Destroying Is Not As Easy As I Thought It Would Be

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 seemsย 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.

Trying to ‘fix’ the Wreck This Journal

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’sย scaryย 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!

– P


22 thoughts on “Destroying Is Not As Easy As I Thought It Would Be

  1. The part about the cockroach made me laugh ๐Ÿ™‚ You couldn’t rub dirt in the book, but you were able to tape a cockroach in there? You’re way braver than I, Patsy! I can totally relate to this because it drives me crazy that my husband turns the corners of pages down to mark his place. I usually keep separate journals for book notes. I’m trying to get over it and mark up my books more. Because marks and notes and underlines make a book more interesting and allow you to be more involved in what you’re reading. But it’s tough, right?! Good for you for trying to get creative and messy and a little crazy! I look forward to hearing about how your experiment turns out.

    1. Ooh, I’ve thought about marking books too! I only did it once though.. That’s how hard it is. Haha! Sometimes I feel like I’m intruding into the author’s masterpiece, but like you said, it is the best way we could fully engage ourselves into the pages. Hopefully by the time I finish the journal, I will be able to live a little more recklessly and let my mark land wherever it pleases (without me minding, of course). Thanks Rian! ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck on your book marking!

  2. No need to get down on yourself, Patsy! As a long time journal-keeper, I could not do the things that you are being asked to do. In part, because I like for my journals to take shape as I experience them. When I am told what to do, it can feel forced. And goodness knows I have a number of entries over the years that were forced ones.

    Let’s celebrate the core of your desire: to place your experiences onto paper! And I think your removal of the roach is more meaningful to your journal than keeping him there.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Laura! I will most certainly try to ‘wreck’ the journal in my own style, but I will also try to take a few leaps of faith into paths I haven’t taken. Maybe by doing something uncomfortable, I’ll be able to explore something new. Who knows? ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. The concept of destroying a book on purpose blows my mind. I always sigh in despair when the spines of my books in my bookshelf start getting creases. And I know that for people like me destroying is one of the hardest things to do. I hate the idea of losing something, anything, a piece of paper, a quote, a friendship, a memory, that once existed. Sounds like probably a healthy endeavor I could try myself! ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck!

    1. Thanks, Anisha! We’re on the same boat, and I definitely recommend it! It’s a good stress reliever and great way to spark creativity. The only downside is that you’re out to destroy a book, something I wouldn’t even dream of doing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I have this book too!! And I sympathise. It is extremely hard to wreck. Bravo for even sticking that cockroach in there in the first place!

  5. I don’t even highlight the texts of my favorite books! I guess what will make me not want to destroy that journal will be the price {around $12++?}, lol…so, good luck on your way to letting go….:D

    1. Haha! Yeah. Sometimes I feel like I’m throwing my money away whenever I attempt to destroy the journal, but I guess that’s a part of letting it go. You just have to do it…because if you don’t, then you really did just waste your money. Lol. Thanks! ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. I’d have a very hard time destroying a book, too. If the goal is to make it meaningful, then why not put things in the journal that signify negative events; perceptions/grudges/disappointments in your life & then destroy it?

  7. I think the โ€œwreck this journalโ€ is a great idea; sometimes people need ideas to get their own creative juices flowing. But I would not worry if you canโ€™t complete the entire task the journal ask of you. You have to make it your own (that is the point) and if you have a personality that is more delicate and organized than show that in the journal, wreck it on your own terms, I think the author of the book would want that. Great blog by the way!

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