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23 March 2018


Warm wishes from Kuala Lumpur. Just a hello to all of you, in case you get here and are wondering what’s up, I wanted to share where we are headed next:
. This week, let’s comment together on this page, and see where we can begin some dialogues, or continue them, where we had last left off. Conversation is the big idea here, and I’m hoping we can connect more deeply—if it wants to happen, it will, of course there’s no forcing it.
. Welcoming some of you who haven’t commented here yet. (X!, looking at you!). No need to feel pressure to write, but if you are interested in this part, and I hope you are, then please do share a note or two, perhaps a link, introducing yourself to us, or just dive in by responding to people’s comments, or just respond to any of the prompts. It doesn’t matter about order of them. Just… writing. Together. That’s it.
. Saying ‘hi’ to M., in case she is here. M. is a fantastic writer, with a bold perspective on things. We’ve been conversing on voice, (!), about death and dying. I think that’s really appropriate to ‘Slow Moment’. M., as and when you’re ready, I invite you to share your feelings, thoughts, comments, questions… anything you like.

Finally, just to sum: what is this? This is S P A C E. And what does that mean? To me, it means this:

This is S P A C E: amorphous, expansive, open, and inclusive. All I’ve done is build the framework for us, a scaffold called ‘Slow Moment.’ Within which, the space is yours. This is a stage: all are welcome to write, correspond, connect, and of course, play. Try new things. New ideas. Explore, experiment. There are no wrong answers…

I have a hard time choosing what to say. Or I have a hard time decide what do I want. What is the true meaning of relationships. What are we all looking for in relationships and connections?
I feel we are all so tiny, and It feel powerless if there’s only one person fighting against something.
All of my thoughts are fighting with one another. it’s so hard to put them down in a coherent way. It’s like my brain was locked with thick layer of thoughts. Doubting.

‘Love and relationships’ has been the #1 topic of conversations in my recent memory where people get very, very animated and participatory. Never ceases to amaze me how many times we get into the confusing landscapes of ‘what is __,’ and ‘what was __,’ and ‘how did it go differently now with ___,’ and the rest of it. So much. I have no idea. The feeling is one of being lost in a spaceship somewhere far from Earth (but not out of visual reach)… and wondering, ‘Where am I?’ Yes, it’s a great question, ‘What are we all looking for in relationships and connections?’ I will give it some time to think over, and give you some kind of coherent reply, next Sunday. Meantime, maybe other people will come in and add comments here? I hope so.

And… welcome! Thank you for being here, Xuan.

On the wall in my bedroom, in an attempt to be more deliberate in how I form thoughts, I have colorful papers that each have goals, platitudes or desires written on them. This wasn’t my idea so much as my partners, so I didn’t have a lot I wanted to add there, but there is one in particular that I offered up that I think sort of ties in here.

It’s a big red card that says “ALLOW” on it.

My partner didn’t get it, but I explained how it helped to keep me calm.

Allow… I felt it was the perfect remedy for choice. Life is just a bucket of it and it’s overwhelming. Especially considering in addition to choosing what to do, we can can also choose what to like, what to want, and what to make.

So when I keep in mind that my choice to do nothing or let things happen is my most consistent choice, it helps me counteract that feeling of powerlessness. I can just choose to… not. Not decide. Not doubt. Not worry. Just just be. Or to move my hand and just see what comes out. To abandon judgement for a while and just create without a rigid criteria. I can break the confines, let go, and just let something come to me rather than chasing it.

Random thoughts. Regarding… friction.

Hey Michael that is a lovely thought. I didn’t see it initially.

Allowing for things to come. Someone at one of our live gettogethers recently said “I want to remember that it is just an option to *not* make a zine.” He used to make a lot of them, he said, but he fell out of the habit for a long time. His realization spoke to me, and thought somehow relevant here 🙂


I can relate to the feelings that I sense in your sentences. The thoughts that fight each other in the head. Take it slow. No need to rush your mind, or force it to be coherent. I am happy to see you here 🙂


Can you talk a bit here on this page about what you were saying to me this morning?

It was terribly interesting and yet I’ve no idea how to begin to remember it.


Time, like anything, is as real as we believe it is. It’s a concept we created in order to explain something we couldn’t understand. In other words… Time is God.

How could it not be? We plan around time. We offer sacrifices to time. We create moralities around how we use it or give it away. We personify it as babies and old men. We curse time and ask it “why” even though we know it’ll never answer. Even when some one expires we tell ourselves that “it was their time.”

Like God, a believer will give you a myriad of ways to prove that Time exists. But could you imagine actually explaining time to someone? Perhaps to someone that didn’t grow up with it or exists in a dimension above or below our where they experience it differently. Are all moments slow to the 14 days a fruit fly lives?

On a quantum level, they say everything happens at once and has been happening at once since forever. On a Christian level, they say God looks across the gulf of time from the beginning to see Himself at the end of creation. On a casual level, we’re all probably late to something right this second. What if every myth is correct? All at once?

Credited to Lao Tsu, he says “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” Personally I think he’s right. More than almost anything else, human time is emotional. It’s sights and smells and sounds and thoughts, but it’s the feeling we get that makes those things matter.

But buried in the words of the great strategist is something even greater. This notion that we can actually live in the past and the future. He just casually states it as a thing that we can do. Most of us would see this as a metaphor for how we spend our time, but what are humans if not pure metaphor. What if it’s actually more dense than that. What if by relativity or spirituality or discipline and routine we can actually time travel?

When we use our imagination what if rather than making something up, we actually peer into a potential future? What if our memory we actually ride the connective tissue of our lived experience back to the past and relive that experience? What is slower than a moment you can hold up and play back as many times as you want. What happens when you take yourself back to a past event and choose a different path? Can you access a tributary in time that allows you to take with you some experience of a moment you’ve not lived? Praise Lord Time, I say… And give it a shot.


Thanks so much for this great and thoughtful comment. I always enjoy reading your forum comments because they read like mini-essays. I love the details, like about the fruit fly living for 14 days. (Really? Wow.) Now I’m thinking about how it might have been had I been born a fruit fly. I also remember a lot of experiments in science about fruit flies. Something important was found out through one of them, but for the life of me, I can’t grasp my memory, or search the tag, to recall it. I think what I want to say here in this comment is: I’m not going to google it. I’m not going to go digging up tidbits from ‘the past.’ Why? I was away for long enough in a ‘slow moment’ experience. Twelve weeks, white nights, in the middle of Finland. So much forgetting about the old things, the old programmes… so many people pointing out to me how ridiculous some of the ways I have been holding on to certain beliefs (or blocking out other ones) showed me to take my time with just stilling myself to the present. The present. That’s what you’re talking about, too, right, in parts? You’re not telling us to go be zen and present and everything, sure, we’ve all read and heard about that enough. But ‘just be’ came out of my trip as a little thing to remember, to take to the noticing chambers, and notice the being of being. I really learned a lot from the Finnish people—they didn’t try to wrap it up in a. box and put a bow on it and sell it to me. ‘We just be,’ is what I heard from one person, a man stopping in our town for a night and casually hanging out at the only bar in town, where I was, too, who was on his way to the north to continue his work. His job is to paint the stripes on the roads. He has been doing that for 18 years.

No conclusion. No forward pitching questions, here, not now. I’m just writing. Noticing the writing of the reply that comes to M.’s note. Thinking about how nice it will be to catch up in real life–but, oops. That’s the future. That’s thinking about later. Forget later. Focus, focus.



A slow moment.

My awesome response to you got swallowed by Java’s internet disappearing… Uggghghhhghhghghghg

The abridged version is as follows:

I too took away the imporatnce of living moment to moment, but I also took away the idea of the awesome responsibility of wielding such power. To see our memory and expectation as an ability to travel across and manipulate time is monumental. Even if we can only quantum leap throughout our own lives we are still capable of changing the lives of everyone we come in contact with. We can relive and recreate and feel and speculate, travel to new worlds and manipulate them with the power of our minds

I guess, I just wonder, as usual, ‘Is this the best we could get to, as the aggregate of the human species’ efforts so far, up until now?’ We’ve talked about that a little–I am curious if you have any further thoughts on this. I think the power of our minds bit made me realize how much optimism I always felt when talking with you, and reading here in these forum-spaces, too. Always happy to see that there is still optimism *out there*.

