Categories for My story

A warm Sunday

A really hot Sunday. I did go to the garden, i did a bit of work, some weeding, picking red berries, but i also spend a lot of times sitting or lying on the couch in the shadow, talking with the other people. About Islam, the Koran, the bible – my add to the conversation – terrorism, countries and their dividing of violence and power. About Mars once more, i still objected to the thought of going there in 20 years or so, about artificial intelligence, to which i listened, i had some remarks in my mind, but didn’t speak them out.

Well.

I spend time this evening, since i’m home again, thinking. Thinking about the talks, about what i said, about what i felt, what i didn’t say. And also feeling that it isn’t the place to talk high and mighty. There is never a place to talk high and mighty, first of all. I hope i’m not the person to talk like that. But i should talk and join these conversations. But it is always hard, because people say things, and behind what they are saying are so many thoughts they don’t say, but which are still there.

And i’m still working on it. Working on what i want to say, what i want to express here. This place, all my own. This place where i feel free. This place where i can say anything i want. This place which i have made my own over the past two years and five months.

Earlier this evening i read an article The empty brain.

Worse still, even if we had the ability to take a snapshot of all of the brain’s 86 billion neurons and then to simulate the state of those neurons in a computer, that vast pattern would mean nothing outside the body of the brain that produced it. This is perhaps the most egregious way in which the information processing metaphor has distorted our thinking about human functioning. Whereas computers do store exact copies of data – copies that can persist unchanged for long periods of time, even if the power has been turned off – the brain maintains our intellect only as long as it remains alive. There is no on-off switch. Either the brain keeps functioning, or we disappear. What’s more, as the neurobiologist Steven Rose pointed out in The Future of the Brain (2005), a snapshot of the brain’s current state might also be meaningless unless we knew the entire life history of that brain’s owner – perhaps even about the social context in which he or she was raised.

We are not computers. We do not store information data in data banks. We do not access data banks.

We are human beings. We think in emotions, feelings.

I think in conversations with people i know, or complete strangers, or people i hardly know. I think in posts on this blog. I think in falling in love. I think in walking. I think in the sun shining, the rain falling.

When i think about my past, i think about the people who were my friends. I think about some moments which are standing out for me. The Saturday i made my drawings. The Tuesday after that when i bought Songs to Remember in the shop Haddock. I remember going through the records in that shop. A bit dark. I wasn’t looking for it, but i simply came across it. And i was excited, i remember that. I remember going on my bike back home, excited. And playing the record. Which i loved. I don’t know why i threw the I Ching when the Sweetest Girl came by. I was sitting on the floor, before a chair. And i didn’t believe it. No way. Of course not. That would be insane. Truly insane. But i never forgot about it. And i still don’t get it completely. I still wonder about it.

And i don’t think i ever talked about this with friends. I mentioned bits and pieces. But i never explained the whole thing. Which was engraved in my mind. I was hiding it away. Embarrassed. Ashamed.

And i tried to live on. I tried to make it work. And i always failed. I didn’t find a group of friends. I didn’t find the love of my life. I didn’t get children. I remember crying over that, ten years ago, something like that. It’s not that it is the one thing i really want. But i wouldn’t have said no either. But no. Nothing.

And i don’t get it. I know i did many things wrong. I made many mistakes. But don’t we all? And i did learn from every mistake i made. I’m trying so hard to get my life back together. And now my money is running out. I get emails from companies saying they cannot get money from my account, because it is empty. And i don’t fucking care. I’m not stopping. I am going forward. Absolutely.

Because what is my life worth if i stop? What if i go back to work? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I’d rather die. Truthfully.

It is difficult.

Sorry, i’m sitting here in front of my computer trying to get myself together. Calm myself a bit.

Well, this is enough for a post, for now. Maybe i will add a bit more tomorrow. Not sure. I’m gonna leave it.

The last word isn’t said yet.

Published on June 19, 2017 at 6:00 by

Why?

Why is this world now as it is?

Why are we humans as we are?

We are born. A baby. In a family. We have luck. Or no luck at all. We grow up. We adjust. We respond. We think. We go to school. More thinking. We work. We like men or women. We like sex. We get children, if we are lucky. And so on.

And so on.

