Long Time No Write

Hi folks!

It’s been a while – mea culpa!

Some of you may have followed me on Instagram and Twitter for shorter updates and random thoughts. (And the Star Wars hair styles I did today and yesterday to entertain a co-worker, go look at them on IG if you need a chuckle!) I really want to get back into writing; I’m just not sure of the format.

There are some topics I want to touch, but I’d like to put more effort into these.

  • Getting in touch with your body and your identity through martial arts (and handling blunt weapons, lol)
  • Contentment vs. happiness
  • Space (I’d love to create something about planets, moons, and asteroids, playing with different ideas right now)
  • Navigating life with a mind full of opposites
  • Background noise

I’m busy with work most days and want to keep this blog completely separate from my job for different reasons. I’m still a linguist, doing linguist things in a language project for a big company, destroying (and fixing) templates, and occasionally dabbling in logic programming for internal purposes, while filling my desk with plants, listening to weird music, and drinking a little too much espresso. Sometimes I fold origami manta rays and other creatures when I need a break.

A long due update on my journey in capoeira will follow shortly!

Now I’m going to install the WP app on the “new” phone I got some months ago, so stay tuned for new random poetry spam.

See you soon!

PS: The last few months I didn’t find motivation for photography beyond the low-quality phone snapshots and I still haven’t posted the images from the last wedding I photographed. Life has been crazy, the weather disgusting, and nothing really interesting was going on. I’m waiting for the sky to clear so I can take pictures of the moon with my new tele-zoom lens, then next month I’ll be at the big annual capoeira workshop with my camera.

 

 

It starts with a word or two. (What I wrote while I waited for my pizza.)

It starts with a word or two, a string of thoughts, a random image, and an empty day will be filled with new poetry. It’s raw, it’s wild, it can’t be forced to grow. Some days will remain emtpy, some will bear threefold fruits.

I want to be made from light and song, bring out the stars with my words

I want to know what creation was like, watch the colours pour into life

I want to know what the world was like when it still was what it was meant to be

I want to know, I want to taste the immense nebulae and every deep, dark creek and crease and fold of time and space

I want to write about all the beauty there is, was, was forgotten and reborn

It starts with words and ends with speechlessness, images too bright and pure and folded in themselves, colours the mind can see but our eyes cannot. Colours twisting into shapes taking up more dimensions than paper and brush and ink and reed can hold, more connections to be made than could be soldered on one wooden board with the finest diamond-sharp tips of midnight tongues.

I want to hold strings of words in my hands, pearls of syllables, hard and soft and round, rolling, rolling

I want to remember the faces, lines of laughter telling stories passing me on the street, manifold

I try to write and sing and live all at the same time, fingers tripping over blurry lines

It started with two simple lines, and it became the plea of help of a soul drowning in a torrent of images unleashed on dry ground, barren land not able to soak up all the wonders as fast as they are poured out, the golden song of dust being washed away too quickly before a microscope could be found to examine every speck down to its poetic make-up of crystal genes.

Thoughts born from interstellar clouds, delivered into bare and empty hands.

 