That was an awesome rumination on Time, M. I can really relate to that. Our memories, imagination… and the feelings that make sense of it all that sensory data.

My sense is that we are just scratching the surface of that awesome power. To slow the time, transcend our own creation of time. It’s an inspiring thought!

‘Book of Time’ is a thing I’ve been working on for a while now. Could be a good theme for a comic. Taking the esoteric and making it accessible, et al. What do you think? Or are there other themes you’d want to explore, for when we start this?

I’m not super clear on what Book of Time is or how/what sort of esoteric things you’d want to explore, but I did have a fairly interesting idea today that could form up nicely.

Currently, I have a comic idea for the Hypnotic Fist Technique I’m trying to hammer out as well (and am currently a long way away from any sort of real development on). So we’ll need to chat a bit so I can figure out what the Book of Time is and how we can use some sequential art to explore things.

Yes. Let’s figure things out when we find a moment. I sent you a random tweet–I’ve been hanging around the last few days catching up with people here and there. It’s really nice to be back in town. I’m looking forward to our next conversation. Things are good with the podcast edits; I have been queueing up a few and can see the arc, now, and how things fit together. I found htatm y computer has a pretty decent mic on it; maybe we can try another segment, this time focused and shorter (10 min). So that I can splice together some of the new thinking and reflections in with the old. I’m excited about that. More soon. Good luck with the gigs and everything til we x pthsin town soon. I was thinking we could change the venue to the Java in TTP since I’m south of there, and maybe you are nearish there (I’m guessing?), and if that doesn’t work, another spot that would? It’s an idea. Change. Change is the only constant.

The sun is in motion, by the way.

The sun.

Is in motion.

What if all of time is all of now? And all of now is all of time?

Shall I introduce you to the conversation happening in another ‘box,’ about S. Hawking? It’s all getting interesting there, but not yet, more like in late November when the rest of us get down with our projects of various sizes and dimensions. I imagine that includes your own… 🙂

Make art ! Indeed that is the very motto and motivation between these eight images that I contributed to this blog, all of which relate the same single work that has sharing my habitat for a while. By chance that work is secluded from the world, except for the happy few or the daring ones who do venture beyond the doorstep.

I first started to relate to that work as a father, as the one who discussed the initial aesthetic concept with the artist himself and planted a seed in his creative mind. Back then, he was working on a series of realistic, black & white paintings bringing to life anonymous individuals whose life had been terminated abruptly, four decades ago. A few weeks later, he contacted me to let me know that the work was ready. I then took the interstate bus and ultimately reached his atelier, walking passed farms and rice fields in a periuban area of a serene South-East Asian city.

I then related to that work as an older brother, who pitied the first step of that work once at home, and saddened at the cold welcome it received. Interestingly the main reason for the rejection was fear — fear of paranormal manifestations due to the very purpose of the project, that would emanate from its severe black & white resonance. At this point I need to explain that my home is protected by a spirit, as most Cambodian homes are, which we regularly honor with offerings — a belief and a practice that I do take seriously.

Followed a period when the painting was turned to face the living room wall, which lasted almost a year, until my friend and I decided to buy spray paint and add color! From the on the relationship evolved dramatically, and I entered in some dialog with that work. I took it to the brightest room of the house and played with its skin, adding layers, forming patterns, highlighting artifacts, superseding the greatest part of its original artistic spirit.

The frame went down again in the living room, this time springing joyfully to the visitors’ and residents’ eyes. Six months passed, and a new urge commanded me to take the frame upstairs again for a new session of frantic colorization, giving rise to uncanny results as revealed by the eight images.

So much for a fragment of our lives, mine and that of the work, a work in literary progress.

Hi Eric,

What a story! I could follow most of the series of events and imagine how they might have played out. Cool that the work could get the lit the of the day in the end, perhaps.

A curious analogy you used to describe a relationship of a curator (? or art director?) to work of art as one of a father to child. It never occurred to me to think of it that way but it makes sense. Tell me, then; when you decided to take over and add directly to these paintings, what were the feelings? We’re there regrets? Guilt? Or joy and freedom—release? Mixed?

I’m thinking of my own work and how collaborations happen, some of it by accident and some of it a built-in part of the process. Either way, though, there are always tentions—between perspectives and egos, of course, but also of letting go of the initial ideas, letting things take their own shape. It’s a wonderful but sometimes painful, uncomfortable, incredibly challenging process.

Hi Akira,

Good hearing from you. Thank you for your interest and for your questions. Answers follow. Guilt was absent from this particular story, as it from my personal landscape of feelings in general. Regrets are affects that I severed from at an earlier stage in this existence, and I traded them for conscious choices. Feelings that entered that particular alchemy of art making were a mix of serene liberation, joy of the blank page, soothing exploration, confident reconciliation, pleasing surprises, meaningful hesitations, and the beauty of the unresolved.

‘The beauty of the unresolved’ sounds like a good chapter title. Perhaps that’s where we can pick it up in person, in real life, when the conversations begin anew.

I feel we are often looking back at our choices. I like what Mike wrote above, about Time and how we were, and the questions he is posing.

Something to look over, if you find a moment…

Art making. The why we do it. The Who we become when we are in the process of making. These are things I’d love to begin our next coffee meet up with. Perhaps you could join Michael and me at one of the weekly Monday meetups, STAMMTISCH, when we are all in the same place again. Michael, I hope we can resume! 🙂

Hey Eric, I’m back in PP. Let’s connect and do the whole conversing in real life thing. Do you want to meet up with me and Michael B., also in this thread, also very interested in the same topics that we have talked about? I thought we could connect over a drink in TTP some Monday afternoon or something, perhaps at TINI or Java there. Are you in town these next weeks? I’m here for a bit.

Hi Eric!
Art is magic! I mean we can see so many things from a painting, a song, a photograph. For a while I didn’t want to take any photos cause I used to thing that our eyes are the best lenses. But the images that I wanted to keep didn’t last in my mind. They faded until I couldn’t remember I experience them. now I’m learning to take picture.
I’m not sure how my respond makes sense in this conversation thread. It just came to me when I read your story.
Fear of rejection. I wonder if how is it like not having that fear? maybe when we don’t hold to tight on exceptions?


Thanks for adding a comment here–it’s good to see.

‘Art is magic!’ Very nicely put. Sounds like you had some kind of a major breakthrough recently. Can you tell us more about that, if you like? I’m super curious where the new energy is coming from. And glad for it, too. 🙂

I think there’s something to your initial instinct to trust your eyes (and heart) to remember things, Xuan. Something that’s more than the lenses and images you keep. Maybe that—an experience of your system, meeting what’s outside of your body, through your senses—becomes a source of “art as magic.” What do you think?

Emotion in writing. Emotion in work. Emotion in drawing. Emotion in love.

Let’s discuss, sometime, when we all find a time and place to connect again in real life. Perhaps in Hanoi. Or Phnom Penh. Or somewhere new. To the journeys! thanks for having been a part of this, more if you want more, let me know. 🙂

‘Feelings & Words’

Coming back is a flight. A flight and a long line, at immigration. Suitcases. The usual jet lag routine. Coming back is getting used to things The air, and the new foods, which aren’t new at all, but you haven’t had them for a bit, so the feelings are there that are more reminisces, than they are feeling the feeling of being there, then. Right there, feeling what is now, instead of what you imagined before and comparing it to now. Or imaging what’s later and comparing that idea to now. Instead, just being still, now, that’s a kind of feeling. That’s what I found out, in Finland. ‘Just be.’

You asked me questions, Xuan, about the feelings. Words came. Some were adequate, many of them were subpar. But I found myself letting go a bit of the need to put things into words, anymore. Just letting things, instead, be. Not forcing ‘art’ or ‘producitivyt’ or ‘writing’ to happen, but instead, just feeling the feelings of excitement about what may come, if you let it arrive. When it’s ready.

It’s harder, this way, but somehow… I think… more savory. Or it might be. I don’t know. This kind of thing is, to me, very new.

More when more comes to mind. Or rather, less, when it stays clear of my mind. And lets my mind relax, seep free of thinking thoughts, and enjoy the moments as they come, one by one, slow, steady.

