Thursday, December 24, 2009


#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 M├ętro 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?

9 comments: said...

We'll be right there with you as you come into port, cracking open our bottle of champagne, and wishing you the very best on your next journey.
Wherever that may be.

Jim & Mitch

GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

Thank your for all of your effort! This blogging is something else. For similar reasons, we took on Greensboro Daily Photo. Some days are frustrating. Your your heart and soul and TIME into a post and nobody comments. Or, in our case, we have more faithful readers in other COUNTRIES than we do in our hometown. Were I not the author, I'd still be reading daily. I read the daily photo sites of my favorite cities, cities where I have lived, etc. I would think the typographer, grapheme crowd would FLOCK to your blog.

Then, in the end, we blog for ourselves and for personal satisfaction, don't we? Heaven knows it isn't for fame and fortune!

Here's to knowing that you were appreciated and that I look forward to reading something of yours in the future. When your book is published or if you start another blog, please drop by Greensboro Daily Photo and do a little self promoting.

Happy New Year, Therese, my "virtual" friend!


Pierre said...

I found your blog on January second and thought it would be interesting to follow. I have found that to be very true. Your photos are done extremely well and I have appreciated all the stories and insights you've posted. You have done a great job at keeping my attention. Thanks much. Maybe for your finale you could play
Also Sprach Zarathrustra in the background.

As far as a new project, remember you're only accountable to yourself. No worries.

Have great holidays.

Therese Cox said...

Jim & Mitch - Thank you. It's been fun following you as you've made the move from L.A. to Chicago and I look forward to reading more of your delicious posts in the new year. A tip of the hat and a clink of the glass to you both. And thanks for your feedback and comments. Every time I see that smiling yellow pickle icon, I feel a little cheerier.

Therese Cox said...

Jan - A very happy new year to you, too. It's been fun having another daily city blogger to follow, and I always love hearing about what these projects mean to other people who are on the same frantic path. Best of luck to you. You can bet I will still be spending some time in beautiful N.C. in the new year.

Therese Cox said...

Pierre - Yes, some Zarathustra to take me through the last week would be about right. I still remember first seeing you surface in the comments at the very start of the project and thinking, cool. Thank you for being one of &7's loyal watchers throughout the year.

Therese Cox said...

I feel like I'm making Oscar speeches.


But really, y'all should know - commenters and lurkers alike. I appreciate you!

Julie said...

Whaddya mean the party's nearly over? I have another city block to scamper down yet. But at least I can see you up there at that next set of lights.

Here's to ya kid ...

Therese Cox said...

Cheers, Julie!

And take heart - the number line is ending. The blog is not. Too much damn fun.