Read and Release at

Sunday, September 14, 2003

done deal
What is it about finishing a project that you have poured everything into that makes you go into utter and complete shutdown mode? I don't know about Natalie (though I'd imagine she feels about the same), but I am cranked. I feel a cold coming on, settling in around my shoulders and neck, stuck to the back of my throat like a losenge.

The relief is huge. The movie is done and it actually worked. Although I did have a major breakdown moment today at about noon when we figured out the movie file couldn't be burned to CD in the format it was in and the software on the laptop wouldn't support a different format without a plug-in. Then Natalie and I started yelling at each other in my parent's kitchen about how much work each of us had done (basically to anyone listening it would have sounded like a Biggest Martyr Contest). Good times! Can we all say collaboration? C'mon, ya'll, repeat after me! Ah well, such is the way of PROJECTS.

All the films that were made were GREAT. Everyone put so much work into their movies. The venue was nice and the turnout was decent considering we had a lack of advertising. Natalie did a lot of walking around town and telling people about the festival, but other than that, the print ads were nil.

We took the wheelbarrow to the film festival and left it up front for people to take books from. Now, I need to send our movie onto BookCrossing and Oprah!

Why not, right?
:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:12:02 AM: :

Read and Release at

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Let Us Entertain You
Saturday, 13 September 2003
at 7:00 o’clock
at the MacArthur Place Rodeo Room
29 East MacArthur Street, Sonoma

Tickets: $10.00
at Reader’s Books and Movie Merchants
seating is limited

For more information call 707-935-0443

Ought to be a good time! Film makers include: Terese Spingola & Jill Ford, Anea MK Botton & Natalie Conforti, Christa Conforti, Donna Hays, August Sebastiani, Bill Bachelor.

:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:4:49 PM: :

Read and Release at Film Festival

Well, the process of capturing and the wheelbarrow on film for our amateur movie has been a real, errm, TREAT (<--- said in the scoffiest, sardonic-est, sarcastic-est voice I can muster...). We have a little over 2 hours of footage of which only about 40 minutes is usable. But the movie needs to be less than 30 minutes (more like 20). So I've gotten the video cut down to about 25 minutes not including credits. Ugh.

I'm teaching myself a new movie program on a new laptop in a format I have never used before. It has been hit and miss the whole way. I got so frustrated I went out and bought a laptop at CompUSA, got it home, and discovered it had no firewire port. The first piece of Dazzle hardware I bought at Circuit City to hook to our desktop computer was an utter and completely useless piece of poop. That's when the brilliant idea to buy a laptop came into my peabrain. So I bought a laptop that's not as old and decrepit as the 2 computers we already have at our disposal. SGinger brought her laptop, and we used that as well, but the video feed was dropping frames. So back to CompUSA I went on Monday to get a firewire PCI card for the laptop. In addition, the sales guy very helpfully gets me a 4-6 firewire cable for $39.99. Get it all home, the PCI card comes with it's own cable. Back to CompUSA today to return the cables I do not need, get my money back, and wonder why the hell I've been to the same store 3 times in a week. Gadzooks.

So, I've gone to bed every night this week at 3:30. My head feels like a melon and my contact lenses might as well be sandpaper in my eyesockets. But I finally captured and placed all the footage I want in the order that I want it. Not I need a soundtrack, a credit roll, and a million crossed fingers that the movie actually works on Saturday.

I am sooooooooo tired.
:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:1:22 PM: :

Read and Release at

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

3rd wheelbarrow release at the Farmer's Market
We headed down to the Tuesday night Sonoma Farmer's Market with the wheelbarrow and books in tow. SGinger and my husband, good sports that they be, trooped on while I filmed and acted as the Spirit Coordinator (grand title, eh?). We forgot the sign telling people these were free books, so it became necessary to stand there and encourage people to take books from the wheelbarrow. But this wasn't such a bad thing as I began to hear comments like, "Hey! I know that yellow wheelbarrow! That's that BookCrossing thing that you go on-line to do, isn't it?" Another gal stopped by to take a look and said, "I know what this is! Someone left a Webster's Thesaurus and Dictionary in front of my shop. I read about it on the inside bookplate, but this is really neat to be able to see it in person!" (I guess the real-deal wheelbarrow would count as "in person," no?) A couple stopped by as well and told me they'd seen it in front of St. Francis church a few weeks back (I told them it was the day of Grandma's funeral) and they'd taken a book from it that they had each read and then passed on to their daughter.

It was gratifying to the nth degree to be able to hear a little feedback. Although people love the idea, the release-to-register ratio is quite low; in other words, the amount of books we release in the wild as compared to the people who actually take the time to go on-line and journal on a book they've found or taken, is quite low. That's not in the least bit surprising, but it can be a disappointment when you're as much of a "rosy-tinted glasses" idealist as myself.

the film festival is in 2 weeks, so the time is getting cut, bit by bit, to put the whole film together. We shall see what we get...

Dave & Sginger make quite the duo traipsing down Napa Street towards the Farmer's Market. Thank goodness for my muscley-armed hubbers who can wheel the barrow the 4 blocks to the Plaza!

Some book-lookers. One of the people in this picture is a published author who wrote a book in the 70's that I actually have! She and I had a very nice conversation and I told her I recognized her from her book jacket photo that was taken about 30 years ago.

Late in the evening, as the market was winding down, these ladies stopped by the wheelbarrow to have a peek. Two of them were visiting from DC, the 3rd actually lives in Sonoma. We were pleased to be able to pass some Sonoma BookCrossing books the a possible journey to the other side of the US.
:wheeled in by a BookCrosser:7:34 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