So on Friday evening I caught up with The Minimalists.
City 87 out of their 100 city worldwide tour and Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus have arrived but not to a minimal audience. I'm not the lonesome mimimalist in the Midlands then... thank goodness for that. The long narrow bookshop in Birmingham quickly fills up. Quiet anticipation captivates the room as we browse the bookshelves but not for long. “You're all here for the same reason aren't you? Then talk to each other!”, we're instructed by the effervescent host representing Oxfam's bijou bookshop in King's Heath, Birmingham. In true Brit fashion we do as we're told, drop our guard and suddenly the atmosphere becomes snug as conversations circulate candidly.
Ryan Nicodemus opened The Minimalists talk inviting us to imagine a more meaningful life in the future. He spoke of his discontent as a twenty something corporate professional trapped by apparent success and how he and his friend Joshua unwittingly discovered minimalism. Joshua Fields Millburn then took to the floor, reading an extract from their book Everything That Remains. Intimate details of personal narrative followed describing the mindless shopping spree of a new homeowner in the world's largest furniture store. Something many of us can identify with.
The best part of their presentation was, for me, the question and answer session. With wisdom, humour and without judgement they answered a range of questions from, “How many bicycles should a minimalist own?” to, “How do I get rid of things I might regret giving up?” There were too many questions and not enough time; the interest and consciousness of minimalism was tangible.
The evening ended with warm hugs from Joshua and Ryan, books were bought and signed and the crowd waited happily for their turn.
I had a wonderful evening. Seeing and hearing The Minimalists in person, meeting like minded people and chatting to a few Just a little less readers left me feeling very inspired. Thank you to anyone I spoke to or who emailed me about the event. The buzz from the bookshop was palpable and as we wandered back down the street to our car we were asked by a passer by, “So, what was going on in the bookshop?” “Oh, two American guys called The Minimalists giving a talk” we answered and he nodded disappointingly.