Admitting That You Feel Like Giving Up

Yesterday I had my writers club over. We started out after our course at the Amsterdam Writers Trading School, to be able to encourage each other to keep writing and to give each other feedback on our pieces. Now four years later we are still around, even though with a smaller group and still nobody has published a book.

I admitted that I felt like giving up. I have not the most loving relationship with writing. Or writing fiction. I have a very loving relationship with blogging and writing journalistic articles, but I have so many stories in my head that are made up, fantasies and dreams, I want to bring that across in fictional stories, long and short too.

It is a hardship, but you know what the thing is, admitting this, telling my writing friends that I sometimes feel like just giving up, made me feel better right that instant. It was not even the fact that they said that I should write on, because I do have something to say and I have something interesting to bring to the table, it was the fact of setting these words free.

How insecure, even small I felt, saying these words, the freedom of letting the others know what I felt, is incredible. On top of that: all writers are the same. Even my friend Manuel, who I think writes the best of our group, says he sometimes doesn’t go to his writing class because he just can’t stand the criticism anymore. What about that?!

I would like to encourage you to set your words free too. In your head words turn into lonely monsters that eat away the brain, but undone from its chains it becomes a colorful bird that flies towards the sky.

Stop Staring At Me

I sat at the train station in a city not far away, the people were rushing by, friends were meeting, and kisses were being traded. The blood had risen and fallen in my veins already a number of times.

‘Could this be him?’ I asked myself of the guy approaching me. He looked kind of nerdish, but I had seen the photo and I knew he was into computer stuff. He even was a programmer, so yes, this could be him.

It wasn’t him.

‘Could this be him?’ I asked again at the guy stepping off the escalator. No, he directly turned away and walked towards the city center.

‘Oh, I hope it’s not him.’ I thought looking at the guy coming even more straight ahead of me as the guy before, but that hadn’t meant anything. This could be some other random guy, thinking he needed to make me nervous. I looked the other way. Plenty of men, boys, here, I thought, I can have my pick. It could be any of them, if I only I could be that lucky!

‘Are you Anne?’ The guy, yes that guy, asked.

‘Errr, yes,’ I responded. This was it. I had to be open, I would not turn away a guy based on his looks, I would have a conversation with him.

And so I talked, I asked stuff and then I talked some more. We walked to the cafe I had picked out to sit. The service is bad, but the ambiance is good. We sat at the window table. I talked about my new work, the things I liked doing. He talked some about his work, but he was mainly interested in computer games.

‘Oh, that’s nice,’ I said (not being a jerk, because yes, playing computer games can be very nice). ‘Which game?’

‘Why do you ask?’

‘Errr,’ I responded. ‘Because, errr, well, maybe I know it.’

‘It’s Call of Duty.’

‘There you go, I know that game. I don’t play it myself, but good, nice.’ What else was I going to say?

This wasn’t the weirdest thing that happened. By far, this wasn’t the creepiest thing that happened. Through the entire hour I was sitting there, he grinned at me. He grinned at me. I didn’t make a lot of jokes, I didn’t look funny (I checked in the mirror, everything normal). He grinned and stared. He stared like there was only me and my eyes.

Even when I said, I didn’t think this would work, he kept grinning and staring asking me. ‘Oh, I don’t understand, is something wrong?’

How am I going to respond to that question in a polite way? You keep staring and grinning, and you seriously said ten words? And you wonder why I am interested?

Wait, I wonder about that too.

I felt sorry for the guy, I really did, and this was obviously my mistake, as I discovered later: I get my hopes up. The way men write, I base my whole image on that. But writing is not the same as speaking. A written person is not the same as a real person. I should have known that from the start.

I just want to add: there is this wonderful blog about being Single, dating and all the good and bad experiences come from that. It’s called the ‘s’ word. If you really want to hear great stories about this topic, visit that blog! 

Of course this is a responds to the Weekly Writing Challenge.

