A FIELD GUIDE TO NOW
What if you could look for the present moment in a field guide, the way you might look up the name of a tree out your window?
For as long as you can remember, the tree has just been a tree, but in looking it up, it becomes something: a Sassafras maybe, or a Tulip Maple, and suddenly, you can feel the way your attention towards it shifts. You notice the shape of its leaves in precise detail; or the texture of its bark. You recognize the way its pollen gathers fine and yellow in the weft of your bedroom screen in May; or the way its shade freckles the dying grass at the end of summer. In the act of looking it up and naming it; in discovering its traits and marks, the tree becomes something to you. What if you could do this for the moments that fill your life? That’s what this book is about. It’s a collection of illustrated essays and prose exploring the fabric of the present tense. HOW WILL IT WORK? Like a real field guide, you’ll be able to flip through it at random, finding glimpses into the present; or you can read it cover to cover and unravel the narrative thread of present moments that stitches each essay to the next. WHY THE POSTCARDS? I’ve never really known what to do with the postcard collection I inherited when my father died, until I started to think about how I wanted to illustrate the essays in this collection; then it became clear. As a medium of communication postcards have all but gone extinct; just the way, if you think about it, moments go extinct over and over again, with each breath. And as such, they’re the perfect medium to be re-purposed for the illustrations in this project. Everything about a postcard is slanted towards the present. A snapshot. A glimpse. A handful of moments. Used as the basis for mixed media paintings, they’ll carry a bit of their truth into this project. A little bit of now, from the past. A new way of describing the present. (If you like this idea as much as I do, choose the send a postcard backer option and I’ll use the postcard you send—with a credit to you!—as the canvas for an illustration in the book. ) WHY YOU SHOULD BACK THIS PROJECT: Because this is a different kind of book. It’s a kind of book that has never been made before, and it does new things with what we often take for granted. It takes two mediums that are hardly ever combined, and puts them in a dialogue together. It changes definitions. It reinvents postcards and story and essay and now. It's a manifesto for living right now, wholly, even when things are falling apart; even with loneliness, or heartache, or loss, or small children under foot. It will make you laugh. It will make your heart sing. It will give you a reason to pause. It will be a collection of moments gathered and tagged and identified—so that they reveal the tracks of wonder and delight; the plumage of heartbreak; the wild keening call of grief; the flight patterns of wanderlust; the scat markings of despair.
And when it’s finished it will be a book that begs to be dog-eared and returned to. It will be something you'll want to hold in your hands and use: to identify the moments in your daily life, and in so doing maybe discover yourself within them differently. And now—right now—it’s an experiment in the medium of the moment. This is an invitation for you to jump on board before it’s finished, before it’s more than a collection of postcards and unedited essays—because there is no other way to do this. To examine now, means to live into the present and let it color everything.
Usually a reader doesn’t get a chance to glimpse the wildly creative, turbulent process of writing a book. You mostly only get to read the book, as it exists in the end. But this book is different. This is a Field Guide to Now, and as such, the material for the book will come—at least in part—from the organic and evolving events of the present, and from you.
I don’t know exactly what the final book will look like; I don’t know how many sections it will have, or how many moments; and I’m inviting you--as a backer--to collaborate with me in a unique way in this process. This terrifies me and thrills me. And I am entirely sure it is the only authentic way to go about this project. WHY $10,000? * Because this amount is enough (just) to fund the time (about six months) and the materials (art supplies, shipping costs for prints, etc. to backers, and other costs that may arise in the process of completing this book and finding a publishing venue for it.
* Because you are investing in something uncharted and new and wildly creative; and such things (wild, creative and uncharted) are too often sidelined by financial strain and the need for a steady income. And because things are on a shoestring and utterly tenuous financially for me. (That should be self explanatory: I'm a writer and artist with a family.)
* Because you are supporting a writer and artist at the apex of a creative process--and it's good karma to do so!
* Because this matters. This moment. Right now. OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP:
Join me on my website, blog, and Twitter! Spread the word. Share this project with your friends!
- (89 days)