A few weeks ago I made up a list of experiential projects I’ve developed and worked on. I thought I had a pretty good list but am excited when I remember other projects I forgot.
This weekend I was doing my annual half day of yardwork. I hate yardwork. Yardwork to me means chopping stuff down so that I don’t have to deal with it for another year. Then I hire a guy to haul it away.
At any rate, I discovered these Poetry Rocks that I had put out by the curb years ago. They were mostly buried and worn and forgotten about until now.
These were an outdoor version of “Magnetic Poetry” that you sometimes see on people’s refridgerators.
I bought one of the kits, some river rock, some paint and a black sharpie. I pulled a set of words out of the kit (to do them all would have required a truckload of rocks. I opted for about 100).
Then I found a spot by the curb and made a flat display area with mulch and decorative rocks. (Realizing that I was getting dangerously close to yardwork).
The hope was that passerby would engage with the rocks and make their own poetry. But to make sure they understood, I took a larger rock and painted the word “Create” on it.
It was fun to watch people from my office window interact with them.
Some people would read and walk away. Others would stand there for a long while, not touching anything and then walk away. And others would (yes!) engage with the rocks and make their own poetry.
I also made a red and green holiday “bonus pack” that I put out there in December.
One day a guy was out there with his kid, taking photos and asked if he could write about them in the neighborhood’s printed newsletter. Sure, I said. It ended up on the front page – a testament not so much to the quality of the idea but more to how little happens in this neighborhood.
At the time, Instagam was pretty new and I considered making a hashtag on the big rock but I didn’t for some reason. I wish I had since I’d often forget to check the rocks and I have no real record of what people had made. I think if I fix them up I’ll put the hashtag on it.
In the following year, a large apartment complex across the street was built. Now there’s often cars parked in front of the rocks, obscuring both view and access. They’re now faded and chipped and need repair. I’ve hung onto them though.