TODAY IS SATURDAY, it’s late, and the fan is so strong it is disrupting the signal. Which signal? There are so many kinds, and the one that I want to talk about right now, right here, is the signal that is connecting right now through the real-world aether to one particular geographical locale. In Switzerland.
Lots of things to say about Switzerland. The Alps. All those different languages and international-feeling-ness. But I have to admit I never really got too knowledgable about that country. Aside from one giant and daytime train trip from Milan through Basel, exchange there, to the next place, there wasn’t much to report from that foray. My father told me I’d already been there, when I called him up to talk about trains and snowsides so pretty you’d think you were on the cover of that Simply Red album. But Dad said, ‘Switzerland? Big deal. You’ve been there.’
Had I? ‘Yeah. You were 2.’ Going around the world was never a big deal. Going to Europe, going to Asia, wherever, whenever, it was about the sweep. Motion, as it works, is about velocities and the spectrum of conversations that scoop up and flow windward—those. Those are the things we remember—at least the one with AZ, can’t remember the line-by-line, but the gist is always with me. Coffee. Switzerland, somewhere in the middle. Conversation. A sort of poem. A sort of breeze. But today, none of that.
Today: a new friend. Switzerland via [DELETED], somewhere along the way, writing. A lot. Together. More now than in the past, somehow, perhaps it’s because these are the times (the times of transition) that we feel the pen has the best way with us.
Oh, the power of the pen, that dumb idea I’d had about the nobility of the word to crush out sexism, racism, and all the other ‘isms’ (except maybe xenophobia-ism, ’cause most of the world thinks English is somehow more worth learning than, say, Khmer, but why? Why shouldn’t we all speak at least three languages, like those folks in some particular cluster of Switzerland? Aye.)
Folly of the idealist.
Oh, no. Don’t try to make ‘art.’ Just look at the penniless, brilliant New York writer, Henry Miller.
Seeing a promise through
THE PERSON THIS NOTE is for most surely knows I’m writing exactly to him. I’ll not put his initials here, lest he become embarrassed. Though we’ve not met, and I hope that’s not an absolute, I am respectful of this person’s style, and his newfound love of writing. I have to thank him for the work that we did together in probably Design Kompany’s best-ever project. I have to say, with real gratitude, I wouldn’t have been able to come this far in the space of making S. P. A. C. E. without his input, and mostly, participation. Ambient and intermittent, email exchange can be a strange and fascinating kind of ‘room’ for dialogue. But when it’s going well, it’s about the connection. Even if we’re far, we can be near, and even if we’re near, it can be from a place of mutual respect and a warmth of friendship that’s hard to come by once we exceed the age of 16. So I am positive. Writing. In Switzerland somewhere hazy—I don’t know my hillscapes—somewhere he must be doing that. Yes. He is writing, I’m sure. In a state of quiet poise, in a moment of reflection. Pools, perhaps the color of Lake Geneva, and didn’t the Swiss boy in college say something to me once, about that lake, about the Evian bottle design, and not know that one day, later, way later, in life, design and the integrity of design would become hugely important to me, and then, we’d talk about that? Meaning-making, conversation. These are the best journeys, you know.
IT’S NOT THAT every time you say you should do something you have to, I don’t believe in giving up the shinier opportunity just because you’ve committed your word to a thing. I understand about sunk costs, and I see the value in uprooting and moving quickly to the next place. (Some of you, my oldest friends, already know this about me.) But I have learned from [DELETED] that staying the course can be a beautiful kind of thing, too. You can discover the value of patience, of living through the ups and downs (didn’t Ricky Gervais talk about peaks and troughs, in that last session of The Office?). And you can grow. One of the highest qualities of space becomes, then, this. Progression. A commitment to do something you’ve said you would do can lead to a whole other kind of breakthrough from those I’m used to here at DK (the off-the-cuff, out of the blue, ‘a-ha’ kind is my usual speed, and then, a long void of nothing). But! Long-term. This is nice. This can lead to a kind of comfortable familiarity, the same blossoming of deep friendship that is built with a lasting friend, a comrade in life, a kindred spirit, and a close friend. So tonight, a toast. To friendship. And… to be continued. —DK