ON 27 JUNE 2017 in Hanoi, a mix of exactly 16 people got together for ’16N’, a traveling conversation salon on a theme that starts with an ‘N’. This time, our topic was NARRATIVE. ‘What are the stories we tell to the world? Which ones do we tell ourselves?’ and other questions popped to place as we took three floors of Nhọ Nồi, small cafe in Ba Đình, quite by surprise. An installation like no other ‘N’, this one resulted in a flurry of poetry-writing, on the spot.
FEW INSTRUCTIONS ISSUED FORTH, and that, I believe, is why this ‘N’ unfolded as prettily as it did. Days before ‘N’ at our first meeting, guest TN had said, poignantly, ‘Sometimes you have to let a thing happen instead of make it happen.’ Inspired by the notion that nothing needs to be forced (including the number 16), on the day itself, we let it flow. Looser, lighter than any other ‘N’ programme so far, this one gave way fully to the playfulness of our guests, I thought.
[Right, ‘N’ Hanoi? We did that. Didn’t we? We wrote impromptu, we eased into it, found a groove and a rhythm, and wound up having a poetry slam. More soon, in a protected-page post to follow with a certain picture, but for the moment, these are the three poems you all left behind… I thought you might like to read them again. To co-discovery! To meetings of chance! And to… real life. Enjoy, enjoy. More soon. <3]
‘How do I fix this?’
I have always wanted to be blonde
Does everyone experience Fomo?
Fomo can be a motivation for someone?
I’ve recently started using the word “fomo” as an action verb.
Sadly, nobody understands what I say.
Sadly, sometime, people hate my pictures.
I think you’ll always find people that disagree with you.
I guess it depends only on their intentions—Keep taking photos!
you will be cured
What can you break with the world’s smallest hammer?
Just forget it,
I’m really terrible at remembering names.
LET’S HAVE BREAKFAST
She always loved him making her smoothies in the morning.
Then he popped a mint in his mouth;
I love these flowers
A terrifying hue of violet
‘Can terrifying be a positive description of something?’
‘Yes, if you overcome your fear…’
‘Terrible love cannot be overcome…’
‘Anything can be
I have a life here.
14 people in the world are richer than all the rest, self-evidently
The truest measure of their riches
Is the willingness to fold themselves open
One day you will have all the love that you’ve given
If you have not given enough love, will you not be able
To see the love that everyone
I see what I want to see. And you?
The sound that weasels make playing in a ball pit.
A little known fact: weasels are deaf, they can only feel vibrations.
I wish I was a terrifying weasel
So I could produce terrific coffee.
Such a small thing like coffee
Can change your whole day! Why?
Because of no reason at all
WAKING UP IN A NEW PLACE, not the train and not the bus and not the old house(s). Back in Phnom Penh, but seeing it from new angles. Ahead? It’ll be a different adventure, now, from this point forward. Different people to meet, different scenery to note. I think even new foods might enter into the daily routine, just because that’s what happens when you’re ready for the new. You have to be ready for it, right? It’s timing, largely, these things. When you find your magic moment of connection, it’s not because you’re always open to that-which-could-be-remarkable to fall into your lap, no, no. I mean, there are a few rare birds like that who are, which is super cool (but must be tiring? Hm). But yeah. What I’m noticing, and this is maybe just me, but what I’m discovering is that the moment of connexion doesn’t come just because of design (as I had hypothesized) or *showing up* which I have yammered about extensively to those who will give me an ear. But it’s, kind of, and this is really the new awareness of it, it’s mostly about timing. After an ‘N’, I usually just go into hiding. ‘And now I don’t have to talk to anybody.’ Pattern.
Unlike the earlier blog posts here, about how I make an ‘N’, and just how many interjections in other people’s day-to-day it takes to get enough invitations out there so that just 16 say yes, get tickets, and show up, well, no. Not now. Timing. For me, going into hibernation mode for a bit, now, is on the agenda.
There is no way in a million years I’m going to go out and talk to someone on the street or the bus or on a boat about something they should come along to, so they can ‘get out of their comfort zone,’ and yeah, they should, they should also pay for a ticket, and so on. No, I’m just not into it, right now. Same feeling, when I wrote ‘A new plateau,’ after ‘N’ in London (November 2015).
THE KEYBOARD IS NOT connecting, somehow, so this will be short and sweet. (If you were there, the pic is coming. I’ll email you.) I had such fun meeting you all, individually and then, together. A fuller, more articulated thank-you is in draft and I’ll send, for sure, soonish. A quick thank you here, for now. Many thanks for playing 16N. Okay. Let me get myself to the next stop, the stop after that, and then home. More from there for guests, and then, for those in our online circles of S P A C E. If you were there, to be continued!