My sister Mary sent me a book for my birthday called 365—Make Something Every Day and Change Your Life.
The book was written by Noah Scalin after he decided to make a skull a day for 365 days.
Why did he choose skulls? He just liked them.
I have already completed a year-long daily-project like Scalin’s; so has my wife.
My daughter was born in late September 2009. The New Year was rolling around and I decided that starting on New Year’s Day, I would write one piece of advice to my daughter a day, until the following New Year’s Eve.
I ran out and bought a big spiral note book and started the project on January 1st. I told my wife about it and around Jan. 5th or 6th, she started writing in it too.
Some days we would scrawl grand advice that a Greek philosopher would be envious of, especially if I had had a few drinks in me. Other times we’d just say, “I love you. I’m going to bed.” Or, “Hope you had a good day today.”
I think out of the whole year, I may have missed three days of writing to her. I remember the first day I missed. It was probably three or four months into the project and I felt a little shocked at first, then disappointed.
I didn’t miss writing to her because I was lazy though, or because I didn’t feel like it that day. I missed because I fell asleep in my chair and when I woke up, it was morning.
After the initial disappointment wore off, I realized, it didn’t matter if I missed one day. I just needed to keep on going. It wasn’t about doing it every single day and being perfect. It was about giving my daughter some guidelines of how I would like to see her grow up. And I began to get that feeling that if something ever happened to me, or her mom, my daughter would always have our words to read and hopefully that would bring her some comfort.
I wrote about everything in that journal: drinking, drugs, boys—and what they want. I wrote about what was going on in our life at that time. I wrote about her grandparents. I wrote about food.
It was such a great experience that when New Year’s Eve rolled around, my wife and I both had a bitter sweet feeling about the project ending. I kind of wanted to continue writing to her, but I knew that I didn’t want to have to do it every day.
I am glad I did it though. And now that I have this book my sister gave me, I’m thinking about doing a daily-project for a year again.
Scalin suggest you pick either a topic—like his skulls, or you pick medium—like painting.
So now I’m excited and in full-on-creative mode. At first I thought about studying and writing about creativity. But then I thought, “Is this the Hedonistic Paradox all over again?”
(Basically the Hedonistic Paradox is the principle that says, if you try to achieve happiness by concentrating on happiness itself, you won’t ever get it. It’s only by doing things you really like, that you find true happiness.)
So as much as I like the idea of studying creativity for a year, I don’t know if that’s the route I should take?
Several years ago, I was in India for a month with my wife and her family. When we arrived to the first place where we were staying, my father-in-law pointed to a neighbor’s door and said to me, “See this door? While you’re here, you’ll never see two front doors on any appartment that look the same.”
And for the most part, he was right. I took pictures of doors everyday that I was there. Many were elaboratly carved and decorated with leis or garlands. Some had paintings on them. Some had little gods attached to them.
It was always wierd feeling when someone would come out of their apartment door just as I was snapping a shot of their front door. Awwwwwkward!!!
When I got back to the States, I held on to the pictures and the following year I made a calendar from the photos and gave them out as gifts. I’d love to do another door project, but I don’t think American doors are as interesting as the ones in India.
Some other ideas include: writing a 250 words or less short-story a day, learning at least 12 different graffiti fonts, and taking one picture of my little girl a day.
I could probably pull that last one off fairly easily, but I don’t necessarily want it to be easy. The topic needs to be interesting enough to keep my attention for a full year. But for now, I’m going to let it marinate for a couple of days before I decide. And if you are actually reading this blog right now, chances are you are going to be just as tired of my idea after a year as I will be.
Want to find out more for your own project? Then check out these sites:
Here’s Scalin’s: http://www.makesomething365.com
Here’s one for photographers. http://365project.org/
Here’s one on hearts: http://www.aheartaday.com/
And finally, one they made a movie from: The Julie/Julia Project.