I WAS GOING to spend time today writing an interesting, important blog post. About my journey to this country (Latvia, at the moment), and the things I have learned here. It was going to be articulate, long-winded, perhaps, but also intriguing (I hoped) and if I did it right, a little funny. The point was to sum up all the learning I have had, and there was a ton, in this study-abroad-esque moment of being in the city, walking around, visiting people and places over and over and over again until I felt like I could gather impressions to the point where I could say something that might be, well, useful, or at least, a little bit of a nudge to people I kept meeting that might get them thinking, perhaps, a bit, in a different kind of way.
What happened was a reverse reaction, in a nutshell. I learned. More. About. New things. Than I have ever learned, in any other place, in such a short timeframe. In my life.
There is more to say about this.
But I will save the words for tonight’s show.
Invitation-only, this time. I changed the venue to keep things simple. Realized I just wanted to include a handful of people. People who made me think. In other words, the subjects of the stories that we are sharing in our magazines.
Just a handful. Just these five… all of them welcome, no need for tickets, as my personal guests. A good way to roll the dice, I think, rather than get caught up in the work of event-running and forgetting that the art is… us.
On this night, we will gather with:
DK: [Aside, to M, in a kind manner] Lūdzu.
THANK YOU. For the note. That was really kind of you. I didn’t expect… any kind of… thing like that but it was really sweet and thoughtful. I appreciate that we met. I appreciate that you found it interesting to connect, as we did, short though our encounter was. I think it’s so lovely that you came here to meet I. I really, really hope it works out for you–but it’s all a big journey, right? I think that is what I am learning, from you and others, who are teaching me that there is no fixed anything. That the idea of situating oneself on fixed ground is a troubled notion in a post postmodern era… and I do mean ‘post post’ with the double post. I won’t post this twice, don’t worry, but yeah. It’s funny. The world… I have so many things cooking up and percolating in various degrees of incubation and ‘bakedness’ and you reminded me that some of them are… finished.
The feeling that one can immerse oneself in a new place and discover a story, ambiently, by staying interested and keeping one’s ears and eyes open, and then, telling pieces of it, in prototyped chapters of text, as we go… and that’s a thing I do, and it’s kinda… well… there are muffins that have come out of that oven, and they look like PDFs in our online store. Which means: this is going. I just put in another batch, and then, the new ones will pop out. While that’s happening, there’s more to make. Mixing new ingredients, discovering the savory and the sweet–anew.
Here we are. Here we go. Write me sometime (there’s a form at our contact page) if you see this… I got your note. I loved reading it. Thank you. For all that listening, for reaffirming for me, though perhaps you were not aware of it, that the ‘why’ of making S P A C E for me is a pursuit worth continuing. Last time this happened, I was in Ipoh, meeting N… Wonder if she’s still in Seville… Hmmmm.
Safe journeys, R. May you discover your own style of the beautiful, on an open, sunshine-y, and welcoming road. You deserve that kind of warmth and hospitality, I just kind of got the sense. I’m a sensing type. And yeah. Good luck, okay? Good luck. 🙂
WRITTEN NOT LONG AGO, for the magazine column, ‘Kismuth & The Way’ that I do now every month is this one about going to Japan.
Here’s how it starts…
I am in Narita: as in Tokyo Narita, as in, right next to the airport. From the window of this hotel you can see the sun about to set behind a crop of trees: a scene that reminds me a lot of Research Triangle Park in North Carolina.
It’s so quiet here, right before I go, and I’ve found a moment to quickly jot impressions before going to meet the high school friend of my college friend, both of whom are waiting at a station a bus ride away. It’ll be good. Stern drinks this time instead of the sodas we used to share in rounds over in Kyoto and Washington D. C. at karaoke boxes years ago. We’ve all done a lot of growing up. Of course. Lucky to have longitudinal friendships, I realize, in these last few days: I’ve been catching up with some, here and there, these last few weeks. After all, it’s been eight years since I was last in Kanto, which is this side of Japan.
Read the full story, part of a monthly column, at this page online, at Saathee Magazine.
An event. On 29 May. S P A C E party x conversation salon… below is the outline of what we are doing to wrap our six weeks in Latvia up… back again in 2020 for the writing project in Ventspils…
Being here this spring was a warm-up, getting our feet wet, getting the sense of place. Learning. Sharing. Discovering. Prototyping the book we will co-create with people next year, by publishing a few chapters. Why come? Why discover? To practice all of the above, but mostly, to practice one more, very important important thing: listening. I really enjoyed hosting ‘Art of Conversation’ when I first had arrived, with artist, and owner of Tortik Time, Zina Olehnoviča.
Somehow, in our heads, it thus makes sense to wrap our sequence for 2019 here in this city with a last popup installation, an event that is a conversation salon and sharing about the process of making these zines.. more about this below. We’ll host it just down the street from the venue of ‘Art of Conversation,’ this time, we’ll have S P A C E | Rīga at Aleponija.
Here is a chance for some whose paths we might have crossed with here to get to meet one another. A journey, in a way, but also, a moment to celebrate that thing that DK most loves: the chance encounter.
To the journeys !
And meet us, if you like, in the… up!~
We’ll have the zines with us but the only copy that exists in the world of ‘Sunny Side of the Street’ is currently on sale, at Roberts Books.
Readers, writers, designers, artists, curators, and publishers: this is S P A C E.
At this once-off event, you can meet Design Kompany and the friends here whom we have discovered while in Rīga for the last six weeks.
You’ll be able to: learn about self-publishing, and tap into DK’s 20+ years of writing and working independently. Ask questions. Discover. DK travels to cities of Southeast Asia and Northern Europe to make issues of the weekly mini-magazine, ‘S P A C E.’ This party is to launch the recently created new issues in our series. They are: S P A C E | Rīga, ‘Sunny Side of the Street,’ S P A C E | Rīga, ‘Drift,’ and S P A C E | Rīga, ‘The Weather Report.’ DK aims to create a safe, welcoming space for new and different others to connect & interconnect, one conversation at a time. This is the work of Atelier S P A C E, mini-parties, salons, installations, and our weekly magazine. As such, we’ll read from the the stories we’ve been writing and publishing since mid-April, which are set right here. Especially popular, so far, are: ‘Sn_wfall’ and ‘Love is Boring’. You’ll have a chance to read them.
Here is a light schedule for the evening…
S P A C E | Rīga
. 7PM ‘Do-it-yourself’ Philosophy. A conversation on: DIY publishing, travel, nomadism, concepting, art & design.
. 8PM Reading from part of ‘Sn_wfall,’ the lead story of S P A C E | Rīga, ‘The Weather Report’
. 9PM Gifts and closing comments
S P A C E | Rīga will be hosted by Dipika Kohli and A. Spaice.
