Monday, July 10, 2017

Wreck This Guidebook


I got into a bit of an argument with my son the other day about “Wreck This Journal”. I was adamant and he was incredulous that I could be so wrong and yet so sure of myself. I guess you could say I “wrecked” the conversation.

In case you don’t know, Keri Smith created Wreck This Journal some time ago and it became a hit… perhaps a smash hit… I haven’t read it or used it. I may have perused one once but that’s not really the point here.

My take on the whole concept, just from the brilliant title, was that she encouraged us to eliminate the fear of writing in a journal. Quit worrying about having things perfectly neat and just so. That kind of journal is daunting to maintain and, for me, would wind up not being a journal at all. In my vision, she encouraged us to take the journal out in the rain with us, spill spaghetti sauce on it because you had an effervescent idea in the middle of dinner. In my mind, she was saying to use the hell out of the book to the point where its “wreckedness” (my word) is a badge of honor because of you are wearing it out from use.

My son, on the other hand, explained that the concept is to abuse the snot out of the book in different ways in the hopes of sparking your imagination.

He may be right. I like my thought better. I like it better because I’m extending those thoughts into a guidebook I’m working on to help VFW Posts be successful throughout the year. And I’m thinking I want them to wreck the guidebook. I can think of nothing worse than, at the end of the year, them having a sparkling, pristine guidebook sitting on a shelf… or hidden in a drawer. That just feels wrong.

Instead, I want them to wreck these guidebooks. I want them highlighted, stickered, doodled on, spaghetti-sauced, dog-eared, and dirt-smeared. I want them scratching thoughts in the margins and carving big question marks in it. I long to see a book that looks like that because then I’ll know they were living in that book… learning from it… thinking about it… using it.

And in wrecking my guidebook, they will be able to contribute to the next, better version of “their” guidebook.