The Saturday Read -‘How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum’ by Keri Smith

This is the first ‘Saturday Read’ that comes with a warning.

“! Warning to whomever has just picked up this book. If you find you are unable to use your imagination, you should put this book back immediately. It is not for you. In this book you will be repeatedly asked to…suspend your disbelief, complete tasks that make you feel a bit strange, look at the world in ways that make you think differently, conduct experiments on a regular basis, and see inanimate objects as alive.” 

If you need to improve your CQ (curiosity quotient), this week’s selection from author, illustrator and guerrilla artist, Keri Smith‘How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum’ is for you.

Author Smith invites the reader on a journey of discovery, loosely following a 13 point guide, which includes a “fieldwork section in the back of the book to record and discover findings.”

“You might want to think of this book as you metaphorical suitcase. A place to collect and document your findings. How do you see? It is also a museum. Your very own museum that will contain your unique vision of the world.”

After a couple of incredibly depressing weeks of global events, I was browsing the selection at Main Street Books in ‘downtown’ Davidson, North Carolina last weekend, when this book cover demanded I stop, open, and return to the wonder of our world; starting right where we sit. I was ready to pack my “metaphorical suitcase” and explore an alternate reality.

Here’s the other warning that should come with this book. ‘May be habit-forming.’

On page 13 ‘your mission’, if you choose to accept, is explained.

“The following pages include a variety of prompts and assignments that will help you on your travels. There is also a section on tools and techniques that will help you with documenting methods. You may use the worksheets included or create your own. Remember, all of your most important tools exist in your body! Use them. Collect as much data as you can – it may come in handing later on. Good luck on your journey.”

How to be an explorer? “Always be looking. Everything is interesting. Notice patterns, make connections. Use all of the senses in your investigations.” (and more)

Here’s an example, from the page I opened to first. “Exploration#7 World of Color”

“Collect paint chips from a paint or hardware store. Find colors you respond to in the world. Attempt to match them using the chips. ( You can also match the colors using a portable paint set.) Make notes of where you saw the colors. (Example: color #573 four leaf clover – My scarf, color #308 golden vista – Sunset 01/09/08)

Alternate: document colors from your favorite books, your dreams, your memories.”

There are 59 explorations that tease your inner Picasso or Shackleton, the last being “How to Wander Aimlessly”. This is a book for those of you on vacation, who missed the point of your break :“freedom or release from duty, business, or activity.”

How do you wander aimlessly? “Pay attention to the details. Lose all sense of time and place.” Reinhabit you inner four year old.

This book will plaster a smile on the crankiest visage.

In a month when the release of Pokemon Go has launched thousands of new adventures, ‘How to Be an Explorer of the World’ will reconnect you with a simpler time when all you needed for entertainment was a big box and an imagination to occupy yourself for hours.

 

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