You’ll have a chance to experience what others in Copenhagen, Hanoi, London, Phnom Penh, Bangkok, and Helsinki have already experienced in similar small circles. Discover it. Experience it.
Expect the unexpected !
OK. I have to say. This is not easy to write. It just… feels like a rant-y title, already, and I do not want to go into that. But I have to sort of give it to the people who critique art as a thing that’s ridiculous and out of touch with reality: because yesterday, I too, had the sinking feeling like there was no hope now. That if this was considered, what a group of people who make and do and call themselves creatives would label as ‘art,’ then those of us who have warmed to the idea of calling ourselves ‘artists’ are actually kinda just, well, for lack of a better word, f-d.
People all my life told me to do the practical things, the kinds of jobs where you go to a place and sit there and sometime, someone will give you a piece of paper in an envelope with a little window that has your name on it, and inside of this envelope, on that paper, there will also be some numbers that assign you to some kind of ‘social security’ system (let’s see if it’s still there later), and some so-called ‘benefits,’ and other small numbers and tags that let you know that they know things about you that you do not need to be informed of, specifically, suffice to say you are logged into the system, cog in the wheel, or as Pink Floyd said, ‘another brick in the wall…’ We don’t need no education. We don’t need no mind control…
‘It’s just bad though’
Bad art. I have had this argument for 20 years with Bicycle.
I have said, ‘I do not have patience for this.’
Bicycle said, ‘If people want to make it, why not let them make it? Expression is cool.’ That was 1995. More recently, ‘If people want to make it, you know, they’re trying things. Why not let them? But you are making this? DK, you have to up the ante here. This is not good art. You have to level this up, this is bad, this is not up to your standards.’
‘But what about what you used to say, about how all people trying to make art is good and all that slop?’
‘Well, that was for them. You? You… I expect more from you.’
But back to art. Social constructs. Making. The whole creative process thing.
For the first time, last night, I saw the subculture of ‘the Internet people.’ I mean, they were like, really, they were there and it felt like the real-life version of internet-living. Posing, facades, ‘fashion’ and the sinking feeling that some of these people spent days, weeks or maybe even longer picking out the ensembles for their outfits. Their makeup was probably something they found somewhere ‘interesting,’ and rather than express a style that would maybe be considered ‘one’s own expression of self,’ it felt like people wanted to be more and more ‘noteworthy,’ or rather, ‘instagram-worthy,’ than just… being.
The actual artist in me felt like sitting down and just having a strong drink. So I bailed, before anything that no one could talk about what it would be could begin or not-begin, this was the kind of iffy mood that is the real-life version of the flakiness of the internet-era, and yeah, I went into this place and asked for a whiskey. There were about four tables-ful of people mostly of Russian origin, a woman who is a lawyer told me, after telling me her profession, and insisting everyone is ‘good people who like to dance later.’ Hmmm. I forgot it was Friday. This all put me on a bit of an edge as I had had a bit of trouble in that kind of situation before, but it was yet early and so, perhaps, less risky, and not every single person from a country is the same right?, and I sat in the other section, alone at a table, with an 80c beer (which was pretty good) on a table that was round and covered with lacework and reminded me of someone’s B&B in Kinsale, Ireland, ages ago… And from the open door, I could still catch an eyeful of the spectacle before me. The bad art show, I mean.
Watching. Musing. Trying to decide my feelings about it. Some early thirty somethings came in and told me what they thought. That helped. I wasn’t alone in thinking, ‘This is just weird.‘ The people dressed their best, for no other reason than to be seen, and see, and it reminded me for a split second of Mondays in Brooklyn when me and my friend August used to go around to art shows and eat cheese and drink wine and ‘mingle.’ We didn’t know what the hell we were going to talk about, and there was no real reason to, either. But that might be why last night felt awkward: it wasn’t like I wanted to get into deep discussions about anything with anyone, mind, the only people who talked to me were a couple of law students scrolling Tindr and sharing with each other their opinions of how to do that with the most, say, bang, but yeah, there was that feeling of ‘where am I?’ and also the uncomfortable sensation of it… this was not an art opening, I felt. This was… a spectacle. The kind of spectacle that Guy Debord talked about. Where illusions, in streams, can hijack real life… and soon… and this part is me editorializing, the line between what’s real and what’s imagined is blurred… to the point that the real life experience is a projection out of the illusory one… which is just… sad.
And there, I sat. Until someone (old, drunk) approached me and made some kind of proposition which was uncomfortable, too, but in a predictable way. Now the social protocols kicked in. All I had to do was a simple gesture to get rid of him, and you all know what that gesture is, and then, the barwomen helped me out, too, and moments later I’m sitting in the first section, with the people at their tables, occupied and happy and drinking and asking me the questions about who am I and where do I live, and all I want to do is read over the draft of S P A C E | ‘This is This,’ which is a bizarre and cool collaboration I am doing with N, a photozine we worked on together most of yesterday and the day before, because that is the whole point of art, for me, and suffice to say, hanging out talking about art and why we make and how we do it, and the approaches, and the fact that we just have to get in there and make stuff, and the superlative feeling of great love I received when people let me have the space and time to make what I make because they know I will do better when I am not distracted, etc., that is cool, and then, yeah, to go from that to this… spectacle… was daunting.
Misty-eyed at sunset
After I left the bar, I walked towards a park, where I knew watching the sunset would make me feel eighteen times better. On the way I ran into L, an actual artist with an actual eye and whose work I really want to explore more. She invited me to something that is going on today. I imagine it will be real art, this time. At least, people trying to make things, because the process is their work, not the spectacle and showiness of the thing that whatever, could be anything, but come and see me, that’s what I felt at the bad art party las night. And said so to L. Who seemed to get me. And that’s why I was able to continue, veering right, instead of left, going not to the park, but to a cafe, where I could sit and think about nothing. A place I go sometimes. A place. A third place. The owner recognizes me now, too. I like it when this happens. Stick around enough and you start to make a circuit. He said, ‘Friday night.’ I was like, ‘For them.’ Everyone who knows me well knows Friday nights are the nights I work. Writing and staying in. Saturdays, too. Though tonight I’m going to have to figure out something else since I don’t have a place to stay… Saturdays… hard. Will wing it. Hope I don’t have to go to a nightclub again. But then again… maybe that’s the people watching I should go and do, instead of these faux ‘art’ moments that turn into ‘maniacal dancing with weird experimental drugs,’ as N reported it was when he got there, after I left.
After the cafe, where I read two sad little articles in a magazine I used to love, I walked, finally, to the park. Still light out. Still able to process. Sit down, think it over. Come to understand there is no conclusion to draw here, that there is just what it is.
This is this.
There it was… the same… simple sentence… as the working title of my draft.
Perhaps, with that inkling, somewhere, in S P A C E, I had written it.
