This morning on my way to work, I caught the tail end of a book review on NPR. I am not, probably much to my mother’s dismay, much of an NPR fan. KUVO, my local jazz station, plays NPR News at the top of each hour, and I usually switch over to another station for those five or ten minutes. (Generally because they tend to lead off with a sentence containing the words, “President Bush”, the mere sound of which will send me down the spiral into a scarlet rage, but I digress…) This morning, the book sounded rather interesting, but I didn’t catch the title or the author. However, this being 2005 and most media places having a web presence, I decided to just hop online and see if NPR had a page where they archived their book reviews. They do, kinda. I didn’t find the book I was looking for, but I did find another book that I’m going to have to hunt down in my local library.
The title is, “Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life”, by Amy Rosenthal. It’s an autobiography, but she’s written it in encyclopedic form. This led me to a brief semi-daydream about how cool it would be to assign such a thing as a writing project to a class. “Okay class, your semester project is a minimum-26-page autobiography, each page to start with a letter of the alphabet.” I’d also have them do a journal to accompany the project where they’d write down all their ideas for topics under each letter.
Now, since I’m never going to be standing up and teaching a writing class (yikes!) I’ve revised this idea into an art project. I’m toying with the title, “Life, in Alphabetical Order.” (I’m not good with titles. I could write multiple posts about how lousy I am with titles.) I’m thinking about doing it as a series of 26 watercolors, each the same set of dimensions…12” x 12” or some such. This is not a project that will get whipped out in a weekend. This time next year I’ll probably still be working on it. Just like that damn autumn landscape that’s still taking up space on my easel.