essays, vignettes, villagereport, writing

A quick reflection

Click to see the Vietnam stories at DK’s S P A C E >

 

An art of the moment: designing for it

Over at DK for the last 38 weeks, I’ve been writing and co-creating a weekly e-mag, S P A C E. It’s kind of been a labor of love, at first, mostly, but with time and continuations and brute-force figuring it out as I go, I’ve discovered a couple of important things.
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This story began in 1999.

I went to Sheffield to finish it, in 2015.
But I didn’t really get finished until I met the kind of people who reminded me, in a. flurry of accents, mostly, that there were things to go back to, things to express.

More about Briefly:  see it in our store, here >

books, villagereport, writing

Briefly in Sheffield

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For the last two years, I took a break from Kismuth and my personal projects.

I wanted to see if I could collaborate.

Like, for real. With new people. In foreign lands. Maybe where I didn’t know anyone. Definitely where I didn’t speak what they did.

 

Art is conversation

I guess I had it in mind that it could be a cool, beautiful and interesting way to see what else is ‘out there,’ and co-create with people I had yet to discover, and learn from.

Hrmmmm.

Idealistic. Idyllic. And totally off.

This was a mixed bag.

I can’t stand blogs that go into the whole, ‘I’m so vulnerable’ and silly jazz like that, so I will refrain. But the short awakening was: I can’t work with too many people, and I know that, and I’ve known that for a long time.

Which. Was why. Of course it was why. I had started here. Writing Kismuth.

People would go, ‘Not everyone has the time and luxury to write and travel, like you.’

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12-set ‘Philosophy of the Moment’ zines. Available at DK’s crowdfunding page >

 

Writing is all sharing


But yeah. I’m writing more here now. I’ve put together the new issue of Briefly in Sheffield. I loved this story and how people reacted to the zine version of it, which many of us in design like to think of as ‘prototyping’. Although, yeah. Some people think I want to be a ‘zine master.’

No.

I just want to quickly flesh out a story, print it, let people read it, see if they like it. If they do, ask why. If they don’t, ask why.

And iterate.

What else is there?

These are the books and zines, so far.


essays, writing

Zines in S P C

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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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THIS YEAR, so far in online projects, things are moving in an interesting direction. A giant overarching theme has been coming into shape. People want to talk together share about really big things related to: love, loss, risk, and chance. I get that. It’s kind of a major attractor for me, this idea of leaping into uncertainty. So we talk together about family. Relationships. Life…. Quality. After testing things for a while, it seems clearer and easier, in some ways, that we can develop really great conversation spaces online. More on the way, for those who are connecting, about the next.

writing

Online, offline

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writing

A Punjabi story #2

TODAY, I’m writing to share a bit of good news about a book of Kismuth’s. I mentioned about it earlier, in this post, but I’d like to expand a bit now.

I wanted to tell you more about the writing and sharing of Kanishka, the pre-quel to The Elopement.

SERIAL. Kanishka‘s first chapter, ‘Orange Juice’, appeared this month in print in the magazine Preet Lari. That was the magazine that hosted me when I was researching the book, as they have a cool co-living program in a village outside of Amritsar. Preet Lari, I understand, will publish all of Kanishka as a serial, monthly. I understand that this usually 100% Punjabi-language magazine has never published anything in English, yet, but has been dancing around with the idea. For a while. They are generations old.

I know from firsthand conversations with my dear friend and editor PS that this was a huge, huge step. And it’s Kanishka. Mesmerizing, to me, because I am floored to think that people in that region of the world who, for thirty years, have also been wondering what happened, will be able to connect with my story, I hope. In some way. From another angle. I wonder if this will circle back, in some way, again, there is only some of most that we can touch, and tap, right? And we can discover something new, together. All this. Connexion. Writing for it. Intrigued by the way the publishing world has changed, such that we can communicate n:n, across time, space and distance.

ABOUT KANISHKA. Hard to write, but important. Why? It’s… deftly coaxed out of me by NPR’s Frank Stasio in a radio interview, which is achived at this page.

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books, letters, space, writing

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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cojournal, the forum, writing

Cojournal Project

WELCOME TO THE COJOURNAL.

This is about who applies, and what we make together as a result of consciously setting aside time and space to commit to writing, writing better, and sharing what we write. (It’s an unusual space and a conversational one, but it’s not for everyone.)

