Thursday, October 30, 2003

saving daylight

the days, shortening, have shifted.
the morning harbour is once again washed in watery gold, and my evening homecoming is suddenly draped in darkness.
i'm undecided: do i prefer the light early? or late?
it's a moot point. in just weeks, dawn and dusk will be attempting an encounter somewhere in the early afternoon, and we will all be grateful for whatever winter brightness we can find.

* has a whole new design, and a whole new ranking system: worth a visit, definitely, and compliments...

*and my exceptional daughter has got her new site up and running. it's lovely; i am PROUD. i always am.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

the possible, the true

"one may have a blazing hearth in one's soul and yet no one ever comes to sit by it. passersby see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way."
- vincent van gogh (1853 - 1890), dutch artist

next weekend in amsterdam is the much-anticipated "museumN8": all the major musea in the city open their doors to the public between seven o'clock on saturday evening and two o'clock on sunday morning. and all the thirty-seven participating institutions have scheduled unique happenings: tales of love and erotica in the allard pierson museum, otazu jewels and "star visits" in the museum van loon, berber/latin/rock/dance music in the bible museum, bollywood films in the vakbond museum, and a performance by the national ballet in the new church - to name just a few. historical trams and buses and canal boats transport ticket-holders from one delight to the next.
i have two tickets. and sunday off.
i am a lucky person indeed.

Monday, October 27, 2003

breezes and bristles

she sweeps and sweeps, the broom reluctant, the leaves uncooperative. she will have little peace until the faded and the fleeting have flown: her memories of their former glory are hindrance enough.
dry, they drift and dive. wet, they slap her feet like reprimands. futility shifts about her ankles. every brittle scrap of colour is a recollection of the green that was and the times that were.
the wind, as relentless as affection, suddenly swoops.
and she is back where she started.

Friday, October 24, 2003

the simple things in life

my taste in clothing is unassuming and uncomplicated - black, jeans, black, and oh dear! what shall i wear today? black? - but i make up for that in the adornment i choose.
i love silver. i love semi-precious stones in the colours that nature has seen fit to bestow. i love glittery bits, dangly bits, bits with character. i don't like ostentatiousness, but i do like to shine. in a positive mood, i regard it as lily-gilding; in difficult times, the words "silk purse" come to mind.
eenvoud ("simplicity") is a silversmith's atelier on the prinsengracht in amsterdam. the tiny corner shop/workshop inspires my magpie tendencies: half a dozen glass cases overflowing with beautiful jewellery, hand-crafted and hand-chosen. i cannot pass by without dropping in; i cannot drop in without succumbing.
(and equally irresistible are these little works of art, which i stumbled upon last week on internet: amazing.)
i am too easily seduced, i know, but my fingers and my earlobes have never complained of neglect.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

hold the cinnamon

sometimes - not often - i have nothing to say.
sometimes - having nothing to say - i do a wordsearch (love+air) for inspiration.
sometimes - like now - i get a result like this:

All millionaires love a baked apple.
- Ronald Firbank (1886 - 1926) US novelist.


Wednesday, October 22, 2003


oh. okay. that was fall, then.
only yesterday, REALLY, life was bare shoulders and strappy sandals; today it's woolly scarves and rosy cheeks.
blame it on environmental abuse, if you will, but i believe that the whole season simply refuses to waste its precious time on a place where leaves don't turn much more than a muddy brown, where there is no corn-on-the-cob, no bonfires, no hallowe'en and no thanksgiving.
apart from my family, autumn is the thing about canada that i miss the most.

Monday, October 20, 2003

the wind beneath

it was only when he forsook her, when he shook her hand aside, that she discovered the wings - the intrinsic gift of faith and friendship - that she had never realized were there, and, faltering, flew alone and despite.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

pet sounds

well. hmmmm. what i REALLY want is another rabbit.

*and, to start the week off right:
razzi's remarkable impressions of rotterdam...

Thursday, October 16, 2003

bits and pieces

she faces the grand transparency, and watches the wisps of blue and black and fading gold disperse and dissolve.
caught in the curves and imperfections of the glass, her likeness eludes her, and she asks herself which is more fragmented: herself or her uncertain reflection.
*theme thursday: windows

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

colour, and endless sky

usually, when i have just one single day off, i throw myself dutifully into chores and household demands.
today, though, i nudged routine windward, and met up, at long last, with an old friend.
we spent a good while (i'd seen it already - twice - but he hadn't) strolling the "de aarde vanuit de hemel" exhibition; we lunched in dantzig, in glorious sunshine; we shared tales of the year flown by. he teased me until i kicked his shins.
the sky was blue. the air was crisp and sweet. and there were even some coloured leaves to convince me that fall was really here.
recalcitrance has its rewards.

