The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands-On Living is - Available for Preorder, a photo by mikey and wendy on Flickr.
Commodification crept into my awareness early. I was in grade school in the 1970s in Nassau County just a short stint from New York City when I first noticed brands. Money earned in Manhattan and spent on Long Island met my consciousness in the form of designer clothing and branded consumer goods. Like the kids I went to school with I knew which brands earned social value. A tomboy, I delighted in torching forts I made of scrap then burned in the woods behind my home. A ratty pair of jeans suited my lifestyle fine. Still I noticed the priorities of my culture and felt the pressure of growing up in a commodified society with an insatiable appetite for more.
In my twenties I wrestled with the commodified world's illogicalities. Searching out a way to earn money I noticed that advancing my career often meant overriding my common sense. Jobs made strange demands: wake before your rested, work when your mind is not clear, eat at a set time and not when you are hungry, lie for sake of the mission of the company, compete, get the best of another, and mostly adapt.
The commodified world never taught me how the real world works. I learned how the default world works and how to work within it. I knew that just outside the boundary of commerce and merchandising the skills I'd acquired to succeed in the commodified world were useless. At the proper point of fedupness I took the skills I honed for my profession, that I had once used to develop the commodified world, and I turned them around. I used them to dismantle it. This is where things got really interesting and it is the start of my book.
The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands-On Living is the story of how Mikey and I created another way to live and what we discovered along the way. It is a contemplative and practical guide book for a post-consumer life. A mix of memoir and tutorials. I offer a view of the way the commodified world shapes people, so that we may each discover a way to wrestle free from it. The book is about invention, responsibility, creativity, community, economy, technology and value. It is about being an outlaw when that is the only sane thing to do. I show how to remake the stuff we use in our lives appliances, food, domestic goods, fuel and buildings, better and more responsibly than industry can. Perhaps the greatest of what I have to share has to do with what it is to be alive. I learned that we can tune ourselves to the life of this world. When we do we have a source of wisdom. Then we can do anything.
Thank you for reading and participating in many lively conversations on this blog. Many times it was your knowledge that we relied on, tested and proved. In your good company we took chances, made mistakes, celebrated, and had a damn good time. And we are hardly done.
The good folks at Storey Publishing filled my book with beautiful art, the of illustrations of twenty different artists. They printed the book with an unusual open bind making the book a work of art.
If you have ants in your pants and want to get your order in now you can preorder through Amazon (ships in June). If you wish to wait until June the book will be available in all retail outlets on line and off and also through our own Holy Scrap store.
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