Categories for My story

Thinking

My head was spinning around all over the place today.

First i thought i’m gonna write Green! Then i sort of stepped back, thinking hmm.. no i won’t. I might send it to Rhodri first. And then i .. hmm.. i don’t remember! But no, i won’t write anything.

This evening i suddenly became so angry! I thought i don’t want to live this life! I don’t wanna have a mortgage. I don’t wanna have insurances. I don’t wanna pay all these silly things like VAT, like taxes. Take it away! Which is silly. Well, i still don’t want to be here and grow old quietly and obediently. I don’t want to get sick and be left all by myself and be taken care of by uninterested young people. I don’t! I wanna have friends and a family. I want to have a warmness around me. I don’t even know if warmness is a word. But i don’t care! Fuck!

FUCK!

Last saturday evening i spend with an old friend. She asked me on facebook. We ate something simple. We drank three bottles of wine. One of which was a Reichsrat von Buhl Pfalz Riesling Sekt Brut 2012 – not entirely sure this was the one, but it’s close! – , which i bought and took there with me. One of my favourite bubbly wines ever. We talked about many many things. Also about my dreams. And about love. And sex. And men. And age. And children. Her two almost mature boys. A fun night. And my following sunday a bit hungover. But still good.

And now i’m a bit more quiet.

I’m reading Brain Pickings a lot lately. I love it. Today there was a new post, The Art of Stumbling: David Brooks on Character, “Résumé Virtues” vs. “Eulogy Virtues,” and the Humility Code of Living a Meaningful Life. In this article was a reference to an earlier article about Joss Whedon’s commencement address. Which was wonderful too! I will quote a piece here, but there are many more quotes which i could have picked.

This contradiction, and this tension … it never goes away. And if you think that achieving something, if you think that solving something, if you think a career or a relationship will quiet that voice, it will not. If you think that happiness means total peace, you will never be happy. Peace comes from the acceptance of the part of you that can never be at peace. It will always be in conflict. If you accept that, everything gets a lot better.

And a quote from the David Brooks article.

We are all stumblers, and the beauty and meaning of life are in the stumbling — in recognizing the stumbling and trying to become more graceful as the years go by.

The stumbler scuffs through life, a little off balance here and there, sometimes lurching, sometimes falling to her knees. But the stumbler faces her imperfect nature, her mistakes and weaknesses, with unvarnished honesty, with the opposite of squeamishness. She is sometimes ashamed of the perversities in her nature — the selfishness, the self-deceit, the occasional desire to put lower loves above higher ones.

But humility offers self-understanding. When we acknowledge that we screw up, and feel the gravity of our limitations, we find ourselves challenged and stretched with a serious foe to overcome and transcend.

The stumbler is made whole by this struggle.

It’s like, i have read these sort of words before. I have read psychology books, filosophy books, literature. I have also read many science fiction, fantasy, romantic books. I read Tolkien. I love young adult books: Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, Tonke Dragt books. I’m not sure why words from Brain Pickings now hit me so many times.

It does have something to do with that sledge hammer feeling i had in October 2014. Since then i feel more alive. And i do remember the first half of 2014, in which i felt so empty. So silent. I don’t think i even cried then. But i do remember thinking then, that i couldn’t see a life worth living. That i would rather die. Well, not straight away. When my cats have died. Not with any seriousness. But i did feel hopeless.

So now i’m here, in 2015. There are so many things i dream of, it’s like almost too many. There are so many things i want. It’s hard. But, it’s also just in my mind. Outwardly i’m quiet, friendly. I chat to people in shops. I smile. I actually do enjoy that. That’s true! I bought some kibbeling (fried cod fish) today at the market. I sat in front of the markthal and ate it slowly. And looked at all the people passing by. Just watching them. Some quiet, others loud. Little children. Old people. Young people. Why am i looking now, and why wasn’t i looking a year ago?

This post will not have a big final. It will not point to a grand solution. I’m not saying my life is just beginning. It started 51 years ago. I can see my whole path towards this point in time. Some parts i have forgotten, some parts have stayed with me.