THE STORY IN A NUTSHELL. Going to different parts of the world, mostly Southeast Asia and Northern Europe, to discover the interestingness. And I mean, interesting to me. I look for the contemporary aesthetic, but also, what the people are telling me who are ready to share, honestly and from the heart, in very short impromptu bursts. (A very close friend of mine says what I do is have a series of ‘one-chat stands,’ which, I guess, is pretty accurate.) There is an intimacy there, but it is fleeting. Indeed, ephemera is one of the keywords of our weekly e-mag, S P A C E, which is up to 22 issues now, and all of them are in our online store.
Searching for the story
People tell me all kinds of things, you wouldn’t believe it. But it is not my goal to put their stories verbatim into text: that is boring, uncreative, and unoriginal. That is outdated. ‘He-said, she-said’ reporting bored me utterly when I used to work as a reporter, for about two years at a weekly and then two more at a daily. I wanted more. I wanted the earnestness and inspiration, the road, the journey, a bit of creative and artistic license, the travel (but not the instagram-porn kind) rather that which is learned when you spend time in a place (and which someone in Thailand once called ‘slow travel’ which I thought was a cool way to put it), and I wanted, more than all of those things: sincerity. Ergo: creative nonfiction, made in situ, on the spot, out of the collage that is real life (and paper, sometimes, too).
Richness and complexity aside, there was that magical element that was missing, all that time, when I was running around, floating, writing things, here and there, wanting desperately to hit a mark but not knowing which one or where in the hell it was even close to. But then, in 2017, I went to Battambang in Cambodia and stayed four nights and five days, offline, exploring the story. Decding I would compose something on the spot, based now whatever conversation happened to fall into my world, and whatever bits of paper, stories, books, or ‘miscellaneous’ wandered into my world. In this way I wrote, ‘Here Comes the Dance,’ a very short short about the Age of Anxiety and a thirtysomething I had met in a hotel common space who was very happy to talk at length and without pause about it, which I had welcomed, and the other things, bits from books, that found their way into that very first issue of S P A C E. I can talk more about that another time when I am not in a place with people taking lots of camera photos around me, this is my cue to cut this short and go now, I have to get some new pictures for new issues of S P A C E that are getting made now. Here in Latvia. A lot of things.
But suffice to say, the story is the journey, of discovery and. Much, much more. More soon. Oh, look at that. Right now, just now, starting… a parade? There is a flash mob going by me, now, with bubble-blowers.
My gosh. I love Rīga.
Photo: First zine made in Rīga, April 2019. Short post about arriving to this city is here. Picture taken by A. Spaice
Also known as ‘meta-modernism’. An inevitable categorical representation of our ‘present’ cultural age. It can be defined as a wide-ranging set of developments in critical theory, philosophy, architecture, art, literature and culture which are emerging from and reacting to post-modernism. Essentially, anyone that uses this term 95% of the time is a complete and utter pretentious and severely lost fuck-witwho views anything ‘contemporary’ with the same degree of fascination and reverence as anyone would today in context of artistic expressions before the 20th century. A million layers of irony and meta-observation coat the conceptual fabric of these peoples world perspective; nihilistic and empty speculations centred upon nothing comprise of their reality.
As can be deduced from the flowery and vague speculative language apparent (which is equally reflected within its actual content), meta-modernism is an aimless groping in the dark of an empty abyss, which cannot even be properly classified as a represented as ‘nothingness’, as it supposedly transcends all limitations of logical categories whilst at the same time remaining bound within them in a limbo state of infinite negation, construction, and the both synthesised into an infinite spiral which extends out into an unfathomable state of incalculable layers of irony.
I quoted the whole thing, pretty much. It’s here.
THIS WAS ORIGINALLY going to be a protected-page post. I didn’t want to get all corny about this whole DIY publishing thing. The scene. The strange feeling of having a thing that you want to share, but realizing that no one is readily around to hear it. And wondering if you are really on to a thing, or just think you are, but then, when you hit ‘print,’ it just all kind of falls, click, into place.
Getting to the point where you know how you’re going to approach the first pitch if you’re a seasoned baseball player, for example, takes time. Takes practice. Takes knowing the sweet spot on the bat and how your own personal stance is going to work out so you hit that, more of the time than less. No one bats 1000 but you can sure try to get better if you know yourself, what works, and how you have felt when the homerun gets hit.
But getting here and printing this stuff out makes me feel good: like it’s easy to go to bat, now. These changes have come with experience. They have more to do with the approach to taking to a nomadic life, kind of, on the road, and before that, the call of the road, than I had realized: the creative process is an adventure unto itself.
You go where the feeling takes you, you work it out, you develop the idea or set of ideas that feel rightest, and then, you make the cuts when the thing is starting to take shape. The ‘thing’ being the theme, the concept. It’s not about writing into sentences and paragraphs and making sure it’s all correct. It’s about feeling your way towards what is the mood of that place, space, time, mode, journey, and conversation set. There are no rules to this stuff. I wish that when people want to start talking to me about writing and art that they wouldn’t go right into, ‘What have you published?’ if they’re themselves authors, or, worse, ‘Have you been published?’ As if that means something. (Ask me if I’ve made f–ing good art, and then we’ll have a party.)
Shall I write down the conversations from those kinds of jam sessions, somewhere?
Was thinking of doing that.
What I guess I am feeling as I look at the small set of things that I have brought to show and share here and there with people whom I have found through the internet or in moments, in real life, when the moment hits that I want to let someone read something I’ve written in the past (never current writing, that’s just… that’s difficult, since it’s still being worked out)… well… When I do get to see how people feel when they read, it’s nice. It makes me remember that writing isn’t writing for me: writing is for making a thing that I can share. And that the moment of sharing, that!, that’s the whole point of this journey for me, in S P A C E. Which is ticking along, more or less. Every week since early December 2018, there’s a 16-page PDF that goes out to a small set of people around the world who have been supportive from the start of this kind of project and intiative. Honestly, I don’t know why I won scholarships for studying in universities: the same money would be much better spent, I feel, backing me on these kinds of in-the-field reporting gigs (they’re not really gigs, they’re self-commissions, which is, I think, ‘art’, if, and only if, so iff, they land somewhere, there is resonance…. only then is it really art… and is art for art’s sake the point? I remember debating this when I was 24, in some fancy pants art school, and it was dumb, and not that much longer after that, I was packing up and driving away from the place towards the far, green pastures I knew would await me… somewhere… didn’t know at the time that was going to be, er, Ireland, but yeah…. )
Green pastures and the call of the horizon, the road in general, has always been a temptation for me. I can’t not go. I can’t not see, try, discover… sometimes when I find myself in places too long (Phnom Penh, for example, or Seattle), I get to the point where I wish I could just leave. I mean, leaving is nice, and I don’t have ‘jobs’ to attach to, or a ‘community’ that wants me to stick around. I used to wish I had those things, but I learned, for me, it’s much more interesting to keep it light. Keep ties to a minimum. I haven’t bought new clothes for a long time, and the last time was right before I had to meet some people I had not seen in five years, so my clothes definitely needed an update.
