A new book.

Coming in October. This is This. Pre-Order (USD $15) here.

I’ve written about Latvia, since so many people asked me to talk about it and share all that I had seen. I know it wasn’t a long trip, but for some reason this particular part of the world really held my attention (and I think my community of readers and acquaintances kind of got that, for some reason).

Since my father asked me a billion questions (okay, like four, but that’s a billion these days, isn’t it?), I’m dedicating it to him… RK :)

You don’t have to wait until October to get a sample of what this is going to read like… I’ve already been sharing bits and pieces of the conversations that I had while traveling in Latvia in these four issues of DK’s e-mag S P C, well not really traveling, but rather, looking for the stories in one spot, for six weeks. (I found quite a few, to be honest, but the best-of selections I will share in this new collection, This is This.

About This is This

The title story in the seven-chapter eBook is based on a really great conversation I had with someone about ‘what art is’ and ‘what it isn’t’, which we both had to iron out for ourselves and then work into some degree of form which then got obliterated, philosophically and aeshetically, on one rather bizarre evening in the still-light night of 9PM.

We thought we had it figured out. Being super esoteric.

But we didn’t know a thing, and found out in a remarkable and weird moment of awakening to… something wildly unusual, unexpected and jarring in its tenacity.

I wrote about it.

That story itself, that’s the highlight of this new collection.

Sample

Every month I write a column for Charlotte, NC-based Saathee Magazine called ‘Kismuth & The Way.’ One of the columns featured Riga. You can find it online: read ‘Drifting into Riga’ here >

Jazzed

I’m really excited to share this. It’s been three years since I published a story here at Kismuth, owing, mostly, to the fact that I had committed two years to do the work at Design Kompany called ‘Atelier S P A C E.’ It took me to Singapore, Finland, Malaysia, Thailand, Latvia, and Slovakia. Read more about that here >

Atelier S P A C E wraps up at the end of September. That’s why this new book will come out in October. Atelier S P A C E helped me learn how to write, but more than that, how to listen. To new people. Sharing. Honest sharing… that’s all we ever do around here, at least, that’s what we do in the books. (Real life: harder, erm. Yeah.) Exclusive writing, new photography, black and white graphic art and other things feature in the new eBook.

Atelier S P A C E, though,  was a project that I designed in order to get better at listening. Yup. To doing that. And just that. Mostly. That’s what I would do, I said, because that as where I was lacking skills. So I did.

Go and seek the new and different, in faraway places from those that were known and familiar to me.

Go. Talk to people. Uncover real stories about what they care about, wherever they are, and write them as honestly and in a form that’s delightful to read… at least, to do my best with that intention.

Writers always say their most recent work that’s published is their best. And, well… I feel that way about This is This.

Pre-order

Here’s how to pre-order…

Pre-order ‘This is This’ (Kismuth Books / 2019) >

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This is This

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‘You should be writing another book, is what.’

‘What?’

‘What you need to do is not think about the other books, but focus on the writings to come. And get them organized and sorted and put together and done.’

‘Done.’

‘Yeah, DK. You’re good at finishing things. Why are you not writing another book?’

‘…’

‘…’

Art by Dipika Kohli / Phnom Penh, 2014

I’m always writing another book. I just… can’t quite… decide on how to organize the chapters and press print and stuff.’

‘Print isn’t the point. Writing is the point.’

‘You’re right, M.’

‘I know I am. Half of this is mostly me telling it to myself.’

‘It’s usually like that, isn’t it, the best advice?’

‘Yeah.’

‘So now what I have to do is just pick one of the stories and flesh it out and make it happen.’

‘Make. It. Happen. Exactly.’

‘Thank you for this useful tight conversation. It wouldn’t have been possible, though, were we not talking already so adamantly about so very many things for the last four years, in real life. I trust your advice now. I trust that you know me well enough to know what it is I must do. Instead of just offering whatever-general-lalala-advice, you’re giving me something I know is customized for me.’

‘Yeah.’

‘So I’m gonna do it.’

‘What?’

‘Publish something.’

‘Do it. You seem to know how to do that, so do it.’

space, vignettes, writing

Writing: because the work is writing.. a new and next book

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White Noise

Rarely on these travels do I have the space, really, to stop and think through what I have uncovered. That’s because it’s too in-the-midst-of-it to grapple with all the many pieces of information, and of course an array of feelings and emotions that also play out, often unexpectedly, in these channels of flux and flow. —Read ‘White Noise’, part of DK’s column ‘Kismuth & The Way’, Saathee Magazine

I was writing about this and other things in a few notes, and sharings, here and there in the conversation spaces that I am part of. Some of them are in real life. Some are online. It’s odd, having so many kinds of ways to connect with people but the thing I am learning is that the texture and quality of that kind of space that I most love doesn’t change regardless of the people or place or medium. We are asking questions, together. That’s the main agenda: to query. To quest. I’m cool with this. Not everyone wants to use writing as a way to pursue new insights, discover one’s way towards meaning. Not everyone wants to use writing like that of course not. I mean, some people just want to write so that people will publish them in fat books that go on shelves that end up unread and dusty, especially these days let’s be honest. But they don’t want ot be honest. They want to be ‘published.’ I don’t know about that. For me, it’s just a way of discovering things. People. Mostly people. Who also want to discover. This is really fun. And yeah. I’m working with some of the people I’ve really enjoyed getting to know, over the course of the last few years, especially, because that is the time that I’ve been focusing the most on developing things with a handful of those whose work I respect and whom I know I can count on. Trust. Reliability. These things, for me, are huge. Solid relationships. Are the footing from which you can make remarkable things. I don’t have time for mumbo-jumbo or wishy-washy. I want. To get. To work. And that’s what I’m doing.

