The truth. These words mean so many different things to all different people. Here, i can only write about the one truth i’m familiar with. My truth.
The truth of my life. My life as i have been leading it for the past fifty three years. I have made many mistakes. I have learned from most of them. Some because i was told i had done a wrong thing. Others because i experienced doing something not quite right. I have also done some things right. I have been careful. I am sensitive, easily hurt, taken away by a thought. So yes, i have been careful. I will rather be alone then with people i feel uncomfortable with. I like to be on my own. Listening to music. Reading a book. Sitting at my balcony and stare up to the sky. Watch some television. I enjoy that.
I do like to think about the world. I don’t follow all the news, but i do like to keep up. There are many other things besides the news which tells you something about the state of the world. I am an optimistic person. But i do understand why some people fail to see the good side of the world.
I do think there is something wrong in the world. It is the people getting used to lies, untruths, deception. People becoming used to not trusting others. People saying something and meaning something else. Not even because they want to lie, it is because they don’t feel the difference. They assume this is how the world works. Saying something because it is your job, for instance. Saying something because you want other people to believe you. To get something back. Money. Power. Status.
In this Western Europe, in the Netherlands, this country i live in, i am falling through. I try to catch something to stop my fall, something to hold me up. I have only a few weeks left over. Not that i’m anticipating the worst then. I still have the value of my house, which i bought twenty two years ago. I can monetize that, of course. But it is not the way i want to go.
I still want it. I still want to get famous. I still think i can keep up with the pressure put on you in that situation. Yes, i need friends. Most importantly, i need a boy friend. To keep me sane. To cuddle with. To love.
People around me, people who i have talked with, about this subject, tell me i’m crazy. It will never happen. Never. Two people have said that. Of the people who only think that and don’t tell me, i don’t know how many of those there are.
Everybody leads its own life. The life they know, they grew up in. The experiences they had, which shaped their world. I tried to fit in. For years. Desperately. Until i stopped.
So i have given up working. Or at least, given up looking for it. I won’t say no if somebody asks me to do something. But hardly anyone asks. I have said it last week, in the About post, this website, maintaining it, writing the posts for it, that is my work. Honestly. Five days a week. With at the most five weeks of holiday a year. I do need to find a way to make money with it, of course. I don’t want ads. I don’t have enough visitors for that anyway. So becoming famous would be a way.
I enjoy the conversations i have with the people in the garden. They are feisty. Most of the time people don’t agree with me. But it is fun. Enjoyable. And i do learn about things i don’t know enough about. Taxes. Anarchy. Weeds. Compost. Flowers. Worms. And so on. I love that.
But i want to stick to my story. The story of my life. Which isn’t finished yet. I have only been working in the garden for a year and two months. I do feel i need to bring something out in fruition. Something in me.
So this post is a part of that feeling. Me trying to bring something out. Not for someone else, but for me. Because i feel my life will not be complete without it.
The truth of my life. Simple words. As i am sitting here, listening to the sounds of neighbours, the noises of cars and trams on the streets, this truth does escape me often.
No, this is not the right time. Not yet. I don’t feel a thought in myself coming up. But i am still happy, thinking, feeling where i am.
Have a good weekend. Salute!
This is what most girls dream of: becoming a hugely popular popstar, admired all over the world, singing their hearts out. With every step they take people watch them, try to talk to them, ask for a photograph, a signature, anything.
I started with looking for photos of the popstars of now, ended up with the popstars of my youth. Most of them young, some a bit older, better called women.
The reality is of course very different. I remember reading an interview with Roisin Murphy, in which she talked about being asked if she wanted to become world famous. No. She said.
I completely understand that answer.
As for me, nobody ever asked me that question. so here i am asking myself that question.
First, i’m a woman, not a girl. Some bits of fame i can not access anymore.
I confess i dream of it sometimes. It could be some sort of wish fulfillment. To make my life worth something.
But i do see other reasons, other advantages of being famous. If you are strong enough that is. If you have good friends. Who can keep on talking sense into you. Because i think this world would be utterly, totally greedy and hungry and take everything from you. Photographers zooming in on you, people asking for interviews, asking for your presence on television. Terrible.
And i can still see something in there, something worthwhile. Talking with people of all ages, anywhere. Talking about their lives, their children, their loved ones, their work. About their wishes. About what they miss.
I’m not sure i am able to do it. But that is my biggest wish, for that to happen. I can fail. Of course. But there also might be a small chance i can succeed. Maybe.
Well, time for some photos: the magnificent girls!
Note: those eyelashes! Wow!! All of them!