 

 ~~~

Writing this happened between writing the first paragraph and waiting for the pizza in my oven to be done. I had jotted down these first few words and lines as a Facebook status and then the idea decided to take a walk on the meta-level.

 

 

Favourite Friday: things I like to do the old fashioned way

The Favourite Friday series is back!

Modern technology is cool and everything, but some things I still I like to be done in an old fashioned way. Definition of old fashioned used very loosely here.

I don’t put our laundry in a tumble dryer after washing, but hang to dry.

Very few people still write letters or send postcards, which is very sad. I love getting postcards for my birthday, and I’d be happier about a few letters per year than I’d be about a ton of e-mails. Also, if you don’t like paper, a text message is still better than birthday greetings on facebook. I ask people to send me postcards when they go on holidays, and cherish these cards more than your travels blogs (which are totally fine and interesting nevertheless) because they are personal.

We switched to soap bars a while ago and I like them better than liquid soap. Liquid soap is a waste of packaging and full of weird chemicals these days.

In class at university I take notes by hand, despite my bad handwriting (sometimes I can’t read my scrawl myself), and I carry around a small note book (as in paper) and a timer instead of using a smartphone or my computer for putting down important stuff. It’s just easier for me to concentrate on real paper. That’s why I prefer to print out at least the most important papers I have to read, because to truly get to the bottom of a complicated topic I need to sit in a comfortable position and cover the paper in highlighter and side notes.

I buy physical CDs if I want to listen to something more often, and I like using them in my old CD player. Sometimes I sit at my computer, but the music is coming from the CD player or radio next to my table. All-in-one devices are cool, but most of the time I feel more relaxed when there are different devices for different purposes. When just the radio is on while I read a book I don’t feel the urge to check my e-mails all the time, because it would mean having to boot the computer first. And it would be very confusing if music came out of my camera while taking pictures.

I don’t own a smartphone. When I need to go somewhere new I look at a map (okay, I cheat and use googlemaps to draw myself a small sketchy map to take with me), and I ask people for directions. When I need to catch a bus on the way home I either look up the times before or I ask someone who knows them or can look them up. Sometimes a smartphone can be really useful, but in many situations I prefer talking to actual people. On the train I read books most of the time.

Some things I don’t do all the time I but find comforting once in while are making food stuff from scratch – bread, pizza, candy, smoothie, lemonade, iced tea – and growing my own vegetables (though I’m not very successful at this).

In the kitchen I use simple devices most of the time – whisk instead of electronic mixer, simple manual juice squeezer instead of a big machine, mixing bowl with measuring marks instead of a scale. Less complicated to clean, and it just feels more natural.

And just this week I hang up some herbs to dry in the warm summer air.

_ _ _ _ _

The next two weeks I’ll tell you a bit more about random things I like to do in my free time.

What comes between maiden and mother?

Something I’ve been wondering and pondering about for some time …

I’m not that familiar with Wicca or the Goddess movement, but nevertheless more than once I’ve come across the idea of three stages in the life of a woman: maiden, mother, crone. This post is not about the religious/spiritual stuff, just about the life-stages thing.

In former times it was a pretty short transitional period between maiden and mother, I guess. Girls getting married young, before or shortly after menarche, and very limited options of birth control. (I don’t want to get into the whole issue of infertility, as this would become even more complicated.) I’m not so sure about the definitions of these terms in the context of this word triple, though.

Does “maiden” mean “virgin” or “prepubescent girl” – or does it have the even wider definition “female who hasn’t given birth yet”? Is the term “mother” defined in the narrow sense, i.e. “woman who has given birth at least once” or is it a broader usage to include every “woman with a body ready for pregnancy”?

I tend to unterstand these terms in the first interpretation respectively. This leads back to my question – is there anything in between? Today people have sex early, but many wait until much later to have children. Even when sex is saved for marriage it doesn’t equal starting to pump out offspring as soon as possible anymore, because producing a heir isn’t as important as it once was and because our life expectancy is much higher these days.

One of my first associations when thinking about this for the first time was the song I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman” by Britney Spears. Weird, I know, but somehow also very fitting. I noticed the tendency to describe young women as “girls” instead of calling them women, even when they are well into their twenties. Just like many people I do this myself, at least when talking about my friends at university or church. In contrast, I don’t think I ever encountered the use of the word “girl” for a mother, no matter of what age. (Though I have to admit I don’t know any teenage mothers, so it might be different in their situation, but my intuition tells me she’d be labelled “teenage mum” or “young woman” instead of being called a girl.)

Is “full” womanhood today still defined in terms of motherhood?  How long does a woman stay a girl/maiden in the eyes of society if she doesn’t have children? Does being married or in a proper job have any influence on the label? Do we need a name for the stage of life between girl and woman, maiden and mother?

addendum to yesterday’s post on “I see fire”

Writing down that mess of thoughts yesterday has helped. It still went all around in my mind until I fell asleep and for a while after I woke up, but my thoughts feel clearer now. I’ve been having weird dreams again the last few nights, but that as well is getting better again. I wonder how much of the pieces my mind puzzled together in these dreams really fit together, how many of my wandering mind’s findings are true.