This is the super abridged generic version of a possible life. Nobody will recognize him- or herself in this version. We all have specific memories, specific moments standing out in our minds. Nothing generic about that. Extremely specific. Moments we will never forget.

We get born in a world already running. With people already living their lives, having opinions, having children, having loved ones. We do adjust to that life. We conform ourselves to this world, with its expectations. Little children can shout out on the streets, can laugh and play and climb walls. Adults are adjusted to this world. Most of them anyway.

That makes perfect sense. You live and learn. From a small child until you are an adult. Twenty five plus, so to say.

I lived my life like that. I did make some decisions other people might think are not smart. Like switching from university to art school. But i was happy with that. When i look back on that whole period i am happy i gave myself the chance to experience that feeling of freedom i had in art school. The feeling of making something i want. Not that i completely understood what i made, but it was good. For me. Then.

And then work. The first five years were tough. I worked hard. With people who i felt were more my family than co-workers. We made a music cd as a Christmas present. That was great! Until i was wiped out and simply couldn’t continue anymore.

Life’s pace got faster. Work got more boring. Friends left. Other friends came by. But less so. I was hiding within myself. Giving up.

I’m so happy that time is over. I’m so happy with my life as it is right now. I’m so happy i found the courage to look at me, my work, and make changes. I’m so happy i started ellenpronk.com. So happy i’m still doing this. So happy i’m working in the garden. Making new friends. So happy with the changes in myself.

I’m growing up. Becoming a true adult. It still takes all my conscious effort to be aware of what i feel and what i do. A conscious effort on how to respond to people around me. Respond to what people say to me. Sometimes i don’t agree with what they say. But it is alright. I know myself a bit better.

Money is an issue. But i’m so much happier with my life as it is right. I look back on the life i had a few years ago and it makes me sad. I have found the courage to do the things i had only dreamed of before. Like giving away my drawings a year ago. I’m still so happy i did that. So terribly happy.

So here i am. I do not know the why of my life. I only have the memories of its past. And the dreams of its future.

I hope this is enough. For me.

To keep on going.

To keep on living.

All by myself.

Published on June 16, 2017 at 6:00 by

About

My About page was the first text i wrote for this website, way back in the first days of February 2015. Two years and five months ago. It feels like ages. And also yesterday.

Since then i have been working regularly. Five updates a week, published at six in the morning. Which of course means i make the post the day before, giving myself a bit of time to let the post settle, reread it and make minor alterations, if i want to. I haven’t missed a post yet. I have given myself five weeks a year to not post anything. A vacation, so to speak. Last year i had two weeks off in summer. And both years i had a week off at Christmas and New Years Eve.

Publishing content on ellenpronk.com is my official work. Yes. I don’t get paid, but to me, that is a minor issue. This is what i want to do with my life. Talk about myself, my old work, my new work, the songs i sing for you, the clips i make, the articles and books i read, my walks, my gardening work. And more!

To me, this website is a coherent whole. All the content comes from me. I know every detail, every little thought, every change i made. Every doubt, every certainty, every post i was unhappy with later on. And every post i was happy with too.

To you, this website is a completely different experience. Most of you do not know me, do not know my history. Most of you do not know i have been to art school, do not know i went working a few years after doing my exams because i didn’t feel at home in the art world. Most of you don’t know i made my first page online 1 July 1997. Most of you don’t know how i made 640 presents on lfs.nl. How i loved flash in those days. So if you really want to see what i made then, you will need to install or update your flash plugin. Exactly what i just did myself. The following list is a selection of my favorite presents.

I did stop working on presents in 2006. I felt empty. For years i wanted to get back into it, i missed it so much. But i couldn’t. Until October 2014. I felt alive once again. I fell in love for a very short time. And i got back making presents on lfs.nl. I felt like i was hit with a sledgehammer. Truly.

This lasted for a couple of months. Until January 2015. Then i made a present called About. And i knew it was going to be the last present. I thought about it for a week. It felt right.

Straight after that i started to work on the design for a blog. I already had the url ellenpronk.com. I had used it for work and for the email. I had planned to make a work website on it, but i was never happy with the design. So i changed my plan and made it a personal website. Two weeks later, 9 February 2015, i published my first post Hello World! With an about page with a short introduction.

That is two years and five months ago, at the time of writing this on 12 June 2017.