Greetings and a hello to all of you who are happening to stop by and notice the updates to the threads here; most welcome to comment away as you like.

On a side note, DK are going to be hosting some events in KL and in Phnom Penh this Sept. and Oct.

Anyone in ‘Slow Moment’ is most welcome to join me, at any number of these, as my personal guest. This is how it works. We get to know a little bit about one another, develop conversations here in these threads, then, when we meet, there is so much fodder for a fresh and exciting and ever-evolving connection to happen. More people, more stories, more learning, more growing. (Adding to the conversations in real life space, building on what we have begun. I’ll be adding here and there to our calendar, which is:

I’m terribly excited about how all of this is unfolding. How is the journey going for you?


Flies. Bees buzzing. I put that into a new story, ‘You could hear bees buzz, between the lines.’ I was telling the story to a few people. The people are listening closely. This feels good. This feels right, like maybe writing about the flowers makes sense. ‘Can you tell me how to say these flowers’ names in Finnish? I have never seen them before, anyway, so it’s impossible to google. And anyway, who wants to write a book based on internet research. Better for me to ask you, J., since you’re here and so am I. What were those ones that came up in June? Already they have faded.’

That’s the story. Ephemera is a recurring theme for me I’m discovering in all of my various threads of art. I mean, the ‘magic moment’ thing. And ‘briefly, but once.’ And keeping all my meetings usually to forty minutes, or, in the case of a salon, 2 hours. (Notice sometimes that I exit before those parties end… I’m interested in the heightened dramatics, I guess, that come up when the urgency is apparent.) And this is where nature comes in. The faded flowers. The ended chapters. The no-longer-there purple and pink ones that I think start with an ‘l’ in Finnish. I’ll ask J. to add them to the list. He has moved out; he was one of the people who left our house in July. There were the June flowers, and the June people, and now there are the faded July flowers and the absence of the July folks. The August people came. They are splendid. The flowers are not here but the sunsets are incredulous. I have seen the dark now. The darkening sky. I wrote all over the place about how bright it was, in June, and now it’s darker and darker, bit by bit. A stretch in the evening, but the other way. Darker and darker. Night. I will be gone before the endless night begins. It’s a stretch of the imagination, for me, to think about what it might be like. But that is my challenge, to myself, now. To empathize with the sense of the awareness of that kind of dark that Finns have. I’m writing it down as best I can. Some people have been helping me fix up the google translate versions. I’ll hope to leave some things behind in the library, when I go, in Finnish. I have taken a Finnish pen name. It feels good. It is readying. I’m tired but not too tired for a walk, and as it’s already 8:10PM, I realize I best get moving. Because it’s no longer an all-bright, all-white night.





Fade into yellow. Fade into night.

Humans had learnt to observe the cyclical movement of seasons, of day and night long before time keeping devices were invented. The fundamental knowledge that something is reoccuring at equal intervals of observation and co-relative to certain other occurance is what we defined time.
Time as an abstracted concept of observation of natural phenomenons, became a popular understanding of a sysiphian act of human knowledge. Every cultural system developed according to their requirements a system to communicate this abstracted and tangible observation of natural and reoccurring events.
Time therefore is a derivative of natural phenomenon, human observation of nature. Is time the only systems derivative of nature?
Leaving aside the physiological aspects of human, we within ourselves then have no natural causes from which we can derive time. But, wait!, there is the mind that observes, but then what seems like a metaphysical enquiry, is human observation cyclic?
For an exercise like this enquiry, we would Need, a third person point of view. Could the flora and fauna provide that? And if such is possible then greater research is mandated, than just “The secret life of Plants”.
In our human narrative, these beings are identified as domesticated and docile aliens. An alienation which now has resulted in false observation and it’s derivatives.
Let me put this in perspective for our sake, we cannot just by looking at the shape of the leave identify what is edible or not ( If no labelling is provided, over the shrink wraps of supervised “May I Help You” stacked advertisements of marketed logistics)
Some famous Indian mystical spiritual guru who studied engineering , to illustrate with an analogy, gave a dog a blessed “prasad” of ‘nothingness’. The dog took a sniff, and finished all nothingness and left not a thing for the rest of the congregation.
Consumerism of philosophy, thought the dog, makes a man, healthy , healthy and ‘not a thing’.

I like this plants stuff. Is there something that we are missing, that the plants ‘know’ that we don’t? I wonder what you would say to that question. Also, I wonder what an imaginary conversation would be like between you and a plant. Maybe let’s try some dialogue, eh?
The plant began: ‘CP, you seem to think about us more than most people. What is it with you humans? Don’t you realize it’s us that makes the oxygen?’
(And, over to you!….)

“We give you shade in the seasons when it is hot, we give colours to seasons which you romantically write poetry about, we take care of birds whose life you voyeur at and write fables about, we provide the landmark and ruminative ability by which Buddhas’ can achieve Nirvana and sermon under our shade, we give you happiness and furniture and paper and indigo and all the colours which you plume by, we give you respite from your thoughts when you are sad and bitter and sweet and sour fruits to teach you taste and what you find in us is only the function of dry oxygen that allows you to be alive?!” Said a tree to me once too many times. Who are you Charlee who writes about us when you do not even know how we make our each leaves of unique.” Said a tree to me once many times.

CP, did we lose the connexion? I hope you got my emails! And I’d look forward to hearing more about everything, smalltalk or big talk, as you find your way there. I have a friend in the town where you are that I’d love to connect you with, also. Shall I do so? Is email all right? LMK.

Loved the PDF… shall I share any of it here, in the pix or was that just for us to talk about? Just confirming! Some good comments in other threads on this page. Have a look?

Nature II

IT IS DARK. I mean, almost. If it was Photoshop, I’d say it was 82% opacity blue-black. The night air was good, coming home on my bicycle just now from the local pub. I wasn’t there to drink or anything, just to look for J. I will write about J. in Tuesday’s note. I saw J. and M. and it was good. But I got some difficult-to-hear-news that made me think again about Nature and its cycles. So much to say. Sometimes when you are in that moment of stunned stupor you just kind of have this weird alternate mode of operating; is it denial? The denial stage, yes. That must be it. I’m blithely typing into the comment forum here, as though nothing extraordinary was shared. But I think internally, I’m just… in denial. While the sun stays lower behind the edge of the earth in the distance (and my window lets me see that edge, in a way, through the trees and a bit of a haystack, over there, yes, I’m looking at it, today the wind was so gusty it blew over a vase of flowers and got some of my new zines wet and I didn’t even freak out about it, I remember bawling when it flooded on all my artwork in this one apartment, in Cambodia… I was like… these are my *assets*… what do I have in the world if I don’t have my artwork!? But now I know. I have my friends. I have my conversations with all of you. I have… what nature gave me… so far… the gifts of growing with the 7B of us out here in this one little blue-and-green-and-midnight-black planet. Floating around, around the sun, ‘Well done everyone,’ and so on, and so forth, and here we go. And tomorrow I’ll probably finally look at this new news and face it square; but for now, it’s the midnight hour, ten past. In Sydney it’s 7 hours ahead. I”ll be talking with my friend there, tomorrow. She was part of so many of our past conversation-forum-salon things (sometimes I am very lucky and find people who continue to do these things with me even though we almost always experimenting, just tweaking as we go)… but she really had a lot fo cool things to write last time, when ‘Slow Moment’ was the topic-of-the-week earlier this year, in another thingy. But yeah. As things are going quieter here (?) I was thinking it might be nice to ask people who were pretty conversational here in the S P A C E forums to rejoin and carry on the conversation… I’d ask her to weigh in on this one, for ex., with CP…

After all this time to percolate, a few things are popping up, C. Things I want to talk with you about, sometime, if we have a moment to converse in real life that’s always best, but for now, here in S P A C E, these are they:
. When we talk about Nature, as something separate from ourselves, are we tuning out something? What is it that we are tuning out, if we are? I’ve been thinking a lot about nothing at all. Trying to find the quietest spaces. Most recently, a walk in the Arctic Circle, really, no, really. The forest. I was inspired to go there because of these threads, C., because of what you had written, so beautifully and eloquently and at such length and with depth, about the things that the plants and trees know, and can teach us. I read once that Woodrow Wilson used to consult with trees for counsel. Deep in the wood in Ghana one summer, too, I heard about the ‘talking trees’ and drank a couple of rounds of Star beer. That was 97. I still recall it.
. What do you think needs to happen so that more people can break free of the stoic thinking that separates Man and Nature, as though we are separate, and not of the same cosmic ‘stuff.’
. Plants thinking.
. More dialogues perhaps would be so great to read, your writing when you write in this way is easy for me to get into, more accessible, kind of, perhaps because it feels like a story and we all love stories, do we not? 🙂 The harder ones are the intellectual essays, but also, they are curious but also, maybe I can make some comics to go with them, so that we can feel like we’re allowed ‘in’ in some way… access, again. Your thoughts? Or perhaps it’s irrelevant to you to communicate more widely the feelings here, the thoughts you have, about how, and correct me if I misunderstand you, about how Nature can Teach Us, and, perhaps, if we’re very lucky, help us find our way towards slightly more illuminated feeling-thoughts revolving around, for lack of a better term, the Mystery.

