“I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.”
― Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely
Bought some books in Maastricht last week, to keep me going for a while. (Seriously, if you ever come to the Netherlands, visit bookstore Dominicanen. It is situated in this amazing old church building. In the meantime, you can check out the 3D-tour.)
This post is all over the place. Like my mind is these days. But it is Friday and on Fridays, after a week of long hours, my love and I like to stay up late and make them count. Netflix and gin-and-tonics and salted peanuts. Filling up the room with evaporated electric liquid. And then, when the movie is done and the light comes up, we lay down our heads, knowing this weekend will be too short, too nice, too delicious and the coming week will be dreadful. Again.
“Well, it’s nice to die of alcoholism, it’s very glorious. But if you write dull shit, it doesn’t do any good what you die from… You see?“
Blog posts that jumped up at me in my WordPress.com Reader:
Fugazi live in Hamburg in 1999 If you have an hour and about 40 minutes to spare and like American post-hardcore, maybe check out this concert. I saw them live a few years before, in Doornroosje (Sleeping Beauty) in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. What I remember: great energy, lots of old-school punks from Germany driving crappy vans full of graffiti coming to Nijmegen to see them.
About Haruki Murakami… ‘Kafka on the shore’ was the first one I read of him and it is pretty special to me. I was really into the atmosphere that Murakami manages to put into his storytelling. Murakami’s ‘Men without women’ I read on the plane, when we were flying back from Indonesia in 2019. I bought it at the airport in Jakarta and I just blazed through it. When we touched ground again in Amsterdam, about 14 hours after takeoff, I was almost done with it.
And while I was watching the Yann Martel interview about ‘Life of Pi’ I link to in the list above, I was thinking… this could actually be a book that I could read again. – Immediately followed by: hold on, I also still have to read his ‘Beatrice and Virgil‘, that is lying around here somewhere.
When I started thinking about other books that I could add to my list, in my mind I went back to books that I read in my… erm… youth, and that I know I really liked:
I know I loved those books, but when I try to remember what they were about, I just have vague recollections, not an outlined idea of what their stories were really about. So, perhaps I should start rereading some of them. Why read something, love it, and then lose the plot right after? (Erm… Yes.)
A question then came up. Why did those stories not stick with me?
I think it had to do with my age and with the way I gave attention back then. I have always tried to get my hands and eyes on as much information and influences as I can. And I still do. The internet is great for that and I have a hunger for it. I don’t consider it a bad thing. But sometimes it has to be focused, reigned in again, you know? Shout “Whoa boy, calm down!” and meanwhile pull down hard, something like that.
The slower I go (read: the older I get) and the more I become conscious of my surroundings, the more I can appreciate the value of certain things that, when I was young, I would have passed without noticing. I’m also pretty sure that I miss a lot of things that my younger self would have noticed without noticing it.
It is what it is.
Hey! It’s Friday again! Who’d have thought? (God, I can ramble sometimes.) My son has just made us some nice coffee and brought me a big mug of it, and my wife just called to tell me she can probably finish work early today. Yesss…
After I had a crap week with working, dealing with legal crap, tax crap and made a crappy visit to the dentist to fix some cavities, we went out for a nice weekend away at The Hague. No dining out, of course, we had to bring takeout to our hotel room, but at least we got to get out of the house.
On Saturday we got up early (-ish), got into our car and drove to The Hague, checked in at our hotel and dropped off our luggage, and then went to the Westfield Mall in nearby Leidschendam. We visited a bunch of stores there that we’d made appointments for. (The only way to visit stores in the Netherlands right now, is by appointment.)
After dinner we rented some bikes and made a nice bike ride from the hotel to the nearby beach. It was cold and windy, but still awesome. We saw some surfers and kite surfers and people fishing, but it was not crowded at all.
The next morning I picked up our Easter breakfast at the reception desk, which we enjoyed at our room, and then we packed up and went home again.
It was nice to be able to go somewhere else for a change, to leave the house, even with all the restrictions.
And now? Back to work, while hail and snow are dancing around our house.
The last few days, no, weeks even, I wasn’t writing. Not really. I was fucking around with Twitter, WordPress, reading about writers and poets, watching YouTube, reading blog posts, or rather, looking for blog posts. And I saw a lot of great stuff but also a lot of bullshit. What I wasn’t doing was really reading and writing. Sitting down and focusing. And my mind wasn’t happy. I felt suffocated, nauseous and tired.
The stupid thing is, as soon as I step away from those blasted screens — like earlier today, when I was making dinner for my daughter and me — my mind starts wandering, starts talking. To you, to me. My brain is stepping out, having conversations with the world without me.
And then I start making notes, afraid I will miss the conversation that is going on right now.