Yeah.

Okay.

Rant finished.

Next: where do you find my article, in a zine form? Because of course you want to see it in a zine. :)

The same story, along with other pieces related to this, are also laid out as a zine, S P A C E | ‘White Noise.’ Find it here, in the online store for S P C. Those stories include graphic art and poetry, plus occasional collaborations with other writer-artist-designer friends. Most of whom I’ve met on the road. Ask me about it, sometime.

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A new chapter


Project website: The Art of Not Knowing


A history of uncertainty

TEN YEARS AGO, I used to draw with markers. Just line. Keeping it simple. Trace the edges. This picture (http://dipikakohli.com/pagetwo/) was from a show in Seattle. What is it?, no one dared to ask though I suspected they were thinking that. If they had spoken to me about it, about ‘Wavular,’ this piece, I might’ve said: ‘Groundless, scaleless, boundless. I think.’ I’m still designing spaces for others to experience the ‘wait… what?’ To enjoy, I hope, the not-knowing before you show up. *!

Now, I want to go to places, meet random people, listen to their stories, and write them up into a book, the Art of Not Knowing. The stories would be part of a larger set. A collection that so far has essays, photographical sketches, artworks, zines, and more.

About uncertainty.

Already woven in are notes from: an unconference in Palo Alto; six sets of Rooftop Philosophy in Phnom Penh; a lunch interview with a particle physicist (‘What is dark matter?’); a cafe conversation with a jazz prodigy (‘But how do you *start* a composition?’) In other words, notable outcomes of experimenting personally with uncertainty 2014-now, so far, are part of it.

Stepping out

BUT THE PAST THINGS feel, even though I love them, too comfortable. To edge out, I want to go to a part of the world where I’ve never explored. Melbourne. I’m in Phnom Penh, where I’ve been for three years (mostly writing the eBook ‘Breakfast in Cambodia’ (Kismuth Books // 2016)). It’s very possible to go and see. I’ve heard good things. Plus, I’m curious. Who might I meet if I go there? What will I discover?

As in Bangkok, when I met a life coach who told me to call my father, chance can radically alter your life. (I called.) As can whim: I randomly emailed an established decades-in-practice musician to ask, ‘How do you keep it real?’ His astonishingly simple and clear answer came back, and I got on a plane to compose ‘On Noteworthiness.’ Art of Not Knowing also has voice recordings, like ‘The Good Stuff.’ Photography pieces. A few collages. Mostly words.

The big idea is to take a plunge, without any clear agenda or formality, and see whom I might meet, and what I might discover. It would be really cool to include people in Melbourne. So far, it’s getting some interesting response.

But all concept art starts with the Idea, and in this instance, it’s embracing the uncertain, unknown, and different. The Art of Not Knowing. More: dipikakohli.com.

Would you like to help make this happen?

EVERY TIME I want to write a book, people tell me I should kickstart it. I don’t do that. They tell me I should write a proposal and shop it around. I don’t do that, either. The reason is because I want to write what I want to write, and discovering what that is necessarily starts with going and seeing what’s there. Not overdesigning it, nor ‘pitching’ it. I can’t. Not for the kinds of projects I’m into. Lately, conceptual pieces, like improvised theater.

The Art of Not Knowing.

A new book.

For those who are here, and who support this work of writing for connection, I invite you to pre-order at this page.

Many thanks! I’ll send it on 1 June.

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On writing

THE FIRST FEW TIMES I WAS THINKING, ‘I want to write,’ I guess I was still a kid. I had this notion that you could do it, you could do anything, if you just wanted to enough. Not knowing that there would be a whole lot of people trying to tell you, no, no no, that’s not what you do with your life. When you write, it’s your hobby. When you work, you know, you make money. That’s how it is. Writing is a dream for some people who are idle and rich. Focus. On the tasks at hand. Which are practical, which have everything to do with making it happen, for the things that make sense, because they have to, otherwise… well. Otherwise there would have been no point in existing the way I have chosen to exist… I imagine I hear these things—and I’ll come back to that—I’d imagine, and in this imagining, I’d verbalize it.

I’d state it, like was a fact.

To anyone who’d listen, I’d say, ‘You can hear these things in people’s heads,’ you insist, covering up for yourself on the why question, the why you’re not writing for real, the stuff you want, and you are working at a newspaper because it feels… like the right thing to do, instead. You intellectualize and come up with reasons not to put words together the way you want, the way that some of the most intriguing people, in foreign lands and closeby, will say really inspire them.

Then you will know, but only then that it doesn’t matter about practicals. Until then you are insisting. Saying you have to write for the papers, the magazines, put the freelance-y bits together so… you can… get more work like that. ‘You really, really can hear everyone telling you how it should go. They are there in the everywhere… ‘ Except the day you stop and see. That they are not at all in the everywhere. On that particular eve or morn, you see, at once and forever from that point forward, that they are ringing about, all right, but only in your head.

Accepting the new directions. They are making their own case to exist. —KM

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