Last Friday, I purchased the Wreck This Journal and The Pocket Scavenger by Keri Smith. I went ahead and got started on the Wreck This Journal because I thought it would be fun to turn it into a personal art project. After a few pages in, I realized that destroying the journal was a lot harder than I first thought it would be.
The instruction was (supposedly) simple, “Crack the spine.” I held the book in my hands, opened the book right in the middle, and tried to put it flat on its back…but I failed. I closed the book and caressed it in my hands. It just seems so wrong. I’m usually very careful with books. I hate seeing lines form at the spine. It seems like a crime to break it deliberately. But that’s the whole purpose of the book, right?
After numerous (unsuccessful) attempts of breaking the spine, I decided to postpone it for another day. I went through the other pages and started easy. I covered a page with white things, created a sign, doodled over the instructions page, etc. I was doing my best to make it look pretty that I forgot that I was supposed to be destroying the thing. I left out all the pages that required food, dirt, coffee, and violence (towards the book). I still can’t do it yet.
Yesterday, I found a small dead cockroach. One of the pages in the book says, “Collect dead bugs here.” So I got some tape and displayed the little bug for everyone to see. I closed the book and felt accomplished, but it bothered me for the rest of the day. By 6 in the evening, I decided to remove the bug. I cut the bug out and pasted some paper to make up for the missing piece.
I don’t know about you, but I never thought it would be this hard to destroy a journal.
The whole point of “Wreck This Journal” is to let go. And sometimes letting go means treading on uncomfortable grounds — doing things you have never done before…like rolling a journal down a hill, chewing on paper, standing on a book, or something as simple as cracking a book’s spine. This book is shaking me to let go of my grasp of anything that is pretty and perfect. In fact, its tagline is:
To create is to destroy.
It’s scary and bizarre, but I’m sure it will bring a lot of thrill and exhilaration (except for maybe the cockroach).
Clearly, I need to become a little bit more destructive. Wish me luck!