Sunday, July 20, 2008



Written & Illustrated by Justin “Scrappers” Morrison

Published by Grass Hut Books (their first book published)

My name’s Justin, but most folks call me Scrappers. This is my first book, so I don’t know what the rules are about describing it. Is it illegal for the author to describe his own book, I don’t know? So that’s why I can do it.
I gave an advanced copy to my boss Dan Wieden (I work at an ad agency) and after reading half of the book he told me that it was “Mythic”. I thought, “Fuck you Dan.” Later in the week I read a little something about myth. People like Joseph Campbell think myth isn’t just a collection of lies strung together to tell an entertaining story, rather it’s pure condensed truth arraigned in a way that we can see ourselves better with. In sort, we are myth. Maybe it’s a little confusing, but hear me out.
All the characters in CAMP are real people; I didn’t even change their names. Mostly all of them are friends I wish I had more time to spend with. When I sat down to write this book (in just three days) I thought I would write it about my friends to show them how much I love them even though I don’t show it. The book started out with Sally crawling out of a creek, I haven’t seen her in years, but we used to live the good life together as house mates in Arcata, CA. Arcata is in the Redwoods and that’s why this story takes place there too.
The twins are real too. Matt and Josh grew up with me in Burbank, CA. We rode our bikes in the foothills, skateboarded all the schoolyards and had a lot of fun together. Years after I moved away Josh hung him self. He does so in this book too, but the beauty of myth allows me to give his death the true meaning, as I understand it, he died trying to protect his innocence.
Greg, the lead character, is also real. He is my big brother. Although I grew up as an only-child, the two boys my dad had with his previous wife were never far. You see my parents moved to Canada and build a house from scratch right before I was born. The boys, Greg and Donald, grew up there in the woods. They climbed trees, dug snake pits, caught wild animals and had the time of their lives living wild and free. Shortly after I was born my parents split and I ended up in Burbank. Growing up with the stories of these two mythical brothers running wild in the woods I always felt a little cheated and eventually grew to romanticize the Pacific Northwest as a sort of Holy land, the mythical place of my creation. I longed to return and live life to my full potential wild and free like my brothers. Right before I moved to Portland, Oregon my brother Greg grew a brain tumor and died. He was the biggest toughest guy who ever lived, and if you ever met him you he would make you pretty uncomfortable for he was truly wild. Once he made me ride a wild horse bareback and when it kicked me off he was mad at me for not holding on. I was mad at him for making me do crazy shit like that. Little did I know how much he would continue to inspire me to do crazy shit for the rest of my life and how much I love him for it.
Anyways, myth: it allows us to tell the truth without being retarded by facts. This book is “mythic” and it tells the truth about “me” by using all the people around me. Maybe you do that to, like in real life. All the friends and family you keep near and tell stories about are the ones that represent who you are. Maybe when you die you will live on because of all those people. Maybe you should let them know how much they mean to you?
-Justin “Scrappers” Morrison

Grass Hut only made 100 of these books, so if you have one consider your self very lucky. Maybe someday a second edition will be made and all the typos will be fixed and more people will have a chance to read this book, but until then live it up.


alanbernard said...

Wow, this is inspiring stuff. Thanks for posting mate. :) Also, I've posted this up on my site. Cheers dude.

Erik said...

Would've liked to get my hands on this book.

Jeremy said...

What erik said. Also you can always write about your own book--especially if you self-publish it. Any chance you have a PDF file or something for the journalists out there? Would be cool to review it on my site.

party like an art star said...

congratulations on the book, both to you as an artist and to grasshut for their first book publication! i've been keeping an eye on your art for awhile, i really adore your aesthetic.

i've been reading about all the great projects you guys have been doing over at grasshut, i really wish i lived in portland so i could have attended the summer camp! i'm the manager at fenario gallery in eugene, so its really inspiring to read about ways that other art spaces interact with their community. i think you guys are doing a great job, and reading about your progress keeps me feeling motivated.


gin.ger said...

I'm lucky enough to have a copy of the book and I love your post about the book so much I think I love it more than the book. So, if it took writing a "mythic" book to get you to write something so true and lovely and natural, then it was worth it. And PS I love that teepee installation.

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Kim and Tania's Natural Pit Frosting said...

Ah, Portland. Gotta love her.

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