Intrigued by what you wrote. Interested in hearing more. Remarked to myself that you brought it back to ‘stitch.’ And remember, the thread, the necklace, the pearls, the ‘Sewing Machine in Suomela?’ That building, to be really honest, was a kind of magical place… an old place, a building in which some healing really could happen. I tell you, things changed there; three times, I witnessed it. More to say, off-thread, CP. Thanks for being here, for doing this with us, and for the conversations. I’m really digging it. More soon. And: are you in touch with S. and the others? I’d love to reconnect with all of you one day in real life, perhaps when the trees are calling.

Responding to the previous post: time

Jet lag does a number on the body. This is my fourth country in four months. I’ve gone from a hot dry oven to a steaming sauna, to a temperamental northern maritime climate, only t end up in warm muggy New York. Hey say for each hour of time zone change, you need a day of adjustment. How long will it take me to adjust to different climates? To different cultures? To different people?

When the body can’t adjust to time zones, the mind can’t adjust to time-years. I see college friends in the summer, but can’t understand why they have grey temples and bulging stomachs. Sometimes, when I’m “home” in the summer, I see teenagers who look familiar and wonder if its someone I went to school with, before realizing that it’s the children of ppl I went to school with who would be teenagers now.

Home is in brackets because this has become a disorienting term as well. A fellow traveler – in the literal sense, someone I met travelling in Macau – once told me that home for him was wherever he had a pillow, family was whoever was with him at the time. 10 years ago, that seemed like an appropriate and romantic definition. Not quite so anymore. Being unmoored for the first time is freedom, but a decade later you start to feel adrift. I think I’ve put some new and old coordinates on the world. Places where I have some connection to the people and some feeling for the land.

These coordinates give me my sense of time. I think this is why it is so jarring to travel between places, between worlds. Halifax is everything I have left behind. It represents, variously, the certainties of my teenage years and the ambiguities of my 20’s. There is now in a the Philippines a building made out of concrete, which is unlike anything I have ever owned before – its presence gives a concreteness to my life. And yet it is clearly a place where I am a perpetual outsider. That experience blurry premonition of what it still to come. New York lets me know that a generation below me are growing up rapidly.
Time zones are not confusing because of jet lag. They are confusing because time zones become times, stages in my life or the life of those close to me.

Welcome to S P A C E, Mike. 🙂

This really struck a chord with me: ‘Being unmoored for the first time is freedom, but a decade later you start to feel adrift.’

More soon… but I’ll let others reply here, too, before I get too wordy…

Where has your ship anchored of late, Mike? Curious. Writing from KL. Writing ‘At rest while in motion,’ a short story about the way when you toss a ball into the air, it comes to full rest at the highest point of the trajectory. Thinking back to the d-v-a-t formulas from high school physics, thought of you, of you out there, wherever you are, forming impressions, writing them in fractured splints of time, connecting dots, when you are let to. Or… when you let yourself. Love to see the scribblings, sometime. Thanks again for being part of this. More when you are ready; bring it on.

‘Home is in brackets.’ Another line that hit home. Some of the time I don’t know where to moor my concept of ‘home,’ and that is part of the reason, I think, it’s just become less important to think about it as a particular place and more of an, I guess, idea. We had this one really good conversation salon one time, ‘tether,’ which really, I wasn’t there for it, but when Akira told me about it and we had our own little relay race in our house talking together about so many things relating to the idea of ‘What keeps you tethered, what grounds you?’, it began to be a kind of concept more than a place… for us. I’m not explaining this well. I should start again.

Ten years ago it was, what, 2008? Was in Seattle. Was really thinking Seattle would be ‘it,’ was ‘home.’ Had moved there for a job. Job had been alright, but as things began to become more interesting in other spots for me personally (like in that 8am-5pm spot, for example), I took a shot at starting something else. ‘Home’ was going to be a condo that I never bought, in Seattle. ‘Home’ was going to be the neighborhood where my old friend from high school lived with her kids in Raleigh-Durham, where we’re from, with our side-by-side houses and regular dinner parties. ‘Home’ was going to be ‘the road,’ but that, too, had its strange endpoint after one year on the road… I found Phnom Penh, it found me, you know how it goes… Phnom Penh is… its own kind of spot. I knew, though, enough by the time I got there to never, ever think it could be ‘home.’ At that point, and this was late 2017, that I realized I was ready for a change, it felt like… not ‘home’ I was looking for but ‘the journey’. That the home was movement. The home that felt most comfortable was in the shifting, changing it up. That comfort in knowing that soon something new would be there, around the corner, over the horizon… that felt good. That felt… toasty. Like it’s winter and snowy outside and inside is toasty. The not-knowing is fine. The stagnation of each day being what it was the day before was too unbearable. I googled, just for no reason, the people I used to work alongside at my job in Seattle. I had forgotten the last names of two of them. There was one who claimed on twitter to be a ‘world traveler.’ But he has been at the same job for 13 years. I remember emailing to talk to him. He was literally an arm’s length away. That was ‘office life.’ For a lot of people, ‘work’ is ‘home.’…

My friend J. says ‘the you of today is going to be different from the you of yesterday, and different still from the you of tomorrow.’ I read in a book called Snow that I found in an art gallery cafe in KL about a character who felt sad she wouldn’t be able to return to the self she was *now*. I wonder what you are thinking about as you write about these ideas of time and change, you and evolution, life stages and movement, and *you* vis-a-vis *you*subscriptnow and *you*subscriptfuture. Yes?…

This is a very rich thread! Thanks Dipika for pointing to me and prodding me to post here.

What I find interesting about time and home (it’s a concept about space, yes? in terms of time and space) is that a. we tend to always define what it is for us in relations to others (“*this* is home to me, because *that* isn’t”) and b. our definition of home/tether/center/ground becomes synonymous to how we see ourselves.

The only thing I remember today from my Tether open circle in Portland, where “digital nomads” and “change-makers” congregated for a weekend (it was, what, 7 years ago?), was that our talk about “what grounds us” quickly shifted to our shared discomfort with being identified as one thing, a profession or what we liked or where we were from. Many of us thought of ourselves as hybrids, “multipotentialites” and found that little window we cocreated to connect with each other about this hugely helpful, to know that there were others who felt that way. My own perspective has shifted now; I see “home” as a concept that goes beyond a place or an era; it’s how I occupy my own body. And that’s not something that I or someone else can label or describe. It’s nothing (to quote CP from above).

Our sense of time is subject to how we see the space we occupy. To me, perhaps, it’s simply easier to be a visitor, a perpetual traveller, than to see myself and my generation reflected and projected into the future of the place. Some might draw an inspiration or aspiration from such image; to me, it is just oppressive. I would like to exist “in time”—with its flow, without the self-conscious act of defining/marking the time or space.

Here’s what I wrote in my journal:

You see time as linear, limited and fast-passing when you exist in a closed system where you see yourself playing a fixed role: as a worker, a boss, a mother, etc. When your space supports more free-flowing sense of self, time is experienced as being more malleable, cyclical and expandable. Of course, “there’s not that much time left” and seeing time as flexible doesn’t mean that you don’t appreciate this fact or value time in its every moment.

