Burning the black book July 4, 2008 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Last post on this project

Just curious...does anyone know what happened to these? Nary a one came back to me. Currently I (obviously) am considering it a failed project, though if anyone does have one, could you scan what got into it? Describe it? Make it clear that at some point the project engendered a little creativity? Or perhaps, if you were one of the people who participated, tell us what you added?
posted by Kickstart70 to MetaFilter-Related at 12:38 PM (27 comments total)

None were sent to me...strangely tho i got an email from dobbs re. the wtfttfg site that aid he was going to send me something and never did.. are these somehow related? dobbs, can you weigh in?
posted by By The Grace of God at 12:44 PM on July 4, 2008

Shit, I can't remember what happened last WEEKEND much less what happened in October 2006. I seem to recall that I got it, put something in it and sent it off, but that's about as much as I recall.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:45 PM on July 4, 2008

I sent mine forward, honest! (I, uh, don't recall exactly to whom anymore...) Oh wait (that's right, for the hundredth time, Gmail is fully searchable!), it was [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST]! Maybe when he trashed his former identity he abandoned all prior obligations too! Oh well, BURN HIM! BURN THE HERETIC! (sorry [N H-I], it was you or me...).

I drew some goofy picture (two, back to back on one page, actually). I wasn't very proud of it, to tell you the truth. Sort of abstract bleah.

You want my super-abbreviated words of advice? Too many pages. I think you should treat it as a 20-year project They'll turn up eventually. Uh, maybe.
posted by nanojath at 12:48 PM on July 4, 2008

Shit, I was supposed to mail something weird to divabat too. You still want something weird, divabat? Where should I send it?
posted by nanojath at 12:51 PM on July 4, 2008

Somebody on this site ask me to send them something a few weeks ago and I never did. Good luck with something from last year.
posted by Science! at 12:53 PM on July 4, 2008

If anyone still has one and is looking to pass it on - MeMail me! I'd love to participate.
posted by goo at 1:12 PM on July 4, 2008

No, those are not related, Grace.

I passed my book onto an artist friend a week or two after doing my bit in it. I'll check with her what was done with it--I had assumed it had made the rounds and got back to Kickstart70.
posted by dobbs at 1:20 PM on July 4, 2008

Ditto goo. I am actually reliable with this stuff: just ask CD swapset Dangerbird!
posted by Shepherd at 1:32 PM on July 4, 2008

if you were one of the people who participated, tell us what you added

I filled a page with early drafts (crossed out words and such) of an issue of wrestle, similar to something like this. If I remember correctly, it was the tadpole version of this entry:


She doesn't believe in reincarnation,
just energy returning
everywhere--parts of us
portioned out to
bumblebees & birch trees,
prairie dogs &
dirt that will one day make its way to the

My thoughts bloom
at what fallen
anticipate, studying
our backyard lovemaking
as they cross over
in the smoke of
a neighbor's burning


No, no, I haven't quit my day job.
posted by dobbs at 1:44 PM on July 4, 2008

I mailed mine to scirius!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:50 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

As someone said two years ago:

why not. Though if my experience with CD swapping is any indication I'll probably never see this notebook, and you'll never see any of them again.

Seems like this kind of thing is pretty doomed in theory. If there's a 90% chance that a given person doesn't flake on the project (probably too high), and there are only 30 people doing each book, there's only a 4% chance of that book getting back to you. 60 people, that drops to 2 books out of a thousand that you'll ever see.
posted by smackfu at 2:52 PM on July 4, 2008

I gave mine to a coworker after he asked about it. I'll bug him and find out what he did with it.
posted by klangklangston at 3:01 PM on July 4, 2008

dobbs, sent you a memail.. it was kind of unnerving to send you my real name and postal address and then get silence so I would be grateful for a response..
posted by By The Grace of God at 3:10 PM on July 4, 2008

I think I gave mine to dersins, and then later he apologized and mumbled or something when the last thing came up and I don't remember what happened next.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:29 PM on July 4, 2008

I lost mine.

I was going to put something in it on the theme of "cast your bread upon the waters." Looks like instead of having it "return to you after many days" it got soggy and fell apart.

I'm sorry. :-/
posted by Robert Angelo at 3:56 PM on July 4, 2008

If anyone still has one and would like to pass it along, please send me MeFi mail!
posted by limeonaire at 3:57 PM on July 4, 2008

No, those are not related, Grace.