Since then i am working hard. I started out with posts about my past work, on paper and online. Walks i made in and around Rotterdam. Clips i made using my iPhone 4. Songs i finally found the courage for to sing. More than fifty today. And a year ago i started to work in the garden. Getting to know new people. Because yes, i still was very lonely. I know i had given up fighting to keep my friends. I was hiding away in World of Warcraft, playing, having fun and raiding my life away. Making game friends. But yes, hiding away.

I tried to get my life back, to get my friends back. It worked, a bit. I had some meetings, some talks. But the lives of my old friends had moved on. They had children. Other jobs. Other things had happened of which i didn’t know anything. So i still felt lonely.

My post yesterday, Friends from the garden, is the first post in the category Friends. I had set up this category when i made the design and set-up of this website. And somehow i wasn’t able to fill this up. I tried, in the beginning. But it didn’t work. And last week, when i made the draft for yesterday’s post, i selected the friends category just like that. It felt right.

So here i am. Working on this website, ellenpronk.com. Which i love. The most important thing in my life. Absolutely. My work.

I hope you will enjoy visiting my thoughts, my mind, my face, my work, my story, my garden work, my friends, my walks. My clips, my songs, my presents, my food, my beauty.

You may feel lost at times. Not understand why i made something. That is ok. I don’t understand everything i made either.

Five updates a week. Published at six in the morning. That is my rule.

Bon Voyage


My clips

My songs – This can be painful, i am still learning!

Published on June 13, 2017 at 6:00 by

A simple day in my house

I had high hopes for today.

None of them came true. But, i did some other things. I spend an hour or two sitting on my balcony. My tiny balcony. I moved some of the basil plants. In some places it was crowded, in other places there were none. So i spread them a bit more. I also moved some thyme plants. Away from the narturtium, which grows in the same pot. And also one rosemary plant was moved. At least, i hope it is rosemary plant. Bit early to tell.

I also planted four pots with new seeds. Last Tuesday i spend at the Peace garden, after the Hofplein Station garden was finished and planted eight herbs for the new herbal spiral we’re gonna make soon. Four of these, dill, lavender, sage and garlic chives i seeded today in the four pots i brought home from the garden a week ago. The pots the blackberries came in, good high pots. Curious to see how these will do.

Spend some time talking to my neighbour. Or rather, listening to her. I don’t talk much. It’s fine.

I had the plan to sing a song today. I practised yesterday. But i didn’t feel like singing it today. Moving it to next week. Still some days to practise, think about the clip i will make with it. No, i won’t tell you which song! Some things hidden here, for now.

🙂

I’m searching for quietness in myself. Not always there. Sometimes.

I hope it will be soon. But i know that hope is a delusion. Hard to put aside though.

Still.

Published on June 2, 2017 at 6:00 by

The Taming Power of the Great

Today was a gardening day. I started a bit earlier than usual. I was on the garden around a quarter past one. I got some thistle out around the garden, put the parasol in the table. It was warm. *ish

It was a good day. Talking quite a lot with all the people working. Also talked about my personal situation. Something i hardly do. I enjoy keeping the garden as this free space. In which i learn so many new things, meet so many lovely people, have such a wonderful time.

I was back home around half past seven. Tired. So tired.

I still feel tired. I did make a salad for dinner. Some spring onions, radishes, lettuce from the garden, a bit of cottage cheese. Simple food. Also watched a bit of television. The mind of the universe. I did not agree with everything. But some things shown are special.

I knew i would throw the I Ching for tomorrow’s post. So.

26. The Abysmal, Water, with many changing lines.

Then The Taming Power of the Great. Hmm. Seems pretty good.

But really, i feel too tired to think about it thoroughly. Good night. Or rather, when you read it, have a good day.

*hugs*

Published on May 22, 2017 at 6:00 by

An empty life

I started this post with looking through all the images i uploaded to see if i could find a good one. I ended up with a text drawing i made while i was at work, my old work.

Hey I’m Ellen
Sometimes i’m on Top of the World
Other times i’m Down the Dumps
This Time i’m gonna Save The World!!!
JIPPIE

A completely different tone than i had in mind when i started to think about writing this post, earlier today. A good one.

