Writing and eating

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 >

This is what it looks like

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?

Let’s see.

Meantime, I wanted to share, I know it’s just a screenshot of some email, but that’s my main view, from here. Today.

 

16 tickets for ‘N’ Hanoi.

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.

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.

 

 

A new circle

COMING UP ON THE SECOND WEEK. Of a new online conversation circle.

It’s called THE VILLAGE.

This was the welcome note, a few days ago…

THANK YOU to those of you who registered this week for THE VILLAGE. It’s, as you know, an invitation-only conversation salon. I wanted to round us out so we had a good mix of people with varied backgrounds and experiences: who we are, who we’ve become, as I’ve learned through our personal correspondences to date. The whole idea of writing to you, on the blogs and in the emails, has shifted for me. I want to write more personally, in our online virtual circles. We found you and you found us, and here we go. (This past Monday I sent you the first prompt, if for some reason you didn’t get it, let me know. I want to be in clear communication here, so much gets lost these days with technology, so I want to avoid that. I’m here, I’m listening. I’m going to respond. Much more to share, as we get going. There is so much great conversation, I’m sure of it, ahead of us.) See you in the forums, and here’s to the journeys.


IT’S SUPER EXCITING FOR US to convene in the online spaces some of the fascinating people DK has met through our travels and even work, in countries of Asia and Europe. I am always humbled by the level of thoughtfulness in the applications that come in and the value that these members bring. We are very selective in making invitations, because of the importance of hosting a safe and open-ended dialogue in online circles. Very small. Each one, but vivid.

Circles in our S P A C E programs (of which THE VILLAGE is one) are myriad and multiple, and diverse in all the senses of the word. If it weren’t for the learning that always happens when these kinds of conversations can progress (it usually takes about three months to really get started, because by then we know who’s sticking around, and then it gets very interesting), I would have stopped hosting them a long time ago. But it’s a great way to augment what begins, often, in real life spaces. I think almost everyone that is participating at the time of this writing had joined a DK event or met one of us in person, before saying, ‘I believe you will host this in a way that makes it worth my time, and money, to take part.’ I’m especially looking forward to sharing, in about four weeks, where we are in this protected post, Departures.

Probably the one that gets the most interesting comments, and I just reread them, just now, and there were some tears, or that feeling of tears about to come, and holding them back, that kind of feeling, because there are only a certain group of people who, together with us here at DK, enjoy and appreciate space to talk about such things as Home & Away, Departures, Ritual, Seasons, and The Village. I like small circles; it gets very intimate, and cozy, and where the whole point of engaging with others makes a great deal of intuitive ‘sense.’

Senescence kind of sense.

We make invitations to certain people we meet in person, but also, to those who discover us and connect through ‘A little S P A C E,’ which you can read about if you click the ‘contact’ tab, and find your way there, if there’s an interest. Not for everyone, but well worth it for those of us who are seeking, searching, and interested in going beyond the day-to-day, mundane, banal, and unintriguing. Most of the Internet is that, and sadly, most of real life seems to be headed that way, too. Let’s remember how to converse, connect, and learn together. Let’s keep making salons, real life ones and online ones, because who else is going to do this work, but us, together? That’s it from Ha Noi, today, for the moment. Onwards, forwards. Next! —AS

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