Today it is a solstice on our earth. 21 June 2017, 4:24 UT, 6:24 CET. The Sun reached its most northerly position. Today, in our northern hemisphere, this June solstice is the time that the Sun almost stands still. It will start its movement to the southern hemisphere.
|UT date and time of
equinoxes and solstices on Earth
Copied from the wikipedia page Solstice.
The earth takes a year to turn around the sun. Since the earth is on an axis, we experience the seasons on earth. In June the sun comes at its highest point. It is the start of summer. This date differs from the meteorological date, which in the north encompasses the months June, July and August. Since the heat takes time to spread through the ocean and seas, the warmest months are after the solstice.
For me, this year, this day means a lot to me. I’m happy to say i’ve reached this point while i still live in my house.
I struggling within me on how to continue. I do hope it will turn out good for me. I’m almost sure of it. Almost. I have got to get that to a full 100%! And yes, i’m working on it.
But this day is a day of celebration. Hopefully this evening i will be in the gardening, with friends, something to eat and something to drink.
Today wasn’t a big productive day. I had to calm down from the post i wrote yesterday. It is a big upheaval for me. Writing the post, and thinking about it after that. Dreaming away, again.
I did go out in the afternoon. Wearing the big floppy hat i usually wear to the garden. It was warm! Hot! I did promise myself a bit of icecream. I asked for passionfruit and mango, but i got strawberry instead of mango icecream. When i said something about it, the lady helping me asked me if she could put the mango on top of the strawberry. So i got three scoops for the price of two. I got a newspaper and sat outside in the shade and slowly ate the entire icecream. Yum!
At home i listened to music. My MIX tapes section on Spotify to the rescue. I thought about making a playlist and adding it to this post.
I drank a bit too much water. I have got to be careful, it almost feels like i’m gonna throw up. I don’t want that. Careful.
I just threw the I Ching. 14. Ta Yu / Possession in Great Measure.
POSSESSION IN GREAT MEASURE.
The two trigrams indicate that strength and clarity unite. Possessions great measure is determined by fate and accords with the time. How is it possible that the weak line has power to hold the strong lines fast and to possess them? It is done by virtue of unselfish modesty. The time is favorable–a time of strength within, clarity and culture without. Power is expressing itself in graceful and controlled way. This brings supreme success and wealth.
Fire in heaven above:
the image of POSSESSION IN GREAT MEASURE.
Thus the superior man curbs evil and furthers good,
And thereby obeys the benevolent will of heaven.
The sun in heaven above, shedding light over everything one earth, is the image of possession on a grand scale. But a possession of this sort must be administered properly. The sun brings both evil and good into the light of day. Man must combat and curb the evil, and must favor and promote the good. Only in this way does he fulfill the benevolent will of God, who desires only good and not evil.
Nine in the fourth place means:
He makes a difference
Between himself and his neighbor.
This characterizes the position of a man placed among rich and powerful neighbors. It is a dangerous position. He must look neither to the right nor to the left, and must shun envy and the temptation to vie with others. In this way he remains free of mistakes.
I’m not sure what this sign says is correct for me in this time. I can still be almost fierce in discussions. It is hard to let things go. But sometimes i do. It depends on the person i’m talking with. Some can be almost aggravating. Telling me what to think. Which i don’t like. Other people i really like. That is hard too. More pleasurable though. Really! I have no idea who those rich and powerful neighbors are. But still. Good advice.
The next sign is 26. Ta Ch’u / The Taming Power of the Great. This is a good one. An even better one than Possession in Great Measure.
THE TAMING POWER OF THE GREAT.
Not eating at home brings good fortune.
It furthers one to cross the great water.
To hold firmly to great creative powers and store them up, as set forth in this hexagram, there is need of a strong, clear-headed man who is honored by the ruler. The trigram Ch’ein points to strong creative power; Kên indicates firmness and truth. Both point to light and clarity and to the daily renewal of character. Only through such daily self-renewal can a man continue at the height of his powers. Force of habit helps to keep order in quiet times; but in periods when there is a great storing up of energy, everything depends on the power of the personality. However, since the worthy are honored, as in the case of the strong personality entrusted with leadership by the ruler, it is an advantage not to eat at home but rather to earn one’s bread by entering upon public office. Such a man is in harmony with heaven; therefore even great and difficult undertakings, such as crossing the great water, succeed.
Heaven within the mountain:
The image of THE TAMING POWER OF THE GREAT.
Thus the superior man acquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity
And many deeds of the past,
In order to strengthen his character thereby.
Heaven within the mountain points to hidden treasures. In the words and deeds of the past there lies hidden a treasure that men may use to strengthen and elevate their own characters. The way to study the past is not to confine oneself to mere knowledge of history but, through application of this knowledge, to give actuality to the past.
Therefore even great and difficult undertakings, such as crossing the great water, succeed.