This afternoon I found this post http://musingsofanaspie.com/2014/07/15/how-we-experience-the-world-survey/ and when I read question #9 I felt like I had stumbled out of the forest, out into a clearing. Dropping out of society, yes. Wishing to be able to run off for an adventure, leaving all the burdens and rules behind. This too is part of what I tried to convey in the jumble of words my tired mind spilled out last night.

I want to write more, but I don’t have the words right now. Too big are all these thoughts. Shapes and colours and shadows and dreams and songs. Still, that one song makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. Laugh and dance with my arms wide open, shouting joy from our roof. Cry and mourn the loss of past times and old places, old ideas, old ways, how much we have given up.

Give me words, please.

I need to write, I need to talk, to get out all these strange ideas. I need more people to talk to about all of this, someone to listen, someone to walk this road with me.

 

musings on “I see fire”

I’ve been in love with this song ever since I heard it on the radio for the first time.

For the last few days I’ve listened to it so many times I lost count. Somehow it struck a chord deep inside.

So here are the first few thoughts on it. I hope to get around to writing a more coherent post, but this will have to do, and I need to get some of these thoughts out before I can return to my term paper. It’s really hard to concentrate on Swahili phonology when big thoughts on life and dreams are expanding in one’s mind, you know? Randomness ahead.

  • Freedom. Wilderness. Travelling. Adventures. I long for a life outside this buzzing city, because here is no horizon in sight but houses everywhere. We live in a world full of predictable dullness, buying digital adventures, buying what we believe will be the next step to happiness. Consume until you die. I need to breathe freedom on a glorious morning. It’s summer and I long for autumn already, even though I know the autumns I dream of are long gone. There is no golden harvest among hills for me, no gossamer on brambles and old wagons on hazy afternoons. I crave wilderness, pure and simple. I crave for people feeling the same craving in their guts, their bones. I feel old when talking like this, but I can’t help it , and I don’t want to change this last bit of old ways tingling in my still young body.
  • We need to stop and cherish what we’ve got more often. I started reading “The Felloship of the Ring” last week and noticed I tend to skim across the longer poems instead of savouring the words. We know we can get another book, another story, another video. Everything is at our fingertips, and yet it leaves us empty because we forget how to taste each word as if it might be the last poem we’d hear in a long time.
  • Companionship. Who will stand at your side in times of great need? The 300 facebook “friends” you barely know? Maybe, because I haven’t yet lost all faith in humanity. But I know only a handful of people for whom I’d endure hardship without hesitation, at whose side I’d willingly fight because there is trust and true friendship. At whose side would you wish to die? Solemn question, I know, but it might reveal something.
  • We’ve had a long time of relative peace, and our generation doesn’t have a sense of purpose. We long for adventure, somehow most of use at least have a subconscious feeling that consumerism isn’t all there is to life. If this was different all the big movies about heroes changing the world and fighting the darkness wouldn’t be such a hit. They strike a nerve with our generation. The Hunger Games are part of it, just like The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. So many movies about war, about heroes, about young or old people rising up to find a better way. Young people like me didn’t experience war inside our country, and therefore we can romanticise war and rebellion. Or maybe the dullness and hopelessness, the helplessness when meeting shapeless opponents like the breaking away of democracy, politicians being involved in corruption, people telling the truth being branded traitors, all these might be the turning point where we understand that freedom comes at a price, and that fighting in the flesh might feel more heroic? I don’t know. I’m just as lost as most of my generation are when it comes to this. All the movies we watch, all the games we play – they tell a story of their own when put together, maybe you can see what I mean.
  • Magic. Down to earth. I see religions either breaking away or turning into mere ideologies. We’ve become selfish and believe we can do it on our own, but then why is the esoteric market booming? Maybe because most classic religions, especially Christianity, are community based. Maybe our love for movies with groups of heroes achieving something together is a way of expressing that we still long for community, a silent way of admitting we can’t make it on our own. Faith is a journey. Conceptual metaphors.
  • Simplicity. Lightness. The simple living and minimalism movements are but one sign of a generation being overwhelmed by the riches and consumerist good we try to fill the emotional void of peaceful times with. We are chained to a place by what we own, and tell ourselves that travelling would be uncomfortable without them. Secretly I wish for a time of need, a collapse of the system, to justify leaving behind all the pretty stuff nobody needs, all the books full of lores just useful for times when basic needs are more than met. I wish I could travel and seek adventures without thinking about saving enough money for when I’ll grow old.