So, what was that all about then, dobbs?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:59 PM on July 4, 2008

sorry folks didn't mean to do a derail! I don't mean to pressure him and am sure it's nothing sinister..
posted by By The Grace of God at 4:02 PM on July 4, 2008

I got one a few years back. I can't remember who from. It had a page where someone had cut shapes out of the paper and then covered it in platic and stuck a leaf inside. I wrote a short little story and drew a little inky design on my page. I gave it to an artsy friend who made it a collage of sorts, and I lost track of it after that. Then I think you weighed in a while back to see where they were, and I asked my friend, and she found it in a box left from a move, and gave it to a fellow artist who was heading to London, I think.

So it's still in action. I'll see if I can find out where it is now. Sixty pages is a lot of time. I had it for about a week before I passed it on, and I think that would be toward the fast turnover side of things. If people get it, think about it, forget about it, then remember, then do it, then forget about it again, and then pass it on over the course of, say, three months, then you're looking at fifteen years before they come back. It's not a failed project though! Think of all the people around the world enjoying the work of others before them! Think of all the people taking part (albeit slowly)! If for it to be a success every book has to come back to you, then you may be waiting a while. If for it to be a success each book needs to show people something new, or inspiring, or challenging, then it has already achieved that goal.
posted by twirlypen at 5:17 PM on July 4, 2008

If anyone still has one, I'd love to participate . . .
posted by arnicae at 6:18 PM on July 4, 2008

It had a page where someone had cut shapes out of the paper and then covered it in platic and stuck a leaf inside.

That sounds like me, actually.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:45 PM on July 4, 2008

I'd really love to participate in this if it's still going on, too.
posted by lilywing13 at 9:36 PM on July 4, 2008

I too have an interest in participating. MeMail, email, wevs; if you've got one hit me up. I have a sterling CD swap record, by the way.
posted by carsonb at 11:28 PM on July 4, 2008

Wow. If I'd known about this project, I would have been all over it at launch. I'd hate to think it's failed because it sounds really, really interesting. So if anyone who reads this is looking to unload one of these books, please send me a Mefimail - I'd love to take part and maybe even help resurrect this very interesting idea.

It probably runs counter to what you're trying to accomplish, but I wonder if there would be better results if the books were only passed among MeFites? That way, there would at least be something connecting those with the books and those seeking them. My spotty, unscientific analysis of the explanatory posts above would be that trouble started when the books vanished to friends of a friend.
posted by EatTheWeek at 10:16 AM on July 5, 2008

I passed the one TPS sent me on to a friend, who tells me he passed it on... Who knows where it is now...
posted by sciurus at 1:45 PM on July 5, 2008

Another thing that might make something like this more workable would be to lay out all the assignments in advance, i.e. include a numbered list of everyone who is agreeing to work on it, rather than having people hand it off to whatever flake they happen to decide one, so that any sense of responsibility or connection to the project gets increasingly diffuse, making it ever more likely that someone will lose it or stick it between a couple books on a shelf or just get sick of it making them feel like a slacker and toss it. That way you could track it more easily, you could encourage people if they just discover they don't seem to have the time or initiative to add something, to pass it along to the next person on the list, and so forth.

It sounds like basically everyone here who actually followed through with their contribute and pass it along now has no idea where it is. Once you feel like you "did your bit" you stop thinking about it (like I did), thus any ability to track them is tenuous. Sorry these didn't pan out!
posted by nanojath at 2:16 PM on July 5, 2008

I like the basic idea of this project, it's good and it's interesting. But, with all due respect, the way you have it set up sounds like the old chain letter thing, in which you will get postcards or money from all over the world, as long as you don't break the chain. Which never worked very well, either. You just have no control once you give them out.

So I think what you need is a way to track these in real time by having participants e-mail you when they've finished, whom they've given it to, and what that person's e-mail address is. Then, you could e-mail the next person, given them the ground rules fresh from you, and bug them to finish the thing and send it on.

Knowing where they are would also allow you to set up a site with a map, showing the routes taken, so far, of each book.

And, 60 is just too much to expect. You might get one of these back in 60 years, though, which would be interesting. I would suggest trying again with 12 page books, and aim to get people to move them along after a month. Some will be faster, some will be slower, but with some nagging you can probably get a high percentage of them back in a year on that basis.
posted by beagle at 2:53 PM on July 5, 2008

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