I’m not sure where i will end up. Where i will live. Where i will work. I still have hopes for myself. Wishes. Wants. Needs.

I’m tired. I will go to bed. Hopefully for a good night’s sleep.

See you tomorrow 🙂

Published on April 22, 2015 at 6:00 by

My futures

The night between last saturday and sunday i was lying awake thinking. Thinking about choosing between a private life and a public life. At one point i got out of bed and took the I Ching out of the bookcase and started reading it. I was looking for the line about that same choice. Which just happened to be in the first hexagram of the book.

I Ching Hexagram 1 – Ch’ien / The Creative
Nine in the fourth place means: Wavering flight over the depths. No blame.

A place of transition has been reached, and free choice can enter in. A twofold possibility is presented to the great man: he can soar to the heights and play an important part in the world, or he can withdraw into solitude and develop himself. He can go the way of the hero or that of the holy sage who seeks seclusion. There is no general law of his being. If the individual acts consistently and is true to himself, he will find the way that is appropriate for him. This way is right for him and without blame.

A part of me wants to shout out and go and bang and dance. Another part wants to stay quiet and think and observe.

The past months have been sort of crazy in my mind. I had many many daydreams, all different kinds. I did feel happy most of the time, but i also felt sad, hurt even. It usually stayed in me house. The walks… i love the walks. Going outside, looking around, watching the trees and shrubs and houses and roads and birds and people. A time out. Sometimes it felt hard going back inside once again.

These few months mean something for me. It’s six months ago since i had that sledge hammer feeling. Since then i am on this journey. A tightrope. One step at a time. I remember writing the about present on lfs.nl. The sudden realization that it was the last page of lfs.nl. This wasn’t me thinking rational. I just.. knew.

At the time i didn’t know i would start blogging on ellenpronk.com in a few weeks time. But that is what i did. After a week of designing, working out the categories, the layout i was. The domain i already registered a couple of years ago. I never got around of setting it up as a work website. I had tried. But i thought of a better way of using it.

My life has been very solitary so far. On the whole i didn’t mind that much. I enjoy my own company. But i would like to have friends. I would like to cook for more people. More people than just me. I would like to laugh a bit more. Talk some more.

I do listen to music a lot these days. I actually do sing along too. I like that. But it doesn’t fill the void.

I know the private life. I have lived it for the past thirty years. It’s difficult and hard work. There is peace and quiet. And loneliness.

So, if i have to make a choice, i’d rather choose a public life. It will be equally hard work, it will be equally difficult. But it is also filled with friends. I will not have complete freedom in choosing the things i do. But on the whole, i think i will be happier. A bit messier too. But that’s alright.

Ooh, in both scenario’s i will continue with ellenpronk.com. Of course. It’s what i do. I love this place. Truly.

Published on April 15, 2015 at 6:00 by

Sex

When i was around twelve years old erotic feelings came into my life. Masturbation was my secret pastime during the evenings. I loved doing it. I lied on my belly and and rubbed against the sheet. I still remember the orgasms. They were wonderful.

My first kiss was on Tenerife on holiday. In the moonlight on a beach. We had sat in a disco. My holiday friend was kissing this other guy and i felt completely embarrassed. When we left the disco and went to the beach, he kissed me. Woah. After the holiday he came along, all the way from Blackpool, England. I remember buying a XTC record, Black sea, when we visited the record store Plato. I also remember my mum telling me he had said to her he didn’t get it why i went to the gymnasium, the Dutch highest level high school. I would get married anyway? Sorry Jim, you shouldn’t have said that! Bye bye!

Back at school i developed a crush on Marc. We went out one time. I didn’t say a word! We didn’t go out after that. Duh. And he got back together with his former girlfriend. But i did fall in love, and we did get this sort of intermittent thing. We did kiss on the exams night when we set up tents on the school ground. And there was more kissing on other evenings. We never went all the way. Not for lack of trying. It just didn’t happen. We both went to Delft to study. But there it was left to fade away. And then i left Delft and went to the Rotterdam art school after four years. Never to see him again.

