I saw the documentary film 1000 Journals at AFI Fest in Los Angeles in 2007, and right before the screening the director of the film - Andrea Kreuzhage - connected with me on Facebook. I was immediately impressed - here was the director of a film about to be screened at a major LA Film Festival and she's saying hello to me? Ever since then my opinion of Andrea has only grown more positive and expansive, as this woman works tirelessly to promote her film. The 1000 Journals project, her film and her passion were all the seeds that helped the idea for the 100 Books Project come to life, so I am truly honored to share the story of Book #60, which was written by Andrea Kreuzhage.
Andrea took her book to The Big Read, Cinema and Literacy Day in Sacramento earlier this month. Andrea was their Guest Artist, and there is no doubt in my mind she knocked their socks off. I also happen to know for a fact that she knocked one woman's socks off in particular, and they shared "...one of those sparkling, serendipitous, beautiful, inspiring moments," as Andrea said. Here is Andrea's story of how she decided to place the book where she did, followed by the email I received from the lucky recipient of Book #60:
"In the 1000 Journals film is a scene where a guy who describes himself as Johnny Appleseed says, 'You drop it and you walk away from it. It's beautiful. Simple.' Not so simple for me, who tried to track down each and every one of these droppings to find out what happened next. In Stockton, I stuck around to see what happened next when the book fell into the hands of the first random person I got to meet.
I had just arrived and was making my way to the Empire Theatre, where 1000 Journals was screening at NEA's The Big Read, Cinema and Literacy Day event. The sidewalk was very crowded and crazy since the town was holding a street fair on this May Day. But one face looked familiar -- thanks to his Facebook picture -- and I called out "Sophoan?," and he turned and recognized me as well. He introduced me to Kathy, and I walked with them to the parking lot...
Reading Kathy's report, I think Lady Luck did a sweet job that afternoon, and with this extra boost of love and creativity, Kathy will just sail through and nail her Pharmacy exams."
Kathy's Story ~
Just to give you an overview of myself, my name is Kathy Ordanza and I am 19 years old. I am a student at University of the Pacific in Stockton, California (40 minutes south of Sacramento). I am currently a sophomore, and it is finals week this week. I must tell you that it is hectic right now, with lab reports to complete, and cumulative - and I mean CUMULATIVE - finals to study for. This weekend I have a lot of stuff to complete, but today was Cinema & Literacy Day at the Empire Theatre, and I was volunteering at the box office. I love volunteering with the San Joaquin Film Society and its founder, Sophoan Sorn, because it's great to do something in the community and see the amazing work that people do through film.
I was only able to stay from 2:00-4:00pm today, so at 4:10pm, I headed out of the box office with Sophoan, who was walking me to my car. Outside on the sidewalk, we ran into the visiting director of the great film "1000 Journals," Andrea Kreuzhage. I knew she was coming, but since I was leaving early I had no idea I would be able to meet her. Sophoan greeted and hugged her and he introduced me to Andrea. It was great to meet the director of the documentary I had seen last year at the San Joaquin International Film Festival. That film and the 1000 journals project itself were really inspiring to me, just to see how we all have views about the world and how creative everyone is. It's amazing how these journals have traveled the world on their own. My university's art department has even assigned students in the class "Visual Arts Exploration" to complete their own journal, inspired by this project. I have a couple of friends who are taking this class and I have completed a couple pages myself. It's awesome that the movement is still going strong!
We arrived at my car shortly and I asked to take pictures with Andrea...I mean, I wouldn't pass up that opportunity! She even had one of the 1000 journals with her--she showed us journal #670, which was featured in the film (she showed us the "penis" page, haha). Wow, it was a great moment.
Then, she and Sophoan were talking for a bit, and Andrea asked me to open my car. She explained it was for something special, so I opened it willingly. She placed a square paper bag in my backseat.
I didn't know what it was, but she took a photo of it there, sitting peacefully in my car. Then, she smiled and asked me to go look at it. It said, 'This is a gift for you. (Yes, You.)' So I opened it.
What a great moment that was. Amidst the stress, anxiety, breakouts, and junk food of finals week, I had been flushed with sweet, fresh air. I read the beautiful card that read 'You are loved.' I've never received something so beautiful before.
I pulled out the book Ordinary Sparkling Moments, and then I knew I had never received anything more beautiful than THAT before. At a time in my life, when I'm stressing constantly over grades and deadlines, it is great to receive a smack to the head and remember that in the big picture, those things don't matter the most. Don't get me wrong, FINALS do matter, but it's nice to step back and remember that in all the stress, there are 'ordinary sparkling moments.'
I haven't read through the whole book yet, Christine, but I WILL. I just wanted to let you know how this wonderful gift fell into my hands. I must get back to studying, but I wanted to contact you. Thank you for your creativity and your book. It couldn't have come at a better time!!!
Thank you, Andrea, for considering me for the 100 Book Project. It was an honor to meet you in person!! =D
I hope the best for you both, Kathy Ordanza
Thank you Kathy for your lovely, lovely letter, and to Andrea, a zillion thanks for your inspiration. What a beautiful story you wove here - one of my favorites!