Categories for My story
I get out of bed. I did sleep a bit during the later part of the night. But i was lying awake for a long time. Two times i read. The Hunger Games. The first book. Played a little. Solitaire on my iPad. Thought about this new post i want to start writing today. Didn’t think at all about what i would write for tomorrow. But then i did.
So here it is. A retelling of the day. Like the one i did on 22 July 1997.
My oatmeal porridge is still cooking. I gave my cat food. I cleaned up the catty litter box. I went to the toilet. And now i’m sitting behind my computer typing the start of this retelling.
Gonna eat my oatmeal porridge. Read a bit more.
Hmm… not sure what i will do next. Let’s wait and see.
Sheeran — Shape of You – Scrobbling now
OutKast — Hey Ya! – 5 minutes ago
The Beatles — The Long And Winding Road – Remastered 2009 – 8 minutes ago
Scritti Politti — Brushed With Oil, Dusted With Powder – 15 minutes ago
The Temptations — Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone – 22 minutes ago
Curtis Mayfield — Move on up – 30 minutes ago
Liaisons Dangereuses — Los niños del parque – 35 minutes ago
Jewelz & Sparks — Motor – Radio Edit – 39 minutes ago
Portishead — Strangers – 43 minutes ago
10cc — The Wall Street Shuffle – 46 minutes ago
Tiffany — I Think We’re Alone Now – 50 minutes ago
Going out for a walk to the Central Station to exchange the UK money i still had. Of course, it costs money to exchange. So in stead of the twenty five euros i expected i got 16 euros and something. Sigh.
I walked back and bought Allison bread at the Albert Heijn. Then i went to the Jumbo and bought some milk and two cans of cat food. And then i went past the pet doctor and bought more ProZinc for my cat for his diabetes.
And now i’m home again. Gonna make me something to eat. Some baked tofu quickly soaked in a soy sauce on bread spread with tahin. Yum 🙂
I almost slept. After lunch i read more in the Hunger Games, and my eyes fell closed. I stood up and went and lied on my bed for a short bit. So tired. That is what lack of sleep does to you.
I finished the Hunger Games. I had planned to do a bit of work. But i felt tired. So reading it was today. Early in the evening i watched a bit of tv. De wereld draait door. Koken met van boven.
I am thinking about this post i want to write. I know. I know. I should start tomorrow. I do need to get into it. Most things are clear in my mind, but i want to make it a full post. It is about something which is very dear to me. The moment of now. This ever present but so hard to catch moment we all experience. Children experience this moment naturally. Their time is a long stretched infinity in a moment. Tomorrow i will start writing more. Sketching almost. Trying to get all the thoughts i had the past days out of my head, so i can think further and make it more telling.
I don’t know if this post is the one i’m brooding on for so long. It could be. It is clear in my mind. It is important to me. It is a simple subject, but also hard to describe.
Well, that is it for today. I wish you well.
Last Sunday when i came home i was so tired. I did make a new post, but it was only the photos. Actually, the next day, when i checked, i saw my post wasn’t published yet. It was scheduled to be published the next day. I was that tired.
I had talked so much. About my father. About the memory dream i had when i was around twenty. The dream which i knew had happened, since i had the photo of that event. About Scritti Politti, the best band in the world. About this website and my fave content on it, the video clips. And some songs too! And the cakes i will bake this week for Anne’s birthday. And how i sat in the wheelbarrow, with beer in my hands, my feet towards the fire, looking around and enjoying myself. Yay!
So yeah, it was a good evening. An excellent evening!
It took me a while to get back to my normal self. More than a day. Getting there now. I still hope for a good night sleep. One in which i cuddle up against someone. We chat a bit. Smile. Kiss. And then fall asleep.
One day. You never know. Still my biggest dream. Something i talked about as well. How i am holding this off, but also dream about it. Falling in love. Trying to get it to work. And it doesn’t. Not yet anyway.
Two weeks ago i had a talk with Kaat. In the garden. I was having these cramps and was squatting at the vegetables beds. We talked about the experience of time. How for her time was going faster. As it goes for most people.
It is different for me. I said. My experience of time has slowed down. I remember most things that happened to me clearly. Some more than others, of course. Not in a grand story kind of way. But in a chronological way. One after the other. To me, a day is long. While it happens. I don’t think of the future that much. Well, not as much as i used to. Not even at night. Well, sometimes i do. I still don’t sleep to well. I can lie awake for hours. Tossing and turning. Sometimes i turn on the light, read a little, or watch some youtube clips. To try and get tired. But during the daytime, especially when i go outside, for a walk or to a supermarket, i’m simply there. Smiling at people. Feeling good. Apart from last Monday of course. Walking like a ghost. Oh well.
