I love instructions. I seldom follow them but I like the idea of being systematically walked through a set of tasks and problems in anticipation of a successful outcome. My fascination with old manuals and field guides, found poems, demonstrations at the State Fair, a lot of conceptual art and ReadyMade magazine is somehow associated in my mind with the endless hours I spent reading How and Why Wonder Books and earning badges as a Brownie Scout.
I also confess an addiction to the sometimes arcane and mundane knowledge that is shared daily through wikiHow and Instructables. “How-to” seems like a promising template for what might happen in our open field. So here is how I might propose a “how-to” summer.
- Create an Open Field “how-to” instruction manual with you over the summer: Like . . . how to have fun in the grass; how to slow down; how to read a poem; how to fly a kite; how to have a peripatetic playdate.
- Share our ideas online and on-site.
- Gather some of our collective work into a little book at the end of the summer.