At sixteen i got on to the pill. Together with my mum i went to our doctor. Periods were giving me lots of pain. The doctor suggested that the pill would be a good option for me. So for the next five years i was having no trouble with periods and protected from getting pregnant at the same time! Not that i was having sex. When i was around twenty-one twenty-two, i decided i would quit the pill. I wasn’t having any sex anyway, and i would see how my periods were going. It was alright. Maybe i was getting a bit fiercer and the periods simply didn’t bother me that much anymore. Or maybe they were getting less painful. I didn’t know. The thought of taking these hormones each day was not a pleasant one. The pill was out!

In Delft, I do remember sitting with a friend, Marcel, in his room. Later on he said he was surprised there was no attraction between us. I do know that i simply wasn’t thinking about sex with him at all. I just liked him. No other guys attracted me in Delft. Well, apart from this gorgeous guy whom i only stared at in the college room. That got to nothing at all, of course.

I did meet another guy in a pub Dizzy. I went out alone. I actually said i to Rens was feeling recalcitrant. We had a long talk. Not sure it was that same evening or later, but i also do remember going out to McDonalds with him and having a long long talk about all sorts of things. He asked me to come to his place and have dinner. So i did. And then we tried to have sex, but sadly no. I couldn’t go along with it, it just didn’t feel sexy at all. It did pain me to say it, but that is what i did. He was a bit upset. I did stay and sleep over, the next day we had breakfast together. And that was it.

Rotterdam. Where i lived from December 1985. School started in August 1986. I had a talk with a teacher in a pub. He asked me what i really really wanted. For someone to really love me, i answered. I meant it. A friend pulled me away from him and i went home. A week later, in his class, he was sitting there with a his face turning red. We never talked about it. He was having sex with other students. Not for me.

No other boys at art school got me interested. Or girls. I was thinking that maybe i was lesbian. But i simply didn’t fall in love with a girl. I did have best friends. I believed. After art school, from where i graduated in 1991, me and a friend organized an exhibition about sex, Sexposition. It was in the Fabriek, a squatted old factory with studio’s and a large exhibit room, in the west part of Rotterdam, close to the Delfshaven tube station.

We worked on it for a year. We got a subsidy. Marlies Dekkers showed her exam work. We also organized an evening of sex, with art work, a lingerie show, some singing and other things happening. It was sold out. All that time, i never had gotten any sex myself.

The evening of the show, i went out with a small group afterwards. We went to Tudor bar on the Nieuwe Binnenweg. I went to this place so many times in the 80s. At the end of the evening this guy named Bart asked me to go to his home with him. And i said yes! He had a waterbed! Man, that was a surprise when i stepped into it. We made out. No sex though, grrr. I fell in love a bit, but nothing happened. I think a few days or weeks later i went by and we talked a little, but no, nothing.

Around christmas 1992 i gave a dinner party at my place. I read a story to a couple of my friends. Ben, a friend of a friend, was there too. A few weeks later, at new years eve, we started to kiss.

So yes, a couple of days after that Ben asked me to have dinner at his place. I stayed the night. Not completely sure of the timings here (it’s been 22 years!), but we did have sex around that time. What i do remember is that we tried and the first time it didn’t go. But when he was asleep and i was awake, i went to him and started kissing and he woke up and yes, then it happened. For the first time. I was 28 years.

We were together for like two, three months. He gave me one of his works, a foamy yellowish cast of a painting. It still hangs in my house. Then we broke up. We were not in love. We liked each other, but that was it.

Well, i knew that. But still, it was a lot for me to come to terms with. And i got a fever. I was sick for a week. A close friend Femke took me out to the Veluwe, a national park in the center of the Netherlands. We walked and talked. I was not feeling good.

I didn’t see Ben for many years. Only later, when i bumped into him at a friends house and i was too surprised to not say hi, i realized he is just a nice guy. Now when i see him, once every two three years, we can do some small talk.

