Wednesday, January 30, 2008

endings, beginnings

yesterday, i packed the yoga bag once more, like i had done so often wednesday evenings. it felt different this time, though, knowing this would be the last of the yoga lessons given by Margot.

i knew i wanted to make a gift for her that was about endings and beginnings – but it was only this weekend that i could think of a fitting one, remembering how i brought a white iris from the garden to the yoga lessons last year. and now, the iris are starting to grow again already. so i plugged one from the earth, and put it into a tiny pot. and printed the photo of last year’s iris in flower to go with it. the line next to the photo is “Anfang und Ende sind eins” – “Beginning and Ending are one”. when i typed it, i first thought of the ending of the lessons, that ending them now might be an open space for beginning something else.

and then, later, i had this thought- that whenever we begin something, we also induce a future ending. all that starts will end at one point. so beginning, in a way, is also the impulse that will later create an ending.

the yoga lesson was lovely. and Margot had brought a gift for everyone, too…. flower sprouts, ready to put in the earth. and little hand-written cards of wisdom. mine said:

Der Äther webt
das All
der Atem webt
den Menschen

after yoga, we went for a drink to the Barista. sitting there, i wondered when exactly i joined Margot's course. 2001 that was, probably, we figured out together, after i came back from my first trip to Asia. and then it was the end, but it didn’t feel like it. i am sure some of us will meet at Margot’s place, somewhen.

and now, Thursday, and it almost feels like Friday. the week was so full of moments already. there’s a chance of snow, they said in the radio.

Monday, January 28, 2008

veiled shapes

a morning, veiled in haze, in scattered thoughts. later, during a routine visit to the doc, to get a prescription for allergy tablets, and some lotion to put on irritated skin spots, a line that put life and those littel red spots in an unintended perspective. and told about a patient who probably had been there before me this day.
"with this lotion, the cancer should be gone in 3 to 4 days," the doc said, then gasped. "spots, i meant. the spots. not cancer."

it gave me a feeling of thankfulness for my allergy. which is predictible. and yes, returning, every year, when the hazelnut trees start to flower in their strange, ribbly way. but after they are done, and the birches, too, the allergy leaves again, like a migrating bird that moves on to another place, to return the following year.

maybe now, after this line, it will be easier to befriend it when it returns, when it leaves its temporary marks on my skin.

life. and all its facets. and good that the sun broke through this afternoon, and i could be out there, plugging weeds, getting my hands dirty. the spring flowers are growing already, they are hovering just a bit underneath the surface now. almost like the new issue of BluePrintReview. which is growing now, developing more and more of the quality that will be the title of this issue: "Shape".

in an intermix of themes, i received some lines last week, in reply to the Doris Lessing quote, and maybe also to the idea of shapes - a passage from Lessing's nobel price lecture:

Writers are often asked, How do you write? With a processor? an electric typewriter? a quill? longhand? But the essential question is Have you found a space, that empty space, which should surround you when you write? Into that space, which is like a form of listening, of attention, will come the words, the words your characters will speak, ideas-inspiration.

If this writer cannot find this space, then poems and stories may be stillborn.

When writers talk to each other, what they ask each other is always to do with this space, this other time. Have you found it? Are you holding it fast?

i just looked for the whole lecture, it's online here:
On not winning the Nobel Price

smile. back to the shapes now.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

being creative

it's one of those days. i accomplished pages and pages in the last weeks, still i feel bad. for not being further. for getting things wrong. for daydreaming too much, while there is a world in turmoil out there.

and then, there, in the web, questions and answers, typed out on the other side of the world. lines that in their essence reflect my mood. that put things in a perspective that i wasn't able to reach on my own today.

I have another writing deadline and am tangling deep in the middle of a manuscript. Hence, I have no time to do anything else. Including art. Feeling guilty about that. - I can’t seem to shake the feeling of guilt hanging over me lately—can’t seem to ever feel like I’m getting everything done well enough, fast enough, etc–yet I can’t seem to figure out what to cut back on. Shouldn’t I have accomplished more by now?
- C.

being creative is finding ease with the constant sense that you are your own worst critic. I got to a place of peace when my sculpture teacher said to me in my post college years, that being an artist wasn’t about showing in galleries, or getting published. It was about living a life that made sense to you. about finding your own skin a place you wanted to be. that artists hung themselves when they defined their work towards goals that were not really theirs.
easier said than done.
- M.

this thought touched me to the core. even though it's nothing new. but i guess i needed to see it put in words today, to remember it: that being an artist isn't about showing in galleries, or being published. that it is about living a life that makes sense to oneself.

thanks for that, CM.

Monday, January 21, 2008


i wished this post was pure fiction but it isn't. last week, 2 constructors were here to have a look at the bathroom. their names: mr garlic and mr bleach. so now, i have sketches of possible bathrooms lingering on my desk, together with a heap of brochures. the bathroom above is the new trend, apparently: a room that looks oldnew. and costs more as it has less included. this is liquid logic.

apart from water, there were words. doris lessing, in the library: the golden notebook. i don't yet know what to think about it, but the introduction note is so curious that i just had to include it here:

"Throughout the Notebooks people have discussed, theorized, dogmatized, label, compartmented – sometimes in voices so general and representative of the time that they are anonymous, you could put names to them like those in the old Morality Plays, Mr Dogma and Mr I-am-Free-because-I-Belong-Nowhere, Miss I–Must-Have-Love-and-Happiness and Mrs I–Have-to-be-Good-At-Everything-I-Do, Mr Where-is-a-Real-Woman? and Miss Where-is-a-Real-Man?, Mr I’m-Mad-Because-They-Say-I-Am, and Miss Life-Through-Experiencing-Everything, Mr I-Make-Revolution-and-Therefore-I-Am, and Mr and Mrs If-We-Deal-Very-Well-With-This-Small-Problem-Then-Perhaps-We-Can-Forget-We-Daren’t-Look-at-The-Big-Ones."

