Writing in S P A C E
THE WRITING IS GOING ALL RIGHT. Here, behind the scenes, we are turning yearslong collected writings and bits into things that are actually in some way processed, thought through, organized, and well-presented. I think this is called publishing. And that’s why we are working on it with Kismuth Books. Lots of room and space, to reflect, to look at the arc of where the stories that left the warmest impressions were, and how they got there. Not that there is a thing to ‘figure out,’ per se. It’s quite nice to just let the things be what they are slowly, in an ukiyo-e way, bubbling up and surfacing to be. Does it make sense?
DISCOVER THE MIRROR. IN 2014, I got this weird idea to write with other people. Some of them friends, some of them acquaintances, and many of them people I didn’t know. Internet friends? I guess. It became interesting very recently, as we have been iterating quite a lot since then. Now, THE MIRROR is a robust tool and we are sharing it out again starting 8 January, with a handful of people who are the right fit. I continue to do this because I love cojournaling; it gives us the opportunity to build a global tribe of people who are also asking questions, and curious about life. A few brave cojournalers who signed up for our very first experiment (January 2014) had NO idea what to expect. It was definitely an exercise in trust. And design, of course. We’ve tweaked it, tested it, added things, deleted things, and tried the whole thing out. It’s less clunky now, 4 years into it.
We use email. But it’s not just mail. It’s someone’s trust in you, and me, and us. It’s sharing. It’s this thing I kept going on about last year, “the village.” It’s about connecting, in a way that’s meaningful and deep and not someone paying for a therapist’s time or someone reading a book once and forgetting about it after that. It’s not a workshop off in the mountains, though those are fantastic, or a class that is going to help you set up everything to write a bestseller. It’s not any of those things. It’s just, simply, space. And it’s working. I can’t believe how the people who’ve just newly met are sharing their very personal thoughts, even in these early days. People are telling me they’re so happy to have time to just “free write,” without much of an agenda, and that they appreciate someone is listening (that would be the groups, and also me), holding them accountable to keep a practice to themselves: Write. Write weekly.
You don’t have to be a writer, you don’t have to be an artist. You can just be YOU. That’s the thing. We often don’t have space or time to spend just discovering who we are, within. I promise I’ve seen this over and over again at Design Kompany. In a modern world where we are so achievement-driven, we forget to make space and time to look within. Frankly, it’s discouraged. It’s “artsy-fartsy,” and it’s “woo-woo.” But by gosh, it’s so darn important. You can’t ever know why you’re doing what you’re doing if you don’t know who you are. So this has been fantastic, and that’s why we’re kicking off this year officially NEXT WEEK. On 8/1/18, we are going to start THE MIRROR 2018. It is for those who are interested in making space to reflect, take stock. With others also responding to the same prompts, in forums, each week. What I learned from DK that I apply to THE MIRROR is one thing: the conversation is the most important part of any creative process.
‘What’s in it for me?’ Fair question. This is about creating intentional space for you to write, in a dedicated way, with other people doing the same thing in other parts of your city or the world. I will be here to hold you accountable, giving you a quarterly update with feedback. This is not for a grade or any kind of validation, but I will guide you to committing time to flex your creative writing (outside of work, your local writing club, or academia). Sharing in a nonjudgmental way with others is a huge part of this, and learning to be a little vulnerable along the way makes space for a different kind of writing which may be new for you, too.
Why this is different. This isn’t school, or work, and yet, even recess has a set time for little kids. Space to play. To discover. To look, ask, and try. Think of it like you might imagine kindergarten—anything is possible—except now you have experience to draw from too. Without a chance to make what’s in our hearts known (first to ourselves, and then to others), it doesn’t get heard. Sometimes our stories are painful—grief, loss, or hurt—but sometimes, behind those things, there is an enormous well of something we didn’t know was there. The subconscience speaks through journaling, telling us each about our deepers elves as we get better at practicing how to let it speak.
I’m a believer in flat, open circles, and am creating this space so as to invite lots of real stories from the heart to come onto the (digital) page, if that’s what happens, or at least illuminate for their authors exactly what it is that’s inside. There are far too many times when you can look into the mirror and wonder, “What if things had turned out differently? What if I had applied myself a little more?” It’s not easy in our modern, achievement-oriented culture to give ourselves this kind of permission. Space. To play, to look inward, to do the hard work that can unleash a world of new insight if we let it.
How it works
WHO. No more than 4 people per circle. International, mixed. Groups are assigned based on what people share in their applications: ie, ‘what do I want to get out of this.’ Sequenced prompts are designed based on those common interests, for each circle.
WHAT. A co-journaling weekly prompt arrives each Monday. On Sunday, we’ll craft the next week’s prompt, based on whatever responses come in on that day, or before. It’s this simple. It emerges, and it grows meaningful based on the things that tie together the overarching common themes. Very fun, very intriguing, and a kind of juxtaposition-meets-relational aesthetics weird and cool vibe pops up.
WHEN. Starts 8 January, 2018. Are you wondering how much time this will take? Don’t feel pressured to commit to yet another thing to do: this is meant to be a complement and fertilizer for whatever writing you have already planned to do.
FLOW. It’s okay not to have a clear idea up front about what it is you’ll write about, the creative process always begins with a fuzzy open slate. Then, through the work, through the practice, something becomes interesting to you. This something is the gem that all the work up until that moment of discovering it will have been for. Once you have this piece, the golden nugget, we will work together to write a piece that is all about that which the nugget has inspired in you. Write what you know, they say, but we can’t know what we know until we dig a little to discover this little thing that is so very important in the big work of writing our real stories, in our true, authentic voice. Everyone knows the difference between pieces that are written from the heart, and those that are just written. Editors like to say, ‘The writer works so the reader doesn’t have to.’ Over time, we may begin to see connections happen across the virtual space between guests. This happens. In really cool ways, people began to ask one another questions to go a little deeper on the ideas that are coming up. Making a space for it to bubble up and *happen*, that’s the framing for THE MIRROR. The whole thing: that’s it.
HOW TO JOIN. It starts with an application. Apply through this page: http://designkompany.com/apply. Selected candidates will be invited to register, and an orientation note will be shared from there. Warmly welcoming a few new voices today, and sending virtual hi-fives to returning guests, too.