Readying for Phnom Penh ‘N’

THINGS ARE GETTING ORGANIZED AND IT’S A RELIEF, in a big way, to see that this idea has what we in design like to call “legs.”

The thing is, you throw a lot of things around for twenty years and finally something feels like, yeah, that’s it, that’s the thing that is the thing. I have this weird phrase I like to say, I noticed, speaking of things. I say, “It’s a thing.” Like, when I feel like stuff that feels like at first it’s just a bunch of dust but then as it grows together and congeals a bit and becomes obvious enough that it almost takes shape. That’s when. That’s when I’ll go, “It’s a thing.”


‘N’ is a thing,

Almost there now, kicking off the first of the series here in Phnom Penh very soon. Guests are by invitation only. Ticketed and stuff, so there’s no “maybe” involved. It’s do you have a ticket? It’s did you really mean it when you said yes because if you didn’t and didn’t get a ticket that means no, dude. So you know, it’s a system. Designed to eliminate the maybe and take the guesswork out of who’s really into the idea of showing up for something as obscure as ‘N’ for the first time, and you know, trying it.

Getting distracted from the story, here, but suffice to say, it’s happening.

And that, in our modern era, is news.

It’s happening.

It is on.

Maybe it’s because it’s Phnom Penh, and a lot of people I invited personally aren’t really from any particular place, so the idea of showing up for something vague but vaguely intriguing is a thing. A thing, you know? Of course you get your usual 2% of “WTF” replies, which is starting to make me think, maybe this isn’t about the culture of maybe at all. Maybe it’s just about how we are, programming ourselves as people who respond or don’t respond, who are open and say yes (this is why I like jazz, because you kind of just go with it, you know?), and those who are more than likely to shut you down before you even start to finish the first sentence. “N, see, N! It’s a thing, it’s about—”


So, there you are. Not for everyone.

The thing that is happening now is that we are starting to talk about this, together, ambiently. Connectedly. Us, the people in Phnom Penh who will be showing up for this. Who are wondering, probably, where we really are. When you don’t know where you are in the world and you come from a lot of places, the idea of connection is very attractive, indeed. But how do you define connection? How do you know if you’re truly going to belong? What does that even mean, anyway?

Philosophy of connectivity

BELONGING. The year of belonging, 2015, now I recall it, thanks to a hearty conversation with VJ. As I write ‘N’ guests are mutually agreeing on a date. So happy that some of us are there, now, talking in this odd way that is the internet, sharing with one another what we think about the ‘culture of maybe’ that I’d been harping about for a long time and through conversations like today’s with not just V but also KM, I got some new insights about. It’s not just other people. It’s totally me, too.

Sorry if I’ve been out of touch. (Much of it is on purpose, though, just to be completely honest. I’ve deleted many personal social media channels so as to focus on the few relationships that truly matter.) But I’m still here. It’s just—communication just got overwhelming there, for a while. I needed to focus on some things, sort some ideas. Get the groove. I’m telling you, this break from blogging (2 years, after 2006-2013) has been craziness, has been journaling and online projects and eBooks and whatnot, but 800 posts from the old days that got deleted by some wacky convergence of hackerism and things that walk off in the dead of night (not tonight, thankfully, or at least, not tonight—I hope), well, there is a lot that happens when one goes away from a comfortable-seeming life of staying put with giant Macs in one’s home office in a town that that very one person used to think, for a long time, was “home.”

I’m not perfect at this stuff, I’m not even that great at writing clipped communcations that get straight to the point. No, I wander. I like to drift, circle around, come back for a bit. Maybe I lose some people in this way, but I like to think, I hope, anyway, that there are a couple who are happy about the style. I hope! But I can’t know, for sure, because… communication! Overwhelming. Meantime, I like to move in flow, which I sat for a while and discovered about with TR. Flow! Wherever that is, and it’s not easy to do sometimes when we are all so focused on the who-what-where-when-why and how. Oh, the how! That’s the thing that is the thing that’s hard to figure out.

Making space for 16N

Click to view animation '16N'

MOSQUITOS ARE GETTING IN THE WAY OF PROPER FOCUS. But I want to tell this to you, if you’re there, if you’re wondering what’s going on here, what this ‘N’ thing is about, how it works. It’s an uncertain thing, ladies and gentlemen. Like life, the foray into this big black space of not knowing, this well, let’s just see what happens, shall we? Mode of adapting and adjusting, and I have to say, I rather like it.

True, I have no agenda, no bulleted list of things to accomplish. I have no real purpose in collecting sixteen people met through chance in one moment of time, in Phnom Penh. Except: I know it will be… beautiful.

Because when we connect, we make time for it you know, that kind of connect, when we do that without feeling like, “Maybe this will work,” but rather, just having this intention, like, “Yeah. See you there because we’re gonna do it, we are. Since you made such a fuss about flakiness, and stuff, we will,” and then, there we’ll be. I’ll be really different with this one, from past events. See >

Things change. They evolve. They make sense after a time. MOMENTS of CONNECTION that happen… are… beautiful. I know this because I’ve seen this. I’ve seen it again, and again. Designing space for it, that’s what I care about. Designing space for… beauty.

Because all my life I’ve been in pursuit of beauty. And in search of meaning. Sometimes, when I’m very very lucky, I find both.

‘N’. ‘N,’ I’d bank on it, will be just such an occasion. More at 16N > —DK

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