So what does this have to do with DIY publishing?
Contrary to popular belief, I do not write with a conclusion to walk you towards. In fact, most of this is just ad lib. All of it is, in fact. I do not pre-write blog posts, though I think that might help you see that I am, in fact, a serious writer, but I save my best stuff for articles for magazines, like over here, and also for the e-mag S P A C E. Those are the pieces I work out to my best. I give my whole heart to them, which is part of why, also, I publish in so few places. I don’t want things to get out of hand and I don’t care if the world knows about me or just 4 people. It’s fine. The art is the point, and the journey towards making better art is even more important. To me. I love it when I find artists and talk to them about things like this, and we are serious and we are happy to have found one another being serious also where they are, and when we talk about these things, rarely does it go into the specifics of the art-making itself. Rather, we are dwelling on a different cloud, one of possibility and range, one that invites newness, openness, the thinking outside gravitational forces and the usual G. Where it gets interesting is where we can jam, creatively and intellectually and playfully and thoughtfully but also in that spirit of collegial co-creativeness, where all are equal and welcome to the table. I think what I am writing is the exact mood I hope that S P A C E invites people to join in, when they come to events or read our magazines.
It’s getting tighter, better. Clearer, sharper. And it’s also going to end. One day, I know I’ll get bored of it, and want to go on to another project. Not sure what, not sure where. But like Seattle and Phnom Penh, I know I’ll want to move forwards from here. No wistful backwards glances anymore, for me… there are too many things ahead, and too much more to look into. I can’t describe this very well right now because some people are listening to some kind of phone-vid and the music in the background is much less interesting than it was when I got started on this post. But yeah. Things are okay.
I like it that whenever I pass a little cafe place, they have the telly on, and it’s almost always… ice hockey.
What a change from Cambodia.
THIS ISSUE of S P A C E, set in Rīga, and titled ‘Drift,’ has been changed so many times on the digital page, it’s nuts. I have yet many more edits to do, too. ‘Drifting’ rather unintentionally in recent hours, for example, has led to new weird insights that I don’t think… it’s weird to try to write with 0 hours of sleep and it’s twenty to 8AM where I am. I’m tired. I’m really really tired. But I’m also… exhilarated. Life and the journey, drift and the shift… these are the discovering-ables that I am here for. This was a good morning. Tea and talking: learning the work of letting go of rigid thinking, and remembering how to laugh at the things that a more stern, serious version of yourself would have come up with 823,490 reasons to have gotten angry over. Well, well. Here we are.
If you know me, you know I like quiet, off to the side places, where not that many people go, and if they do, they’re super regular and super local. This discovery of what I feel, personally, makes a great space (ie S P A C E), is something that I understand now is a particular thing and not a general thing. A few people, an immersion in the moment, the conversations being the focus and not the other jazz that distracts from that. Hours can go by. But we will budget two. For the real-life popup in the city of Latvia that DK will be in on 7 May to host ‘Art of Conversation.’ Details. Free for members of S P A C E, else, there’s a small cover but it includes a drink + cake + a mini-gift from DK.
Working on this, right now. Good fast wifi. I’m back at the cafe that reminds me of Seattle. Except for the music, and the exceptionally bright colors that people who wander in and out of this place are wearing (which I love), I feel right at home (and maybe even better than when I’m at home). I guess that’s good. I can only write when I’m in this kind of a mode. It’s rare to feel at ease enough to get into the ‘white zone’ or what do they call it, I can’t remember, for flow, you know what I mean right?, well yeah, that, while on the road, but then again, those are the kinds of things one thinks about while hopping on a train and heading out, as I did when I took this cover shot yesterday, to see what the seeing might invite one to see. If that makes sense. HT M. Thank you for meandering, with me… I hope you liked ‘The Book of New Things.’
#situationism #drift #postmodernnomads
Update: You can now get it in our store.
I had written ‘Just Being Honest’ for a year or so for Saathee when I had first gotten going on the road, in 2013, then took a break to write Breakfast in Cambodia which came out of those columns and another one, ‘The Village Report,’ that ran for two years under different editors at Seattle’s Northwest Asian Weekly. Subsequently, I got the idea in my head to do other things like conversation salons that led to things and people and smart, cool moments that reminded me the poetry of writing isn’t in the shaping of words and sentences, but in the connexion that comes of the spontaneous interactions that come up out of nowhere when you just make yourself open to receive them.
Such thinking opens worlds of doors. And luckily, I got to examine a few of them.
That made me do the next thing. Work with a very small team of people who helped me understand this better, clarify it, (thank you!), and then conceptualize the making of our mini-mag, S P A C E. Couldn’t have done this without the new inputs from people I have met since leaving the United States, and discovered on the road, but also, in Cambodia, and learned to be a part of conversations that are longitudinal, carry more weight with the history and time that gives and gives, reminding us that we are not alone but a part of something bigger, after all, even if the struggle to define that exactly becomes unwieldy and eventually falls into a thing that I now understand is ‘post post modernism,’ ie the tossing of definitions themselves, altogether. This is coming into focus for me, in yet another new place, another new country: Latvia. More about that for the next column, of course.
POLITICS x ART. I was going to write more here about how there are political events that are happening right now that are disturbing and upsetting, especially in countries that don’t even care about human rights (including my own country of birth). But I realize that I’m not informed enough to be able to comment on those things. Still, the state of the world and the oppression of voices of illuminating people who could be the ones who bring humanity towards a better, more equal place is upsetting to me, as it might be to many others who are, at heart, poets. I’m writing from a wild, wacky place right now in Latvia that’s fancy and has ‘Poet’ in its title, like for real. Where, there is one very chatty person who has been asking me a torrent of questions about why I write, how I decided to be a poet (does one decide?), whether I believe in knowledge (nope), what I think about my home country (which is where, again?) and what I might do to sell my books (‘I don’t sell’). Ask me about the boiled egg. It’s too funny.
Funny things are going on, around me, left and right, and reminding me of the absurd that I clung to for so long in my writing, and comics-making, at some point, during the late 2000s when I wanted to try my hand at ‘visual artist’ as, say, a job title. That was short-lived, soon as I found out that the reception for the art show, where people met one another in real life because there I was hosting the show and people were there because of the show, but for me, what I found out, for example at the reception for Today I Love You (2012, was it?) and later, the launch party for Breakfast in Cambodia (2016), it was the mix that was most intriguing to me. Real life. The stage of being there,e together, in a framed moment… a box, kind of, a box of ‘where’ and ‘when’…
Which was how I hit on the idea of framing the moments, altogether discarding the art show, the books, etc. Let’s have parties. Let’s call them S P A C E.
