The final season of summaries is now online and I have successfully completed my challenge for 2019. 52 topics, seven concepts to explore each week. Each concept can be a challenge, an experiment, something new to learn every day. So far six of those have been expanded in full online tutorials, with a seventh in progress. I hope it will help others in their rope journey.

Posting a piece of content every week really forced me to constantly work on the project. I feel both proud and exhausted. Doing all the summaries has forced me to think and research each concepts and create a solid structure to the project. This will make everything stronger, more coherent. Having little to no break has been difficult, I scoped down the challenge during the summer (stick to summaries, slow down on the expanded tutorials), and barely made it to the end. I missed a week, on week 50, I was just so busy, and managed to catch up in the final week.

It’s been a challenging year again, I feel in a good place now but the road leading there was not a quiet one. Finished another big project at work, started a new job (at the same studio) and death in the family forced me to be more present for my parents. I had an energy debt from overworking and overtraveling in 2018. I haven’t been able to connect with my out of town partners and friends as much as I wanted with a lower than usual energy level. At least the content is there, I now wonder if anyone will actually read the whole thing. It reached a points where it’s quite overwhelming, I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

What’s next

The next step is to take a big break from writing. I’m thinking 3-6 months. It needs to be long enough that coming back to it with fresh eyes will allow to see thing more clearly, with a refreshed motivation.

I’m not going to be giving up rope during that period, quite the opposite. I’m starting to teach again in January. Miss Soffia and I are building an intensive program, 10 sessions, working every weeks with the same group. We intent to focus on classic ties and create a sequence that build on the previous activities to reinforce what is learned. I’m excited to see what will come out of it, it’s an experiment. I’m sure it will bring new ideas for the book as well but I don’t know what just yet.

I’m finishing a few things this week,  including building myself a list of things I want to do afterward, that may or may not change down the road. At least, having a list should make it easier to get back from the break. After the break, I wanna go back to research, look at what is being made in the world, and now with the full structure in mind. I also want to complete/polish what is already started: finish writing Spring, get picture summaries for all chapters and generally review all the current content. This last one include proofing text, but I am also building a list of questions to ask different collaborators, people who are generous with their time and expertise, and have been giving me constructive feedback since the beginning. If I can solidify the whole 365 structure and get Spring very close to completion in 2020, I will be very happy and proud.

I also have a bunch of bonus objectives (aka stretch goals), not really things that I intent to complete in 2020, but things I’d like to start working on. The first one is more of a technical thing I need to overcome, the legal and waiver stuff. And then there is the carrot: to start working on actual products like posters and cards and calendar and booklets. These are a smaller size projects than the full book and more manageable to get to completion early. Finally there is the long term thing I can’t get out of my head, a second set of 365 activities that includes suspension and more high risk stuff.

I’ve been afraid of teaching suspension for a long time. My first attempt at teaching suspension in group was a disaster. I only shared suspension techniques in privates or skillshare afterward. So part one of facing this fear is the intensive program in early 2020. Putting that knowledge in a book is another level of wild. Seeing Shay’s self-suspension book and Gestalta’s “Shibari Suspensions” book has proven me that this can be done in a positive ways. I can feel that the 365 structure can bring something to learning and playing with suspension. I’m afraid that people will see putting floorwork in year 1, and suspension in year 2 as some level that makes suspension superior and this is not by belief. To me, Spring of year 1 will remain the most important, but I guess people can make their own opinions. I have a few years to come to peace with this.

So maybe in 2021 I can get Spring to print, then the other seasons, and then I can do another round of posting weekly summaries in a few years with year 2.

Recap of the plan for 2020:

  • Make a to do list and close up the work in progress stuff before Jan 5th
  • Step back for 3-6 months
  • Teach locally during the step back
  • Go back in research mode
  • Complete the summaries (Have one pictures for each activity)
  • Finish writing Spring
  • Review current content (activity list, improve the text, update banner, improve tagging, glossary, credit)
  • Bonus: Legal (french waiver, photographer waiver, contributor tracking)
  • Bonus: start working on smaller products: posters, calendar, card deck, notebooks
  • Bonus: structure of year 2

History of a Chapter: Winter

Let’s have a look at the work on Winter. It was very clear from the start that Winter would be about exploration and more “intense/advanced” topics.

The original list had a final chapter about partial suspension. I didn’t want to get into the whole hardpoint safety so I though using a closed door as an anchor was an easy and accessible way to make an introduction to suspension. That was until I tried the idea with NathanielFlumen and realized how hard it is for the person tying and the person tied as it is some kind of difficult Hashira technique because you can’t get around it. And there the decision was taken to completely strip the notion of suspension from the 365 projects, at least for this first cycle.

Many of the original chapters are still present, hojojutsu, bamboo, head, finger/hands, toes/feet/calf, torture, predicaments, tying people together. Others are still there in an evolved form: objectification is now Mind, co-tying is now rope games and sharing now an epilogue rather than a full chapter.

I ended up making trade with topics that used to be in other seasons. Furniture belongs to Summer now, but Crotch is now in Winter. It makes so much sense to have them like this now it’s hard for me to understand why it wasn’t like this from the start. Rope games used to be the final of Fall, but then got merged with co-tying, and split with Sabotage. It feels like a good way to end the whole thing.

Current page count
Spring: 344
Summer: 193
Fall: 120
Winter: 95
Total: 752

Happy new year!