“I nearly… didn’t burn the wedding photos.” “I nearly… led my whole life as a lie.” “I nearly… met Bob Dylan in the Poetry Café.” “I nearly… died once – and really nearly another time.”
“I nearly… made a cake this afternoon instead of coming here. The cake can wait. This couldn’t. Thank you!”
The Doctor of Nearlyology sits at a table in the café or entrance to your venue. Beside him is a display of booklets, artefacts and ‘I nearly’ badges. Dr Chris Ifso explains that he is gathering Nearlies, short accounts of things we’ve nearly done in our lives. Give him a nearly and get a badge. These stories of what didn’t quite may be tinged with regret or blessed relief, but above all they say something about who we really are. Nearlies may be funny or traumatic, trivial or transformational, sharing them can be cathartic, comic and creative.
“I nearly… missed performing in a concert because I had my head stuck in a tuba.”
“I nearly… ran away from home when I was 10 because I didn’t want to spend another weekend with my dad and step-mum.”
“I nearly… stayed in my perfect life with my wrong husband.”
At longer Nearlywriting workshops participants make booklets from single sheets of A4 paper and write about what nearly happened to them, what happened instead and how they feel about it now. Nearlydancing and songs may also be involved. Negative Nearlies can be ground to dust and scattered into the Nearlyverse – some are published on www.nearlyology.net. Participants are invited to come to The Nearly Show at which Chris & The Ifso perform songs and spoken word soundscapes. Guests tell their stories of what didn’t quite or hasn’t yet.
“The Nearly Show has just the right balance of light-hearted humour and philosophical questioning to make it entertaining as well as thought-provoking!”
– Henrica, MA student of Applied Imagination in the Creative Industries, UAL
“I thought the workshop was great and a totally new and original world for me. It felt that the possibility for exploration of one’s psyche was almost limitless. Cathartic, investigative, and curious.” – Nicholas, actor.
As well as badges, the Nearly Store sells Nearlydust and booklets which are introductions to the transmedia fiction What Didn’t Quite, written by Chris as part of a PhD in Digital Writing at Bath Spa University.
Writer Chris Meade completed his doctorate on Nearlywriting Nearlyology in 2018. He’s the founder of if:book uk, a charitable company exploring the future of the book and digital possibilities for literature. Chris has been published by Penguin Books, performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, written a digital novella In Search of Lost Tim – described by the Independent on Sunday as “a jeu d’esprit and, just possibly, the future of fiction” – and was commissioned to write a sitcom which was nearly produced for BBC 1. He has been CEO of the Poetry Society and BookTrust; was a participant in Tino Sehgal’s performance installation These Associations at Tate Modern in 2012, and in 2017 became a member of Academy Inegales, working with musicians and writers on collaborative and improvised performances. He has an M.A. in Creative Writing & New Media and is an experienced tutor of creative writing. Chris can run customized workshops for any setting.
Nearly Events have taken place at The Poetry Café in Covent Garden, Waterstones at Bath Literary Festival, Jewish Book Week at Kings Place, Agony Art at Chisenhale Studios, London E3, at the Earl Haig pub, Hornsey Library and the Ruby Rose Café in N8, at the Mix Digital Conference, Bath Spa University, and as a pop-up in an empty Bristol shop with artists’ collective Alldaybreakfast.
If you’re interested in hosting the Nearlyologist in Residence, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Nearlyologists call on all people to share freely and openly one with another who they really and nearly are… Far more things nearly happen than happen. The universe is held together by the dust of `human kind’s nearlyincidence.” – Nearly Manifesto
The Nearly Show was premiered at the Poetry Cafe in June 2018. Book the Nearly Show now for your venue or festival