Bringing Across Feelings

The thing is, I have been dreaming about the weird, awkward places. Sad, lonely place, but I feel at home there. Once I dreamed about a vast meadow of yellow grass and I was walking towards the mountains in the back of my dream. The sky was becoming dark, the evening was setting. I went down to the little house in the corner of the field. The walls of the house were filled with weed and the windows are dark. I told the man I met there, I lived there with my husband. The thing that I remember most is that I thought: This Is The End Of The World.

The man asked me: ‘Aren’t you afraid of the wolves that come at night?’

No, I realized, I remembered the wolves, but I was not afraid, and told him so. As I looked up to the mountain, a purple, blueish color took over.

This happened over a year ago, but I can still remember the feeling it gave me. I can hardly describe what happened. It was this feeling of being at home, even though it was a very unsettling place. Weird, of course, because I had a husband. Even more weird, because I have never went to Norway, where they have Northern Lights, the phenomenon where the whole sky turns all different colors.

My friends says, I should keep a book next to my bed to write the dreams down. Maybe she is right. It could be the beginning of a book, a Murakami-like setting, my best next seller, but I need the words to put this feeling in place. Probably one of the hardest things to do: write down this feeling that isn’t sad, it isn’t particularly alone, even though it was the end of the world. I felt at home, even though I could not make this place any prettier than it was. Maybe that’s the only way to really transmit feelings through words? To describe it all, the use the words and let the mind of the reader stitch it together to one coherent feeling?

How My Phone Is Changing Me

Sometimes I think about the dark ages and how I wouldn’t have survived one single day. I sometimes visit the poor (talking about finances here, cultures are without a doubt the richest in the world) countries of the world, but I am not great with filth and bad hygiene in general. I am everyday thankful I live in the Netherlands, I can drink water from the tap without thinking that I am actually drinking chloride and that my house survives during the Dutch storms. No hurricanes, no drought, enough food, a social system to count on, healthcare and an education system that is affordable.

If I do have to change anything of my life that has particularly to do with the 21st century, as the prompt of the Daily Post is asking us, then that would be my relationship with the internet and my phone. Sunday I was looking on Facebook and I saw all these great pictures and fantastic stories, I forgot for a moment had a wonderful weekend. That’s one thing. The other thing is that I am distracted every ten minutes, five minutes, thirty seconds, really. E-mail coming in, appointments flashing in Outlook, Gmail announcing new e-mail on my phone, Whatsapp letting me know people want to reach me, Facebook talking about who said what.

As I am planning my trip and the three week meditation session, the fact has come to me that I can’t use my phone for three whole weeks. It’s not forbidden, but strongly discouraged to use the phone in any way, even for the alarm clock, because you might be tempted. This isn’t going to be any different from my experience in Cuba last January, but it is, in Cuba I had no choice, there was no internet. No internet. Here there probably is, so I have to make a choice.

I will make this choice though, I would love to have a cleaner relationship with my phone and the internet, and with myself. I would love to be able to sit in my room, reading a book or watching a movie and not having the urge to stand up to get my phone. Or to have the computer on, while I watch television and cook at the same time. Or feel the urge to responds to a friend the minute, I mean second, after I get a message. In other words, to be more focused, more in the now, and pay respect to whatever I am doing. And make a conscious choice to use my phone to get in touch with my friends.

To conclude: it’s great that I live in the 21st century, I wouldn’t like it any other way, but that doesn’t mean I can’t improve or change the way I am in relationship with the world around me.

Don’t Mess With Super Glue

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The photo shows my dear friend Paula and the mess we made. We have learned one important lesson tonight and I have to share it with you, because seriously, this might be the life lesson you are waiting for:

Don’t mess with super glue. You might get stuck.

Apart from this very important piece of knowledge, I would like to share the result of this peaceful mess:

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This would be my interpretation of the whole NSA scandal (although I came up with this theme after finishing it, sounds legit, right?!)

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Liefde means love. Nothing to add.

Peace. Out.

Eating All And More

Today’s prompt is about misfits and writing what we normally not write about.

