I am Kara. I am a photographer and a writer, mostly. I dabble in other things, but that's the bulk of it. I want to create a community space for people to come together and have meaningful conversations with each other about things that could be important, but just as long as the discussion is there and there's a space for it, that's what I want to provide.

On the topic of “meaningful conversation”

To me, it's when you can sit down and listen to somebody and not be distracted,  you think about what you're listening to and then build on top of it and progress it further instead of just like listening and regurgitating some common nice phrases back to them. Instead of just saying the basic things, it's seeing what they're saying and trying to go somewhere with it.

On the topic of “distractions”

Definitely phones, that's pretty common but also [distractions] like cars going by or other people talking. Things that you have going on in your life like your t -do lists and things you gotta do after this conversation or the things that were going on before this conversation. I feel like a lot of distractions are in your head and it's hard to zone into this space where you can be open to listening instead of listening to your own thoughts over somebody else's. It's really draining, honestly. It takes a lot of energy to really have a deep conversation. A lot of times I'll have a really intense discussion with somebody and then I'm just exhausted. My brain is tired of thinking and doing anything. I just want to go take a nap.

On the topic of “physically engaging in conversation”

I think it would consist of people sitting down at a big table and we're all facing each other and nobody's left out of the circle or in the back. They're all equally there at the table and one person talks at a time and they can stand up and get passionate and talk with their hands, do whatever they like to do.

Eye contact is kind of a funny thing. I feel like I don't really know that it's a skill or if it's just something you do naturally. I feel like some people are natural with it and for some people it doesn't feel natural. Maybe they're not used to having one-on-one conversations or maybe they're used to an authority figure talking and they just have to look in that general direction of the authority figure and not have to talk. So whenever they have to talk and make conversation and make eye contact with other people, maybe it's a weird relationship with that where it's like ‘I don't want to be an authority figure over these people.’ How do I not make it feel like that?

But body language is important too. And I think it's really fun when people talk with their hands and get really expressive with what they're saying. It's like they're dancing with their words. 

On the topic of “diverse communication styles”

Yeah, I feel like... Like, you know, everybody does have different communication styles. And for me growing up, my family is very quiet and not a very talkative family. So for me, my worry about myself is, am I going to be able to talk to this big group of people and start a discussion? Because if I'm the one that's setting it up and leading it, I feel like I'm the one that has to kind of begin it and nurture the conversation and keep the fire going. And that's something I've never been really good at.

I didn't grow up in a household where silences were awkward. We were almost always in silence. We would eat dinner in silence and that was normal. So I do have concerns about keeping the conversation going and how are these people going to respect each other's communication styles if they aren't used to it or they feel uncomfortable by somebody else's conversation styles, but I also think it'd be like a fun mix.

Having all these people and their different styles of communication coming together and talking, I feel like that would help people open their minds to how they could communicate. Sometimes I'll be listening to somebody talk and I feel inspired by the way that they communicate. And I'm like, ‘Oh my god, I didn't realize you could talk that way.’

It inspires me to open up the way that I communicate with other people. So I think that would be a really nice and unexpected benefit of going. Learning different ways you could communicate and different ways you could think about things.

On the topic of “the mission”

My intention is to slow down our thought processes and dive into a topic. Maybe one week it's a current news topic or something. My intention is to sit down and think about this topic for the week and find ways to dive deeper into it. And if it's something that should be changed, how could we realistically make changes about this topic? Or how could we change our relationship to this topic?

I feel like by talking through things with other people you can change your relationship to certain topics in a way that's helpful to you. Maybe this topic burdens you or makes you feel bad because of your relationship to it. And I want people to be able to talk about it and change the way that it relates to them instead of being a burden and making it into something that they can learn from or grow from.

Overall, I just wanted it to be a space where we can talk about big topics and big ideas, dissect them and just like dive into them, explore them instead of just skimming the surface, you know? A lot of times in my own personal life, I'll hear news stories, I'll hear about Bitcoin or AI and I listen to what people say about it, but I don't really ever think about it that deeply.

I want to be able to make a space not only for myself but for other people to really sit there and think about these things and how they are going to affect our lives and how we can move forward in a beneficial way, just in every aspect.

On the topic of “the plan”

I want to start out with as little planning as possible because I feel like the more that I plan at the beginning the less likely I am gonna do it because I'm just gonna overthink everything and like try to make it perfect when it doesn't really need to be quite yet.

My plan is to make a bunch of flyers, tell a bunch of people about it, put the flyers all over, ask everybody what they think and ask if they want to come.

I don't know what the first topic would be. That's kind of like the biggest question for myself right now. I was like, ‘What's the first topic going to be?’ I don't know. I feel like it's important, specifically the first topic, because it sets the tone of the whole thing.

