The Year of Living Autobiographically

I did it.*

And I need your help.

Here’s what I did:

About a year ago, I gave myself a year-long creative challenge. Here it is, described in the entry for the first day of the project:

Saturday 15 October 2011

The plan: Ditch FB for one year. Reader of the future: Do you know what I mean when I say “FB”? Take FB’s status-update limit of 420 characters and use it as a self-imposed creative challenge. Take my paranoia, my fear of things being stolen, lost, my unease at the Web’s impermanence, add it to my challenge. Write one exactly-420-character status update per day for one year. Privately. Don’t tell anybody. Publish it.

(Count them: from the capital “T” to the final period: 420!)

And 366 days later—this past Sunday—I finished my 366th status update.

I’m calling the whole thing The Year of Living Autobiographically.

Part of my entry for 12 November is the following:

When I wrote “Publish it” back in October, what I meant was self-publish. A homemade book. A gift.

Here’s how I need your help:

To complete the art project of this—sharing “status updates” with friends, but not online, via servers owned and operated by a publicly traded corporation; rather, in a self-published book, a homemade galley proof-type thing, sent through the mail—I need the postal addresses of those friends.

You, I mean. Your address. Where your postal delivery person brings physical things to you.

Are you interested in getting a copy of The Year of Living Autobiographically?

If so, will you let me know where I can send it?

I have to make the book first—some layout and design, then sending it to a galley printer—but I hope to finish that aspect of the work by the end of my December break. If all goes well, I’ll mail the book in early January.

I’m limiting the print run to 150. (Dunbar’s number!) So let me know sooner rather than later if you want one. (I don’t have as many friends as some friends of mine have, but I do have a few.)

PS: If you’re wondering about the 420-characters aspect of this, here’s part of my entry for 11 January:

The status-update character limit on FB is now 63,206; it hasn’t been 420 since last summer. I am chagrined. Is this project then my own private Japanese holdout, hiding in the jungle, fighting a long-gone war?

* and PPS: I should say I almost did it: that is, I wrote 366 status updates, one per day, each one 420 characters long—no more, no fewer—for one year. On the other hand, I did not manage to quit FB for a year (just for part of it). Nor did I manage not to tell anyone (just a few people).

I’m still calling the project a success, though, because I did what I think was the important part, which was the writing.

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