I published the impressions from my first two years in Cambodia in a short eBook, Breakfast in Cambodia.
What I remember the best from that time, around 2015 when the book came out (and the small conversation roundtables and book readings from it that followed for a year after that), was how fun it was to show up in real life and meet people who wanted to hear these stories. Too fun. Real life, live.
I was glad to team up with a few small venues that fit.
Personality, vibe, aesthetics: these kinds of things make or break an experience, I feel.
I wanted the places I chose to arrange events in to be aligned with Kismuth‘s values, whatever it was that we created in real life for experiences. That’s, after all, the work of design. One event was really fun, which I hosted with TINI, in Toul Tompoung. That was the book launch party. Here is the flyer from it:
Creating conversation spaces
I know as an author you’re supposed to do tons of book launches not just one, maybe even go on tour, host readings, and do what the public relations folks say you ought to do to get more people to see you and your works. Go to conferences, et cetera. Sure.
I know. But I do not want to. I prefer to conserve my energy for more writing and making experiences, and then, through the learnings that come from trying new things, continue to develop my art.
So that’s why it seemed like a good idea to pivot away from book touring to more conversation spaceman, for me, in 2016. Notice how small in scale this get-together was: just 3 seats. The location was where I shot the cover for the book, too. What a cool moment to see one guest, V., suddenly see it. I love this breakthrough moment of realization, in general, whenever I’m with other people. I remember lots of those occasions for DK‘s Seattle clients, 2006-2009.
Creating cozy, intimate experiences for conversations and seeing everyone there and having short chats to get to spend time with each of them is a better fit for Kismuth‘s way of exchanging ideas.
It was from the experience at the bigger ‘book launch’ that I recognized what I prefer is smaller in scale. So, from that year on, I switched over to hosting much smaller-in-scale events. The party vibe isn’t for me, anyway, as I feel it’s best when we can get to know one another at least a little bit. Gone are the days of my 50-person parties, in West Cork (thank you, lads), Seattle, Durham NC, and the rest of the places before and after those spots.
Ever since 2016, I’ve been socially distancing. I talk to people 1:1 or in small groups of up to 4, for my mini-parties, events, and workshops now. This is 2023, so things are different anyway: officially, many others are pandemically adjusted to smaller-in-scale thinking too.
To keep it simple, all events are advance bookings only. There are tickets. I understand who’s coming and can prepare accordingly for just them. This works for me. Simple, comfortable. Relaxed.