Hosting one tonight, in Latvia.
Here we go.
Off to the new chapters, discovering and running into the next.
War, climate, politics, fear mongering… these things are there. News is bad, people don’t care about each other, the modern world is one of disparity and ennui and disruption of the harmony that can come when we are able to enjoy each other’s differences, instead of parrying one another for no reason other than to fill a void, internally, that could have been prevented if we had had better parenting. Societies begin there, right? Good parenting. And here I am, opining. I don’t mean to do this, really.
But really. I can go on and on and on…
But I’ll spare you.
To the work of making art, which is the only thing, I think, that a poetically inclined person can do in this era to stay sane…
A new issue of S P A CE is out today. (It launches officially in August, but I’m sharing it, for a limited time, as some people I am meeting are asking me what it’s going to be, and it’s turning into a kind of series, so why not launch ‘Sunny Side of the Street’ and see what sticks, from there.)
‘SSoS’ is a very special edition, of which DK will print a few copies of for real life conversations and readings here in Latvia.
More to say. Might be hanging out in cafes and stuff, and bars, sharing them in real life. Keep your eyes peeled, if you’re in this city.
Will continue in more detail… but later. For now, sleep.
HOW TO ORDER. Order the new issue, the first from Latvia, at this link.
I am sitting in a cafe that in every single way reminds me of FUEL on 19th in Seattle. At least, the FUEL that I used to know, back in the late 2000s. The music is super emo, the furniture spare and muted in tones (more browns than in Denmark, here in Latvia, I’m noticing), but the mood and space and color of light are very Sea-town. (Oh, but they have trams, which is nice, and a little bit of a touch of, well, something cool and different.) I had a long, weird evening the other day that started at 11.34PM. It worked on every aspect of my rigid thinking and challenged me in hard, curious, and even physical ways. I am not going to write a giant thing here, that would be stupid, and attention-grabby-seeky, which are things that irk me almost as much as ‘wefies’ on the internet that make me just very tired. More tired than zipping around from taxi to car and over bridges that have a lot of tracks underneath them and the super-state of being up in the time of night that you will run into the underbelly of the city; gritty and awkward, as it is when it is at its most vulnerable and open and lonely… Another thing that this place has in common with Seattle: a dampness and sense of heavy melancholy. I shouldn’t go too into detail here, it’s a lot to take in, especially coming from the sweat and swampy back-country of Thailand where, for half a month, I was decompressing from the box-it-in stuff that has everything to do with Japan and stuffiness and getting lost in the things that are the things that one gets lost in, and drowns, before even realizing that there is no air. Suffocation. A lot, like I said. It feels like I’m still processing Japan, and when I can’t get calm and focused, I can’t write. And here I am, at the feeling of FUEL, and I’m back at it, writing every day as I did there with that coffee and a barista, very nice, whose name I think was ‘Ryan’ who was there almost every time to make it, sharing stories about he was now this or that, and then there was a baby on the way, and then it worked out to the point that the baby was almost here, and then, I left some stuff for the baby as a little gift when I saw that he wasn’t there anymore and asked about it, and a girl who I’d never seen smiled and said the coffee was on the house and thanks, and that was when I knew it was my own time to move on from Seattle.
Seattle 2009. Writing in Seattle was mostly for a job, back in the day when I had that kind of gig, a day gig, when you go and sit every day, and by golly, some of the people I was working with seem to still be sitting there, as per the staff page of the website of the paper, and so on, and this is hard to grapple with, being a person who values, more than anything, the spirit of connecting with that which still remains, ahead, to be discovered and explored… and yet, and yet.
I had a lot more written here, but it isn’t for the public space. So I decided to cut it down, and stop here, and post the rest in a zine, one for a series, I think, to be called S P A C E | Latvia. First issue, ‘Sunny Side of the Street,’ is here.
Atelier S P A C E is a project of DK that began in Sept. 2017 and will sunset in Sept. 2019. Photo: ‘The Book of New Things’ by Dipika Kohli.
I KEEP DOING THIS. Showing up at major holidays, busting in with big plans and finding everything shut.
I was in Việt Nam at , which means the whole place closes for a month, right?, then Thailand for Songkran just a minute ago, and in Latvia (said I’d go, didn’t I? and now here I am)—smack in time for… Easter.
Right. Europe. I’d forgotten. Owing to my six years and counting life in Southeast Asia, I suppose. Khmer New Year is high in my consciousness, of course it is, but I totally forgot… Easter. Flashbacks now, to Ireland. (Heya, M’OB). Still, even with things mostly feeling like they’re gonna close in five minutes, I feel pretty great about being here. Making the most of it. (HT: Mav)
HOLIDAY. As with the countries in Asia that I just went by to make issues of S P A C E (Bangkok, Hanoi) I’m encountering the usual stumbling blocks like highly-booked places on the internet especially at the weekends, the bizarre sensation that all restaurants are going to be closed for a few days and that means, if you’re not good at cooking (and I am certainly not), then you should stock up on something like crackers. I guess I still have the peanuts from the airplane. Uzbekistan. Well, well. A new feeling: cool weather. I have missed this. I saw some snow on the way. Snow ! Like the old days, in Michigan, playing outside with my little brother, getting called in by our parents, being asked how was it all, in a jolly way, by my Dad. Snow is part of me. Snow has been missing, these six years in Asia, except, wait, for that time in Nepal…
Yet I’m having a ball.
Nice, trying this.
For a change.
I’m going to credit Rīga. Hello, Rīga.
So nice, to finally meet you.
Soon, I’m going to start sharing this page with a handful of my internet friends from around here. When that happens, this form should work to get in touch.
But I’ll wait.
Until after, you know, the holidays.
Connect with DK
FROM TODAY’s issue of S P A C E, which is S P A C E | Copenhagen, ‘Run, Eliza.’
COPENHAGEN. This one’s story, ‘The Maxis Viona’ is very much inspired by the multi-layered folds-within-folds of multiversial conversations with physicists and quantum physicists, especially while in Copenhagen to research and write this, but also with HL in Cameron Highlands last fall. Also have a listen to ‘Veena’s Song’ to get a feel for the story, that is on our podcast stuff at Soundcloud.
S P A C E. Thanks to all our subscribers in S P A C E for being a part of helping give this shape, intention, and realizing the vision: connecting the world, one designful moment at a time. These things are happening because you are here, reading, connecting, paying attention, being a part of things, sending friendly emails to DK reminding us to not quit, even when it’s so much easier to unplug, forever, from streams and streams and get lost in the woods. But you go to the woods, and then you emerge. And guess what? You go for it, again: full throttle. Meet us in the up? This is where to join.
