N – 1

THIS IS FUNNY.

Two years ago I was going on a journey. I wasn’t sure whom I’d meet, or what would happen when I got there. There were a handful of scattered appointments, nothing set up truly, to be honest, but I had a feeling about good things to come. Showing up. That was the important step. I had to go on two airplanes to get there, then I got there. I wrote a lot. I thought a lot. And I slept more than I had in years.

What happened after six weeks in a faraway place, far from anyone I knew or anyone I would ever see again, was remarkable. Truly. It wasn’t like I knew this was going to happen. But a number of super conversations really did take place. Talking about chemistry, bicycle lanes, composition, uncertainty, intrigue and an odd concept about going inward to do the big work of reflection that I sort of sketched on a piece of graph paper tentatively and said ‘I call this, I think, N – 1.’ Great nods of recognition in something that had never been spoken between us. People who were new.

And in those moments I had insights, insights that were going to lead to bigger ones. Things you put together, without overthinking in our logical Western overly designed rational way, thinking in a different style. In my sleep.

Dreaming.

Going inward.

Finding the bliss of solitude, and discovering what it felt like all over again to just be quiet. Alone. All alone. Sometimes for days in a row. I mean, kind of. I still had to go out and get groceries and have the odd smalltalk with people also hermit-ting like me. I did these things. It worked out. I knew somehow that what I needed to do was visit the ‘N – 1’ space. Yes.

‘What are you doing in Sweden?’

‘Um.’

‘Are you visiting someone?’

I thought briefly of the young lad who owned the boat I was renting. Technically you had to be a firm friend with someone if you were going to do that. There were rules and regulations. The people gave me knowing looks, and nods, and smiles. But I wasn’t visiting him. That seemed ridiculous. I was visiting someone, though, all right. The more I thought about it, the less strange it seemed.

‘Yes. I’m visiting me.’

A NEW CHAPTER BEGINS for Kismuth Books & Publishers, then. Helping others also make room for this kind of space. Space to go inward. Space to reflect. There are two programs on offer, and they are outlined here and here.

I wonder if you are curious? Check them out, if yes.

If you’re wondering about the COJOURNAL project, there are limited seats by invitation for that. Do let me know if you know about this, and might be interested in finding out more. Best way is through the form at this page, be sure to ask for Kismuth.

Wondering what happened after the boat? Here is a link to the essay about it, ‘Six Weeks in Scandinavia.’

Oh, also. I forgot to tell you what was funny. YESTERDAY, of all days, someone tells me he doesn’t think I’m the kind of person who gets together with girls for ‘girltalk.’ I mean, he seemed perplexed when I said I had a friend in San Francisco I stayed with a whole week drinking wine and talking late into the night with, having, you know, ‘girltalk.’ ‘You don’t seem like you’d have girltalk, he said. You seem like you might start a conversation something like, “I was thinking about the space between zero and one…”‘ I laughed. Then I actually did start thinking about it. Then I was like, wait, wait, wait. This is it. This is IT. This is N – 1. More to say, but I’ll expand in the smaller, closed writing circles. —KM