Read and Release at

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

First Releases into the Wild!
Ok, well, the actual wheelbarrow didn't make it out into the wild tonight with it's load of books. I spent about 3 hours in the hospital this morning after I found out my grandmother was admitted because she couldn't breathe. It's been something of a stressful day today. SOOOOooo, the wheelbarrow itself didn't get released because I was too crabby & frowny and we couldn't wheel it without lugging it down the street since the front wheel is a little rickety and I've decided it needs a new paint job. But! I was encouraged by SGinger to at least make the effort to release a few books WITHOUT the wheelbarrow. She said we absolutely HAD to release tonight, so I said OK. We walked down to the Sonoma Plaza with 6 books, 5 of which we released.

We tried a few approaches. The first book we attempted to release, David Sedaris' Naked, was placed at the Kettle Korn booth. A ton of people stood right there in front of it, looked at it, but not one person picked it up. I don't think they really even saw it. So after I knelt in the grass and got duck poop all over the knees of my pants, SGinger snagged the book back and we tried setting it on a park bench. Of course, everyone ignored the bench like the Plague. Then SGinger tried to sit at the bench with the book beside her, looking like a friendly reader. She was ignored. So then she tried to look like she was reading a book. Ignored again. Finaly I suggested we put all the books on the bench and see what people do. So she grabbed all but one book and laid them all out on a park bench. Within a minute a gaggle of high school-aged girls were checking them out. The first book, not surprisingly, that got picked up was Sedaris' Naked. But soon all the girls were picking up the books and reading the astro-bright red Please! Read This Note! tags that I made to tape to the covers of all the books that will be released. Once they were hooked by their catch, SGinger & I moved in with the video cam going and asked them what they thought of the idea. All of them admitted to being intrigued, that the red note on the cover of the books it what drew them in in the first place. So, whether or not they journal on about finding the book remains to be seen.

::sidenote:: SGinger and I drove to Santa Rosa last night after work and went to Circuit City. I decided I needed to get a digital camcorder to make this movie. We'll see how it goes.
:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:9:05 PM: :

Read and Release at

books on a bench

Here we have our lovely assistant, SGinger, attempting to lure in unwary passerbyers to catch the released Naked by David Sedaris. She is looking readerly and bright with a hardback primer for German. Naked sits beside her on the bench, waiting patiently for a person to cast their readerly reel. This approach didn't work very well. People seemed more interested in Uncle Bill's Corn Dogs than books. But we finally hooked in some potential readers with our blitzkrieg approach.
:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:9:01 PM: :

Read and Release at

Sunday, July 27, 2003

First release date announcement
the wheelbarrow is tentatively set for its first release on Tuesday, 29 Jul 2003. SGinger and I will hopefully be releasing the lowly wheelbarrow that I am stealing from my dad's rather eclectic collection of wheelbarrows at the Farmer's Market in Sonoma, CA. That will be the first release as well as the first filming for the film we're making for the less-than-amateur film festival slated for 13 September 2003. I'll keep you posted on the details.
:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:3:24 PM: :


© 2003-2004 the wheelbarrow project
contact: thewheelbarrowATemailDOTcom



the travels & travails of a lowly wheelbarrow filled with books

the wheelbarrow is an entity created by me, Abott, and my friend SGinger as a result of coming across, quite by accident, the website We're doing a less-than-amateur film project with some people from our town. This is the nascent stage of our idea for our film project. I came across BookCrossing in a blog I was reading a week or so ago. The idea tickled my fancy to no end. I had been thinking of doing a film project called Why I Write in which I would interview people I knew who were writers or aspiring writers and ask them why they write. The idea was solid, and inspired almost in whole by Jonathan Franzen's book of essays How To Be Alone. The other inspiration was my grandma, who, at the age of 85, was an unpublished author who bequeathed her book into my care to hopefully one day publish. The book that grandma gave me is especially symbolic because her death on the morning of 6 August 2003 has made the idea of immortalizing her something akin to a crusade. The intent behind the original film project of Why I Write was an excuse on my part to interview & film grandma before her death. I was unable to film or interview her because the series of strokes she had before her death made understanding her speech extremely difficult.

The evolution of Why I Write into a film project based on BookCrossing came about when I realized that for me, reading has always been a primary function of my life whereas writing has always been secondary. This insight, of writing being a natural continuation of having been a reader my entire life, prompted a shift from the focus of the film being about writing and turned it into a project based first on reading. And what better way to see into the secret life and desires of readers than to hook into something like BookCrossing? Whereby a person would be inclined, whether by curiousity or a foreknowledge of BookCrossing, to pick up a book - off a park bench, in a laundromat, in a movie theater, on a coffee shop countertop? Capturing that moment on film, the release and the subsequent catch, is the idea that fired me into registering on BookCrossing and rallying my friends to get involved.

The wheelbarrow project came about after a lengthy conversation between SGinger, a friend of hers who was visiting for the day, my mother and my sister. We were trying to brainstorm ideas for release locations. I started laughing as a silly idea occurred to me. "Wouldn't it be hilarious to just fill up an old wheelbarrow with books to be released and leave it on some random streetcorner somewhere?" We all ho-ho-hoed for a bit, imagining leaving it in the Financial District in San Francisco where besuited business folk would walk around and ignore it. But then the more we talked about it, the more we realized that this could be a really great idea. A traveling BookCrossing Cross Zone, never the same location twice, but conspicuous by it's very out-of-placeness. A wheelbarrow filled with books where you least expect to find them. Hmmm. And there the idea was born for the wheelbarrow.

My grandma is undeniably the most significant person to shape my appreciation & passion for the arts & humanities, reading & writing, quirkiness & outside-the-boxness. Without grandma's influence, my world would have been considerably less colorful, the sharpness of every artistic sensibility dulled by not having had grandma's imprint, the thumbpress of her sensitivity, stamped firmly into my heart and my soul. The film project and the resulting wheelbarrow project are both labors of love influenced by the heartbreaking loss I feel at the death of a grandmother whose existence I cannot imagine no longer being a part of this world.

If you found a book that is part of the wheelbarrow project, are interested in knowing more about the wheelbarrow project, have books you'd like to donate to the wheelbarrow project, or anything else having to do with the wheelbarrow project, please feel free to email thewheelbarrowATemailDOTcom. If you have comments to add to this page that you would like to post, there is a commenting feature at the bottom of each post which can be accessed by clicking where it says empty ole wheelbarrow. If there is already a comment, it will say 1 comment in the wheelbarrow. Your comments are always welcome!

my book crossing name: thewheelbarrow

Book Donors' Thank You Corner
(Books to Date: 931)
  • Lucy Usher
  • Jill Kamahele
  • Haili Kamahele
  • The Cuff Family
  • Gloria
  • Natalie Conforti
  • David Botton
  • Beth-Marie Deenihan
  • Sonoma Valley Community Church
  • Stacy Smith
  • Glenda Klaucke
  • Virgina Alexander
  • Ellen Caccia
  • Jackie Madison
  • auntyMEL
  • The Walkers
  • Elizabeth Heine
  • The Roses
  • Brian Feutz
  • Jeffrey Johnson
  • Friends of the Library
  • And anonymous donors...
  • links

  • Also visit the Canadian wheelbarrow project started by paixful
  • My Book Wish List
  • bookcrossing

  • Film Festival Poster

    time machine