So I’m going to write a Manifesto of sorts with help from 80 people I met in trees…
…And with the help of a year thinking and asking about ecological / political issues, contemplating what family means and taking note of what the trees had to tell me, – not literally I don’t think. This manifesto may be a rant or a question at times and will be illustrated by the experiments of an ‘artist’, and writer, and fool who admits to failing at being a ‘sustainable’ and challenging enough citizen. Challenging to the status quo.
The book will also in part be a personal journal of the adventure. What was it like to experience trees so intimately? It’s a strange thing to have done. I discovered a certain connection with trees. Maybe this was via the psychosis of the discipline; constantly on the look out for ‘today’s tree’ and paying attention to them in detail through four seasons.
But I want this journey to count for something and I owe it to the people who have and will chip in for the book, and specially to those who climbed with me and gave their time, energy and wisdom, or joy, or at least a willingness to humour me. They bothered to meet up, climb up and invest in the idea so I could perhaps make something special. Isn’t that what we all want, – to create something special while we’re here?
They got to climb a tree as well, some of them for the first time so it wasn’t all that bad I think.
Many of the jobs I’ve done left me quite removed from feeling like I’m building a better future for the world. Maybe even making things worse in some cases. So I hope this can help with rolling that ball. Would be great to make something extraordinary.
The very first idea relating to this whole thing was the picture of me holding a seed, and the caption ‘I’m going to climb this tree’. A hope that I would be there when the tree was big enough and that the seed would make it that far too. I suppose this is about optimism.
I have to say though that I’m quite a nihilist too. I see a world running wild with teenage angst. We are restless, rushing around and impulsive, displaying our ego. The whole thing is so massive too. When you travel through Europe you realise how big the problem is. House, village, city, one after the other for thousands of miles all fired up on fossil fuels and a disposable lifestyle and most of us with no intention or idea about changing anything. And this is just one small continent. We’re all hurrying to burn and use as much of everything as we can get our hands on through debt and toil. We all know this and that it’s leading to a sticky end if we don’t get our shit together.
Perhaps you could say it’s time for us to grow up and take responsibility for our actions. Tidy our room and slow down a pace to look around us and at each other. To add that: growing up doesn’t mean forgetting our childhood / adolescence, – losing our playfulness. Play leads to discovery and that’s something we all need to do; discover new ways of living. We are all crucial parts of the solution. We are the parts. Play is also a crud load of fun and that can’t be a terrible thing. Seems I’m backing up my choice of activity to explore the problems and solutions – the tree climbing.
So a Manifesto. A positioning statement. I figured I’m about old enough to write a few words about where I stand here. Like a rite of passage into a second adulthood. Turning the corner of my mid thirties. Crikey! Is it pretentious? It’s an experiment and it’s dressed with the adventure of climbing trees in 11 different countries. When you look at the wikipedia page on what a manifesto is – there’s quite a list of the ‘noteable’ ones. Why don’t I just pick one or a few of them and run with that? The ideas are out there already. Well, – I’m delivering something in my ‘language’ from where I’m standing and perhaps I have a need to use this skill I learned in school – making carefully arranged shapes to deliver messages; making words for those who can read them.
I’m not the most qualified person to write something like this but that’s partly the point. I’m anyone.
More to follow on Manifestos later.
Books I haven’t read
You might have also spotted that I’m trying to raise money so this chaotic and unusual year can be compressed into the pages of a book.
I bought several manifestos and other books so I thought I’d write a little bit about them. I’ve got a pile of them arrived by post and the first one I opened was Mark Boyles’ The Moneyless Man. Perhaps not directly a manifesto.
I need all the help I can get to write this Art of Climbing Trees so I’m feeding myself, and in this case on Mark’s time spent living without what we’re all so wrapped up in. Muney. I’m going to leave the other parcels unopened until I’m ready to write a little something about them. The scene from The Shawshank Redemption where Morgan Freeman’s character doesn’t immediately play the harmonica he’s given, so he can savour just owning it for a while. This comes to mind too in relation to not opening all the parcels at once. Less is more. I digress.
So I haven’t read the book yet, just started the first few chapters and already enjoying his way of telling a story, and his simple way of describing the financial system. Enough detail and not at all pretentious. It’s human. (Note to self). And I want to know what’s going to happen and how he survives the ‘project’.
If you’ve read it I invite you to comment on it with me… Below.
There is however a contradiction with another book I’ve barely started, Debt, The First 5000 Years, by David Graeber. The notion of bartering that Mark Boyle describes, David Graeber says has never really existed in the way we all believe; villagers standing around in markets with chickens and trading them for bushels of wheat or what have you. Graeber writes how debt has always been a part of any system in the past. The debts would have been closer to home and more personally kept but debt is a currency. Debt is what currency is. A load of I.O.U’s that are endlessly passed around. “Give me a chicken and at some point I’ll get you to help me with the harvest – I know where you live. The debt is written on your conscience”. So barter in the traditionally understood sense never really existed. Maybe. This may be semantics though and I’ve not finished either book. Both seem like they are going to give me a lot. They already have.
I think they could both be important, – and again, please comment on either of them below.
So to end for now with a bit of advertising as I should, please have a look at the crowd fund website and think about helping me to realise this book of ours! You can pre order a copy that will have your name in it as a thank you… Thank you!
This is the professor who is lending his hand in selling the idea of the book.