I am always honest with you, so I have a teeny tiny confession to make. A while ago I told y'all to add your queer voices to the Sketchbook Project, and I told you I was going to do it too, and then… I didn't. I meant to, I swear! I paid the $25 and got the sketchbook and everything. But life got hectic and can I tell you a secret in the name of honesty? I think I was a little bit scared of the project. See, I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted it to be the best sketchbook in the world. It had to encompass my whole soul, ya know? So I kept waiting to make The Perfect Thing and then when the deadline arrived I had no thing at all.
But I've been given a chance to redeem myself!
I'm going to participate in The Memoir Project and of course I think you should too.
The good people at Art House Coop, the organization responsible for The Sketchbook Project and countless other art activities both large and small, are always coming up with new schemes to inspire creativity. The Memoir Project is one of their latest creations and I think it might be relevant to your interests. Here's how they describe the project.
The Memoir Project is our first handwritten collection of true stories from individuals around the world. 500 participants are asked to sit down and reflect on their own lives. Take pause and hand write a story that defines you. Your memoir can be the story of your whole existence or a specific point in your life. This collection will travel in our Mobile Library and eventually be installed in our permanent collection at The Brooklyn Art Library, preserving a common human history through the eyes of those that lived it.
As someone who is constantly trying to tear herself away from technology (I say, as I type this on the computer at 4am) and recommit to journaling the old-fashioned way in my Moleskin notebook, I appreciate the tangible nature of this project so much. My goal as a writer is always to write more but recently I've decided that I also want to write with more focus. A book focused on words is less intimidating to me than a blank sketchbook (this blank book comes with lined pages, not blank pages, and I swear to god for me that makes a huge difference in feeling capable versus feeling frozen with fear). And I am really, really, really excited to add my queer story to this library that will preserve "a common human history." What I mean to say is, this project is everything I never knew I needed.
The Memoir Project is not cheap – it's $60 to participate – but it comes with some perks that The Sketchbook Project did not include. As well as receiving an official (lined!) sketchbook you'll also automatically be signed up for the option of digitizing your final product, a thing that was opt-in (and cost extra) with the original Sketchbook Project. You'll also receive a Sketchbook Project sleeping bag, and your finished book will go on a 3 city tour in the official Mobile Library, culminating with entry into the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Art Library. You will also have the opportunity to possibly read your memoir at one of the exhibitions, though you definitely won't have to so if speaking in public isn't your thing!
The deadline for this project is June 1, 2013, and the participation limit is 500 people. I think this is an excellent opportunity for anyone who considers themselves a writer, anyone who wants to push themselves to write more, anyone who thinks nice handwriting is a lost art, anyone who has a story to tell and anyone who was intimidated by the art aspect of the original Sketchbook Project but feels a little bit more comfortable around lines and words than paint and plain blank pages. I also think this is the perfect project for absolutely anybody because I am a big believer in the idea that we are all artists and storytellers and creative beings and also queer visibility is so important. Writing your story is making yourself visibile. The world needs to hear more queer stories, and we need to keep telling them. This is a chance to do that. And if you're really worried that you can't do it I'll just remind you that Jenny Schecter totally got herself a book deal and lez be real, we all know you're better than Jenny.
Let me know if you decide to participate in The Memoir Project and we can motivate each other to write write write until June!