I’m gonna sit near my balcony. Maybe cool myself a bit before with some cold water. Yeah, it is hot. Just sit and think a bit after that. Enjoy this weather.
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.
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.
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.
A dystopia (from the Greek δυσ- and τόπος, alternatively, cacotopia, kakotopia, or simply anti-utopia) is a community or society that is undesirable or frightening. It is translated as “not-good place”, an antonym of utopia.
Images of a dystopian future are custom in futuristic scifi blockbusters like The Hunger Games, Blade Runner, the Terminator series, RoboCop, The Matrix, The Island, WALL-E, Snowpiercer, Divergent and The Maze Runner. And so many many more.
The one book on my reading list, Infinite Jest, is a dystopian novel. Dystopian books are a big theme within young adult fiction.
I have grown up with dystopian stories. Science fiction, as a genre focused on a future in whatever shape, has many dystopian stories. The main story of our present earth right now in 2017 evolves around climate change, war, globalization and post-capitalism. There are many forces going against each other. One time one party seems to be gaining ground, the next time another party wins a fight.
Looking at our planet as it is right now, it is hard to see what path we will take. Nature, the woods, the rain forest, the mammals, fishes, insects, birds: they are taking a beating. But they still survive. And life on this planet is on a ever changing path as it is. For millions of years.
It is impossible to predict the future.
Dystopian stories are our dreams of a possible future.
Dystopian fictions invariably reflect the concerns and fears of its contemporaneous culture. We can fight. Fight the armies of the rich and powerful. As we do in the stories. We can dream. Dream our live away from our present world. Dream our wishes away in a thought out world in which we are able to stand up. As one amongst many. To get back to living our ordinary lives in our ordinary world the next ordinary moment. It is like we go on a holiday for a couple of weeks to a sunny bright beachy hotel right next to the sea. To get back home and start working again. The ordinary life.
Dystopian stories are a relief from our ordinary lives, a relief from our ordinary work. A way out of our world, dreary as it seems. Dystopian stories are related to our world. It does reflect concerns and fears of our world, as it is today. Yes. A scary story with a true hero fighting for a good cause against the evil enemy.
The increasing interpenetration of government, university, and private firms has led everyone to adopt the language, sensibilities, and organizational forms that originated in the corporate world. Although this might have helped in creating marketable products, since that is what corporate bureaucracies are designed to do, in terms of fostering original research, the results have been catastrophic.
I love several dystopian stories. A few weeks ago i posted about The Handmaid’s Tale, a television series i really like and admire. In the scifi books i have there are many dystopian elements. It is a good area for people who think and dream about our current society to tell a meaningful story. To make up a new world, to set out its details and idiosyncracies and interconnectedness.
But right now, i am more interested in our present world. In what constitutes power. Where are the details here, in this world we live in.
It is so easy to look away. It is so easy to hide within your own cocoon of work and friends and facebook and home. It is so easy to not think about this world where we are right now and which way we are headed.
Our world, this planet we live on, is a wonderful, glorious, beautiful place. We are messing up things, yes. But it still is beautiful.
We should do our most urgent best to make it better again. And many people are doing exactly that. Working in other countries to save chimps or ants or dolphins or whales or the rain forest or the Antarctica or poor hungry people or whatever needs saving.
I’m not believing in all the dystopian stories there are about. No. But i do believe there is something really wrong in our current world. I can not point it out directly. I am thinking of the rich people. Thinking of the powerful people. Thinking of the people telling us what to think, what to feel. But i don’t know for sure.
I’m thinking of the news this evening telling us the economy is doing well this year. Showing images of people walking in shopping streets and spending money. It will rise with 2,4%. Yay!
Which is ridiculous. Stupid. What are people buying? What are they spending their money on?
My mind is not clear about these things. But i am thinking. And talking with friends. And moving my life away from the way of life we are told we should live.
A new story. Not dystopian. Not utopian. Not a dream world, but a world we work hard in. A world in which we are going to miss many of the things making our lives look pleasurable. That is the way i think we should move in.
I should talk about this with other people. Of course. Talk, fight, argue. Make myself clear. Listen to what other people have to say. There are so many things i don’t know anything about.
Because this is an enormous fight. No mistake. Huge!
A bit tired. I did work in the fruit garden. Planted out some catnip, watered the strawberries, tomatoes, grapes, blackberries and of course the catnip. Went to the supermarket afterwards and bought some milk, butter, cottage cheese and cat food.
When i got home i felt really tired. I just lied down on the couch and didn’t think of much.
A bit better now. Still tired, but a bit more upbeat.
My mind is still racing. Trying to get my head straight. Takes some effort. I admit. Ooh man, i do hope i will give myself some sleep tonight. I really do.
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.
My songs – This can be painful, i am still learning!