Other People’s Lives

A Williamsburg storefront space on North Third houses the Sketchbook Project: a collection of thousands of journals submitted from all over the world. Inside the library there’s a large wooden table complete with library chairs and a reading lamp.  Once you get yourself a library card, a librarian will gather the journals for you from the shelves, two at a time.

Spend less time on the internet, one person writes over and over again on one page with a strip from a tag maker with the same words glued down below. Later on in the same book she writes down a list of women to research: Tina Fey, Miranda July, Queen Latifah, Kathleen Hanna, Parker Posey make her cut. One of the last pages in the journal is a double sided collage of “dudes holding shit.”

Another book I appreciated had every page devoted to significant moments in a girl’s life so far. Being a nerd changed this girl, she writes on one. Falling in love changed this girl, she writes on another page. Getting her heart broken changes this girl, she says on the next.

And a sixteen year old girl created a comic like character of herself to explain to the reader that she “really has no idea what she wants to do in the future.” Her thoughts are illustrated by her character dressed up in different costumes and include her first idea, a mermaid, and subsequent ideas like a writer, library or fashion designer. There’s also a possible “computer person,” and finally, the fantasy of running away to join the circus.

But these are just my favorites. The whole collection is archived online so you can go look at the journals without visiting the library itself. Or you can wait until a part of the present years collection comes to visit a city near you. Either way, there are some gems available for you here if you take the time to explore.



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