A 1997 i started to work on lfs.nl. Or rather, home.luna.nl/~ellen. In July 1998 i got an e-mail from Jeroen, ‘hulde! prachtige site!’ (‘honour! beautiful site!’). A friendship started. With Jeroen who also lives in Rotterdam, of all places. And i fell in love. And he did not. With me anyway. I have some e-mails in which we talked about it. We were outspoken and honest with each other. But no, it wasn’t going to be. No no no.

Reading those e-mails, thinking back about those days, i do see now i was so serious, nice, but also close to impossible. It reminds me of the thoughts i have about myself while i was in art school. I see now i was very closed up. Nothing the teachers said to me really got through. I was like this knot all tied up.

I came closer to the dark years. The years of not working on lfs. Of me trying to get away from it all. Of me playing warcraft. Of me not seeing anyone. Of me going though the motions. Everything seemed to be coming to a full stop, while time was running onwards.

Looking back at it, the first half of last year, 2014, was the ultimate full stop.

I talked about it with a friend, and he came with this job offer later on. In August i started working there.

I’m not sure what happened. I felt like i was hit by a sledgehammer. It was a short crush on this person which felt very strange to me. Which i could switch off rather easily once i realized that he was married.

I started to work on lfs.nl again. After 8 years. I started to daydream. And i felt aroused. I felt alive again, which was a really good feeling.

So now i’m here. March 2015. My sixth week of working on ellenpronk.com. I still feel that sledge hammer hit me when was it? September 2014? October 2014? I still feel the energy inside waiting to be pulled out and used.

Looking back at my life. It does feel like completely mine. I’m truly happy with that. Nothing really bad has ever happened to me.

I will take my steps into the future. I have said it before, i gotta stay close to what i want, deep inside. I managed that so far, i hope i will keep on doing that.

Published on March 17, 2015 at 6:00 by

My work

The first year at art academy was glorious. It was 1986 – 1987. I was living by myself for around nine months. The first year was introductory, with a week long travel into Germany in autumn. I loved sculpture, drawing, art history. I loved it all. I remember working with plaster in sculpture. I collected the plaster dust which other people dropped and made small work with it on the floor. Geometric and organic shapes. And of course completely unable to save them. For an assignment for a drawing class, something with weaving, i started to use paint over the entire paper and cut and use it over each other. I actually wrote a paper about Scritti Politti for art history. Pretty sure it was all a lot of nonsense, but i loved it. Still a shame i never got that paper back.

After that first year it did go downhill. I tried painting. That didn’t work, i got a zero and had to choose another subject. Photography and ‘monumental’ (sorry, no idea how to translate that) was better. It did get more serious. I got more serious.

I’m not sure why i started to make self portraits. I know we had an assignment early, maybe even in the first year, to draw yourself. I made these sketchy drawings, which didn’t look like me at all. Later on i started to make photos of myself. First at home, later in the school studio. I still don’t completely understand why i made these. I do know i looked pretty in the photos. I don’t think i was aware of that in my daily life.

My exams art academy work i used in Homebase, Feel me – Free me – Fuck me. The photos were large, around 1 square meter each. The text was done with transparencies in the darkroom. It was just before Photoshop took over. The photos were from different sessions. I do think the first two were made in the school’s studio with studio lighting. The third one i made at home with flash light.

I’m not sure about this work. I do see the work that went into them. It’s just, they do not speak clearly to me. They feel like an intermediate work to me now.

In 1994 i started to work at the printing office. It was hard work, but also a lot of fun. That was the time we made the christmas cd. I sang my own song.

In 1995 at work we got a modem and an internet account. I took that home during the weekend. I loved it! I started to play muds. Micromuse was the first world i visited. I worked on building an old Greek part in there. Windsmare was my first game world. I started playing other muds. I also started to play Angband, a roguelike game.

In 1997 i started my own website on ~ellen on home.luna.nl. Which to my surprise is still there! I went through my links just to see if any were still life. The only relevant one today is Superbad. Which is still one of my favourite websites ever.

The years after that are documented on lfs.nl in these text presents:

The past nine years were crowded with playing World of Warcraft, especially raiding. The past 4 years were busy with work. Trying to get it, trying to make enough money to keep living.