The title of this post, An empty life, feels a bit more resigned. It is the reality of my life. Over the past thirty years, since i’m living on my own, emptiness is what i experienced. Not in a terribly unhappy way. I wasn’t crying all the time, no. But i was looking for friends. Looking for someone special. Many times i thought i had found this person. But no. Still not. Friends came and went. Sometimes i left, other times my friends left. Now i’m alone.

My silent period, 2006 – 2014, is the time i had given up. I stopped trying to make it all work. I left everybody. Or everybody left me. There was no argument, no fight. There was hurt. But i don’t think anybody noticed that. There was one moment with a friend. She got angry. I left it at that. I talked about it before. Such a small thing, looking back at it.

I played World of Warcraft. I do need some form of human contact. Some of them are still on my friends list in facebook. One is even the only subscriber to my newsletter. Yay!

The past two and a half years i did feel happier than ever before. Working again! Yay! And yes, i did get back in contact with my old friends once again. But it was different. Eight years of silence works inside of you. I don’t think i can call them friends. I like them, sure. When we meet we talk. It is pleasant. Nice. Sometimes even more. But that is it.

Some kindred spirits become friends in the fullest sense — people with whom we are willing to share, not without embarrassment but without fear of judgment, our gravest imperfections and the most anguishing instances of falling short of our own ideals and values. The concentrating and consecrating force that transmutes a kinship of spirit into a friendship is emotional and psychological intimacy. A friend is a person before whom we can strip our ideal self in order to reveal the real self, vulnerable and imperfect, and yet trust that it wouldn’t diminish the friend’s admiration and sincere affection for the whole self, comprising both the ideal and the real.

Source: Reclaiming Friendship: A Visual Taxonomy of Platonic Relationships to Counter the Commodification of the Word “Friend”

A talk in the garden, two or three months ago. I said it there. I have no friends. A surprised look. Of course. But i insisted. Not anyone to reveal my real self to, vulnerable and imperfect.

Well, apart from this place.

I know, there are not that many visitors. I sometimes feel like i’m talking into a deep darkness. Nothing comes back. But i keep going on. Because i do feel there is still a need inside me. There are still stories to be told. There are still stories to be discovered. In me. Out there.

I have many wishes. Like my wants list i published last week. That list is not even complete. But i do want to achieve most of those wants. My life is nowhere near complete. Nowhere near done.

And yes, money. Sigh. Next week my bank account will be frozen because i’m in the red for too long. I’m still not sure what i will do then. I still don’t know where my life will be at that time.

My biggest wish. To continue working here. Making five posts a week. Some of them long prepared. Some thought of that day. In a glimpse of inspiration. I’d love to keep on working here. That is my biggest wish. Or want.

My life is empty. I have some things i do. Going to the garden. Talk with the people there. Smile. Make jokes. Make photos. Learn new things.

But yes, on the whole, empty. Not barren, no. Not infertile.

An empty life, ready to be filled up. Some things will stay, other things will fade away. Hopefully i will meet people i can call friends. Another wish. Want.

But in my empty life i am.

Whispering. Talking. Smiling. Looking.

At you.

Published on May 18, 2017 at 6:00 by

Meditation

Making this video was on my mind for the past few weeks. I’m happy i made it. Twice. The first one failed, it was longer and my iPhone blocked. This one is a bit shorter. Muis the cat comes by too.

I do remember the experience of sitting there. Listening to all the little sounds. Outside. The clock ticking. Bird whistles. The darkness, while my eyes are closed. The light when i open my eyes. The memory to the first time i sat there, only a few minutes before. Not being able to repeat what i did then. Lifting up my hands. Touching my face. The weightlessness of my arms.

Different each time.