I need to find a space to host it. I don't want there to be too many rules. I think that's kind of lame. I think rules like turning off your phone or putting it on Do Not Disturb, not bringing extra distractions, and then of course, you know, staying on topic.

I also want to make a Discord server for it. I think that would be super fun and useful and easy for communication stuff. I think in the future, if it does kind of become something, I want it to keep growing, and maybe one day I could start a podcast with it, or a website where we can post about our discussions.I would like to record the discussions, either on voice memos or host it on a zoom and record the zoom so that if we say something super cool, we can have it recorded and remember it. 

I don't really know where it's going to go, but I think there's a lot of possibilities and opportunities that could come out of it.

On the topic of “designing the space”

It's hard to decide that because I don't know how much of that will be in my control if it's in a public space, but I think very, very bare bones. Maybe I'll bring some tea for everybody and that's about it. I'll bring the tea, maybe a couple candles and some paper and pencils, but I want there to be as little distraction as possible so that we can dive into the conversation and really absorb into that.

I want it to be like a very safe space, a place that's quiet enough so that we can all hear each other and not have to raise our voices louder than what is comfortable. And ideally some place that's warm and cozy.

I didn't think about a ceremony type thing but that could be cool. Maybe at the beginning we have a bell. Oh! I have a singing bowl. Maybe I could bring the singing bowl and like that's the beginning of the discussion. We all settle our energy around the singing bowl and then wrap it up with the singing bowl. That'd be kind of cute.

On the topic of “personal fulfillment”

I feel like my main purpose in life, my main goal in life is just to help other people and create a space for people to be themselves and teach people, not necessarily what I know, but things that have been helpful for my life and so I think this fulfills the part of me that wants to help other people.

I've never really known what that looked like for me like how I can realistically help other people and create a community of people. Another thing I really wanted to do was to create a community space because I felt like that's something I lack in my life, a sense of community. I've always been told that if you want to see something in your life you have to make it yourself so I want to make the community space that I've been looking for.

I don't want to be like the leader by any means, but you know, obviously if I'm setting it up I kind of have to take that role but I don't want it to be about me. I want other people to lead it and let it grow.

On the topic of “concerns”

There's a lot of concerns. I am always very gullible and naive about the things that could go wrong. I always skip over that part but there are concerns of ‘what if people show up and there's no discussion or nobody has anything to say?’ But I feel like that is pretty unlikely in general.

There are also concerns of ‘where am I going to hold it? What space is going to let me do this? For free?’ because I don't want to charge people money to come to it. That doesn't help anybody. The only reason I'd use the money is to pay for the space. But again, I want it to be a free event to come to.

Then there's concerns of ‘What are the topics going to be? How vague do I get with the topics or How specific do I get? Will people be turned away by a certain topic?’ If I'm like ‘This is the topic this week,’ are they going to want to come to that meeting?

Then just generally like will anybody show up? Will it become anything worth doing? I feel like there's always a fear when you start something new. I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know who's going to show up or like what's going to go on here. The fear of just starting is really prevalent for me. Just the idea of doing it all and where it all could go. If it goes nowhere, is it a waste of time?

On the topic of “anything else”

Oh, I guess I could talk about how the concept came to me.

I was listening to a podcast which talked about the way our culture is fed more information than we can digest. This constant influx of news stories and things going on in the world and we aren't really given time and space to pause and think about these things. We don't get a weekly ‘This is all your news for the week or the month and that's it. This is all you can think about for this week.’ It's just constant every day, every second, new stuff coming up. We don't really have the time to pause and think.

So I want to make a space to slow down and again, dissect that topic, that idea, so instead of reading about it, we can think about it and change it if need be or find something new inside of it that wasn't there before. I think it's really cute, maybe not cute, but really inspirational to [think] about the first philosophers in existence, like Socrates and Aristotle an how they would, in my mind at least, come together and they just sit in these circles and talk for hours about stuff and that's kind of what I want to make is just like new Socrates and Aristotles in this world.

I wanted to be something that's fun but also beneficial for you because I feel like there are a lot of fun things that we can do, but they're not very beneficial. Those things tend to get really old fast, you know, like you can only go bowling so many times and you can only drink so many nights and whatever. I feel like we're missing that aspect of intellectual gatherings where we can engage with each other in a different way. I feel like there's not really any space for us to engage in this deep thought together. There are spaces for, you know, chit chatting and getting coffee and food and whatever but we're still missing that piece of our lives.