I was thinking about this while i watched a youtube clip from Vera Camilla. For her, this summer was not great. Not any real warm weather. Gone too fast.
I was surprised. This was completely opposite my own feelings about this summer. Yes, there were some wet days. But that is only good for the garden. There wasn’t a single day i needed to wear a coat. Yeah, some days it was around twenty degrees Celsius. But that is my favourite temperature. It is also hard for me to generate a thought about this summer. It is too long. Three months. Or more even. I remember the night we celebrated the solstice. The evening we went to the beach. The talks we had in the garden. The fun we had. How the new greenhouse is slowly being built again. The day i saw the burned down greenhouse. Somewhere in April? May?
What i am trying to say, is that for me my life is slowing down. Over the past three years, its speed is turning into a crawl. I sometimes find myself sitting at home, reading, and a sound drops in. And i completely hear it. The sun shines on the trees standing in front of my house, and i completely see it. I see the green change from a dark greyish green to a bright full sunny green.
This post came into my mind somewhere this morning. A post on brainpickings.org called The Shortness of Life: Seneca on Busyness and the Art of Living Wide Rather Than Living Long seems to be related to this. I read it earlier this week.
It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.
Tomorrow i’m going for my second appointment with social security. I haven’t subscribed myself to five temping agencies. I haven’t written fifteen job applications. I do feel i need to be honest about this. Tell them.
And then i just keep on going here. Here on ellenpronk.com. Because this is what i want to do. This is the one things from which i learn. The one thing in which i can talk about my life. Smile. Be honest. Working here is what i love love seriously.
The past two weeks have been stressful. Yes, i took a holidays. I did celebrate it.
But there was also a not so pleasurable reality i had to deal with. My lack of money. The past three months i was not able to pay any of my monthly payments. Not for the mortgage, not for the energy, not for the healthcare, not for the internet and tv, not for my travel card, not for my municipal taxes. Or any other bill. Apart from food, for which i had cash money set aside. Also my bank credit was withdrawn for both the accounts. That was an extra 2000 euros i needed to pay back.
So i did finally cave in and applied for social security. And i had a talk with my mother who gave me enough money to pay most of my debts.
I am still thinking though. I don’t want to let this get to me. And it is trying hard. It does feel like a blanket is spread over me, clouding my vision. I still need to fight back.
Today i worked on completing the copies for a request from the municipality about my house, about my debts and about my business. I did set my autograph underneath an agreement about me writing fifteen applications before 7 September. About me registering with five different temping agencies. I am still thinking.
What sort of work would i be willing to do? Something to do with gardening? Something to do with taking care of older people. Something with taking care of children? Or back to front end development? Not my favourite, i admit.
What i did decide was to talk about this. Here on this website. To use this to fight against this mechanism employed by the Dutch government to keep people inline. Not that i’m saying this is all bad. No. But for me, now, this is bad.
I dpn’t know why people do not see what i am doing here. Maybe it is because this is a blog. So simple. So many other people have it. To me it is clear i want to do this. Because it is simple. Which is exactly the reason i love this. Because i want to talk to people, show things to people. About all the things on my mind. I don’t want to make things difficult. I don’t want to hide behind anything.
Of course i know many posts here have failed. But there is always another day, another post. It is so obvious.
I need to be honest. So this is what i wrote in a letter about my company. I know it will fall on deaf man’s ears. But still. Honesty rules.
De afgelopen twee jaren is het steeds rustiger geworden.
Ik ben zelf voornamelijk bezig met mijn eigen website, ellenpronk.com. Op deze site maak ik vijf updates per week. Het onderwerp varieert van koken, mijn eigen verhaal, wandelingen die ik maak rondom Rotterdam, het tuinieren wat ik doe sinds anderhalf jaar, het werk wat ik op de kunstacademie maakte, mijn gedachtes over de wereld en Nederland, en nog veel meer.
