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writing in hibernation mode

I’m so tired these days. It’s hard to wake up. I think I’m missing the sun. Maybe my body wants to hibernate. This sleep-walking state seems to be good for my writing though. Probably because my brain is left out of it and my subconscious has full reign of my fingers as I type.

The following is the beginning of an idea that I have carried in my heart for years. I was always afraid to work on it. This morning I woke with a song in my mind, the song that is the inspiration to that idea. And these words flowed out. If you have any comments or feedback… you know the drill.


I’m writing this to you. You know who you are. You are the one who destroyed my life.

I remember when I saw you the first time. You were standing at the edge of the crowd on the afternoon of the poetry reading in honor of the prize we’d recently won at the department. I noticed you because you were so still, standing like a statue – or no, not a statue. A statue is dead. And you were alive. The whole chattering, laughing, excited crowd seemed dead next to you as you stood there. You were the center of the world spinning around you. And your eyes… Your eyes were fixed on Norma.

I pointed you out to her. How ironic is that?

Actually, it isn’t. It’s a bad joke, that’s all.

I wonder now… If I hadn’t pointed you out, if I hadn’t bent my head to her as we sat at the side of the stage, and whispered “Hey, I think you’ve got an admirer!” and she hadn’t smiled up at me and said “Only one?” and then followed my little nod in your direction and she hadn’t met your eyes over the crowd assembled to hear the poetry of our students… Had none of that happened, would I be writing this letter now? Would she be here with me at this moment, instead of…

I hate you.

But I cannot blame you.

The blame rests with me. Or maybe not. Maybe there is noone to blame. Maybe it had to happen like this. Maybe this was always meant to be, right from the beginning.

The beginning… I don’t even know when it began. I seems there is no beginning. Was it that our grandfathers worked side by side in the factory? That they went off to fight in the same regiment and returned home badly wounded within three months of each other? That their wives had forged a close friendship in their absence and the couples bought neighboring houses? That our fathers and uncles and aunts grew up side by side? That our fathers, in turn, moved into neighboring houses when they each married? Was that the beginning?

Or was it that we were born in the same year, six months apart – the winter child and the summer child. Mike and Norma.




2013 is almost a week old already. A lot of people have written about resolutions and plans. I don’t write resolutions, but I felt that I wanted to make some kind of statement to myself. So I wrote wishes on self-made cards and they are turning out to be quite motivating, spread around my desk. And pretty to look at. Amongst them are things as general and important as ‘I want to earn my own money again’, as well as those that are more personal and immediate, like ‘I want to attend Nathalie’s wedding‘. I have also chosen the beautiful song ‘Ends of the Earth’ by Lord Huron as my personal anthem for this year.

These wishes and this song will guide and accompany me. However, there was something still missing. A direction. Something to strive for, to go towards. Then I remembered that author Lynn Viehl, who blogs at Paperback Writer, sets herself themes for each year. I thought about what this could mean for me and I had two words in my head that I was experimenting with and had almost decided for one, when courage came along.

cour·age (n)

1.  the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

2. Obsolete. the heart as the source of emotion.

definition from

Courage and bravery are often used synonymously, but they aren’t the same when you think about it. I’d even argue that bravery is a result of courage. So I looked it up in an etymology dictionary and got the following:

courage (n.) c.1300, from Old French corage (12c., Modern French courage) “heart, innermost feelings; temper,” from Vulgar Latin *coraticum (source of Italian coraggio, Spanish coraje), from Latin cor “heart” (see heart) which remains a common metaphor for inner strength.

In Middle English, used broadly for “what is in one’s mind or thoughts,” hence “bravery,” but also “wrath, pride, confidence, lustiness,” or any sort of inclination. Replaced Old English ellen, which also meant “zeal, strength.”

definition from the Online Etymology Dictionary

Isn’t that a wonderful word? Inner strength, heart, confidence, lustiness, pride – all part of this one concept: expressing what is in your mind or thoughts. I don’t know what triggered me to think of courage in the first place, but since I have, I see it everywhere. It pops up in blog posts, in video talks, in discussions with friends, in old diary entries. I think it’s a sign. So I’m adopting courage as my theme of the year.

And because I like to be thorough in these things, I also looked it up in a thesaurus and while some of the synonyms were a little contrived, there were a lot that I really like – amongst them words like boldness, adventurousness, audacity, daring, determination, endurance, enterprise, fortitude, intrepidity, mettle, pluck, resolution, spirit, tenacity and élan.

So 2013 will be the year of courage – a year full of intrepid enterprise, determined resolution and bold adventures. I know it will be – because I’m going to make it so!