Monday, October 13, 2003

in need, indeed

friendship should be this:
a sturdy, unfailing light by darkness, or by dusk, or even by daylight gone unexpectedly dim.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

fleeting house

the demolition of the douaneloodsen began just days ago.
the westerdoksdijk looks decidedly desolate.
the artists and the free souls have been displaced; the vibrant wall-paintings have been reduced to rubble.
i wonder: is it any use taking on bureaucracy?
but i suppose: it is always worth a try.

Friday, October 10, 2003

survival of the plumpest

they got there.
in the end.
tender loving care (and a tropical summer) will do it every time.

Thursday, October 9, 2003

bus stop, wet day

she tilts toward him. his acceptance of her arm, tentatively curved through his, is tolerant.
she understands him well.
this rain, this darkness, this umbrella: they impose a reluctant intimacy.
and, although affection shifts his unwillingness into hesitant indulgence, she knows that he hopes silently for sun, and - with it - space.

Wednesday, October 8, 2003

of few words

november is nearing, and with it nanowrimo, the ultimate-internet-creative-writing-challenge for thousands of literary souls.
people like renee and bran are going to excel, i am sure, because they are clever and prolific, and my daughter: well, my daughter can do simply ANYTHING she puts her mind to.
"and what about YOU, mum?" she demanded.
what about me, indeed?
i think i shall pass.
i spend every waking moment thinking my little stories through, and paring, chiselling, shaving them down. i can't even contemplate the enormity of 50000 words. of every 100 i write, about 20 survive... or, my record, in a period of great distress: 4.
i have, as i once lamented: no stories, merely words, and too few.
at least for now.

Tuesday, October 7, 2003

rue de la herse

colmar, a decade or three ago: i am roused from a deep sleep. music, somewhere, arches gracefully through the darkness, caressing me, tilting me above my dreams.
i realize, surfacing, that i have not tumbled into paradise. paradise has tumbled into me.
i grope my inquisitive way upstairs, where daniel, the gentleman of the manor, sits in a beanbag chair before the hearth. he is clearly as transcendentally challenged as i am.
"what do you think?" he asks. ("c'est merveilleux, non?")
"if my life could be accompanied by one melody forever and ever and ever," i say, transfixed, "this would be it."
he smiles.
"c'est le canon," he explains, "de pachelbel."

Monday, October 6, 2003

Friday, October 3, 2003

a fearful intricacy

he hovers motionless at the heart of his handiwork, silent and dismissive, scuttling, when necessary, upward and out of reach.
his gossamer is oblivious and galvanized, and undeservedly graced by what he perceives to be raindrops, but what she knows - it is her soul,
when all is said and done - to be tears.

Thursday, October 2, 2003

to visit the queen

this, then... my short break in a half-a-nutshell:

leiden - i stopped there for a few hours en route - was graceful and full of gentle surprises: colour, vrijplaatsen, poetry reaching skyward.

my hotel was all i hoped it would be, and more. my room was elegant and luxurious and my loggia - with beautiful blue shutters -looked out over a distant sea. the comforter comforted. the evening meal was perfect, (though they had to scoop the eel out of my watercress soup - the amuses-gueules - me not being overly fond of fish) and the breakfast, each day, made waking up an unexpected delight. small hotels are THE BEST.

den haag was stately and smart, in an extended-little-finger kind of way. my afternoon tea in the palace didn't happen, alas, (they locked the gate, imagine that!) but the city abounded in fine caf├ęs and eateries, so i did not go wanting. i visited the panorama mesdag - a fervent wish of mine - and it was lovely. i have never, by the way, seen so many black suits and ties in one single location as i did in the hague: it was almost scary.

noordwijk was a coastal town as the dutch do it: a few jewels and a lot of monstrosities. i did, however, out on an early walk along the seashore, allow myself to be coerced into a morning run with a few friends of mine:

who happened to be staying at the five-star joint just across the road.
(i have always had a weakness for ronald koeman, so knocking him off his sneakers on the boulevard was an unexpected treat. well, of COURSE we didn't jog together: i hardly managed, in my shyness, to get this one picture taken..)

it was good.
my issues did NOT get addressed.
i missed the other-muse.
but it was good.
and the sun DEFINITELY shone.

Wednesday, October 1, 2003

britches and bridges

my mother - at the first sign of childish bad-weather chagrin - always reassured us:
if there is enough blue in the sky to make a pair of sailor's pants, then the day will turn out fine.
and she was right.
mothers often are.