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Peep this Project: Lisa Ng's 10 New Things


'Tis the season for makin' a list and checkin' it twice. However, some of us - including yours truly - aren't makin' the kind of list one might expect to see through the tinsel-glimmer of all our gifting and re-gifting.

That's right, contrary to the usual way of things, this year I've opted for one of those new-fangled immaterial holidays. As our dearly departed Dr. Seuss once penned it, the kind that "doesn't come from a store." Yes, with a little help from my friend--the young Toronto artist Lisa Ng and her fantabulous list-serve 10 New Things--my holiday means a little bit more.

10 New Things is a knowledge-sharing list-serve project that started two years ago when Lisa received an email from a friend. The email listed 10 new things her friend had learned that month, and in turn invited Lisa to do the same. Without delay, Lisa happily took to making her list and, well, to this day she's still making those lists. Now, though, with Lisa as its organizer, 10 New Things involves about 40 regular participants.

Every month Lisa emails a list of 10 new things she's learned. Then us participants respond with our own 10 new things. Then Lisa compiles all the lists in a group email so everybody can learn what everybody else is learning. And so we have a continual loop of newly acquired knowledge, always and forever.

Now doesn't that sound like fun? You bet yer holiday stockings it does.

When I ask Lisa to tell me how she feels about 10 New Things, she very humbly admits that it gives her a great sense of purpose, providing such a fun, inclusive, interactive learning environment for people--of all ages and experience--to come together, without prejudice, in the sharing and learning of new knowledge.

As a long-time participant of 10 New Things, I must say, Lisa has truly made me feel a big part of something great and powerful. ...And boy oh boy am I getting smart!

For those of you who don't do email, 10 New Things is also available as a neat little zine that can be found at several downtown Toronto bookstores (Pages Books, Uprising and the The Toronto Women's Bookstore); and there's even a nifty 10 new Things calendar in the making!

To give you an idea of how you can participate, here's a selection of 10 New Things (as chosen by me):

1. Rock's don't bleed.
2. In Scotland, there's a golf course that has sheep to mow the grass instead of an actual mower. Unfortunately, they lose about three or four sheep a season to golf balls.
3. Kurt Vonnegut is a very old man now. He writes a very good book of memoirs.
4. People tend to hate on what they don't understand.
5. Every Tegan and Sara song is fantastic.
6. Days off are necessary for sanity...even if you just hang out and do laundry.
7. You can only do so much to cover someone else's ass.
8. Living together can make or break relationships.
9. Things are expensive in the Yukon.
10. Lisa wants me to share what I learn.


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