Do you write resolutions? Or choose themes? Or maybe an anthem? Or is all of this new-year-new-beginning thing a nuisance and unnecessary anyway?

there’s a world that was meant for us to see

I meant to write a blog post today expressing my thanks, talking about Christmas a little bit and drawing some meaningful, poetic conclusion of the last year. I’ve been writing it in my head for days. But all I feel today is frustration, sadness and anger, and I cannot write it.

The truth is, I don’t like New Year’s Eve (or Sylvester, as we call it in Germany). There is no real significance behind it, yet everybody makes such a big thing out of it that it’s easy to feel left out. Especially if you have nothing to celebrate, or do not feel ready for a new start.

All the end-of-year lists, the summing up, the best-of lists… They make me anxious. I feel under pressure. It’s true that for the past fifteen or sixteen years, I’ve sat myself down in a quiet corner some time during the afternoon of the 31st of December and written some kind of conclusion of the year, of my year. It’s frequently helped to ground me, to focus on the big things. It’s strictly personal, however, and nobody will ever read it until I’m dead.

Two days ago I was taking a nap on the couch, more or less because I was bored and didn’t feel like doing anything else. When I woke up, in that little space between sleeping and being fully awake, I had the idea that I wanted to write down wishes for the new year. Not resolutions, because they don’t work for me, not things I ‘have to’ do, or ‘should’ do. But write wishes, things I want, things I wish for. And because I want them to have significance, I wasn’t going to write them on normal paper, but make beautiful, unique, personal cards in a rainbow of colours and pictures and write my wishes on those. So I made cards. They haven’t turned out perfect – far from it! – because I’m not good at crafts. But I like them. They are personal and they are pretty enough to satisfy me. Now it’s early afternoon and I have the cards, but I haven’t written anything yet, because I’m still in that mood of anger and frustration. I want to get rid of it. I don’t like starting new things with old things hanging on. I like clean sheets. Figuratively as well as literally.

And while I try to get into a better frame of mind, I’m listening to the song that I’m going to wear on my banner in the next year. It’s a song that holds a special place in my heart. It chides me and at the same time gives me infinite freedom. It challenges my comfort zone and never once gives me the feeling that I’m not capable of anything I set my mind to. It has such mystique and power and freedom and a deep wealth of pictures and emotions. This is the song I want with me throughout the year, the song I need at my side. This is my personal anthem for 2013.

Oh, there’s a river that winds on forever

I’m gonna see where it leads.

Oh, there’s a mountain that no man has mounted

I’m gonna stand on the peak.


Out there’s a land that time don’t command

wanna be the first to arrive.

no time for pondering why I’m a-wandering



To the ends of the earth, would you follow me?

There’s a world that was meant for us to see

To the ends of the earth would you follow me?



Oh, there’s an island where all things are silent

I’m gonna whistle a tune.

Oh, there’s a desert whose size can’t be measured

I’m gonna count all the dunes.


Out there’s a world that calls for me, girl

headin’ out into the unknown.

If there are strangers and all kinds of dangers,

don’t say I’m going alone.


To the ends of the earth, would you follow me?

There’s a world that was meant for us to see

To the ends of the earth would you follow me?



I was a-ready to die for you baby,

doesn’t mean I’m ready to stay.

What good is living a life you’ve been given

if all you do is stay in one place?


I’m on a river that winds on forever

follow ’til I get where I’m goin’.

Maybe I’m headin’ to die but I’m still gonna try

I guess I’m goin’ alone.

 *I can’t make out these lines… Sorry.

snippet: Nic – a beginning

One of the many beginnings I’ve got knocking round my harddrive/dropbox – stumbled across it this morning, liked it again and thought I’d share.


With the leaves turning yellow came the familiar yearning.

This morning brought a wind that rushed puffy white clouds across a crystalblue sky and Nic felt the corresponding urge to move. It was a pull in her stomach, a rush of blood, a tingling in the feet. The need to move on was a physical ache.

‘Like a fucking drug addict,’ Nic thought disgustedly, throwing down her pen. The fall sun was streaming through the windows of the café, bringing out golden highlights in Nic’s hair. By half-closing her eyes she could see a ghostly reflection of herself in the glass – pale, not quite there, her long, slender build just adding to the ghost-like impression of her reflection. She closed her eyes against her ghost-self and tried to relax.

It was six months since she’d last had this feeling, back on the West Coast. She’d been determined to withstand it, but with every passing day her determination had corroded, until, only a week after the first urge, she had given in. She still hadn’t fully forgiven herself for giving up so easily. ‘Gonna pack it in again, are you?’ she silently challenged herself. ‘Can’t even stand it for six months anymore… how weak you are…’

She opened her eyes again. Putting herself down wasn’t helping. She tried to clear her head of personal thoughts and go on with the business of writing, but after a few minutes she realized that she wasn’t thinking about her article, but of possible new destinations.