Ik ben online bezig sinds 1 juli 1997. Sinds 2006 is er een lange pauze geweest in mijn werk online. Oktober 2014 kreeg ik een realisatie dat ik weer verder moest gaan, door mij omschreven als een mokerslag. Sindsdien heeft dit voor mij de hoogste prioriteit. Ik ben toen verder gegaan met lfs.nl, de website waar ik sinds 1999 op werk. In januari 2015 heb ik de laatste ‘present’ gemaakt. Twee weken daarna ging ik verder op ellenpronk.com. Vijf updates per week, gepubliceerd om zes uur ’s ochtends. Eenvoudiger, ja, een blog, ja, maar nog steeds al mijn aandacht opeisend.
The past two years it has become quieter.
My main work is my own website, ellenpronk.com. On this website i have five updates a week. Subjects range from cooking, my own story, walks i make around Rotterdam, the gardening i dosince a year and a half, the work i used to make in art school, my thoughts about the world and the Netherlands, and much more.
I am working online since 1 July 1997. Since 2006 there has been a long break in my work online. In October 2014 i had a realization that i needed to work again. Refered to me as my sledgehammer moment. I went on with lfs.nl, the website i have been working on since 1999. January 2015 i made the final present. Two weeks after that i continued on ellepronk.com. Five updates a week, published at six in the morning. Simpler, yes, a blog, yes, but still demanding my full attention.
The past four weeks i have been working towards an important post on Friday. The idea for each weeks post i got the week before. When i had posted Friday’s post the idea popped in my mind. The same goes for this post. Last Thursday, lying in bed, the idea came to me. Of course. So simple. The story of my life.
I have told parts of this story before. Here, on this website. To my old friends, years ago. Parts. I never told the complete truth. Hiding away from it. Ashamed perhaps. Not believing it. Not a full 100%. Thinking, i am a normal woman. With a normal life. Running away from it. But still. A memory that never faded.
That Saturday, 8 February 1986, the day i drew these six images in the evening, i still remember parts of it. I remember i started on a A3 size water colour drawing book. I had divided the paper into eight parts with pencil. I started to draw. With a wooden drawing pen en ink. No pencil sketch first. Straight in with the ink. Water colour paint to fill in with colour.
I was still studying Industrial Design at the Technical University Delft. I had water colour lessons there, for presentation drawing. I loved it.
The first two drawings have faded from my mind. But the last six would stay with me. I remember staring at them when i was finished. Silent. A bit stunned. I don’t remember when i made the seventh one, the one with the text.
Here’s a verse for nothing
To the way the world will be
Now we’re apart and alone
Mustn’t be unhappy
When you remember
Lovers never lose each other
Such a lot to be learned
The final chorus of the song A Little Knowledge from Scritti Politti.
The next day i made the box to fit in the drawings.
That Tuesday, i went through records in Haddock, a record store in the centre. I wasn’t looking for it, but there it was. Songs to Remember, from Scritti Politti. Their first album. I bought it. Happy i drove back home on my bicycle. And yes, i loved it. When i heard the last song “The Sweetest Girl”, for some reason, i threw the I Ching. I got 13. T’ung Jên / Fellowship with Men with a changing line on the fifth place.
Life leads the thoughtful man on a path of many windings.
Now the course is checked, now it runs straight again.
Here winged thoughts may pour freely forth in words,
There the heavy burden of knowledge must be shut away in silence.
But when two people are at one in the inmost hearts,
They shatter even the strength of iron or of bronze.
And when two people understand each other in their inmost hearts,
Their words are sweet and strong, like the fragrance of orchids.
I remember sitting on the ground, in front of a seat, reading these lines.
I knew for sure. This was true.
I also knew there was nothing i could do. Nothing i wanted to do.
The rest of that week is vague. I was completely overthrown by these drawings and that weird premonition. I gave away my drawings, the next week or so. I knew i had to give them away. So i gave them to a close friend, Iris.
She gave them back to me, a month or so later. I stared at the drawings when i was in her home. I didn’t ask for them back. But that is what she did.
When i applied for art school in July that year, i didn’t bring these drawings with me. I was further along, of course. Into Giacometti at that time. I thought about these drawings on the application day. Lucky for me i didn’t need them. I got in all the same.
Life goes on. Friends come and go.
In the 90s i gave away the drawings once more. Another close friend. But she gave them back, after a month or so. This time i saved the drawings in my sitting room. To wait.
In 1996 or 1997 i met Erika Chang online. She had made a website about Scritti Politti, “the Archeology of the Frivolous”. We got into a email conversation. She was the one who told me about superbad.com. We met in London two or three times.
