IT TAKES A VILLAGE (Kismuth Books / 2014). Photo by Eliane Beeson.
“Dipika Kohli, Director at Design Kompany, author, and thinker admonishes to embrace our mortality by being aware of how fragile life is and that one should decide what should be done with their finite days, and quickly. —-TEDxRaleigh . Watch it here.
KISMUTH means destiny.
What started in 2012 as a place to share some deeply personal stories about love, life, loss, and chance that included an elopement, a very tough choice about a foetus, and a lifelong question about a terrorist attack has evolved since to include lots of other perspectives. Sending e-letters to a group of people who have become interested in themes of uncertainty along with me has become a way to create a space for sharing that is protected from public view, yet intimate, and allows room for deepening connection.
People I’ve met are in many countries. They talk about the same things that we all care about. For everything to be all right. For their loved ones to be okay. Especially their children.
EVEN IF we are trying to discover the themes of our own life in small spaces, independently, there is a connectivity that we can have through a sharing of ideas that doesn’t have to be so overly intellectual. We can simply put our inspirations into practice, and maybe, we can inspire each other to do the same.
One day I was on Illustrator, and thought, a-ha! The magic happens in the invisible chords of the circle, the conversations across place and culture, where we share, and connect. I’ll cojournal!
For the longest time, I have been journaling in my own diaries, apart from scrutiny or judgment. I have taken lots of steps to keep my feelings hidden. Burning the pages, now and again, for example, Or simply feeling like maybe it’s best to stop writing for some time and disconnect, altogether, from exploring that inner part of the Self. So I stopped. And then, I got kind of depressed.
Only when in 2012 after a decade away from my home state of North Carolina in the USA did I feel the urge to write again. Only after two jobs for newspapers in Ireland in Seattle did I feel like it would be okay to get back to first-person, and to my real writing voice. The one I’d abandoned in my teens and early twenties. When I stopped writing long letters to the people I imagined would be there, one day, no matter what. (That’s another story, though.)
Fortunately when I finally recorded my feelings about leaving home to follow my heart, a boy, and the dream of a fairytale ending in the southwest of Ireland, I could begin to make sense of a lot. Words, pictures, the story… these came together, all on their own. <em?The Elopement</em? asked, “How much is too much to trade for a promise of love?” and it got me a spot on the local NPR station less than a month after its launch. Later, with The Dive, I put together my honest story about how it felt to make the most deafening decision of my life with regards to a baby-to-be I very much wanted, but didn’t all at once. It changed forever my ideas about “the right thing to do.” No one knows unless they’ve stood in those shoes what it feels like to be in agony about a choice you don’t want to make, but know you must. These stories were followed by Flight of Pisces, a tracing of a solo journey to Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh to discover the beauty of mountains and peaks, and then, Kanishka, the one story that ties together uncertainty and risk, in full.
I lost my best friend in 1985 when a terrorist bomb exploded in the underbelly of Air India Flight 182. I went to the Golden Temple in Amritsar almost 30 years later to find out what it felt like to be in the place where the stirrings of the troubles that led to that terrific event began. I also sat for a long time by the side of the disaster memorial in Ahakista, which was in the same part of Ireland I chanced to find myself having newly eloped 15 years after the disaster.
Kismuth is a series that asks, “What about if?”
It’s a journey, a story, and the welcoming of sharing of our real, honest, hard-to-tell stories that matter, because they’re our own and we’re not so very much alone when we share them. It’s about, mostly, telling one another what’s in our heart.