. Just keep on writing. Collecting up and reading all your stories is just a part of the overall writing process. I
suppose this project is all about making sure that the process is underway and full steam ahead.
This is from the June 2006 52 Projects Newsletter. The newsletter sign up field is in the left column of the site.
Make a list of the authors of ten books that you love. Google them to find out their contact information. Email each of them, stating why you appreciate them and their writing. Share how their writing has affected your life. Request a brief interview via phone, email, or, if they live nearby, in person! Prepare five or six questions ahead of time and document their answers. Create a blog (weblog) and dedicate one entry to each author you interview. Make sure you include a picture of either the author or one of their books.
Over the years, I have corresponded with many authors I respect and admire. One story in particular stands out.
One summer, I was browsing in the art section of a bookstore. A book fell off the shelf, begging me to read it. I bought it that night and promptly wrote a letter to the author, asking if we could meet up in person. I wanted to talk to her about my creative goals and dreams. She called me a few days later and said “I’m driving to Santa Barbara to do a book signing for my second book. Want to meet for lunch?”
So I did. Shortly after that, the author asked me if I would be her assistant at her first-ever workshop, to be held in New York City. Not long after, I assisted her with her second workshop. We kept in touch and she became a world-famous writer and speaker about the topic of creativity. One cool thing is that she’d often thank me in the back of her books.
New York, NY
Now that spring is officially here, organize a picnic. At some point during the picnic, organize a group photo. Then, at the end of this summer, just before the weather starts to turn into fall, organize an end-of-summer picnic. Again, gather everyone up for a group photo. Frame the photos side by side. And on the first really cold day of the fall, mail off the spring and summer picnic photos to everyone in the group photos.
(The above was a project I first wrote up in the 52 Projects newsletter. I send out the email newsletter about once a month. There’s a sign-up box in the left column if you’re interested in getting the newsletter.)
Get a bunch of little plastic cups, fill them with soil, and sprinkle some seeds in them. It doesn’t matter what kind of seeds you put in — they can be flowers, or fruit, or vegetables. After you put everything in the cups, put a little label on them with a message like “Make the world a better place. Plant me.” Then, go around your neighborhood, or any neighborhood for that matter, and simply place a cup on everybody’s doorstep. Theyll find the cup eventually, and who knows, maybe sooner or later youll notice new plants along your street!
One night while out on a smoke break, I looked at a sidewalk tree outside our building and thought, “Man, that is one sad tree. It looks cold and wet and pathetic. It needs a sweater!”
I went home and whipped one up, it only took an hour and a half to knit. Then another fifteen minutes or so, standing outside in the cold at half past midnight, stitching it up.
The instructions are pretty basic: essentially you just measure the tree of your choice, and make a very, very small sweater. The seam is a little unusual, because it has to fit around the tree (you can’t pull it over the tree’s head, for obvious reasons).
Knit in acrylic yarn, the treesweater has withstood two months (and counting) of Seattle winter weather. It’s still hanging in there!
I have more detailed instructions, as well as pics, posted on my blog here.
I would love it if more people made treesweaters for sad urban trees!