Monday, May 26, 2014

The Library of Joy: Reflections

Today is the last day to send in your memories to the Memorial Lanterns project! Which reminds me, I sort of, um, forgot to ever mention what happened with LAST month's happening.

Which is a shame, because the Library of Joy happening was marked by a particular fortuitousness, and I'm so happy with how it turned out. Thanks again, and a million, to the Awesome Foundation for the funding that made it possible! Getting the grant from them last fall was just the first lovely thing: when the time to actually produce the work rolled around, it turned out that the day I had picked for optimal distribution of shiny eggs containing tiny books throughout San Francisco's public libraries was also the last day of National Library Week. So in addition to being seasonally appropriate (it being the weekend of both Passover and Easter, two holidays in which eggs figure rather prominently), the project - apparently of its own volition - became a special sort of love poem for the library system.

The Richmond branch of the SFPL put this up on
their Facebook when they discovered the eggs.
I didn't mean for this happen, but I love that it did. I mean, libraries are a kind of museum of joy in and of themselves. They're highly publicly accessible, often beautiful, and filled with the compiled memories, dreams, imaginings, and experiences of humanity. And they're that rare thing, a place where you can walk in and get whatever fragment of beauty or meaning you want -- for FREE. I spent a lot of time in libraries as a kid. They're shelters for anyone who needs time to be in a world of their own -- as many kids (and adults) do. So I'm really glad it happened this way, and it made the creation of the books an extra joy (as if I needed more reasons).

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Memorial Lanterns: invitation to participate

UPDATE: Deadline to send in your memories EXTENDED through Sunday, May 25th!

On the last day of May, paper lanterns will be appearing in trees in Golden Gate Park, one of the most beautiful public spaces in San Francisco. These lanterns are a little bit special: they'll be made from memories. Every glowing light among the leaves will be the story of a moment of joy someone shared with a loved one who has since passed on.

I would like to invite you to add your words to our illuminated forest. If you have a memory of a moment you shared with a loved one that still lights you up inside, I would love to make it literally luminous by turning it into a lantern.

The How: Sending in your memory for lantern-ing is simple. You can write about a single memory of a moment of joy with someone you've lost, or multiple moments, or go wild with the concept and write whatever the heck feels like it matters. Use a quote from someone else if it fits your feelings better. It can be a friend, family, a partner, anyone who mattered to you, a recent loss or one from long ago. All that matters for this project is that you shared a moment with them that still glows inside you somewhere.

Send your words via email to That's it! You can also send a picture (jpeg files only, please) and and a name and dates too if that feels important to you.

(If you'd like a visual on what the lanterns will look like, they'll be something like this.)

The When & Where:
Send in your words by May 20th, 2014. The lanterns will be hung the evening of May 31st, 2014 in a spot in Golden Gate Park to be disclosed closer to the actual date. Everyone who sends a memory will receive an email with the exact location.

We will be attempting to take photos worthy of your memories to create a virtual version of the illuminated grove of lanterns as well for anyone who can't actually be there in person.

The Who:
Memorial Lanterns is the May event for The Museum of Joy, a San Francisco-based arts organization that creates monthly art "happenings" to foster and celebrate joyous experience in public space.

The Why:
Because the moments of joy we share give us something to hang on to when we're in pain. Because our cities can always use a few more reminders of what makes us human. Because the people we love illuminate the dark times in our lives. Because we all need lights in the dark sometimes.

Please feel free to get in touch with any questions, and share the info with anyone you feel might like to participate. All are welcome. The more lanterns, the better.

with thanks & love,

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