Friday, November 28, 2003
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
i have always been very much a "carpe diem" and "do unto others" person: two shiningly golden rules, to my way of thinking; but when i glance to the right of my monitor at work, i see, among my loved ones, two of the three other life-mottos that inspire, and reinforce me.
the first speaks for itself: "practise random kindness and senseless acts of beauty": one compelling sentence with the exquisite exuberance of what life should, and can, be.
the second - on the button - is loesje's "geniet nooit met mate" which translates, loosely, into: "never enjoy in moderation". these four words, in postcard form, identified my locker in the department store where i worked until a couple of years ago, and they've accompanied me onward. in the last few months, with things threatening to push me off track, they have reminded me to keep myself open to the pleasures there are despite.
the third? the third is scrolled in neon across the roof of a tall building in alkmaar. i haven't figured out exactly how to interpret it best, but when i do, i will take my tripod and my camera into the darkness and share it with you.
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Monday, November 24, 2003
Sunday, November 23, 2003
Saturday, November 22, 2003
roommate A: "hey, man! we're outta tape!"
roommate B: "we got nails, yo. the game's starting!"
roommate A: "the paper's ripping! wait. oh, man. i am SO smart."
roommate B: "yeah right. bring the opener, will ya?"
roommate B: "and the peanuts."
Friday, November 21, 2003
"and then leaning on your window sill
he'll say one day you caused his will
to weaken with your love and warmth and shelter.."
- leonard cohen
she misses him.
she misses him immensely.
but should he stride her way at this very moment, golden and radiant, she would duck into a doorway, dodging his indifference, and, hidden, allow him to pass her by.
Thursday, November 20, 2003
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
tim horton's was a mainstay of my college days, but i had to kick THAT habit very quickly when i settled in holland.
nothing, but nothing, is open 24 hours a day here. no-one in this country seems to need cafeine and baked goods (or pizza or chinese food) at 4 a.m. - unbelievable, but true.
our coffee, though, is undeniably delicious, and, instead of donuts, we have the seasonal sustitute: oliebollen - golden, deep-fried-on-the-spot globes of light dough, plain or with currants, or ginger, or filled with custard, popped into a paper bag, and dusted with lots of icing sugar.
they are sinfully tasty, and very very fattening. i resist them whenever possible. but i do relent at new years, when the queues at the stalls are rows deep, them being traditional festive fare and all.
who am i to defy tradition?
and whatever are holidays for if not for nudging guilt aside, and simply enjoying?
it was a day of visible shins in amsterdam: more tartan than orange, and kilts as far as the eye could see.
now, who do you suppose is playing soccer against holland tomorrow?
*wish renée a safe trip: she's off to prague tomorrow..
*and over at lalaland: public numbers, and another view of an old clock... i am very pleased.
Sunday, November 16, 2003
"there are always flowers for those who want to see them."
i don't suppose matisse was talking about garden centres, exactly - well: i KNOW he wasn't - but they are a welcome diversion when, as sam so succinctly put it, our palette has reverted to greyscale for the rest of the season.
living colour as a stopgap: i absorb, aisle after aisle, a little brightness to bridge the winter's dark.
*many of the submissions for the gimcracker blogiversary invitation have been posted. it was a definite challenge: my own photos tell me their own particular stories, sometimes even as i activate the shutter, but finding words that can do justice, as i have said, to someone else's artistry is another thing altogether. take a look. they are lovely.
Saturday, November 15, 2003
the face, caught in a split neon second between streetcar and night sidewalk, looks like his.
but she can't be sure.
the proud posture, the long legs pushing the pedals: they look like his too.
but she can't be sure.
the only certainty she has these days is sadness and indignation, and a bewilderment that numbs.
she stares inward, clenching. his capacity for inspiring tears should have relented months ago. she is working on recovery. she thinks she'll get there.
but she can't be sure.
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
she has no idea when it is, but it must be morning: the wall behind her glows with promise.
she has no idea where she is, but she can see, over her shoulder, her yesterdays and her tomorrows soothingly reflected in the curves of hours.
she has no idea who she is – but she knows , blessed as she is with curiosity and compassion and a capacity for delight, that she has a right to be – wherever and whenever - whoever she happens to be.
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
today is remembrance day in many parts of the world.
but here in holland, at least in our bit, today is saint maarten's day, commemorating this revered person's hospitality to strangers.
i had no idea that the holiday even existed when, years ago, newly moved north, newly married, newly pregnant, i responded to the doorbell. standing outside was a little group of children, faces shiny and expectant, sporting home-made paper lanterns and plastic bags.
they burst into song.
i had absolutely NO idea what it all meant. when they finished, i thanked them kindly and closed the door.
minutes later, a neighbour scurried over, and explained, to my embarrassment and dismay, that i was supposed to have sweets ready to distribute - lots of sweets: i could expect at least a hundred tiny serenades as the evening progressed.
she kindly presented me with an hours worth of candy. when that was gone, i turned off all the lights and sat in the darkened living room, feeling guilty, listening to the shuffle of small feet and excited snatches of verse in the november night.
Monday, November 10, 2003
the bell rings.
reflecting, setting sorrow aside, she realises that she has done her best.
the game – mere and obscure – has been played. points have been tallied. sides have been taken. the scoreboard is invisible in the shadows.
what has she won, she wonders, or lost:
the jackpot? an eternal place in the wings?
it doesn't matter.
she played to take part, and not to prevail.
Sunday, November 9, 2003
Saturday, November 8, 2003
when you live in one city (like me: alkmaar) and work in another (like me: amsterdam), you spend a sizeable chunk of each day commuting.
and if you're a virgo (again: like me), you spend a good fraction of this travelling time simply waiting*.
i am typical of my star sign: i am punctual to a fault, and i would rather be twenty-nine minutes early than one minute late. i NEVER miss a bus; i NEVER miss a train, because i ALWAYS leave the house earlier than necessary.
i did the same on my very first day at this job. ahem. pardon me? i went a step further: i allowed myself a whole hour's leeway. and then my train ground to a miserable screeching halt in a meadow between alkmaar and heiloo and stood there for an hour and a half.
luckily for me, when i finally tumbled into the office, my new colleagues took one look at my flushed and dismayed face, and realised instinctively that it would probably never happen again.
rannie turingan's photozine is inspirational: each week a splendid photo and a collection of sources i always wish i'd discovered sooner.
Thursday, November 6, 2003
Tuesday, November 4, 2003
it is may.
they are friends.
they dance, for the first, for the last time.
the day has been conspiratorial, and they sway and shuffle on a single square meter, sequestered in the evening light.
the day's feathers and finery allow them an almost anonymous intimacy; indulgent affection lifts them above his youthful awkwardness and beyond her impossible expectations.
their distance, their silence, is warm, companiable, compatible:
three minutes and forty-one seconds long.
Sunday, November 2, 2003
Saturday, November 1, 2003
it's a saturday night, cold, balanced between - for me - two workdays, and i have (along with wishes for a superior weekend) just these few visual links to share:
*tracey has her new "26 things#2" list up. i can't wait. the themes are supple and irresistible and inspiring. old takes are allowed, i see, which is fine in a pinch, but i think i'll try and start afresh. i have this IDEA, you see....
*gimmy celebrates her first anniversary of words-and-images-shared with a different kind of challenge: compose a poem or a short story to accompany one of her amazing photographs. there is a prize. i, to be honest, can only hope to do her perceptions justice.
*emese's photos of the aftermath of the california fires are absolutely gripping, and melancholy.
*and my three favourite "neighbours to the south": what can i say? they are so GOOD. they produce honest beauty. they make me smile.
do visit. don't miss.