Inward reflection, together

COJOURNALING gives our participating guests a chance to (re)discover the things you know. (You don’t have to sound ‘smart’ or like you are supposed to win something for your job—a raise, a grant, or some accolades for a good line. Instead, it’s about you. Your world, your reflections, your story.) The heart of what makes you you. It’s not coaching. It’s not a writing course. It’s not a trick. The cojournal has really worked for people. So we’re back, with it. Here in mid-2017. Bringing it here, but in a very low-key way, for those of you who happen to be on this page and are open to it, I invite you to apply. Limited seats. Are you ready?

How to find out more

THIS IS A PAGE with details about what is happening now. See what you think, and maybe see you on the other side. —KM

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books, cojournal, the forum, writing

Imagine

THINGS ARE MOVING in a new direction. Isn’t that always how it is, though?

If this were a letter, it would be to the people who had been reading the Kismuth e-letters, which I remember sending probably too often from the year I started Kismuth, 2012. I have stopped sending them, more or less. I guess because sometimes things find their natural ending, don’t they? Cycles. Time. Shifts, the story.

But I do remember writing a lot, and in the letter style. It would open in this kind of slow, easy way: I wonder how this note finds you, and how you are feeling where you are. Perhaps I’d go into a bit of a soliloquy, talk about something philosophical and maybe (probably) abstract. Esoteric. Admittedly it was a thing that would happen, an illogical compulsion towards illogic. Then I got into quantum physics. Then I learned about uncertainty, and its principles. I got intrigued, studied, and wrote completely other things for whole other segments of people. So I stopped with the e-letters to people in Kismuth, those whom I would meet while traveling in Viet Nam or India, who would ask me what I was doing, to whom I’d respond in my earnest and idealistic way that I was writing a book. A book about The Road, about the choice to go On It, and take a chance on things and buck the status quo, for better or worse. Sometimes it was better, sometimes it was far worse, but most of the time, and I think this is the thing that I must not forget, there was really good learning. And that learning is where the other things happened. Things that some people call ‘growth.’

I would go on about so many topics in my letters, much of those letters were long and long-winded. I don’t know. Somehow they led to new things, as things often do. I learned how to write in a way that was my own way. I stopped it with the old styles, the ones that had become bad habits. I won’t blame anything for that, they just were. Part of it was being afraid to say too much, at once. Fear. Fear of being seen as who I really am. When, I guess, if I am truly honest with myself (and you) about this, the thing is, if you don’t put who you really are into a thing, into a work, it’s just not going to be that interesting. To anyone. So you have to do it. For better or worse. Again, that refrain. This time, where will it take me?

The journeys are always good teachers. The reflection that happens at the endpoints even more so. But over the years I find myself returning to the same themes. Those of imagination. Those of love. Those of destiny, and the question, ‘What about if?’ But in a much more resigned way now than in that anxious kind of style that attaches itself to the young and dogmatic and idealistic and did I say dogmatic? Yes. Yes, I did. That is the key word, there.

So much more to say. I’m afraid if I put more here, for now, you will become bored. I am going to stop, then. This would have been the eletter from Kismuth, but as this is a new place, a bloggy kind of place, and as this might invite new people, as it has somehow magically done in the past (blogging, I mean), I will see what happens. The new territory is as dogged, strange, dark at the corners as the real road was, in 2013. The new territory is a walk into the Art, the search for Beauty. It was always at the heart of it, though. This quest to find the better, the meaningful, the elegant and eloquent in that which is around us, right here, where we are.

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Air India Disaster Memorial, Atha Ciste, West Cork Ireland

Air India Disaster Memorial, Ath na Ciste, West Cork Ireland

ON JUNE 23, this.

For —.

books, writing

30. Years. On.

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New memoir by Dipika Kohli releases Tuesday June 23. Click to order now.

New memoir by Dipika Kohli releases Tuesday June 23. Order now here.

 

THIRTY YEARS AGO ON JUNE 23.

That’s when it happened.

The things that I want to tell you more about. The event that I alluded to when NPR host Frank Stasio asked me about it in this interview. The event I shared about at TEDx Raleigh, too.

The airplane.

The friend who ‘didn’t come back.’

What happened, why did it happen, what if it hadn’t happened?

These questions led to 30 years of running around the world “in search of meaning.”

Get it here now:
Buy KANISHKA

books, writing

June 23, this.

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