HT: HH. Know what? That. That was a good party.
AARHUS. Also set in Denmark was our earlier publication, S P A C E | Aarhus, ‘Janteloven.’
Here we go. The next things. The book of things. The things to come. The journeys, the stories. The showing up, the conversations. The making up of a thing, as you go. The going and seeing. The asking of a person on the street instead of consulting Google.
The meaning-making that happens in the road, with eye contact, and that art of discovery that can only come with the person-to-person or group-to-group conversation that happens in, well, S P A C E. This is not Art of Hosting, which I have a bit of a bad taste for, after learning from some of the people who were ‘trained’ through that, or even are ‘trainers’ themselves, that really, what they think of ‘hosting’ and what DK thinks of ‘hosting’ are vastly different quantities altogether. We are not interested in creating a club. We don’t care about how ‘like-minded’ a community is, in fact, we run from those. I am personally in seaarch of the *new* and *different* while on the road, collecting both snippets from intriguing conversations with strangers along the way as well as bits of paper. These fold together in moments designed and hosted by members of our team near and far.
Making S P A C E on the road
We are making S P A C E: Salons, Ateliers, Workshops, and Zines. We are gathering the voices from the places where we go, in the field, without any agenda that’s philosophical, aesthetic (well maybe a little of this), religious (no, no, no, never), or part of some kind of academic research. I have been the guinea pig of such researchers once, and I only found out far later, and I do not like this kind of thing. I like jazzy jam sessions, in which we are all participant in the making of a thing, together. And improv theatre, except, when none of us takes ‘a stage,’ and yet, all of us, by simply being there, make the stage, together. Together, in S P A C E.
Today, we’re hosting S P A C E sessions in Tokyo and Bangkok. Next month, on the 7th again, we’ll begin Riga and Phnom Penh. Are you there, are you listening, are you curious, are you ready? Show up and see what this is. More under all our upcomings. Be a part of it. Stop saying maybe. I just can’t stand that ridiculous ‘on the fence until indefinitely’ nonsense, it bogs me down. Decide, or decide not to decide. The door is open, though, for those who want to pop over, check it out, and do the thing. But you have to say ‘yes’ to find out where and how.
‘We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late.
‘Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood—it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. Omar Khayyam is right: “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on.”
‘We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.
‘Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message—of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.’
Source: MLKEC, INP, Martin Luther King, Jr. Estate Collection, In Private Hands, NYC-7A & 7B as quoted at: https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/beyond-vietnam …
IT TOOK SOME TIME–eight years–to wrap the ideas together for S P A C E | Mito, and find the story. But then, there was the moon.
The moon, the season. The season of the plum blossoms. The season of celebrating new things. Flowers…
Ephemera, the chance of having-been and the exceptional attentiveness to the very slim window of time in which you can see this, the full blooms, I mean: these kinds of sliding doors of the past segueing into the future are what I learned to recognize, to pay attention to, and to seek to get to know better when I first came to Japan.
Which was, let’s see… when… If I’m really honest, I can say that this Japangoing had gotten started when my father decided to bring me to this country as a little kid, saying to me and my brother that we just didn’t know anything about the Far East if we had those (ridiculous, unsubstantiated, completely made-up) kinds of ideas about what Japan ‘is’ (as quoted to him by us kids with those things quoted to us as per mainstream media programming). Without thinking twice about it, he got it in his head that he’d take his family to Japan. This was how I got to visit here, the first time. (In the years that followed I would come to Japan 10 times…)
Tokyo the first time was, for me—Hato Bus, Ginza, a white castle somewhere far away that you took a Shinkansen to get to, kimonos at the house and slippers, green tea, the works. I didn’t even know what those the names of those things or places were, at that time.
But I knew I was getting deeper into the layers of this place, every time, but not in an intellectual way… in an ‘I’m here and this I what I’m feeling’ kind of way. People tell me my writing is not direct, that I leave off subjects and verbs and put in a lot of air… must be the influence from my year in Kyoto… and subsequent visits for work of different varieties before settling into this trip’s: making Atelier S P A C E.
Good thing I got here when I was little, first. Before getting too attached to notions of what a place ‘is’ as defined by people not from there, I could check into it with my own eyes. Every one knows that children see things that adults can’t. And that children don’t bother trying to intellectualize it, they just internalize it. Perhaps it was that very first trip here that my father booked, mostly because his kids were ill-informed (and mis-informed). But it set things up for all that has evolved, since. Going and seeing. Talking to people. Discovering the story. Letting it make… itself. The way it wants, and how.
Language: Japanese is my second one. As I’d gotten curious about Japan, its mysterious layers and hard-to-pin-down ways of doing things that anyone from a foreign land arriving here sees right away, I decided to study this language. Eight years of it. Which included a pretty formal foundation, thanks in part to grants and initiatives and scholarships at that time from people who knew my style of learning and kind of invested in it… and so a formal education began. A year abroad in Kyoto, then an intensive summer of study at Middlebury in Vermont, followed by on-and-off short stints to work and live in Tokyo, mostly Chiba. Mostly off the Joban line. One summer I lived in Minami Kashiwa, another, Kita Kogane. This is getting awfully local. But in Tokyo… the Joban line from Mito down through Kashiwa and Kita Kogana and all the way into Tokyo, right to Ueno. As such, Ueno is my ‘hood. Walking there, in recent days, with BOSS, to see what I might remember and share with him, has called up a lot of things… Still processing much of it. I didn’t take pictures in Tokyo yet. It takes me a long time to warm up to a place or person to feel comfortable enough, like… I guess I feel as if I need to understand one or two small pieces of truth-approximation about that subject, in order to photograph. It’s important to me, to take the time. To gather the details, listen, respond in accordance when and if the time is ready. Maybe there will be a plum blossom. Maybe there will be something else. Maybe there will be nothing. All are possibilities, but you have to let things happen, right?
Cherry blossom fragrances by the light of the moon—a recurring motif in some old poetry (translated for us by the helpful if sometimes redundant placards at the Tokyo National Museum). Which was a stop on the recent pop-up, S P A C E | Tokyo, that I had hosted in Ueno (of course). Pretty neat to walk into a museum with very old things, one of them dating to 800BC… I spent most of my time with the scrolls, and then, the sutras.
Reminiscing and discerning
These kinds of things do the trick; art objects, like nature, can bring you into the present. Remind you that you are human, you are here, you are breathing… easy to get locked up in the world of oneself and lose sight of that broader perspective… you can get too focused on your narrow window of ‘this is me, this is here, and this is all there is.’ There’s more. Illuminating, to be back… back in Mito, back in Tokyo, back to the past, and back to the present.
