THE POLL IS GOING, and is almost finished, I think, where we are seeing if 16 people can agree on a date for ‘N’. At the time of this writing (12.10PM), ten have. Ten people, people I have just met (some on the street, some on the big road, a few on the cafe hopping tours around the back neighborhoods west of Old Quarter). Ten of these folks, open and curious as they are, are agreeing on a date for ‘N’ Hanoi. One person emailed a ‘yes’, but I think it has to be a check mark on the poll to count. Doesn’t it? Hm.
16 is the magic number. Working my way towards discovering us.
Ten is a lot.
Ten is more than I had imagined, as I still have all of today, all of tomorrow, all of the next day, and all of the day after that, to keep on discovering people and asking them to join me at ‘Secret Event,’ on facebook, if they are there, because this is Asia and though I don’t have a personal facebook (I resist! After closing four accounts, I simply resist this frivolous thing!)…. Even though that, well. Fact: facebook is a giant way that people in this part of the world will communicate about things like this.
IDENTITY. You need to have an online thing. An online thing that people can check out, so they can know you’re real, and even if you’re making an abstract thing like ‘N’, they still need to know that you are really… Credible. I guess that’s understandable. These days you have people walking up to you all the time asking you to do something, buy something, read something. The subtle things like people pretending to be friends with you so they can move you towards their agenda, that’s icky, so I try to just be direct now. [Example: There’s a thing. It’s happening next week. You’re getting this invitation in person because the only way to get an invitation is by meeting me or emailing me, because that’ just how this weird project goes.] I used to do it by Internet, inviting people I mean. I would have all kinds of channels going and sometimes, just sometimes, I would meet someone incredible and they would say, ‘Why not? I’m in,’ just like that. Blind. I totally couldn’t believe that, when it happened, and it made me want to keep going with the Internet seeking. But in Asia, it’s different. I realize that the way people do things here isn’t like how people do things in Western countries. Heck, sending email feels so arcane. I mean, I feel like an anachronism saying, ‘Email me.’ Yet… Email. Is how. I send the invitations. Because I don’t want everyone to know everything all the time. I think we’re sliding back into that kind o fworld, aren’t we? Where we just share in smaller circles? I mean, people think their facebook is ‘just for friends and family,’ but is itreally? *skepticism* [Yeah, you can tell I don’t like facebook, right? I don’t. Especially nowadays when it becomes a substitute for real life, in person, impromptu, meandering, organically developed conversation. But then, it’s a fact. Embrace it, right? That’s why I had to make an event page, this time.
MIND YOU, the event thing discloses pretty much nothing about ‘N’ and how it goes, and who it’s for, and why you should come. Why? Because it’s not that kind of a thing. It’s not ‘cool.’ There will be no free beer, no free pizza, no women in bikinis parading about. At least, I’m 99% sure there won’t be. A party for conversation. A party for ‘the third place’ (see that on Wikipedia, for more about spaces that aren’t for work, and aren’t for home). It’s about… Us. Gathering briefly and once with new and different others for a remarkable connection (leave the design and hosting to me). For honest sharing. Seeing one another. I go on and on about that in the page about the project, here.
Because ‘N’ is not for those who are looking ‘to get something.’ It’s for those of us who remain curious, who still want to converse, connect, but not in a weird or creepy way. ‘N’ makes space. For real life. That’s it. That’s the whole thing. But briefly, and once. For the craic, like, as we used to say when we got influenced by everyone around us in the southwest of Ireland. Ah, but I digress. Meander. Shift. Shape of space. Chance. The encounter. Randomness. Serendipity. The story ahead of us… Ah, but yes. This, to me, this possibility, this is it. Beauty.
To the journeys!
AHEAD. Oh. And… Later today I’ll post a few pictures of the venue we’ve picked, for ‘N’. Can’t wait… And… If you are just joining me, and are curious about ‘N’ and are in Hanoi, request an invitation through the button at the bottom of 16n.strikingly.com.
TWO THINGS today, on the agenda. Going through the conversations, going through the highlights of posts, of sharings to date, of learnings-as-we-went, and the reflections from ‘N’ in Phnom Penh, Bangkok, London, and the ones in progress in Copenhagen and Hanoi.