Example: when I’m running a workshop, I’m occupying the space as someone who is in control. Time seems very limited, linear—managing time is like a puzzle where I’m moving pieces, counting minutes. As an attendee of these sorts of workshops, though, my perception of time is completely different: I forget what time it is, I don’t *care* what time it is. It’s easy for me to “lose track” or “in the moment.”

There are exceptions of course, and I can go between these modes, and both have their time and place, can be enjoyable. But to me, it’s important to be aware of my intention and being, and in general, I prefer to be lost in the time and space, than in control, more of the time. 🙂

Really? You prefer to be lost in time and space?

I didn’t know that…

I guess one of the things about knowing you is that I only know the you that you are when you are with me. So I’m now growing curious about this solo you. The one that likes getting lost. The one that gets to the woods. Who are you, when you are apart from me?

Maybe try a dialogue?:


Like in Hard Boiled Wonderland, how he talks to his shadow?… Walking here I’ll always see some very long, long shadows here at long, long sunsets. Buildings, trees, cabins farm machinery… me.

Made me think of the book.

Did you get my email, Mike? More coming, but only in very small and different spaces, as we get going in Oct. I want to invite you to the next stuff, because it’s really going to be more low-key than these workshops have been. A salon, instead. I think you’d be a good match for it, it’s dip in as you like and super low commitment. Think about it? More when we have time to talk more on email and elsewhere–come to PP and say hi? Always welcome to pop in to any of our events. On Monday afternoons I’m hosting a regular thing for guests of S P A C E and our programmes–it’s light, small, and invite-only for us kids to play. Three of us in this thread are here, so yeah. It can be super intriguing if we discover a way to do this. I’m here for a bit, then… ?

Responding to the new prompt: nature (hello everyone! nice to meet you here)…

NATURE. It’s a big subject. I’ve always had a complicated relationship with it. I’m allergic to all sorts of things, cat and dog dandars and dust and certain pollens, leaves, rains of certain pH… At the same time, I grew up very close to the nature, played in it quite a bit, and had a dog for a long time, too. Japan is a very urban place, you are never that far from a crowd, wherever you are, so I am lucky to have this affinity to nature and cityscapes alike.

I’ve been staying in Kuala Lumpur on and off for the last few months, and for me, this feels very close to the environment that I grew up in. When I first landed in KLIA a few years ago, my first impression of it was that “here’s a city that would be devoured by the lush, green jungle in a matter of months if people moved out.” The greens here are deep, and almost menacingly alive. You can feel it in the oppressive heat, the downpour, the pace of the change in weather. It is also one of the brightest cities at night—the place never sleeps. So being in this context of contrast and paradox, when I hear “nature”, and along with it the usual “the nature vs. man-made” inference we make semi-automatically of the word (my free-association upon hearing the word: woods, animals, bugs, storms, ocean, lakes, log cabin, rainbows), I’m wont to and want to reflect on it more as a wider-encompassing word, that include us, and our built environment. I mean, how can we be separate from it? Whether you are in Tokyo, New York City or Doolin, Ireland, you are in nature, in so far as you are connected to it, no matter how far you feel away from the greens of grass or browns of dirt or blues of the water. Cities too grow, die, renew, as forests do. Forests can harbor, entertain, nurture and protect, as well as repel, trap, and destroy lives, as cities do. We humans are subjected to these forces as well as shape them.

So what is “nature” then? To me, it’s this force of change—the way things shift shapes and forms, playing different part in a system. We, as everything and every being around us, are all part of it. And how we are part of it is changing, constantly. We might be playing a creator, then next moment becoming a catalyst or destruction itself. You might be observing it, then participate in or shaping it, then being affected by it, along with everyone around you. This change, the shifting force, itself is nature, and nothing more.

It’s curious, too, that the word nature is used to describe our dispositions, like “that’s his nature” or “naturally, I picked up the slack. I’m just that kind of a worker” (natural, according to disctionaries, means “innate”) Curious because we tend to use this word to describe what we least expect to change about ourselves and others, and call them “nature.” My conjecture is that we wish for nature to be shift-less, unchanging. Something solid, something permanent. Am I taking it too far? Maybe.

How does this link back to our theme of slow moment? Nature, as we think of the word conventionally, can be a good conduit for slow moments. Things slow down when we are disconnected to the civilization, our social networks and their attendant obligations. The romantic notion of Walden. But let’s see if we can extend this a bit further: if we are to think of nature as our only innate, shared property—change—then can we say that we are wont to slow down in the midst of change? Can we cultivate that? True connection, inside or with the outside world, can only happen when we slow down, then our first instinct is to wish things will not change—at least not that fast. But perversely, the ability of slowing down and connecting, is cultivated in the midst of change, and ultimately, only possible in this changing world.

“Remind yourself that the deepest stillness and peace does not arise because the world is still or the mind is quiet. Stillness is nourished when we allow the world, the mind and the body to be just as they are for now, moment by moment, and breath by breath.”
—Mark Williams, “Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World.”

Of course, easier said than done! I don’t know if I’m ever able to attain slow moment, but being aware that I’m trying, is the first step. Thanks for this opportunity and thanks for everyone here for giving me the space to share.

Any apocalyptic imagination always visualised either a cancerous growth of civilised cityscape or vice-versa as “Natural” growth overpowering human habitats, mostly a factuality of cinema. As menacing either would bring us to believe the ardent opposition to either systems of growth, which is the common theme of our existence of meta-narrative of “Man vs Nature” ( Where in this, are woman?!!) It would be vehemently sexist to say that there is either in conflict. Let me for the sake of bringing forth a point, be Romantic, and state that , Man and Nature are both nurturing. And therefore to correct myself, the theme of our meta-narrative is “Human and Nature” or as the obscurely congruent philosophers would say “Human Nature”.
In our understanding of Human we have always taken a ‘third person’ polarity to comment on Nature or Human. Before going any further with this commentary, let me share an experience of Flora in the city.
A branch of a Neem tree was growing into the room of my flat in Ahmedabad (Flora is sparse in this part of India). The window was always open as it provided a cross flow of air and cooled the room, also the shade from the same Neem tree, also provided bountiful shade, for which I am still grateful. Sometime it occurred to me that, the landlord would not take the extended hospitality of the tree as “romantically” and the “good sense” would prevail and the landlord would ask me to vacate the premises for being irresponsible with the upkeep of the flat. So, the branch was twisted politely outside the window and the window closed. I thought that the tree felt sad for me not having accepted the friendship that had been so forthrightly been extended.
With indifference I would visit my room, coming only at night to take a nap.
I felt that I had to visit my graceful and gracious neighbour, feeling heavy to have perturbed the nurturing hospitality that the Tree had offered. In a week’s time the branch had “migrated” in another direction away from my window. The distance of migration was over 6 feet (in one week! or 11 centimeter per hour). As Newton had inferred with his satirical “Law of Relativity” and more viscerally Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night”, the phenomenon which only now astrophotography has been able to expose. The Slow exposure at the mind has the possibility for expose’ of ‘nature’.
And to annihilate any understanding of this “Slowness” to misrepresented “Romantic” movement in ART, an understanding that lead to Edmund Burke’s seminal work “A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful”. Ancient Indian Aesthetic theorist like Abhinavgupta were able challenge the audience with a very structural system at theater, with his Rasa Theory, which still is at the forefront of explaining the experiences like sublime.
And as I write this, I am feeling my thoughts expose an inference in the systematics of feeling, that such to is characteristically “Slow movement” like the Tree migration in relation to our observed notion of Time.

WOW is right! I’m so glad my ramblings sparked such thoughtful, deep rumination. I enjoyed the story of the neem tree and how it weaved back into the discourse of time, mythology and our perceptions of them. Thank you, C., whoever you are and wherever you roam.

When I met you you talked a lot about forests, Akira. And later, about the lake in Oregon. It seems like these kinds of moments of being outdoors register deeply with you. But more so when you have been alone. Or?

To me, these are the moments that takes me back to my childhood when I felt free to play and roam. Mayhaps that’s what I’m trying to get back to, in my free time? ha.

Above in a thread with Mike we are talking about ‘home’ and tethers. Can you recall what you guys had talked about at that conversation salon in PDX, ‘Tether?’ I think it would be neat to hear it again… perhaps reply to Mike’s note above?… Thanks!