You get talking about these specific things and you realize that you have internalized more than just the way it’s neat to watch the trains go by at Ueno. Or that you have layers upon layers revealed to you, one step closer, from ‘soto’ to ‘uchi,’ and, on the parallel track, from ‘tatemae’ to ‘honne.’ The more time you spend ingesting the things by osmosis, and mostly straight from your environment to the core of your heart, conveniently bypassing that big thing in your head so you can’t, you mustn’t, you simply do not get the opportunity, to process through the brain, but must feel your way towards some kind of feeling… whatever it is that’s your own take, that is, for you. Each blossom in the Kairakuen park that happened to be noticed, by someone passing by, was, in this way, also brought into that person’s day, that person’s world. Sure, I have my qualms about the overconsumption of images and that was why I took only one picture of the ume in bloom. One shot is good. One is enough, for me. Plus, I would hate to have my real life experience of the park (reportedly the second largest in the world among city parks, second only to that one smack in the middle of New York, where I remember once going for a walk and sitting on a bench beside a young man from Warsaw, whom I then invited, being spontaneous and idle, to wander through the sides of the park with me and talk about nothing for a few hours in the hopes he might feel better as he had been a little dour-looking—some silver spoons and a couple of fine saucers and teacups and a pot in a museum somewhere on either the East or West side, I’m not sure, seemed to do the trick (art objects, and nature—works) and we had parted company with smiles and gestures that had said, that was nice, that was good, good luck now with you, for those were the days of the pre-phone and pre-internet over communication-streams. I’ve let go of those, now. I’ve let go of a lot, in pursuit of the chance encounters that might lead to other journeys, connexions, discoveries, museums, old artifacts, like 800BC things in Tokyo or silver spoons in NY.
And the blooms of the ume–also short-lived, also quick to say hello and also, in the same breath, goodbye.
But to assign wistful nostalgia is to dilute the real experience: this is this, here and now. Time frozen is the same as infinite time. And so, we go, and so we are. Here, let me tuck myself into a small cafe for a bit, start chatting–
‘–and that’s why I’m here.’
‘A story? A newspaper article?’
‘Oh! Do you write for the New York Times?’
‘And you want to write about Mito?’ The man is in his late sixties or early seventies. I can tell he is a regular because when he enters, he is bewildered to see, I’m supposing based on context, that there are more than 0 people in the shop (he walks in and says ‘mezurashii,’ which means, ‘this sure is rare). It’s me, and an older pair of ladies, who are talking together about how cool it is to be in a place where they have been trying to go, for so long, though last Wednesday was a holiday, so–
‘Yes, I think I want to write about the Mito of today.’
He is joined by the shop’s owner, whose father I will meet in not that many days. Both are perplexed as to my choice of location to consider, deeply, for some kind of thought. ‘Mito doesn’t have anything here,’ says the older gentleman. ‘There’s just one road. That’s it.’
‘Well, we have the… let me see if I can find some information packets.’
I am tickled and humbled by their interest in helping me. I forgot. It’s been eight years since I was last in Japan. But the politeness of the society is equally as solidly in place as is the structure that guides one’s ‘how I need to be.’ Both got in the way, for me and for some of my good friends from here, of how to let go, be freer, more spontaneous, more scruffy, more comfortable int he moment, less concerned about the way society thinks you should be, and more interested in the next things than that which has been there forever. Tradition. Mores. It’s a long story, but one that I’ve been writing for 20 years, I know that sounds like a really long time, but it’s true, and will share sometime in a small circle of S P A C E in the issue, S P A C E | 東京, ‘幼なじみ’. Much to say, but I’ll save it.
Having been and being now
For today, just these things. Mito and its meanders showed DK a lot. Whereas Finland taught us how to just be, Japan is reminding us that there is a context to this. That one is to be, but also, that one has also been, and continues to become. To become your best self, to ‘become yourself,’ is really the work, isn’t it? A big kind of work. Putting it off and waiting for new seasons to come into bloom is to delay something that is more important than the coming-into-shape of one or five thousand blossoms. That something is starting, which begins with noticing, the noticing of the noticing is the beauty of the moment, that collection of attunements to the here-now is what, I feel, is poetry in a life… and in simpler terms, beauty… and art.
To the journeys, then. The new, the near, the now and the next.
S P A C E | Mito will be published on 9 July. This issue would not have been possible without the very helpful contributions of a few good people. DK would like to thank: Marita Morita, Makoto Takeuchi. But especial thanks go to Noriko and Izuru Morita along with Ravinder Kohli.
FOR ALMOST all of the 2000s I would tell our clients (we used to have clients, would you believe–and an office, and phones that plugged into the wall, neighbors, a bar across the street, gads of cafes in that place as it was lower Capitol Hill in Seattle, and my favorite-ever thing which I swore I would someday use to print a book manuscript on and finally did albeit ten years after getting it–an $800 color laser printer)… well, I would tell them, ‘Trust the process.’
Beginnings and trust
I would say that at the very beginning because we go on these wild journeys together, when we go, and we have no idea in which direction we’ll head, or why. We’re just gonna start by starting, I would say.
Since this January, I have grown to see that there is much more than just starting a thing. Momentum (p), is velocity times mass.
if m is an object’s mass and v is the velocity. So the faster you’re going the more momentum. The bigger you are the more momentum. And since S P A C E was conceived in the waning weeks of 2018, it has gained in both. The collection has grown from a few test issues to a robust 12-set sequence, ‘A Philosophy of the Moment,’ and a handful of new ones for the current one, ‘The Book of New Things.’ More than once I’ve looked back and thought, ‘What the?’ But the work is getting better and better: that’s the direct result of all the small ramps that it has taken to build a big one. And it has certainly been a wild, beautiful, engaging, and enormous team task. Especially because that team is in very different places, and scattered about through timezones and points in the span of DK’s existence, too: old ties and new ones, interwoven, are informing the good things that are emerging in S P A C E. That’s the project, by the way. S P A C E for new and different others to connect in remarkable ways. Meaningfully, not trivially. And I do NOT mean silly online dating things or that kind of craic. I mean… meaningfully.
But now it’s my turn. To trust the process.
Because philosophy and metaphilosophy and asking big questions is not… popular. So I have to keep asking around until I find the people who are interested, and keep going when I do. That is the big work now and the forward motion is to press the pedal at the times when the road is straight. Mass x velocity, right?
Currently in Japan. A lot to say. Too much. Saving it for the fall, by then I’ll work some of the ideas out into some new zines. If it takes me 10 years to write a book, I’ll say it takes me 6 months to write 12 zines. Let’s see what happens. Hopefully some of the people I am connecting with on this journey will co-create with me, as others have and did for previous issues of S P A C E. Some of my favorites: Hanoi, Aarhus, Brussels, and Kyoto.
