List 125: Books people read at the retreat in Greece

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Asana/meditation / Design / Friends / Travel/commuting

So this is my super delayed new year’s day post.

2015 was nightmare-ish in many  ways and one of the catastrophic low-lights was missing David Pearson‘s workshop in August. When I heard that one of my all-time design heroes was coming to Melbourne the same time I would be away in Paros on a yoga retreat, I was livid. I know, I know, I can’t have cake (or in this case, baklava) and eat it too, but I’d been working on a long, drawn-out, creatively un-satisfying project for the past 8 months and was in desperate need of inspiration.

I had four choices. I could either:

  1. Change my flight;
  2. seethe silently and let the anger fester away into mental illness;
  3. have the awareness to watch myself being angry; or
  4. channel the anger into something productive.

Options 1 and 2 were too expensive (I hear Prozac is quite pricey these days), option 3 still remains just a lofty ideal, and while my meditation teacher would argue that option 4 is a form of deflection, I went with it.

So in a David Pearson-esque manner, I decided to design a cover series of books read by people who were at the retreat. But rather than re-designing the covers based on what the stories were about, I based them on the reader’s relationship with the book. I casually asked each person what they were reading and without asking anything else, designed a cover depicting the information they were willing to share.

The results were a fascinating mix  — some went so far as to exuberantly recite passages from the books, some gave me a mere, “It’s good”, while others babbled on as to why they chose the book without actually telling me whether they liked it or not or what the story was even about.

Penguin’s Great Books this is not, but it was a social experiment that kept me engrossed and entertained for three weeks. I also got to know 18 wonderfully crazy people better through the books they read and the stories they shared.

2015 may not have been so bad after all.

Books_in_Greece_2015