Thank you for replying, Akira! I hope that things are good where you are. We are having a bit of a turn towards the cold here, now. Autumn. Change of season–that was fast. Reminds me a lot of Ireland, lately. More things are going on in the new comments and posts above and wanted to put this little message here to send a ping to let you know. More tomorrow… Happy to read your words–keep ’em comin!’

You wrote: “Remind yourself that the deepest stillness and peace does not arise because the world is still or the mind is quiet. Stillness is nourished when we allow the world, the mind and the body to be just as they are for now, moment by moment, and breath by breath.”
—Mark Williams, “Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World.”

Interestingly, M. has brought up an intriguing perspective on Time, writing a bit about past, present, and future… Check out his post, in this same page, above. It’s one of the most recent comments, here.

New prompt is on its way as I am posting this comment! Just to inform you, everything that is shared with me in the conversations informs the prompts–so when you engage with ‘Slow Moment,’ you are also making a direct contribution to where things go in the conversations to come. That means… it’s your space… to enjoy, to play with, to interact within. Maybe we met in real life at something—say, a conversation salon—and you may recall from that how it felt to simply be there, with others, whose paths you may or may not have otherwise have crossed, to talk together about a specific topic. We are all here for ‘Slow Moment.’ I invite you to add to this space in these comments, in the replies, in email, and even in your own personal journals that you may choose not to share with me or us at all. The idea is to encourage you to write, to photograph, to draw—choose your medium as you like. It’s a flat hierarchy: all of you are welcome to ask questions to me, or of one another. This is a circle. And you are an important part of it.

The last four weeks have been a great warm-up. It takes some time to get started writing, to find your time, to build a habit. And now, it’s up to you to share more—I invite you to try it. Experimenting, exploring, trying out new ideas. Where I am right now is an artist residency in which 5 people are living together and even in the non-spoken communications (we pass by each other’s studios all the time) there is a kind of ambient dialogue. A ‘hm… that’s interesting!’, or ‘What do you think?’ quiet exchanges… these help us try out stuff that we never would have before. New things emerge. New! That’s important, isn’t it? If we didn’t have a chance to try something new we couldn’t develop, grow, and explore. So while July was a chance to Practice, I think August and September could be a chance to Explore and Share. Is that all right with you? I hope so.

That said, I want to acknowledge the hard work and courage in sharing, so far. It’s not easy to post your private feelings, thoughts, and philosophical meanders to the internet, I know! But some of you have, already, and I want to give you a nice shout-out here and say, ‘Well done!’ (There’s a great song I want to play for you—you can google it…. it’s called ‘The Dance of the Cherry Trees’ and it’s by a singer/songwriter I became a fan of while in Ireland, John Spillane. I can tell you more when we meet in real life what I learned from his concerts and one particularly great conversation, at DeBarra’s. Ask me when we meet. I’ll be in KL soon, and also in Phnom Penh probably in Oct., if something that is tentatively slated as a ‘go’ is *actually* a ‘go.’ Let’s see.)

So yeah. Thank you for your replies and conversations here, so far. I’ve got so many things to say to each of you, but I will save them for when the time is right. As always there is never any pressure to ‘keep up’ with the prompts here, or to post, or even reply to me. BUT!, I made a promise to each of you to hold you accountable this next 8 weeks (August already, right!), and so, expect to hear more from me in the way of reminders and check-ins, if you have been… quieter. I’m looking forward to hearing your voice, and so, I’m certain, are the others. Let’s enjoy this. Let’s do this. Let’s make… A. Spaice. (Maybe you’ve heard me say this before? ‘Together, we did this. Together, we made ‘A. Spaice.’) 🙂

There is a book that springs to mind for me when I think of time as non-linear. Boethius’ A Consolation of Philosophy. It taught me HOW to get out of the rat race.
The analogy used was simple yet I’d somehow never encountered or imagined it before. Linear time is like picking up a needle and sewing a tapestry.
Eternity, or timelessness, is where you view the tapestry in its entirety because the thing already exists, and the need to create it is the illusion/physical limitation.

Looking through my online photo archives, a one-webpage record, automatically created since I started being a serious traveller in 2015, gives me the feeling of viewing the entire tapestry. The timing of my visits don’t even matter. The stories do.
Speaking of whole visual pictures/tapestries, complete pieces of art are one distinctly common thread. Wherever I’ve gone, I’ve photoed art, be it gallery level or on the streets.

It makes me think of how powerful we are. We can step outside time, manipulate it, move back and forth in it, and through it all, we’re there in the present moment and yet it can keep us prisoner.

Thanks, Saarah! It’s great to welcome you here, in S P A C E. I was *just* talking late last night with a new housemate here in the shared space that we are all finding all kinds of slow moments in, in the middle of nowhere, in northern Finland. He has two cats. Know what their names are? Chronos and kairos.

Thanks, Saarah! It’s great to welcome you here, in S P A C E. I was *just* talking late last night with a new housemate here in the shared space that we are all finding all kinds of slow moments in, in the middle of nowhere, in northern Finland. He has two cats. Know what their names are? Chronos and kairos.

Saarah, in another place on the internet (soundcloud I’ll soon be posting an interview with B… about…. guess what? ‘Art.’ I think you will really like it… But coming back to the images you had shared with me on email… When you sent them, you talked about photographing art. That collection is eclectic and curious. Questions popped to my mind: What do you look for when you’re choosing what to capture with your camera? I’m keen to hear the qualities that draw you in when you happen upon these art pieces, art objects, and found… bits and pieces. What intrigues you about them before you capture them on camera? Then they go into your archives… what do you imagine a conversation between two of those images might sound like? It would be so cool to see some dialogue that you might write. I’d be very interested to read *that*. 🙂

It’s curious that I’m catching up with all of this now, after I’ve listened to your interview with B (I assume Benjamin Nwaneampeh) in a space where time doesn’t flow like it does in the outside world. Synchronicities all around. I suppose, then, this reply can be my response, or at least a part-response to the exercise.

(I’ll also send in the nature piece. Being too unwell to really do anything for the last few days has made me think about this very differently.)

I wonder whether my collection is eclectic and curious because I did make a conscious attempt to choose art from around the world, created by different people in wildly different contexts. I suppose it matches my travels in some ways. I don’t often travel with a goal or purpose in mind. It’s sheer intuition. I go just because I feel drawn there, and when I’m there, I really want to feel the difference between that country/situation and the previous ones.
In terms of my overall collections art photos, I do take multiple pictures from one display. I’m sure B could elaborate on this, but I have so many photos of graffiti from the Shoreditch area. When I do find myself in London, I always, always check out the new graffiti murals, because I know where to go to experience large amounts of it. However, this type of artwork always catches my eye, wherever I am and it’s the sort of art that I feel compelled to photograph. Those pieces are also the ones that evoke the most enjoyment when I look again at photos from the past.
It is initially the bold colours and images that catch my attention here. The fact that people can create such detail on a wall using spray cans also impresses me. And I love that it’s outdoor art, mostly on walls and buildings that would otherwise be nondescript.

I also love photographing buildings, when I really like the architecture. I’ll send you some pictures of buildings that I took in my neighbourhood of Bo De Street, Hanoi. I took quite a few building pictures there because I found the architecture so beautiful. But graffiti frequently livens up architecture that would often otherwise be just ugly.

I had a thought just now, about the philosophy of graffiti as the everyman’s art form and as something slightly subversive, and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t connect with those ideas, but I don’t get drawn in by the ideas – it has to be great artwork and there have to be really bright, contrasting colours. A pretty pastel mural has been known to intrigue me, but that is rare.

There’s also something about graffiti that I feel is missing in oil paintings. I think it’s the child-like nature of the block images and matte colours. It’s like space travel for my inner child, a visit to other worlds and dimensions not like our own.

I’ll send some pictures directly via email. I’ll also write down a dialogue between two images from my transient-historic digital archive. and share in a separate post.

Saraah, your collection of pictures sounds very much like my cup of tea! I’d love to see those streets in Hanoi and Shoreditch through your eyes/camera.

I too love seeing graffiti—to me often, they reflect the time and space of the city I’m visiting (or “living” in). I sometimes feel like I could be making pretty sound judgment of a place (for me, to visit or live in) by looking at its walls. Actually, I might just go and do that.

