Monday, September 16, 2013

Still wrecking these journals:



Sometimes biting the bullet means doing the thing to 70% of standard because if you waited till you had the time and energy to do it to 100%, well it would never happen at all. I'm talking about the dodgy pictures here, taken in haste and in low light. But this could also be a metaphor for the very idea that the Wreck This Journal project fosters. Sometimes the quest for perfection (in creativity, in art, in craft, in relationships, in work, in life) can be so powerful that it completely paralyses the doer. Waiting until ability and passion reach full capacity before beginning is like the perfect recipe for unachievement, for non-doing.

I think that's the intrigue of Wreck This Journal. By blatantly ignoring perfection, you're set free to start. Right now. With anything. Free from expectations.

I'm still working on the Wreck This Journal project with my eleven-year-old students, and if possible we are having even more fun than before. Originally, we'd flip open to a random page and do whatever the instructions told us to, but we found that this method was kind of conducive to cheating. If one of the kids came to an instruction that didn't seem appealing, they'd discard it. Now we're going at it again, one page at a time, in order -- and that way we're forced to do even the pages that weird us out ("Chew the page? WHAT."). I love seeing the kids' incredulous faces when I read out the latest instruction: "Really?" Last week found us tying string around the spines of our books and swinging them through the air and into walls. There was complete disbelief followed quickly by giggles -- which pretty sums up the whole project. Plus, it's a fresh way to try new things and save precious pieces of ephemera like birthday gift wrap, picture book illustrations, and treasures scavenged from outside.

13 comments:

  1. "Waiting until ability and passion reach full capacity before beginning is like the perfect recipe for unachievement, for non-doing" - so true! Thankyou for this reminder. It's so easy for me to do exactly that - wait till I 'think' I'm ready. Or (silly me), I don't do it for the exact reason of not being good at it, yet often it's only in the doing of those first mistakes that we can get better…. so anyway, thanks :) x

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    1. It's so true, isn't it? I, too, feel the crippling pressure of perfection, but I suspect that the greatest thinkers and creators of history have been the people who were unafraid to experiment and to make mistakes in order to learn. It's a cheering thought! xx

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  2. I am intrigued as to what the 'grossest thing ever' is!!

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    1. Chewing the page, then taking it out of my mouth and sticking it back into the book. GROSS.

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  3. Love those journals! Gotta ask one for my next birthday! It sounds so ... Deliciously unconvetional :)

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    1. it's SO MUCH FUN, Naomi! I definitely recommend it!

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  4. I wish I'd had a teacher like you!

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  5. Ahhhh! I love it! Couldn't I be 11 and in your class???

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  6. Those are great journal, Danielle!! Certainly very, very creative! I agree with you! Aiming for 100% perfection, while a very good ideal, is also one of the greatest obstacles to creativity and productivity. It's something I'm constantly aiming to overcome in my life!!

    ofsimplethings-sarah.blogspot.com

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    1. Me too! I think I'm too lazy to be a true perfectionist, but I definitely get hung up on small details that really don't matter.

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  7. Haha, every time you mention this project I think it sounds like fun :-) Maybe something I can save up to do with Andy one day!

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