The narrative of ‘N’ Hanoi, Part 4

At the time of this writing, we have 4 people ‘in’ for ‘N’ Hanoi.

IN THE MIDDLE, that’s where we’ll begin.

At the time of this writing, we have 4 people ‘in’ for ‘N’ Hanoi.

  • __, from the bus.
  • __, from the… um. The internet.
  • __, from a public event.
  • __, from upstairs. Who was first to join ‘N’ Hanoi. A spot that I am always eternally grateful to someone for saying ‘yes’ to. More on the ‘why’ of this, below.

SOMETIME IN THE COMING DAYS I will circle back to Parts I-III. About how it has been going all this time, since I first started to share out in the open about the journey of ‘N’ Hanoi.

From the time we started with having discovered the venue, to when the decision came in a sort of weird inward insight to commit to the doing, to starting the ‘N’ journey in this blog for the first time really talking about all the uncertainty as it’s going on, et cetera. And how I think I found 2 or 3 of us (but, in the end, was wrong about. Hm. Happens.)

Ups. Downs. Movements in between. Still at it, though. Still working towards gathering 16 total strangers for a conversation installation in Hanoi in June on the theme, NARRATIVE. ‘What are the stories we tell the world? What are the ones we tell our selves?’ A low-key conversation, in which no prior experience or expertise is necessary. It’s about the who, more than the where or when, so I am starting with invitations to people I don’t know. Asking them to add their preferred dates to a secret poll online. Asking us to confirm whether we can do this, whether 16 of us can ‘say yes’ and ‘show up.’ The two most important things you need to have happen before the magic moment of ‘N’ can even begin to come within gravitational reach. More about ‘N’ is at the ’16N’ link, in our menu bar at the top of this page. Check it out.

Those things happened, and between then and now Parts I-III of the narrative of ‘N’ Hanoi did, too, and I shared a little with the S P A C E community, which is what? Which is something you can find out about when you click the box here, and so on. There’s so many layers to this, isn’t there?

After the first ticket moved in Bangkok, I got this coffee.




When someone joins ‘N’ for the first spot, I know that the ball is in motion. The onus is now on me to gather the rest of us, somehow. It feels hard, sometimes, like trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat. But other times it’s very natural, very casual, very normal. Like today, when I met ___. I hope you will read this, __, I hope you will discover that this is part of an interactive story, not just me writing and blogging and ‘documenting.’ I used to have comments open on everything here, but they are always taken over by people in car sales or something like that, and it gets ugly going through all  the spam, so I don’t do that now. But my comment box is always open here, in case you are reading, or someone else whom I shared about ‘N’ with today (or in recent weeks). I guess I only just started talking about it out loud because I got the feeling, after the first ‘yes’, that there was scope for this, here. Hanoi is on for ‘N’, I think. People are game, I think. People say yes and people sometimes even show up, and once in a while people co-host things with me, too. That is beautiful, when it happens. That is conversation at its upper limit best. Co-creation. Conversation. Making things up, together, as we go.

In Search of Meaning (32): Perfection is the a-ha moment

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WHAT DO SCIENTISTS, JOURNALISTS, and artists have in common?

Relentless pursuit.

Artists are in pursuit of beauty.

Journalists (the honest ones, anyway), of truth.

And scientists, of both.


Making sense where there is none

WE EACH WANT TO ARRIVE at the truth of a thing. To make sense of the complexity of the world surrounding us.

To dissect, to question, to pursue and—with any luck—to gain privilege to some kind of understanding.

Art. Artist friends revel in the process of creating. Sometimes there’s a point where you think a piece is finished and then a single, unplanned movement determines a totally new direction.

It is a dance, it is a performance. But the audience and players are selfsame: they are you. Intuition is a guide. Clarity of vision is paramount.

The result can be brilliance: if you’ve stood at the foot of Michelangelo’s David when his crowd wanes and fades, you know exactly what I mean.

Journalism. Lately I’ve been revisiting some of Malcolm Gladwell’s writings. I saw Gladwell speak while touring with Outliers.

I didn’t realize his father was a mathematician, and the inner jacket copy for What the Dog Saw says Gladwell’s is ‘an investigator of the hidden extraordinary.’

I’m no Gladwell, but I was a staff reporter—first for the [DELETED] in southwest Ireland, then at the [DELETED].

In these jobs, I was always looking for the glint of something beautiful and, more importantly, true. If I could illuminate the truth in a thing through a story, I considered it a personal success.

Science. Scientists amaze me. They like to make tables and box their answers. This process of setting up a hypothesis, inventing methods to test it, and evaluating results to arrive at a conclusion reminds me of one of my classes in civil engineering at N.C. State: concrete.

When engineers build roads, they rely on charts and tables. They put in factors of safety. They don’t have any exact solution, but they apply what others have observed and tabulated to be true, and assured it will work the same way tomorrow. It’s inexact. It’s flawed.

But it works, at least enough of the time that we don’t question it or try to invent new methods. Kind of like Euclidean geometry.

Scientists and lovers of science are a curious lot.

That’s why I loved being surrounded by some 250 science enthusiasts last weekend at a conference smack in the middle of Research Triangle Park called Science Online.

For now, I’m still jazzed by the simplicity of the insight.

The a-ha moment

ARTISTS, JOURNALISTS, AND SCIENTISTS are each looking for something.

We mince uncertainty. We peel the superficial layers.

We want to “see” the internal workings of a thing, a process, or a condition of existence.

In other words, we seek—it is our work, our compulsion and even our obsession. Our hands and minds carry us to do the work that we simply cannot not do.

To quest.

Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist style.

Seeking discoveries and brilliant moments along the way.

Beauty is truth, truth beauty / That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. —John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn

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