And then in January 2006 news of a Scritti gig came by on the Yahoo scritti group. In a pub in London, under the name Double G and the Traitorous Three. I didn’t say a word to Green. I watched.
I did talk with friends beforehand. The thought of giving the drawings to Green did pop up. But they gave me the advice that it would not be any good. I agreed.
Time does seem to go faster when you grow older. The past seventeen years seem to have flown away. I do remember them. But it is like, your life reaches a plateau. You work. You have a few friends. And another year is gone. Wham.
The sudden sledgehammer moment in October 2014 will stay with me. It did upset my life. I was awake and confused for months, years even. Talkative. Looking out. Seeing and thinking all sorts of things. Some right, some wrong. And i started working again. On lfs.nl. I felt it. The quiet time was over. Back into gear.
Looking back on the previous eight years, it made me sad. I saw myself struggling with it. Playing World of Warcraft. Making semblances of friends, at a distance. I wanted to work, but nothing came to mind. Nothing. I saw myself grow quieter. Forgetting what i used to do. Simply living on. Day by day. Watching television series. Most i downloaded through tvtorrents.com – now offline.
I don’t know where the sledgehammer moment came from. Well, apart from the most obvious answer.
The past week i have been thinking about this post. Ideas popped inside my head. Whole paragraphs i thought beforehand. In the end, it comes down to this single point.
I have thought so many things, my entire life. And yes, most things i have kept to myself. Embarrassed. Ashamed. Like i said, i am a normal woman with a normal life. Then again, to me, i am not normal. I am rather special. I know all the ins and outs of my mind. All the ins and outs of my fantasies. My deep night imaginations. My wishes. My dreams.
I never really understood the latest work i made in art school. Making self portraits seemed a bit narcissistic. A bit self absorbed. I still did it. But it was hard to continue making self portraits after i graduated. So i tried other things. Which didn’t work.
Only a few years later, when i started working online, i looked back at these self portraits. The earliest photo i used in Selfportrait on 10 July 1997. Another photo i used in Watching myself on 16 July. Then another one on 17 July, a big picture in Watch me. The titles of these works made sense to me then. They still do now.
For years i rarely made any photos of myself. Most failed. The ones i made in 2010 were OK. I picked one and used it as a profile picture on several websites. Only the last years i have been making more good photos of myself. I am happy with them. I am older, yes. But i still like the way i look. I am no stranger to a bit of vanity.
It is late in the evening now. A washing machine is on upstairs with the neighbours. Centrifuging. Sounds form the outside drift in. People talking. Birds whistling. Cars driving.
I wrote a piece called An empty life a few months ago. It was not my choice to have my life still this empty. But it happened. Not that i feel unhappy. Not at all. The last two and a half years i feel truly happy. Joyous. Active. Open. Working again on lfs.nl and later ellenpronk.com is the most important reason for that. Especially the work i do on ellenpronk.com makes me feel good. The walks. The gardening since last year. My videos. The singing. The food i cook.
I love this place. I love thinking about new posts to make. This week i enjoyed making the summer borshch, reading aloud Allerleirauh, making a walk to the garden the Enk. I love it to do all these things. They make my life special.
These stories which have filled up my life, they have stayed with me. I treasured them. All by myself. Stories are important. Their structure makes sense to us. A beginning, a middle, an end. The beginning is usually sudden, unexpected. Something happens outside of the normal course of events. The middle is the boring bit. A long time of work. Repetition. A slow change. The end is equally sudden. But with more preparation. A grand finish. Kaboom!
In our lives these structures are everywhere. People fall in love. People have children. Children leave the house. People grow old. This is all part of a story structure.
I like my personal stories. I have one main one. And many minor ones.
Giving the drawings to Green Gartside last year in London is a memory i will treasure for the rest of my life. It makes me truly happy. Looking back on it, i don’t know where i found the courage to do this. But i did it.
And then of course, my life moved on. The garden came into view only two months after it. A whole new bunch of people connected with that. Now this fills my life for half. The rest is mostly for this website.
And then there is this world. Grrrr.
Well, this post is not for that. That is a whole other issue.
I am living my own life. As much as i can. Money is an issue. I don’t have lots of it. I’m behind paying my bills. But i am not giving up. No sir.
There is something i want to say. Something i want to make clear. We all live here on this world. For better or for worse. We are all responsible for our own lives. And our children, until they are grown-up. We pick what we want to do. If we don’t, the world will pick something for us. Usually not to our liking.
