Art of Not Knowing: Invite the spontaneous

VERY FUN, very nice, very relaxing to talk quite openly and frankly for some giant length of time (two hours? Five?) about… nothing and everything. With JO. (Thank you!)

I like it when people say ‘yes’ to my impromptu invitations. As did our walk in the slight rain just south of the Old Quarter of Ha Noi, our conversation wandered. Which is exactly right, and it felt like S P A C E was getting made.


NOT designed. See, I always write about designing the bounded box. But this was… improvised. And not my initiative, fully. So that was cool, and fun, and really neat. Much like when I met SY, also in recent days in Hanoi.

Not because of anything that came beforehand, just… spontaneously. This was new. This was different. You can design for S P A C E that’s quality, or you can just let yourself be part of it when you see it’s emerging. See? That’s kind of fun, isn’t it? And when we used to let ourselves be spontaneous, such great things fell forth, didn’t they?

A new melody plays. A new love forms. A new shift, in the shape of space.

Is there a need for philosophy? Is there a place for salons? Is it important to connect with (and then, by design, interconnect) new and different others? For real life learning, together? I think so. I think we are losing our grip, ‘we’ as in the Western malaise and ennui drifting crowds. It’s not better in Asia. I mean, people have problems everywhere. Obviously. I’m not a sociologist, a psychologist, a commentator on Society, or anything. I am a connector. I always was. I will continue to be. And when this used to involve clients and meetings, I would bring in interns and photographers and illustrators—always invite the new and different others (and ‘others’ is an important part, for the sake of inclusion) into the circle to create and co-create. This wasn’t working well in Seattle, or Durham NC. So I left those places. I am now in Asia. Wandering about, looking for the resonance. Looking to make (or become part of, that’s the new learning from yesterday) the kind of space that feels good, feels like it’s right

Where you can be who you are

Where you can let your guard down

Where you don’t have to fear being judged

Or googled…

Where you can just… be.

That. That, to me, is high-quality space.

S P A C E.

Ask me anything. Connect at ‘A little S P A C E.’ Through the link under our ‘contact’ page. See it there, at the top. That’s where to go.



How I start an ‘N’

16N‘ if you are hearing about this for the first time, is a conversation salon. A very specific kind, in which 16 people whose paths have never crossed will connect once, but briefly. In a city that has an ‘N’ in it. To discover together more in hosted conversation space about a topic that starts with an ‘N’.

Now, if that is weird, then that’s fine.

Because we are not trying to be conventional here. None of our events are about the usual things. We are not creating networking opportunities for you to bring your business cards to. Nor is this about meeting someone with a hope that you might develop some kind of romantic interest, because these kinds of things are, as far as we are concerned, ‘regular.’ Regular kinds of events, quite honestly, are becoming enormously dull to me. I’m not looking for work or a relationships, so that makes most regular events hard to go to. For a long while, I simply stopped socializing. I just stayed home. As a general rule, I avoid going out anywhere after 5PM on a Friday or Saturday. Those are the days when I write, here in my little abode, wherever I happen to be in some part of Asia at the time. Not that I travel that much. (When I do travel, it’s for ‘N’.)

THERE ARE THREE CITIES in which ‘N’ has been completed. These are: Phnom Penh, Bangkok, and London. Currently I am in Hanoi. I am, really. I didn’t think I would be. I had given up hope that in the next four weeks I could find and gather 16 total strangers in an ‘N’ moment. I am going to blog about this journey, this time, because for the last few I have been a little… Um. Opaque? Yeah. I didn’t share about the feelings as they were being felt, about the trepidation that comes with ‘showing up!’, when in fact you have no idea if anyone else will. This is a clear, honest and wide-open fact.

At the time of this writing, there are 0 tickets moved for ‘N’ Hanoi.

But that’s probably because I haven’t shared the registration page with anyone, yet. I have been, to be really honest, sort of… Worried. After a couple of small events here around town in recent weeks, I kind of felt like maybe this wasn’t the city for ‘N’, after all. Like, people say they’re interested but they don’t really show up. Then again, that’s true anywhere. ANYWHERE. And I don’t think, correct me if I’m wrong?, in 2017, it simply is not… Normal to actually go to a thing just because you said you would. For a while, I was adamant that ‘N’ ought to be about ‘pushing back on the Culture of Maybe.’ Now I know ‘N’ is something else. It’s own thing. Designed on the spot, like an improvised theater piece… As much as I like to talk about the theory of it, each ‘N’ is its own kind of jam. (Maybe that’s what it’s like to have several children? Each one is so different, but you give them equal love.)

Lately in this world of many things happening and options galore, I noticed in order to really go to something special like ‘N’ or something, you have to commit with something more than your word, now. A ticket. An obligation. A something else. I am going with tickets, for ‘N.’ What I did was this. I just extended my visa, so that buys me 4 weeks.


Will I find 16N in that time?

Let us see.

Let me just blog it as I go, shall I?

That way you will see the nervous fray that sometimes happens, here. I am terribly excited to be back in Hanoi after 4 years. It’s a good city. A great city, really. Exquisite details, so much to note. Our theme for this one is NARRATIVE. I find, on a personal note, that I’m much different, too, having come to this side of the world as a very different person compared to who I have become, today. Asia. Living here. Getting to know the methods, how to read the air, between the lines, how you kind of understand another language without knowing the words, after practicing that, too, in Phnom Penh. I had imagined that I had to live in a  city where English was the first language, because, here I am, writing in native language English and isn’t that what matters for communication? Answer: NO. What matters is the ‘getting.’ Of being ‘gotten.’ I see you, I hear you. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, as long as this connection is genuine.

Of being there. And showing up. SHOWING UP, so important to me.

NOW, IF YOU ARE just discovering this ‘N’ thing and you are in Hanoi, I would like to make your acquaintance. Do connect. Here is the page with a form, [updated, now it’s working!]… just fill it out… to let me know you’re curious about ‘N’ Hanoi: NARRATIVE. Happening… Sometime in the next… Four weeks. I think. More to follow. On this, and other things. Designing as we go. Making it up as we go. Improvising, looking, listening, sharing this time. WILL IT HAPPEN? As with each ‘N’ preceding Hanoi, the answer is the same: We shall see. –AS