On the topic of the “Ideal Community”

I think, you know, a group of people where we don't have to like talk all the time every day but we know that if we reach out to this person they're going to respond and they're going to want to talk to us and if  we're having trouble with something we can reach out to them and talk to them about whatever it is we're dealing with and they'll be there for us. Like if your car breaks down you can just call one of us and they’ll be like, ‘Okay, we can pick you up,’ you know, stuff like that. Physical problems or mental problems, whatever it is.

A commune digitally. A digital commune. But not a cult. We're not making a cult, guys.

The podcast was also talking about rituals and how we don't do anything ritualistic anymore. I feel like it's really taboo to have a ritual or a ceremony, but those were really important things to mark periods of time in our lives. Now it's kind of like an endless cycle of the same day and there's no beginning or end to this period in your life. Whereas back then you would have a ritual at this quarter of the year to signify this happening and now you're moving on from that. I think what's also kind of missing from people's lives is having that closure that a ritual has. There's somebody, he said a ritual is creating, oh god, I'm not going to remember the quote, but it was like this really interesting thing, really interesting quote about like what rituals are and I don't remember it, but it was really cool.

Editors note: the quote was “We can define rituals as symbolic techniques of making oneself at home in the world. They transform being-in-the-world into a being-at-home. They turn the world into a reliable place. They are to time what a home is to space” (From the

I have been trying to find some [rituals] that are good for me. I don't have any type of routine in my life really,I do things consistently, but I don't do them by routine per se. I don't even have a bedtime routine, which is bad because I sleep horribly and I probably should get that figured out. I do drink sparkling water every night with my magnesium powder because it just tastes better that way. That's the only thing I do consistently. Also I’ll have a little morning hot chocolate, and I look forward to that, but that's like the only couple of things that I really do every day, consistently.

But I want to have some type of ritual. I was thinking about it, like ‘what can I do on a full moon or something?’ I've always been very skeptical of group rituals because they always, in my mind, correlate with cults. I feel like that's my own thing though. My upbringing kind of instilled that into my mind, that correlation of cults and rituals. I guess that's probably why I don't have any rituals for myself yet.

On the topic of “fun group rituals’”

A fun group ritual… Maybe we could get together and drink a special tea or something. Have a piece of dark chocolate. I don't know what people do with rituals. Like what do you do? Light a candle? I guess like… ‘relax’ is the ritual.

On the topic of “the hook”

I feel like it's kind of rare to be able to just talk about anything with anyone where they'll sit and listen to you. I feel like people will be pulled in by the fact that they have these ideas they want to share with people and they don't know how to share them or they don't feel like people are listening to them and so having a space where it's dedicated to like listening and talking about certain things would be attractive to people. I have a lot of ideas and things I want to share with other people, but I don't really know how to discuss it with them in a way that's fun and engaging for myself and for them. I could write about them and journal about them, but I think it's a lot more helpful to talk it out with somebody because there's always sides that you don't see from your own vision and your own thoughts.

It's a space where you can challenge your beliefs, you can have fun and meet new people, do something kind of out of the ordinary.

On the topic of “the perfect place”

I think the central library would be really cool, but my only concern is paying for parking and finding parking. Ideally, I would want it to be outside in a park, but I don't think the weather would really be good for that in the coming months, sadly. That would be ideal, just out at the park. Otherwise, maybe at a coffee shop where it wouldn't be super annoying to have a group of people hanging out. Somewhere where not much is going on there, you know, a really calm and relaxed space like the library. That'd be cool

On the topic of “the next steps”

Next steps for me are getting out the flyers and coming up with a stupid fucking topic idea. That's my pressing question for myself and this whole thing. Like, what's the stupid topic gonna be for the first time?

Timeline-wise, I wanna start it within like a month or two maybe. I'm not really in a rush to get it started, which I feel like is a good sign for me. I feel like when I rush things, It's something that's not gonna last or something that is just an impulsive decision that is not what I'm supposed to be doing. I feel like when I can pace myself and wait for it, that's when I know I'm doing something right. When I am okay with taking it slow, then I know I'm onto something. So I'm not in any rush, but hopefully within a month or two I can get the flyers out there, talk to a bunch of people about it, maybe get the discord going and get some people in the discord. I feel like that's pretty much all I need to get started at this point. There's not much to it really, it's just getting some people together.

I feel like I won't really know more about it until it actually happens. I won't know what could go wrong until something actually goes wrong as it's happening. I'm really excited about it and I feel like it has a lot of potential to become something worth doing that could be really beneficial for our community and our city and just the world in general and our culture. I'm really hopeful for it. It was a random idea I had like two weeks ago, but it's been on my mind a lot and I'm excited. Contemplation Club. Let’s go.

Join Contemplation Club on Discord and learn more at

Interview and Edited by Saint John Requejo II

Illustrations by Kara Wachsmann