When I was walking home with my friends, we got to talking about pizza, shoarma and fries. We had a party yesterday, having a bit of a hangover I craved for this fat. I don’t know what it is, if you think about this rationally, you might argue that my body wants to have healthy food after being poisoned the whole night, but noooo, my belly says: pizza with lots of cheese! And more cheese! And then some ice cream. Wouldn’t that be lovely?!

The thing is, in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with a pizza with extra cheese every now and then, but when that ‘then’ is becoming more ‘now’, it’s starting to become a problem. Apart from the fact that I feel thick and ugly (which I will discuss later), I can’t fit into the clothes anymore. And because I am saving for my travel months in December, buying new clothes in not really an attractive option.

Okay, here it goes (very personal stuff about to be told): I have gained almost ten kilo’s in the last year. The thing is, my weight issues is one of the reasons I have postponed my medication for my depression. Being depressed, I felt ugly and nobody-is-going-to-love-me enough, so I argued: if I take these medication and I gain ten kilo’s, well, surely nobody is going to love then.

Somewhere down the road I did decide to take these medications and thank God I did, because if not, well, to be honest, I can’t be really sure that I would still be here. But I did gain these ten kilo’s. In that year though, I have learned to love myself more (I can still work on that) and be more proud of who I am. Even with these kilo’s.

Now that the clothes issue is popping up, however, the ideas are changing. In this last year, I learned to love me for who I am and to give less shit about what other people might think. This also applies to food. If I see a nice cake and I am really in the mood for cake, I am going to order this cake. Because, hey, I want that cake. Who are you to stop me?!

This attitude is good, I think, because, it is my body, I can do whatever the fuck I want. But, in some perspective, it’s also very aggressive, it’s almost that I am not sure of what I really want or particularly what I want is good. Because if I was really sure, why should I be shouting it off the rooftops? Why not indulge in silence?

Why eat healthy at all, you might ask. Last few weeks I have been very tired. Sure, I have been to some parties, but most nights I am sleeping at least eight hours and therefor I should be at my best. Yesterday, at the party, I was yawning at eleven and that’s not because it was a boring party (it sure as hell wasn’t). I think my eating patterns are at least partly responsible for it. So, I thought: I could at least try to eat healthy and see if it is that.

But I could not help but ask myself: why so black and white? I mean, this is something I am realising more and more, first I was very ‘I shouldn’t eat this, because that makes me a bad person’ (I did eat it, so imagine how I felt about myself), now I am pretty much like ‘I should eat this, because fuck you’. Is there a compromise, a way in the middle, a very famous, Dutch Poldermodel for this?

Please tell me, because I haven’t it figured out yet. All I decided to do this afternoon, is to say goodbye to my friends, because with my very gezellige (which is untranslatable, but means something like: nice, cosy) friends I eat more. I even stimulate them to eat more. So, I walked a different route home and they understood, it’s the stimuli which makes me sway of course.

Let’s get things straight, my friends aren’t to blame at all, I make these incentives even when they are not around. The famous: ‘I deserve this’, or ‘poor me, I need this candy’. Eating healthy is a choice, and a good one. At least I should give it a chance. I went home alone, chopped up my fresh veggies and made myself some delicious green curry. A good start, but how long will it last. (I am getting hungry while writing this)

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Theme Songs Convey The Story

Do you remember your first theme? Mine was definitely of Sex and the City, although there had been catchy children’s themes before. After that childhood period, there was the ‘I am too cool for this shit’ phase, and afterwards came University. Which we spend watching Sex and the City episodes on Tuesday, while eating pancakes and sipping from our margaritas.

There is something with theme’s. I don’t get shows that don’t pay a lot of attention to them, because hello, it sets the mood. When you hear the tune of Sex and the City you see before you the quirky, cool and sometimes a bit crazy miss Carrie Bradshaw. I love also the fact that they didn’t change the theme song, because, the moment you hear the first piano strokes, you know. This. Is. Sex and the City.

