#358, Siena, Italy
There are few events which don't leave a written trace at least. At one time or another, almost everything passes through a sheet of paper, the page of a notebook, or of a diary, or some other chance support (a Métro ticket, the margin of a newspaper, a cigarette packet, the back of an envelope, etc.) on which, at varying speeds and by a different technique depending on the place, time or mood, one or another of the miscellaneous elements that comprise the everydayness of life come to be inscribed.
-- Georges Perec, from Species of Spaces and Other Pieces
As the year draws to a close and I reflect on the methodical madness of the last 358 days, days that have been marked off one by one with a series of numbers in sequential order, I realize that there is a great feeling of satisfaction in doing something totally for its own sake. No one asked me to do it. I just got hung up on a cool idea and thought it'd be a great project to attempt and then share: this ongoing record of places I have been, visited, lived in, wondered about, and wandered through. And to do it with numbers in sequential order.
On the other side of all this, there is also a growing feeling of anxiety as I grapple with what the next 365 days will bring. Yes, there's a lot of pacing back and forth and maps being agonized over here in the Situation Room, since frankly, I don't know what shape the madness of 2010 will hold yet. So I'm spending some time thinking back on what first inspired this project -- a fascination with text and image, a love of typography and scavenger hunts, an endless urge to amble, wander, explore, and record. I'm breaking back open the books that inspired me. I'm making lists. I'm going for long walks through the snow in impractical shoes.
The conclusion of this project -- my goal was always to simply reach 365 -- coincides with the finishing of my novel, so there is a great feeling of both accomplishment and loss with both of these projects that I have divested so much time and passion into. I want to dive into the next project with wild abandon, but what will the next project be? It's all very angsty till I remind myself that this -- this project, the pictures, the stories -- is simply my way of leaving written traces, as Georges Perec would say. It springs from curiosity, not from rigidity. So till I find the right format for what I'll do next, I need to allow myself some time to recover. To recharge my batteries. To take stock. Projects aren't as simple as 3 + 5 = 8, as much as I'd like (in my control freaky way) them to seem. It's good to remind myself of that.
So in the meantime, here's a few more numbers for you. Ignore the hand-wringing if it's not your thing, and be gentle with your obsessive captain as she steers this ship safely homeward. I've enjoyed the company, and I'm looking forward to cracking open the champagne in another week when this number line has reached its end. It's been quite a year, n'est-ce pas?