A book of hours functions traditionally between a prayer book, a farmer’s almanac, and a personal record. Throughout history, they have been used for the function of prayer, but also as a document of the owner’s life, community, and personal experience. This project asks the question, what does a book of hours look like for our community, right now?
I am not a religious person. This is not a project to create a prayer book in a traditional, Christian sense of the object. Instead, I firmly believe that it is my experiences rooted in my connections to my community – in the microcosm, Rochester, NY – that give me spiritual peace. There are so many terrible things plaguing our world right now, even beyond our immediate small city. It is easy to lose sight of hope and motivation in the face of structural inequality, in housing instability, in poverty, in violence, in genocide. But I want to believe that a better world is possible, if we act to create it. And I want to invite you to create it, too. I want your voice to be heard, and I want to embark on this journey together.
The Book of Ours is a zine of sorts, in that it is not a book produced and distributed through formal publishers. It is a zine where I want to compile a new type of prayer where we as a community can record our skills, our strengths, the mantras that keep us grounded, or anything else that brings us even fleeting tranquility. Using the historical Book of Hours as a guide, I would like to compile a book based around meditations and actions we can do for ourselves and our communities. I would like it to be open to submissions in the service of being a true community project. These submissions can be anything: a song or a poem you like, how to grow tomatoes, how to wash pepper spray out of your eyes, how to administer narcan. These are just examples. I am aiming to create something that can be utilitarian, but also hopeful and mentally grounding. Think of it as a collaborative skill-share book, a how-to guide to overcoming capitalism in even the smallest ways, or a comfort book to read before bed. I want it to remind us that we are stronger, together.