This work i do here is extremely important to me. I try to make it easy. Easy to read. Easy to watch. With purpose. I like to communicate. So it makes no sense to make things difficult.
I know art is not the best environment for me. It is still in my past, but it is not where i see myself grow. So it is hard. What i can call myself is a blogger, an occasional vlogger, a still not too good singer with some potential, a video-clip maker, a gardener, a cooker and a walker. I love this.
There is no end to our lives until the day we die. Each day is new. Each day you wake up and you should think of what is the best thing to do. To make things a little bit better. Me, at fifty three years old, i still feel young.
I’m telling you this.
Shall we begin?
DAENERYS TARGARYEN Game of Thrones S07 E01
Since i started working again, October 2014, i knew this. I want to turn my life around. Desperately.
All my energy went into this. Making the final post for lfs.nl was a step. Starting up ellenpronk.com another. Making my walks, cooking, talking about my past work, my past mistakes, making the videoclips, singing the songs. All part of the same process.
I got the idea of this post last week Friday. Sex! Ooh, of course. Right now, i’m not so sure. It is not i am ashamed of my sex life, my erotic feelings. But sex is not my main interest. I like it, sure. But right now it is all by myself. A single activity.
What i really want is love. True love. Friendship. Joy. Pleasure. In all its many intricate little ways. A best friend.
A few weeks ago i met someone new. I liked him. I could have left my dreams behind. But no. He said something which made me think again. He didn’t want anything. It took me some time, some thinking, some letting go of my emotions. It worked! This makes me so happy. I am not that easily smitten girl anymore. I can see my feelings, feel them, and come clear with them. Not let them influence me like i used to. Keep my life on track.
I do look at people when i am outside. Sometimes man, mostly young man, take that the wrong way. They do approach me. It happened twice. I very politely and decidedly say no. No thank you. No i am not interested. Which works. I’m happy to say.
This week i have been tired. Not sure why. I am working towards something, which is sometimes clear, other times not. Right now, it is not clear at all. So i’m gonna leave this post for now. It didn’t turn out like i imagined. I wished for something glorious! Not today.
Have a good weekend. Salute!
Ooh, and enjoy the photographs. Made today. I like ’em. 🙂
This morning, Wednesday 5 July, i woke up around five. I did check my rss feeds, still a bit sleepy headed. Until around half past five i decided to get out of bed. I dressed up, sliced a piece of the courgette cake i baked yesterday and went out, towards the garden. The moment i passed the Pompenburg i searched for the sun, which at that moment was only halfway up the horizon. I stood there for a short bit, in the midst of the street. It was still quiet. Fifteen to six.
I sat in the garden and slowly munched the courgette cake away. Looking up to the sidewalk where some people were already walking by on their way to work. Still very much in their own minds. I thought about making a photo on the Luchtsingel from the sunrise. The sun was higher now, still a lovely view. I walked on further.
I did a round through the center. Through the Central Station, over the Schouwburgplein, through the Lijnbaan, over the Hoogstraat, the Meent, back home.
I had short chats with several people. One who was sitting in the Biergarten. A homeless person. He offered me a cigarette. Since i don’t smoke, i said no. A plumber was just getting out of his car and getting his work stuff. He didn’t want to go to work. Another homeless person asked me if i liked the flowers i was looking at on the Schouwburgplein. I did. But i like simple flowers better than those big exotic ones.
I looked around. The sun still low. People already working. Standing outside, looking up. Other people walking fast to the station. Still inside their heads.
And me? I was thinking. Thinking about my life over the past two and a half years. I am trying to change it. Make a turn. The garden work. Meeting people who try to live their lives in their own ways as much as possible. Not tied up in a rut.
I do worry about me sometimes. Of course. But there is this distance between me and the world. And this morning i was looking at the world from the distant viewpoint. Quiet in me. Looking out at it. Cleaning up a few little things i came across. The bunch of laughing gas capsules lying on the street, which i kicked to the side. A metal drinking can and a plastic bottle lying in the grass before the Central Station which i put in a waste bucket. Many other things i simply watched. The sale of the Bijenkorf. All these names in the display windows.
When i got back home, i got back in bed. I did fall asleep. Around ten i got out again. Made me some oatmeal porridge, looked at all the photos i had made during the walk and picked the ones i liked the best. Then i watched the Tour de France. Yay 🙂