Published on May 16, 2017 at 6:00 by

I want

  • to dance in the shops and the streets on the music played there
  • to sing out loud on the streets all over the world
  • to live!
  • to buy the land for the vegetable gardens so people don’t have to worry about it being build upon
  • to have all the schools have gardens for the children to learn how plants grow and how to cook them and how lovely they taste
  • to get more money for the Peace Garden for the new greenhouse
  • to not leave my own house because i can not pay the mortgage anymore
  • to fall in love with a man who loves me back and look him in the eye and see how vulnerable we both are
  • to fight for this world to be a better place with more hope for all the people
  • to be happy!
  • to slowly loose more weight so i can stop taking these stupid diabetes medicines and wear my old clothes once again!
  • to smile and twirl and hug and kiss and love and go yay yay yay!
  • to meet people and talk with them and ask questions and be there for them
  • to travel and visit places around the world and try to make them be better
  • to be filthy rich and use that money to try to do good
  • to be quiet and watch all the things around me
  • to be free!
  • to go AAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!
Published on May 10, 2017 at 6:00 by

Standstill

I am working on setting up a newsletter for ellenpronk.com. A once a week sent newsletter with the five posts of the week, sent on Friday. Today i installed the plugin and did some tests. I do want to test it a bit further and see how i can get cron jobs to work good on my server.

In the afternoon i decided i needed more time, so i had to think of another posts for tomorrow. The I Ching popped up and i felt it was a good one to put up.

Just yet i sat down on the floor. Sitting quiet for a short while. Listening to the sound of the cars outside. My cat finding a place on the couch the lay and fall asleep. I had just given him his insulin. I only sat down for a minute or two.

Then i threw my coins.

I got some difficult signs. Obstruction is the first one, number 39.

Today i felt tired. I didn’t sleep well. Not that bit of a difference with other nights to be honest. But, i was really tired today. I did do some work on the newsletter plugin, a few tests. I also read A History of God written by Karen Armstrong. I enjoy reading this book. Halfway now, i’m curious to the more recent history of the last few centuries.

The hexagram pictures a dangerous abyss lying before us and a steep, inaccessible mountain rising behind us. We are surrounded by obstacles; at the same time, since the mountain has the attribute of keeping still, there is implicit a hint as to how we can extricate ourselves. The hexagram represents obstructions that appear in the course of time but that can and should be overcome. Therefore all the instruction given is directed to overcoming them.

I do recognize this bit. Obstacles behind me and a dangerous abyss in front of me. The special lines all point to the same thing. All say the same thing.

Going leads to obstructions

The end sign is Standstill.

Withdraw into seclusion

Reminds me of the phone call i got today. Someone from an agency in Amsterdam got my name from LinkedIn. They were looking for people in the Rotterdam area for some clients. I wasn’t opposed to it, but i did say i wouldn’t want to work at a bank or a commercial company. I don’t think i will hear much from them. Still, you never know. I also said i worked in a garden for two days a week. Good for me.

😛

I watched the chess game i still have standing on my table. Two peons standing opposite each other. No idea how this game will go on. If it will. I do enjoy having it standing there though.

Time for me to get ready to go to bed. Enjoy today!

Published on May 2, 2017 at 6:00 by

A possible future

Hmmm

Yeah, right

OK

Since last Friday i have been thinking about writing and publishing this post. Someone in the garden said it to me. Dreams are good. No use in denying them. It triggered something in me. I have been dreaming about this post Saturday, Sunday and Monday. And then of course this post is altering the daydream. Changing the way it happens.

I’m a bit scared of writing about my daydreams. They are personal. Private. Mine alone. A world in which i can relax and control everything. My inner world. Nothing to do with anybody else.

I am not sure though this is true. Nothing to do with anybody else. All our daydreams, and i suppose nightly dreams as well, have to do with the world and its current lived in state. We all pick elements we like, we love. People we like, we love.

Moments of happiness.

Moments of sadness.

Moments of violence.

Moments of rage.

Moments of desire.

It seems to me someone is perfectly happy when he or she doesn’t have daydreams. When his or her life is full of moments needing attention. Too many to daydream. When nights are filled with much needed rest. Company of friends.

Daydreams have a function in your life. They give you a situation which you can escape to. Where you have all the power to make it the perfect act for your desires, good or bad, to play out their course.

Why the escape?

This world we live in simply moves incessantly through time and through space. For me, and i think for most other people, it seems like the world doesn’t care. Other people do not care. Each and everyone is trying to make this life work for him or her. To get the best out of it. To feel some sort of happiness. In work, in love, in friendship. Or sex. Or violence. But we all run into the borders set out by other people.

In the facebook update about the post Falling i said Falling through life. It felt so right for me. Gravity pulling you down, your hands desperately trying to catch some of the debris floating around you, the ultimate ending getting dangerously closer. A big splash. Kaboom. Dead.