The same thing counts for the following, more recent shows (although, for all you smart people out there, I am thinking of that particular show and not about SatC):

I just started watching Treme, mainly because I love Dutch actors (who look cute while acting) in foreign shows. But the music. As a saxophone player, man, I now feel I have to go to New Orleans to listen to the music. Listen to the theme and you know what I am talking about. Can’t be sitting still!

What can I say about True Blood. The music is up to no good and so are the characters of this show. ‘I don’t know who you think you are, but before the night is through, I am going to do bad things to you.’ That pretty much sums it up.

Should I even say anything about GoT? Apart from the fact, someone did the rap version? (Which is actually pretty good)

PS; yes, also in True Blood and Game of Thrones we can see a Dutch actor (Rutger Hauer in TB) and a Dutch actress (Carice van Houten in GoT). Okay, alright, I am pretty proud. Particularly of Rutger Hauer. Moooeehahahaha.

The Steps Of Seduction

Via Tumblr, click for source

Via Tumblr, click for source

The music is not in your ordinary 1 and 3, but on the 2 and 4. The swing is full on. I can see your hips swaying a little from left to right. You said you don’t dance, but here I see you doing your first moves. I can tell you, they aren’t that bad at all. I walk towards you and the moment I step out onto the deck the wood cracks and you stop dead in your tracks.

‘You are back early,’ you say.

‘Not at all, I just grabbed the bread and I would come back here,’ I reply.

You feel caught, and I can’t blame you. The open sea shows the little sailing boats that brought us to land here, a few days ago. The moment I laid eyes on you after so much time, I wanted to rip off all your clothes. That feeling hasn’t gone away.

Even though I know, you are not mine to keep. You are only here because you needed to escape. And so you did. But at one point, you will have to go back to your ordinary life. I will stay here, alone, even though I am in paradise, it wouldn’t be the same. I curse you for it, you have betrayed my future plans and now I need a different view to forget you.

Not now. Now I put my arms around you and sway you back into the rhythm. You are easily seduced and slowly we dance to the beats of palm trees and blue water.

STOP – this is part of the Five Minute Friday challenge. It is also a follow up on this Five Minute Friday. I try to do this every Friday, but errr, well, I guess, I do it as often as I can. You can join me! Look at Lisa Jo’s blog for the rules and regulations. 

On Being Creative

Often it is just a practice of getting off your arse and getting things done. This is my latest fun project for this party I have Saturday with the theme (can you guess?): neon! Great colors for old running shoes that I never wear anymore, because well, they are old and tired. But perfect for these fun paint jobs!

My Old Running Shoes

Let Your Mind Wander With Some Background Noise

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Yesterday morning after a breakfast meeting at 7.30 it was time for the keynote of the day. After the entertainment and the customer stories, several people presented the product demo. Since I am not an user, and it is not my purpose of ever becoming an user, my mind wandered. The background noise, the presentation that was given, offered me the soothing sound I needed to draw new projects on my note pad (see above).

Turns out: this soft background noise is actually very good for creative outbursts. That’s why writing in a cafe is great for writers and creative thinkers alike. Although you should be picking which cafe you will be staying at, laughing groups of teenage girls would be too much for your brain to handle. Find a sweet spot of moderate noise and you are destined to do major creative work.

Or as the source 99u says:

A moderate level of background noise creates just enough distraction to break people out of their patterns of thinking and nudge them to let their imagination wander, while still keeping them from losing their focus on the project all together. This distracted focus helps enhance your creativity. The study’s authors explain that “getting into a relatively noisy environment may trigger the brain to think abstractly, and thus generate creative ideas.”

So, I will never complain about boring presentations ever again. I will just get out my sketch book and let my mind wander just enough to get this distracted focus.

PS. I am sorry to have left you for a day, I want to be with you all day, every day, but sometimes I can’t seem to stay awake or find a quiet (but not too quiet!) spot to write. I am truly, deeply, madly sorry.