The last five months have been hectic. From ecstatic happy to truly sad.

I’ve met some old friends again. I do feel my life is much better than were i was a year ago.

I do know i will not get my old life back. Too much has changed. Some friends got children. It’s different. Everyone’s life has moved on.

And me? I got a bit of time. A bit of money. To make this website work.

Please.

Published on March 4, 2015 at 6:00 by

My birthday!

Happy birthday Ellen!

25 february 20:19
I’ll fill up this post tomorrow during the day. For now, a relaxed evening watching tv or reading is up. Seeya tomorrow!

26 february 9:30
I just got out of bed. The weather is a bit dreary. But that’s OK, i don’t mind. I still don’t sleep too well. That has been going on since October last year. I do wake up or don’t fall asleep at all. But during the day, when i sit down, i have small sleeps. And sometimes i go to bed real early, like at nine.

Yesterday I listened to music. No tv, no reading.

So for now, i’m gonna make myself a bit of breakfast, bread with egg. After that i’m gonna make myself some coffee with a cookie. After that a shower and than i’m gonna take of and go and think of my present. See you later!

26 february 10:10
I have another comment! A hug and a smooch. Yes! Seems like non-Dutch people are commenting more. But hmm… with only two comments that’s a bit early to say. [Edit: non-Dutch = US ]

26 february 13:27
Back home! I bought my present. It’s still packed. I went to the Marqt as well, got me some bread and butter. Also dark chocolate ice cream! And chocolate!

I also went to Platenburg and bought myself a nice bottle of good red wine, a Pieri Rosso di Motalcino 2012. We also had a small glass of white Colombard Sauvignon (sorry, i forgot the official title) to celebrate my birthday.

I bumped into Hans, a good old friend while i was walking to Skins. He just came out of a shoe shop with his two kids and his girlfriend. With some shoes for his kids.

Well, that was if for now. Gonna make me some lunch now.

26 february 14:54
Just wrote my short and easy post for tomorrow. Picked out the photos and did some minor touch ups on them in Photoshop. Done!

Also had a chat with Leonard Grossman on Facebook, who has been following my work since 1997. It’s weird to realize that is 17 years ago.

Liked all the congratulations of Facebook too, thanks everyone!

26 february 15:19
Unpacked my present!

2015-02-26-15.02.35

2015-02-26-15.04.37

Review by Katie Puckrik Smells

26 february 17:07
Gonna watch a bit of tv. First the Great British Menu on SBS 6, 17:30 – 18:05. Than i think i will dance a bit with my headphones on! I usually go through my mixtapes and see if there is any song i wanna dance to. It’s different each day. I do check out De wereld draait door on NPO 1, 19:00 – 19:50. Than i usually check The Big Bang Theory, the news and any other channel. This evening there is the show i watch every week: The Great British Sewing Bee on BBC 2, 21:00 – 22:00.

As for food, i will warm up the Rhubarb Crumble i made yesterday. Post on that tomorrow, it’s real easy to make. I might eat a sandwich later this evening. And coffee with some chocolate, or maybe evening a chocolate drink. Hmmm.

And then i’ll drink some of the wine i bought today.

After 22:00 i might type in a little more. Not sure. We’ll see 🙂

26 february 22:07
So, the final piece. I just watched The Great British Sewing Bee. Loved it! It was structure week. They had to make a corset, change an 80s suit and make a kilt! I had never thought about how a kilt should be made. Now i know.

I’ll be going to bed soon. It was a lovely day. Thank you all for your congrats.

Good night!

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Published on February 26, 2015 at 6:00 by

My eight favourite album covers

My eight favourite album covers, out of my own collection of vinyl. Or rather, seven albums, one single. It’s not my favourite music, but there is some overlapping. I did start out with ten covers, but wasn’t sure about a couple. So decided i didn’t want to use these and ended up with eight.

If you wanna see my music taste, you might go and see my MIX stuff on Spotify. I made a present for those playlists.

Read more…

Published on February 20, 2015 at 6:00 by