  • Songs and books and poems. Choosing a few pictures to share instead of hording thousands of them. I wish I knew more people to share stories with. I don’t mean writing novels just for the sake of it, I mean casting fundamental human experiences in ever new forms. When was the last time you looked out of the window and felt like bursting if you didn’t share the moment with someone? Recently I saw an evening sky with such magnificent clouds I tried to call Darling from my cellphone so he’d look outside and see them, too. Sometimes I have to write a few lines or even two pages in my small journal because a moment is so special. Sometimes it comes out as free verse poetry, sometimes just a jumble of single words mixed with doodles, or a random flower finding its ways between the pages, a new connection made to a song, a picture, the past. If for my birthday I asked everybody to bring their favourite book or poem to share with the others, would they laugh or would they be glad to be given the chance? If asked nothing but beautiful words for a present, who would dare to write a poem about clouds, grass, wild horses, and living to see a different time? Who would just write the dutiful mumble of wellwishing engrained in phrases hollowed out by thousandfold use, mixed with praises not wanted? And how am I to tell people that my native language is not always the language of my heart when it comes to poetry? A friend once asked me why I blog in English. I don’t want everybody to know which country I’m from – I’m a world citizen, and don’t want to be counted to a single community. I want to talk to people from the other side of the globe, because what counts for me is the closeness of thoughts. I want my thoughts to be easy to be read by whoever feels like reading them, wherever you might be. English is the closest thing to a world language we have right now. English has a beautiful, powerful ring to it when used right. Shakespeare’s iambic pentameters? Yes please. Sometimes there are sentences or whole poems in my native tongue or other languages which touches me in that way as well, and these occasions make me happy. I know songs in my native tongue which I wouldn’t like to sing in a version translated to English, and vice versa.
  • Brokenness, tears, despair, imperfection and yet so perfect, because bitterness is part of life. The best poetry is written in either ecstasy or utter darkness. I can’t write when life is fine, okay, bearable. Torn clothes tell a story, the ones you bought just yesterday most certainly don’t. The simple shirt with a funny saying on it given to me by my mother is worth a thousand new expensively branded items, because she bought in somewhere on a trip for herself and wore it there in a  country where I’ve never been myself. One day when I’ll be old and wrinkled I tell people that each line around my eyes equals a moment of joyous laughter. Sometimes I feel closest to someone when they open up and tell me about their darkness. Not with everyone, for certain, but the handful of people close enough for me is a beautiful bunch of perfectly imperfect beings, broken and yet not giving up. Buildings, too. I like beautiful ruins. Reminders of splendour and greatness, not yet forgetting, still being admired long after craftsmen, kings, and stewards died. I wonder if anyone lives in the broken back house I can see from our roof, but not from the street. Seeing its broken walls, the old stairs, make me want to fill it with plants and lanterns and music. I crave a homely place, somewhat clean and organized and well planned. but imperfect enough to tell a story about the ones who live there to anyone who might walk by.
  • Urgency and errands that matter. Being send to do something of importance. Not feeling useless, a replaceable cog in society’s clockwork. Celebrations that matter. If everyday is filled with luxury and consumption, how to celebrate in a way that says “this is important”? And how to find a reason to celebrate if everything is well planned, well met, life well filled with daily success and everlasting youth? If we had less, then each day, each gain would pose new chances for something big. If you can’t talk to all your friends daily, then meeting them once a year becomes an occasion for much more merriness (though I’m happy for all of you who have all their loved ones living nearby). One meaningful letter a month would be more to me than a banal instant message every second day. And here the circle of less is more meets again.

That’s all for today. A mountain of clean laundry is waiting to be conquered by the reluctant queen of sloppy folding. Hooray. Whatever.

look up

This video has gone viral during the last few hours – not without reason.

When was the last time you spent a whole day offline?

When did you go for a walk with someone and left your cell phone at home?

I have to admit I’m guilty of spending too much time in front of my computer, but still I love reading a good book and then talking to someone about it. On the train I don’t listen to music all the time but read my book or watch the scenery, sometimes I even talk to strangers (some old people are really happy to meet someone willing to listen to family or war stories for a few minutes …). After church and after youth group I walk/bike with a friend – or even a whole a group of friends – sometimes and we have all kinds of conversations about funny moments, theological issues, or plain old private troubles. Sometimes we stop and stand at a corner to finish talking before saying goodbye. I really enjoy these moments! Just this evening I went for a walk with Darling, and I didn’t take my phone with me. (When I go out alone I take it with me most of the time. though, in case I fall off my bike, get lost, feel dizzy, or encounter some other kinds of trouble)

It’s okay to be online, it’s okay to watch movies or read tons of books – as long as we find a healthy balance between solitary activities and interacting with other persons. How about watching a nice (or challenging) movie together and then talking about it instead of putting in the next disc immediately? Interacting doesn’t even have to be talking all the time – simple things like skipping stones together can be fun and/or relaxing while bonding, and small actions like holding a door open for a stranger while smiling at them don’t cost more than a few short moments of your lifetime. Everybody has to find their own balance, of course – for example, I know a lot of people who have a higher need for socializing then I do, and who need less time to think alone.

I feel lonely after being online for a long time – afterwards I need to talk to a person in the flesh, or go for a walk or at least do something physical like potting plants. Just yesterday I noticed I’d rather go without watching any episodes of my favourite series than without going for walks, doing a bit of sports, and interacting with people – the heartfelt hug of a friend or a pat on the shoulder after doing well with something are worth a hundred smiles and will be part of cherished memories one day, along with all the weird moments from conversations at university.

Stop the mobile zombiecalypse! If this http://weneverlookup.tumblr.com/ is not the social environment you want to spend the rest of your life in, then be the change and learn to look up again!