Yesterday I decided to use part of a $30 Barnes & Noble gift card, always a fun chore. I’d already ordered the most recent Buffy omnibus, along with a couple of Dr. Who graphic novels, so there wasn’t anything I just absolutely had to have.
After a lot of looking, and wondering if perhaps I would leave empty handed (it’s happened before, albeit not often), I ran across a unique journal. Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith has unusual prompts. It’s not a book that’s going to stay pretty for long. Or at all. Recognizing that creativity often comes through destruction, Smith gives prompts will have your book looking and smelling nasty in no time. Trust me, it’s a good thing.
So far I’ve scribbled along the side edges of the book (I’m not describing that very well, but it’s when you close the book, and you’ve got the edges of all the pages), smeared bits of last night’s dinner on one page, slopped coffee on a page and made cool coffee rings, and even spat out a little coffee. Pretty fun, huh?
You’re gagging right now, and rolling your eyes, and wondering what the heck is up with all this. Trust me. It’s fun. When you’re trying to get out of a creative rut, and you want to create perfect beauty, it’s hard to get going. And you look at what you do create, and it may be so far from your innter vision that you get disgusted. And you stay in that rut, getting more and more frustrated. But allowing–even encouraging–yourself to deliberately make messes really frees up the creativity. And besides, it’s fun.
Didn’t you make mud pies when you were a kid? Or write on the walls? If I’m remembering the story correctly (because I don’t remember the event), when I was little I took the red pen my grandmother used to grade her students’ homework, and graded the walls. Did you ever splash paint around, a la Jackson Pollock, with no other purpose or intent than to splash paint? Did you ever eat paint? (I did.) You did those things because they were fun. You had a good time, at least until you got caught and had to scrub the ink off the outside of the house (I was definitely old enough to know better that time), or had to have your stomach pumped because the blue paint really wasn’t good for your insides.
But now you’re a grown-up. That’s good, in the sense that you can choose what to do, and the consequences aren’t the same types of consequences you faced as a child. But it’s not necessarily good if you’ve allowed yourself to forget the fun to be found in destructive creation.
Buy the book if you like. It’s a good starting place. But you don’t have to. You could get your own blank book, and write your own destructive prompts in it, and make a mess with it. Either way, you’re going to have a ripping good time.
Now please pardon me while I spit some more coffee onto my book. (I’ll post pictures, I promise.)
(And if I ever forget the recipe for fry sauce, I need not fear. It’s immortalized on the edges of the book.)