reading those lines also made me remember the last Lessing novel i read. the good terrorist, this was. in crete. in the appartment with an ocean view. and with a bathroom that i was white, i think. and newnew. plus it came with two gifts: a body lotion and a shower gel. their names: Love and Earth.

today, the third constructor was here, to have a look at the bathroom - and also at the attic. his name: mr solace. he turned out to be Mr Let-You-Wait, though. just to become Mr I-Tell-You-Things-You-Could-Have-Figured-Out-Yourself-If-You-Stopped-Daydreaming. so here is the disillusioning news: turning the old attic in new living space by a constructor will cost a ridiculous amount of money.

the positive effects of this afternoon: while waiting for Mr Let-You-Wait, i worked on the new issue of blueprintreview. it's the Shape issue. and it starts to take more and more shape. plus, in the end, Mr Solace came up with some good advice how to approach the attic in do-it-yourself steps.

addition, one day later:
in the night, the topic of renovation reached even Mr Sandman. who has a strange humour. this is the dream i had: i was driving to a bathroom store, a huge one, with levels for showers, bathtubs, furniture – and i walked through it, but the things pointed out weren’t there. instead, they had glass lamps and porcelain figures and laptop bags. and an attic level. to reach it, i had to walk through a rain passage.


Monday, January 14, 2008

under a triangle roof

monday, overcast, chilly. another winter day. yet something has happened. in the last days, an idea has been growing, or rather: unfolding - as if it had evolved slowly, almost unnoticeably underneath the surface of the days. to take shape now, in all its possibility.

the odd thing is that the source of the idea always had been there. all the time, since i live here: the attic. it was forgotten space, though, empty but for an old wooden box that gathered time. there is no easy access to the attic. to get there, i have to climb up a narrow steep stairway. that's why i never go there. and until last summer, it felt there is no point of going there anyway, as the attic holds nothing but dust.

then came the days of dry heat last summer, a heat that stood in the house and wouldn't leave. what to do, i wondered, and climbed up there one evening, to open the small windows for the night, to let in fresh air. and stood there, mesmerized by the view those tiny windows offered. a view that was hiding there, behind those old walls. and i found myself, imagining to take out those pieces of bricks, and put glass there. just an idea, i thought. and left it at that.

yet the idea remained. and this winter, i found myself, dreaming of sitting there, under this triangle roof, on a sofa, with the sunlight pouring in through the glass, or with orion rising at the horizon.

and isn't it perfect timing for this idea? january, the start of the year. the time of first seeds starting to reach for the light. the time of beginning. the time of printing poems of unknown authors, to put them on the windowsill, to catch this hazy mood.

This is the beginning of a new day.
You have been given this day to use as you will.
You can waste it or use it for good.

What you do today is important
because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.
When tomorrow comes,
this day will be gone forever;
in its place is something that you have left behind -
let it be something good.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

reading and writing. and a rainbow.

turning obstacles into benefits. that is one of the resolutions (or rather: directions) i want to follow this year. so yesterday, when the fridge was empty, and i needed to go shopping - and needed to take the car for it, as they closes the nearby small supermarket, i thought, okay, then at least take the camera and maybe go for a walk.

10 minutes later i found myself, driving right into the most beautiful sky moment. rain and clouds to the north, sunlight streaming from the south, and me - driving right along a nameless street that turned into rainbow alley. plus - i had the camera with me.

back home, i visited the topography blog - and found those beautiful lines about writing and reading in it:

"But I’ve rarely gone back to the masterpieces, the ones that have endured: prose and plot and construction indelible and profound across time. And lately, as I’m grappling with my own writing more and more, I’ve started to feel a hunger for these texts: knowing that as I read them, I’ll be carried across time, into the world of ideas, word by word.
Word by word, closer to what I need to know." (
Dig in and Read.)

also part of the post: a book. Francine Prose, Reading Like a Writer. which again, via google, led to inspiring lines about books, and about reading.

"Gabriel Garcia Márquez once told an interviewer at the Paris Review that the first time he read Kafka’s Metamorphosis it nearly knocked him clear off his bed. “I didn’t know anyone was allowed to write things like that,” he said. “If I had known, I would have started writing a long time ago. So immediately I started writing.” (Reading and Writing)

words and the worlds they open up. i am still lost in the The Time Traveler's Wife, and don't want it to end.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

under construction

day 5 of the new year. it still feels strange to type 2008. strange like the air outside, warm today, under a grey, tired sky. the magic frozen forest has gone, together with the spectacle of snow sunrises. winter temporarily moved to spain and bulgaria.

i'm moody today. they closed the small supermarket 2 streets down, so filling the fridge now equals having to take the car. which made me drive past the swan lakes at least. only that they today came without swans.

smile. do i sound like i want to jump back through time, to the start of december? the book i am reading now could suggest such fancy thoughts: it's The Time Traveler's Wife, written by Audrey Niffenegger. who has a lovely website that looks very much like this new year still does: full of promise and almost completely under construction.


new: blueprint21 poem - 359 degrees

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


first day of the new year. wind from the east, skipping snow flakes from twigs. a red wood pecker on the top of a fir tree. on the wall, the new calendar. a do-it-yourself version. all white yet, apart from January.

the word of the day: Zeitgeist. "The spirit of time; the general intellectual and moral state or temper characteristic of any period of time."

now to come: a cup of tea, and the last pages of the Eternals, a strangely fitting book to end and start a year. especially as, while writing this post, it now made me click into Neil Gaiman's blog and find this beautiful new year wish:

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't to forget make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."


new: the colour of this blog - white instead of black