Yay, I love that you put the Japanese cream cake up there too – one of my best ever food pics taken with a humble camera phone! That’s from my local bakery though, not Hanoi. Food and drink are also favourite travel photos for me.
I have 2 nice egg coffee pictures from Hanoi old Quarter, in different places that maybe the DK crew has visited.

I take coffee photos everywhere, whether I’m travelling or not. My coffee pictures evoke strong nostalgia. I only drink coffee when I’m out at a place that makes good coffee, and often it’s either a social or meditative thing. Of course the Vietnamese make the best coffee. All those reasons are why I like photographing my own cup (I don’t really photograph other people’s coffee.)
I photographed my first REAL Macchiato in Asia last week, at the Fabulous Baker Boys in Singapore (I was so happy. Malaysia isn’t great on Macchiatos.)
The funny thing is, every coffee picture is actually all different, depending on type of coffee, size and colour of mug, surroundings, latte art, etc – at least I think so!

Shoreditch graffiti pics to come xo

You’re welcome! I wanted to put the set up there this time since it looks like it’s the relationships between them that are just as important as the images themselves. Agree about Vietnam and coffee. Agree about coffee pix; I have to confess all this filtered coffee here in Finland is making me migrate home to tea. Nothing like a good cup of rooibos. Or chai, when you can get it. (Not here).

Shoreditch! I’m excited to see those.

Thanks for all these notes and contributions, so far! Keep ’em comin’ and SYS!

Also, ‘philosophy of graffiti as the everyman’s art form’–definitely. My friend Gabriel is a mural artist I just met in Penang. I wonder if you will get to meet him when we get to KL this time. I’ll try to invite him to the Arts & Letters Society event as a special guest. He’s really good. And what’s weird is I found another graffiti artist in the town where I am–except, weirdly, what he was making wasn’t at all graffiti in that ‘everyman’ sense but rather a commission from a fancy-pants arts organization. I know Akira will have comments about *that*. We experienced some of this ‘graffiti as Art’ thing when we were in Phnom Penh wandering around and watching people try to ‘artsty-it-up’, if that’s even an idea. More DIY, more scruffy, more grassrootsy, to me, was the way the tuk-tuk drivers would decorate their vehicles! Ask me about the astroturf one! Or Wifi! Or… gosh, so many good shows.


I’d love to add a line item to our agenda… I’m curious to hear more about Boethius’ A Consolation of Philosophy. You wrote: ‘It taught me HOW to get out of the rat race.’

I’d love to hear more about that, here or in real life. 🙂


So great to have had you in this project, Saarah. Thank you for trusting in me and for joining in with the conversations that have been, for me, anyway, hugely insightful and curious. I’m looking forward to continued connections, in real life and in these spaces, and have some ideas as I had mentioned on an email, a moment ago. Thanks again and more soon, when and as you’re ready. To the journeys!

This feels like a synchronous event given the subject matter of time that was being discussed. (I don’t believe in coincidences.) I wonder how else the cats and their owners’ paths might cross our own again?

Even though you are the one that has met and directly interacted with them thus far, I believe that hearing about someone is a sort of crossing of paths. They are present in life and not present – a sort of Schrödinger’s cat situation, so to speak.
The phrases ‘Vicarious existence’ and ‘co-creation’ also spring to mind here, and lately I was thinking about how the two were the same and different.
The cynical, attention-seeking, sabotaging ego reduces things to a negative, springing up to suggest the stupidity of suggesting that someone (let alone their cats) who are not visible to the physical eyes can be part of one’s world.
The spirit, which is not attached to time and space, realises that all is one. If I hear a story about someone and their cats, then they have become a part of my conscience and I can choose to override the rejecting ego and allow myself to be transformed and enlightened by the experience.

Thinking about your discussion on the podcast with the photographer Benjamin Nwaneampeh, you touched briefly on the near necessity of having a social media presence and the weirdness of not being on there. I believe social media is a bridge between people being part of one’s reality or not. There are so many fascinating people out there and we’d never have known of their existence were it not for online channels. Yet, due to the internet, they can become an intimate part of our lives, with two-way interaction.

This being said, opinions are completely personal. My personal enlightenment is mine alone. It would be interesting to hear the cat owner’s views on this. Perhaps their view and yours would be completely different, and that’s what makes life interesting.

Also, some new images just posted–have a look? Maybe you’ll find what Eric wrote to be inspiring to respond to. I think you might. Just letting you know there’s new stuff here, at the top…

A taxonomy happened sometime during the Romantics, and clouds had names.
An ant colony comes out in monsoon and many have wings and they fly not. Are they ostriches?
The colour changes with every flicker of eyelid and every shadow that passes, even in memory when we keep as strongly the tinted hue,
never and never again we see the same, that we make.
Go with a memory of colour and try and make it at the paint shop of which you forgot to take the shade card, the colour of paints are obnoxiously another.
Oh! I remember and visit an age-old friend ( now with nostalgia) that person is the same and yet with another, another.
Memory changed me.
“Did you change your memory?”
A slang became pseudonym, became a synonym, never became onym and here I am jettisoning some words.
Vaguely they form the idea , heterarchically arranged maybe in the mind and then the plugin that we know as memory.
I say “do not knot memes and the loose threads impose knismesis”
And to learn patience wait for an other raindrop to fall where another had rained earlier, thought a camel.

It is raining. It is quiet rain. The volume of rain affects me; yesterday, it was ice cubes that were falling, small and round. The sky is very close to the ground here, in northern Finland, observed my friend SJ. ‘The sky is close.’ Clouds are so near it is as though the pines can touch them. They are not tall pines. A girl who had come here from the UK and hadn’t been to the US wondered aloud as we drove the main freeway through the forests on both sides, ‘I wonder if these are as tall as the pines in America?’ I thought of Muir Woods. I thought of trunks big and red and the diameter of which mocked these ones. No, I said. Not even trying to be polite about it. Thinking of the old book, ‘Drum and Soul,’ or some such title, about native American people and their attunement in the way of life to large pines and brush and waters. ‘Nothing like the redwoods. I went once, to see them, with my cousin…’ The 90s. The dotcom bubble. The days when Silicon Valley wasn’t what it has become… it was still hopes and dreams and paper millionaires, like my cousin’s friends and himself perhaps, though he never told me what happened. We talked often when we were young about poetry and when you write, Charlee, it reminds me a little bit. The thoughts would go everywhere, for both of us together were like waves become overlap, so as to amplify one another, and we were only a year apart. When I was a freshman in college he was a sophomore, at the same place. We went for falafel. He took me to the parties. Stuck nearby so nothing weird would happen. A foreign country, for him. Those United States. Now he lives there, he’s become part of it. We never talk poetry. When we talk, he asks me how I’m making a living. Everyone does. When I contact them in the US they don’t want to hear about the sound of the river, the buzz of bees, the story I’m writing (and having translated, believe it or not, piece by piece as I go–protoypying, testing, seeing if I ‘got’ the story), they want to talk about their travels that fit into boxes and look good on social media in streams and streams. Speaking of streams. Have you read ‘Society of the Spectacle, Charlee?’ Later this week, perhaps at the weekend, I’ll try to write to my cousin. (You know, of course, I had invited him to join us here… It wasn’t a yes or a no… it was just… quiet. Perhaps that’s part of how it is, when we grow up. Drifting, Mike talked about, in the geophysical sense. That happens. But there’s other kinds of pulling apart, too.

Your thoughts?

That particular empty pillowcase that I was holding, Eliza’s pillowcase, was in fact holding me. It was holding me together. It was generously feeding the tactile hunger of my fingers.. its patterns were gently trapping my gazing eyes back in focus.. its fabric was delivering a bouquet of fragrances, pheromones and fantasies at the doorstep of my olfactory memory..
This is where I am.. Right here.. in that uncanny hiatus between the reminiscence of cherished moments with Eliza and the fate of that pillowcase..
Above all that pillowcase would resist the routine promiscuity of ordinary laundry, on their way to the washing machine. Should it find itself inadvertently located in the tumbler, then a formidable magnetic energy would emanate from its edges and draw the palm of my right hand.. It would resist the routine promiscuity of ordinary thoughts, on their way to my brewing mind..
TUESDAY passed, and it was only toward the latest hours that I finally peeled that pillowcase off my shoulder, where it had been quietly sitting for hours. One cannot imagine the weight of an empty pillowcase..
This is where I am.. Right here.. between a monsoon of affects and a limpid tear.. between a tear and a fracture.. between a single period and a triple-dotted ellipsis..