‘And you may not know what that is going to yield, not right away, but it might make sense in say a year or two or ten. But if you’re ready to start new things and see where they might lead, take a chance on DK, and trust the process, then I can promise you that you’ll be pleasantly surprised, and maybe even learn a thing or two about yourself you did not know.’ This is what I didn’t tell my old clients at DK, in the 2000s. This is what, I learned, my clients from recent years are telling me that I do for them. And that’s why it’s especially important to relay that, here and now. Because when you’re on the edge and not sure what’s next, and alone, because alone is the only place you can find out something very intriguing indeed, I have a cool note in one of my many papers about that from the Eskimo people, and there much more to say, but I can’t keep my eyes open much longer as I’m still a little out of it from moving suddenly from Vietnam to Japan. Worlds. Apart. I feel like I did when I was in CPH and walking the cool blue streets there: florists, cafes, bars, the public transit portals. These are the structures and the trappings of a city. But I forgot that the reason I dived into SE Asia and stayed six years was because… oh, well, let me process it properly first and share it in the fall zine series of S P A C E, will I? That way I’ll keep it neat and clean here. Here is just my note-taking, documenting the process. Because I have to trust it now. It’s my turn to do the thing I used to tell everyone else to do.
‘Trust. The process.
‘DK, trust it.’
Yes. It’s my turn, here at this plateau, to stop and look back and tell myself to not give up, not quit this thing, even if it seems lonely, and that I’m going at it alone, I must remember that I am not, that there are friends and colleagues and more friends and more colleagues awaiting the things ahead. The Book of New Things made itself clear to me today, In the form of a very small, very casually around, very handsome and significant small bounded box. Inside, a set of different things: from here, from there, from far, from near. The past, the present. A set of togethering: again, old meeting new.
Where am I going on this conversation-starting path? Into the depths of the things-to-become, if we let them, as and when we’re ready. (It’s not for everyone, of course. But if you are starting new journeys somewhere, the S P A C E set that self-selects is comprised of a very unique collection of some of those whom I’ve met on my travels and in my work (well, more the former lately, than the latter), and more importantly, through the conversations.) Good new things are starting: mini-parties to get us together in real life in cities around the world (next are Tokyo and Bangkok, for example) and the co-created zines, too.
How to be part of S P A C E
Membership is free with your eZine subscription to S P A C E. DK’ll send you the magazine and a couple of invitations to join us in the co-creation of the Book of New Things. All ahead. Here’s what to do now… click the button below and donate to our crowdfunding page where you can click ‘Weekly S P A C E’. It’s exciting, what’s ahead.
About 1 out of every `100 people I will meet will be just exactly the kind of guests I would want to be a part of S P A C E. Maybe you, reading there, are in that small bracket? On the off chance you are, I invite you to connect. Click this button and you’ll get to our crowdfunding page, just sign up there, and more will follow…
IT IS FORTY past five. I’m in Hanoi. The time is good to pause and write. ‘Trust the process’ I tell all our clients and the people who are signing up now, in a more personal way, to get ‘in’ on things we do around here behind the scenes. It’s not for everyone but it’s a lot of fun. I’m good. I’m well, actually, really well. Caffeinated, happy. Put the finishing touches on a piece of writing that has been in the works for two years. I know. THat’s a lot. sometimes you write real fast and publish (blogging, for ex, like this), and sometimes you stay with the story until it feels right enough, more or less, and wait for that magic to happen that says, ‘This. Is the kernel of it.’ Hemingway said to write true sentences, and to Fitzgerald he said to write a story based on a true sentence. As in, one true sentence to hinge the story around. BOSS and DK were reading ‘A Moveable Feast‘ and then DK fell kind of ill and had to lie in bed and was worried about dying and then BOSS said you’re fine and DK joked that this was like that scene in AMF, and you should call reception and ask for a thermometer. And then, no no, you should go down to the lobby and ask because probably over the phone ‘thermometer’ wouldn’t communicate—it’s not obviously a thing people ask for from the fifth floor, is it now. Then they laughed and rested and BOSS gave DK a lot of water (six glasses. Dehydration), and things were fine in the AM after quite a number of minutes of good rest. Rest can really help with so many things. And water. I guess this has nothing to do with Hanoi, or the process. Damn. I guess I’ll just get back to the story-writing, and story-finishing, so that I can share it in real life, here in HN, this Thursday. The true sentence, by the way!, is this: ‘No one really knows anything, for sure.’
Side note: if you are in North Carolina, keep up with the journeys of DK when you read ‘Kismuth & The Way’ each month in Saathee Magazine. They’re out of Charlotte–this time I’ll write about HN. HT: Samir Shukla & Jade Hotel Huế
Feature photo: Hanoi by DK, 2017
This note is for Patti Rieser.
Hey. I’m in the very city where I was when I wrote you that long ago email, April 2013, to be more specific, not so long ago, maybe, in some relative scales. But there was a note of ardent passion in it, I think… or maybe it was just the blurriness of the feeling that makes me think so… I recall only the gist of it; a gesture towards desperately looking for any kind of connexion, online or off, but not finding it easily, because it was the beginning. Of a new chapter. Scary, at first.
ADVENTURING & TREPIDATION. That was six years ago, now. I remember the describing of what it felt like to go to the place in the middle of a lake, a lake that I now know as if it’s been someone I sometimes catch up with here and there when I’m in her town. It’s not easy to do that when you are on the go a lot or move around or don’t know how to stop, not really, or are loathe to get too carried away with one idea, one moment, one spot, one ‘career’, one set of ideas about things, or one ‘box’ to live within. You get up and out and you see a bunch of things, but then, you come back. You return. Returning… is also nice. I wish you could have read the poem ‘A Place Called Home.’ I shared it with just a handful of people, and wrote it for just one. It was good to focus, in this way. To lay low and get clarity on the things that mean something. If it wasn’t for that early email, though, back in that other place, in that other time, that reply of yours that had come back with such wisdom, such clarity, such soothing and honest artfulness, then I don’t think I could be back here with this level of ‘noticing the noticing’ kind of vibe, today.
One moment can change everything… then there was the great confident things you had said when I wrote you, again, quite out of desperation and in a jiffy and with some pangs of remorse for being so out of the blue about it, from Singapore… some will know why that was significant, again, not many, but yeah. And here I am. Being grateful. To all that we have made and shared, because we ‘got’ each other. I still remember that first conversation, about Colorado and journeys and stuff that I can’t put here because it’s in confidence that you had shared, and I respect that. Still, it’s cool we could stay in touch like this, even across time, and distance.
AHEAD. Good things in play, here. Celebrating the remarkable. Seeing the new.
Here’s to the journeys…
Another chapter is opening but this time, I’m headed in without the old things. Seeing it not for what it ‘is’ but for wherever ‘the way’ will take me. New and next, I hope. An adventure. A new beginning. A fresh departure.
Warmly from Hanoi–