First i want to apologize to the people involved in my daydreams. I’m so sorry. I can not escape myself. Always here.

I reread My dream life. Ooh. Almost the same as this post.

These dreams are all connected. They move forward slowly. My current dreams are so different from a year ago.

I am observing my dreams. Letting them happen is one thing. Thinking about them is another. That is hard. The dreams are my ultimate fantasy, my ultimate life, the things i wish for most.

I dream i am invited in a television show. The last week i see other shows, but i usually pick De wereld draait door. The past day i had a dream i started to sing. Do Re Mi. From the Sound of Music. I did sing My favorite things a few months ago.

I am invited in De Wereld Draait Door. Next week Thursday. 4 May 2017. It will be about this post, the one i am writing now. A possible future. I am nervous and anxious. But also happy. It worked! I got in! Yes!

We, me and Matthijs, we talk about my website. About the more than 500 posts on here. About the many topics i go through. It goes well. Hanneke Groenteman is the table lady. We had talked a bit before in the afternoon, while i was sitting with the visagist. I shook her hand when i came to the table. As i said i would do.

Then Matthijs says Scritti Politti. My all-time favourite band. He looks at me curiously. But of course i know what he will say next.

Because i am writing it here! Making it up as i go along!

The people working on the program have called Rough Trade to get a number of Green. They did contact him. And he is there. I turn around my head and watch the side. I feel my turn a little red. But also a smile comes at my face. I feel so happy! He walks up to the table, with a guitar. He will sing a song! Ooh, The Word Girl maybe? Ooh. He has written a new song. About me. Not entirely finished, but still. He plays it. I’m like transfixed. Sitting there, watching Green and listening to the music. It is wonderful!

After … or before maybe? We talk about the drawings i gave Green a year ago. He has them with him. He puts them on the table. I sort of touch them fleetingly. Matthijs asks if he can see them. I look at Green with a question on my face. Of course, he says. Matthijs likes the drawings.

I am completely there. Not daydreaming, no. So many things are happening, it is too busy to daydream. Just as when i work in the garden…

Oh terrible terrible terrible

Stop it!

I actually walked away from my computer. I listened to Steely Dan albums: Aja, Katy Lied, a part of Gaucho, then Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. I made something to eat.

Writing down that daydream is painful. Very different from dreaming away about it. It makes it one dimensional. Simply a dream to wish true.

And that is not what i want. I understand my daydreams. I get inspiration from them, things to make posts about. Maybe a small part of me wishes parts of my daydreams to come true. But that is not my life. And yes, i do wish to be heard. I do wish to talk in public. Of course. And i do wish to fall in love. And the person i fall in love with to fall in love with me. Of course.

But i do know these things are out of my control. I can only work on myself, right now. Which is what i am doing, for the past two and a half years.

I would so much like to talk about my ideas about how we should live in this world presently. My thoughts about money, about buying stuff, about what we should do to learn, about the food we eat, where we buy it. Schools should all have a garden for their students to work in. Not my idea alone. Of course not. Shared vegetable gardens should be much more prolific. More ingrained in the city planning. And if not, that is where i want to put money in. To buy ground, to pay people to work there. To give money to small scale projects for people and animals all over the world. If i had money. To talk with people all over the world to make a move towards a better world. A world we can all live in and work in.

And no, it will never be paradise. It will be hard work. Things go wrong all the time. But the banks and the companies and the politicians and the news are all making this world seem like it should be like this. And that is wrong.

My mind is jumbled up knot of strands and planes of all different sorts and kinds. Personal stuff, politics stuff, world stuff. And songs and music and stories. Working on this website gives me an opportunity to dig it all out. As much as possible.

This post had three titles.

  1. The ultimate dream
  2. A possible future
  3. An impossible future

I made three swithches. The last switch was back to number two A possible future.

I don’t know my future. People around me say i should take better care, worry more about money, live safer. I simply can not do that right now. I hope it will turn out good for me. That something will lift me up, make my life in this world actually possible in a good way. I really do.

And if not, i will still continue to do what i do now. Keep working on ellenpronk.com, keep working in the garden. Find a way to make some money to keep on going. Because i believe in it with my whole heart.

Working for a possible future.

Published on April 28, 2017 at 6:00 by