On Tuesday, in the prompt to come, I’ll share a little more about ‘Eliza.’ Thanks for adding to the story! Feel free to post and respond to others’ comments here, too.

This is nice with the repeating segment:
‘This is where I am. Right here.’
Let me carry on with this, into a Part 3… Feel free to add as we go?

Part 3
The vastness of the space between a triple-dotted elipsis rivals the distance between Jupiter and here, the Arctic Circle, where Eliza last was seen. I came here to look for her, if I’m honest with myself about it. I don’t know why it got to the point where things fizzled, as they had, but they did, in a weird way, as sometimes these things do. Eliza and I had had so many fascinating arguments about physics, in the past, when we were students. I had thought she was a student, that is. She was really a guest at the Niels Bohr Institute, something that she never told us, because it was simpler if we were all assuming we were peers. I don’t know exactly what she did there, but she had access to the files and library of personal correspondences that Bohr had maintained over his extraordinarily prolific lifetime. I read when I went there (also to reminsce about Eliza, though I’d never confess that if I had to, not even to myself, but here I am, writing it. Oi) that Bohr had 400 people that he wrote to, back and forth, and that these were archived in the files in that library. I wish I could have wandered into it, myself, personally, but you had to know things about bosons and gluons to get most of it. You had to have dark matter in your back pocket to figure out what was ahead: the multiverse. Or something like that. I tried to parse these logics and then, when I found my way out of the coded vastness, I lost the thread. But this is where I am… Right here… between the thread that makes the necklace, that ties the long lines of poetry and mystery in that thing we once began to read… the book of time…

PS Looks like we’re gonna be in PP again in Oct. So that means, we will get to talk ‘Slow Moment’ in real life. Going to post a few events on this site. You’re most welcome as my personal guest so just have a look sometime as we get moving towards that time of the year at: Real life. My favorite channel. To be cont’d!

Reading Charlee’s response. Remembering another thread in which Charlee talks about plants. Wondering about senescence, growth, decay, ephemera. Thinking about aging, degenerating, recomposing, and seeds of potentiality. Remembering from high school conversations in physics about Normal Forces acting on objects, in equal and opposite response to the mg of gravitational pulls. Remembering later, in other conversations, in halls of scientific research in Copenhagen, how no one knows anything at all about dark matter and that’s why it’s cool. Enjoying the fleeing from reason and embracing the uncertainty in things like Boltzmann’s constant, the second law of thermodynamics, emergent chaos and turbulence in systems which find at some point, equilibrium. Eating… carrot cake. Today itself. Allora. And here we are.

Found a book, speaking of books!, and this is what I found within it.

The formation of the most perfected words, the most meaningful, the most philosophical, in the fullest sense of the world occurs unfailingly in periods of ignorance and simplicity. The onomathurgical talent is invariably disappearing as we descend towards the civilized and scientific eras. In all the writings that appear in our time on this most interesting subject, there is nothing but an invocation of a philosophical language, and without knowing indeed without suspecting, that the most philosophical language is that in which philosophy is least mingled. The latter lacks too little faculties to create words. Intelligence to invent them, and authority to have them adopted. Does philosophy see a new object? It will go and leaf through its dictionaries to find an ancient or foreign term, and always the enterprise comes to a bad end. Montgolfiere, for example, which is used throughout the country, is correct in at least one sense. And I prefer it to aero state, which is a scientific term but suggests nothing. You could just as well call a ship hydrostatic. Observe the invasion of new words borrowed from the Greek over the last 20 years, gradually, as crimes or madness demanded them. More or less of them are formed erroneously, they are self contradictory. Theophiloanthrophists, for example, is a term more foolish than the thing in itself, which is saying plenty. A simple English or German scholar would have been led to say on the contrary. Theanthpophile. You will reply that this world was invented by wretches in a wretched age, and yet the terminology of chemistry, which was surely created by invited men, begins precisely with the lowest sort of solecism.


When they should say, instead, oxygon

I am not a chemist, but I have excellent teasons to believe that honest terminology is destined to vanish. The fact remains in all case that from a philosophical and grammatical point of view it would be the most unhappy imaginable if the prize for barbarism were not contested and wrested away by the metric vocabulary.

p. 138-140 from the chapter, ‘The Linguistics of Joseph De Maistre’, Serendipities, Umberto Eco

“I did see the Sadhoo”
“No, I did, he was there looking at me sitting on the wall”
I had just recovered slightly from my physical blindness, due to paroxysm of conjunctivitis.
Instance two:
There was a big growth of cactus growing from beneath the town water pipeline and had grown almost all the way around the iron pipe. A narrow passage, enough to pass just one leg at a time. The pipe was sloping a few feet above the ground which looked it would be jarringingly painful to fall. I closed my eyes and jumped over the cacti growth. I fell in coma, and I woke up after an eternity suspended by thorns till my chest. I fell in the cacti.
When I spoke of the “Sadhu”, I heard myself speak and thought simultaneously, I had been hallucinating, the word, explaining, that experience, I educated myself long after I got an Oxford’s English Dictionary for my birthday’s gift. I barely ever used it, though kept clean even the jacket of the hard-bound.
Just one Cacti Spine grew a blister at my ankle. Socks too hurt then. It burst after few weeks suddenly, leaving a painless memory of cacti.
Cacti are beautiful, just had to keep my eyes open to look that I would not fall into it. Learnt from biology that spines are adaptations of leaves.
I baked a carrot cake today, noting that the baking powder put was less. Dinner too was simple and good flavoured, it usually is never fun or tasty to cook for one. I cooked once for twenty. The “pulao” got burnt and not only I felt I had failed to feed my guests good tasty food, how could I throw away so much of nature’s effort.
Put off the alarm, put on my running shoes and got out for a jog. Winter mornings are dark at 4:30 am and the light from the street lamps passing through the dense foilage of branched leaves, makes rays of light in the winter drizzle. After dog years I was awake and on the streets after a heavy shower. The skies are dense with stars even in the Himalayas. Upper Himalayas are mostly mica. The grey blue green shine flakes in the hand.
Have known always that crows were intelligent animals. Saw them wetting their dry food in the water bowl on the terrace. Delhi now again has some sparrows, and parrots too have increased. Surely the fruit trees have matured to invite the hornbills too. Peacocks like mint leaves and when you pluck tulsi (basil) leaves, the plant lets out a sharp conifloral aroma.
Musky smell of old books is more aromatic than the literature inside?

The feeling of wanting to be present *now* while reading old books–hypocritical? Something stands apart, watching and laughing. Where is the good art? Isn’t it here, the shadowy thing seems to be hinting, but not overtly, just—self-assuredly. Who is it?

On wall there hangs a paper trophy. I speak of ‘chit’ says the text, elsewhere. Text always tries to be literature, all literature is ‘old’ as that what occurred in the mind even before a paragraph could be excused. ” I have read therefore I am mighty, I can author, so I am almighty.”
Literature is always weak as all words can do is be a milestones on the side of the road, never having reached there, but placed there, the milestone that states a measurable distance, what says on the otherside of the same page is another word gather. The almighty literature cannot make me really feel the muskiness of the musky smell of the worn out pages, The book must have been well read, “literally”?

Who gets to decide what ‘culture’ is, that’s the conversation happening in real life, here in Finland, DK and others… what is ‘culture,’ anyways. That and other things, on the horizon, for a new comment I’m working on. Funny–working on comments, as though they are essays to turn in somewhere, sometime.

‘Culture.’ Is us. Is nature. Is what we do when we’re not doing something for money. Is the best stuff we do that has nothing to do with money. Is the older person of age 94 who visited us today. Is sports. Is more, much, much more, than what someone somewhere told us to read in a book or listen to in a play. These are the things I am learning by asking questions here in Finland of people whose life work has been… creating… space. Space, that is, for ‘culture.’

What is culture, to you, Charlee?

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