Hey, I finished a thing!

Sketchbook Project_0011.jpg

You may recall that I actually paid money to be forced to fill up a WASTE BOOK. Technically, it’s the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project, but we all know a WASTE BOOK when we see one.

To my astonishment, when I sat down to work on it yesterday at Backstreet Arts, I found that I had barely enough pages to finish even halfway explaining myself. And then I finished.

How odd, I thought.

Still, here we are. The sketchbook is finished, and all I have to do is create a cover for it before mailing it back to the Brooklyn Art Library, where it will become one of tens of thousands of similar sketchbooks.

Here’s a thought I had about the process of creating the sketchbook, which in turn was supposed to be documenting my process of designing and laying out the placement map for Alchemy 2019: there is no possible way I could document every decision I made as I drew little rectangles on the Google map and slid them around. All the webs/connections between (the camps <—> their placement requests <—> the design of the passeggiata <—> infrastructure requirements) fluctuated every time I drew in a new camp or moved an existing one.

placement chip for my camp; imagine over 100 of these…

placement chip for my camp; imagine over 100 of these…

I’d printout “placement chips” and list after list of sound zones/camps with ADA issues/villages.

I’d do a mental fly-through of an area to see how it would look to the perambulating hippie.

I’d try to imagine clusters of camps providing similar experiences and decide whether those experiences would be enhanced by the cluster or not.

I’d guess at where the sound camps could be best placed without interfering with each other or with camps who wanted to get some sleep.

I’d double-check with theme camp organizers (TCOs) to see which of their requests was most important to them.

I’d seek clarification on camp sizes (“Did you really mean to ask for a space 25’x25’ to contain twelve campers?”) or on art.

And always, always, the TCOs or event team leads would weigh in with changes they needed to make, and my calculations would have to reset.

Here’s the point: In any process as complicated as MAKING THE THING THAT IS NOT, no one can tell you every little step of the way, no matter what it is you’re making.

No how-to drawing book

no music textbook

no monkey-see-monkey-do painting class


can guide your brain or your hand through every single step.

They—like I have with this sketchbook—give you the philosophy and some guidelines, but nothing is going to create that mind-map of How To Do It but your actually getting in there and Doing It.

So go do it.

(I’ll let you know when you can see the sketchbook digitized at BAL.)