Today I will focus on getting things into a place where they are share-able with you, those of you who might be coming to this blog now, wondering about ‘N’. Did I invite you recently, to ‘N’ here in Hanoi? NARRATIVE is our theme. I’ll have bits that are easier to take in (than what kind people who mean well are telling me is) an unwieldy, not user-friendly blog. But… Writing. For one, mostly, here. I think. And people looking for places to leave links telling me how they think I should do something else with my ‘talent’ and stuff, which really, I’m so not interested in ‘digital marketing.’ I’m not going to write some compelling bit of fluff so you can sell your, what, wristwatches? I hate consumerism. I hate the junk that we are consuming without even letting ourselves ask, ‘Wait, wait, wait. Is this adding to my life. Really. Is it? IS it? And so on.)
Meantime, here in Hanoi…
‘N’ HANOI. With the help of 15 others, people who are new to one another, who don’t know what’s going to happen, who aren’t sure where this might lead them, but who are open to trying new things, we, together, will make an ‘N’ here in Hanoi. Next week. Now. Off to find some foodstuffs. And blogging. Blogging is a bit of a solo thing, for me, I think, esoteric and inaccessible as most stuff I like to post here tends to be (they said, gently). Anyway, so? It’s been just me, mostly, here at this space. So I welcome you to this conversation, even if it’s an ambient one, and more is on the way for those who get in touch to request an invitation >
BEHIND THE SCENES. This (pictured behind the title of this post, above) is the conversation I am having simultaneously with people whom I have already invited to ‘N’ on a poll that lets us all mutually agree on a date. Maybe you can read this post, ‘Save the date, almost’, from yesterday, where I talked about the conferring taking place online that shows which date(s) are most popular. There are a few things that a poll like this takes into account and there are many more things that it doesn’t. For example, it’s very democratic, in a way. But there are some of us who are talking who are more interested in this than other people.
Now what do I do? That is the thing that I have to share about, next.
But in the private space, for just those who are going to be invited, very soon, to register. After I send the ‘save the date’ official note. Registration. That’s when ‘yes’ becomes ‘ticket-yes,’ and this becomes more and more real. Towards the day itself, when we converge from our vectors, our uncrossed ones, to focus on a point in time and space in which there occurs an ‘N’. Designing it so that 16 people who might not have met in that kind of way, in that kind of place, in that kind of moment, are engaged and discovering one another, in a salon thing called ‘N’: NARRATIVE. What are the stories we tell to the world?, asks this ‘N.’ Which ones do we tell ourselves?
(I’m going to keep posting here, a little more in public space, but more about the process of designing and hosting this and less about the people because that is by design a mystery. It’s a 16-way blind date, in a way, but not in that kind of way that you would think. This kind of blind date is more about conversation conversation conversation, in the shape of space that is by design meant to be safe, comfrotable, inviting, welcoming, all of the things that I think… I think if you know me personally, you know I most enjoy. Not too pretentious, a little bit scruffy, the perfect kind of venue that matches this, and more. I am writing and I am also listening to Boss tell me that there is another magazine called S P A C E and that I should be worried about that, but I’m not.
There is only one particular S P A C E I am interested in, and it is the quality, (where is Quality, asks ‘N’?) invite-only, sustaining space for great conversation, the kind that moves, progresses, goes into… the big, and open-ended, and connects us in ways that might surprise us, if we let ourselves go there… SO much to say here.
OPEN & CLOSED CIRCLES. More of this kind of talk will be shared in the closed circles. Because this is a very special kind of a conversation, and I am designing ‘N’ to be a specific kind of space, and this kind of space involves, necessarily, some exclusivity, so that we can have the right kind of stage set for the day.) For ‘N’. Otherwise, well. Otherwise it’s just like any other ol’ event, isn’t it? Bo-ring. And ‘N’ designs out the boring, the mundane, the ‘regular,’ the he-said-she-said ho-hum yes, yes, yes, we all know what that is like. And so, here I go, writing and emailing and conferring and circling back and following up, asking for registrations, reconfirmations, and finally, sending the agenda, meetpoint, and programme to 16 people. Sixteen ‘N’.
Will it? Can it?
Meantime, I wanted to share, I know it’s just a screenshot of some email, but that’s my main view, from here. Today.