Writing 101 – Day 11

Tell us about the home where you lived when you were twelve. Which town, city, or country? Was it a house or an apartment? A boarding school or foster home? An airstream or an RV? Who lived there with you?

The Daily Post / Writing 101, Day Eleven: Size matters

Home

This is a fun assignment, at twelve you’re at the such a turning point in your life. You’re still a kid, but you feel like you’re really something while at the same time – deep in your heart – you also realize that you’re not quite there yet. On one hand you want to be a child and on the other you want people to perceive you as an adult. It really is a defining moment, the age of twelve. At least that is what it felt like for me when I was twelve.

When I was eleven my grandparents decided that it was time for them to move to an apartment and leave the home they had been living in since my mother was still living at home, I think. Anyway, they had that house for a long time. But it was a rental home and in our country everyone has fair chance to get a rental house. There are of course rules but it’s not like selling a house. You can’t choose who you rent it too – since the house is technically . But my mother had an uncle who had some pull and he helped my parents to get the house.

So my grandparents moved out of the house and my family – my mom, dad, sister and I moved into my grandparents house. And to me that felt like coming home. I have no idea why but we used to live in a different town – the one I always lived in the one I grew up in. By all means it should have been my home. I never realized it before that moment – before we moved -but apparently my home never really was my home. So for me telling you about my home at the age of twelve feels really good, it’s a happy place. I had a wonderful time in that house, it was regular house, nothing special. It had three bedrooms and like in our old house I choose the smallest bedroom. I didn’t need much space, just a little room to store my belongings. I was twelve and Istarted to discover music, I can’t play any instruments but I loved listening to it and I must have spend countless hours in my room listening to music. My room, the walls … oh my God! At twelve they were covered with posters … Backstreet Boys posters. Yup, I was twelve and a girl … it was almost mandatory to like one of the boybands. I have no excuse!

And for me being twelve was the best age … it was right before my life fell apart (I had some really tough years at school – and that’s a really downplayed statement). I had a really happy childhood, I lived in a town. It wasn’t really big but it had everything you might need or want as a kid. A swimming pool, library, a mall, play grounds, a castle with water around it (on which we would ice skate in the winter time) and twice a year a fun fair. Some of my friends literally lived across our backyard and I had a lot of fun while I lived there. But this felt like something new, a new step in my young life. It felt good and I was ready to make a change.

And while being in a new place meant that I would have to go to a new school, make new friends and basically start my life anew. It felt better somehow. I guess that it might have had something to do with starting over and in a way finding my place in life. I felt so at home that I never imagined leaving that place again and yet I did.

I’m now 32 and by the way things have been going so far I’m going to have to move to another city by the end of next year. The first time I moved was at eleven and the second time was at 22 … maybe I should start thinking about where I’m going to move to. 😉

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Writing 101 – Day 10

Today, be inspired by a favorite childhood meal. For the twist, focus on infusing the post with your unique voice — even if that makes you a little nervous.
Write today’s post as if you’re relaying the story to your best friend over a cup of coffee (or glass of wine — your call). Don’t worry if it feels like you ramble a bit, or a four-letter-word sneaks in, or it feels different from what you usually publish. Take a deep breath, tell the story in your own words, and send it out the virtual door.

The Daily Post / Writing 101, Day ten – Writing 101, Day Ten: Happy

When I was little we always used to have spaghetti with tomato sauce and meatballs – usually on Wednesday. I loved it! I don’t know why. It’s not really a special meal and it’s not like I only got it on certain occasions or something like that. But I loved it, to me a week between Spaghetti Wednesdays always felt like it was too long. And it really ruined my day whenever my mom decided that she wanted to make something else on that day!

As much as you can talk about a day being ruined by something like that, but at the time – when I was little – it was as if the world would stop turning as ridiculous as that sounds right now. It strange how a simple meal like that can be so important. But maybe that has something to do with the extremely variety of pasta and pasta recipes there are to choose from.

I love cooking and pasta is still one of my favorites to make. So if anyone has any must try recipes feel free to add a link in the comments. I’m always open to trying new recipes.

 

Writing 101 – Day 9

I’ve been trying to do these past two assignments but it’s not working right now. I’m really struggling with the assignment for day seven. I just can’t get my head around it but I’m not giving up. Not yet. I will get back to it and I will get it done. For the other assignment I have to go outside or to a public place and describe what’s going on. But right now is not the time to go anywhere.

I think I might go somewhere on Sunday and do the assignment then. Anyway I decided to on with the next assignment in line which is day 9.

For today’s assignment, write a scene at the park. Up for a twist? Write the scene from three different points of view.

The Daily Post / Writing 101, Day nine – Changing Moccasins — Point of View

clownshoes

The dog, the clown and the cop

Billy’s pov

Every day around the same time in the evening he made the same round through the park and never did anything exciting happen. It was always the same round, and the only thing that ever really changed was the weather and the season. But tonight was different. It was as if everything had suddenly changed. He walked his usually stubborn dog down the path. But instead of staying behind him like he usually would he was now running ahead of him – and instead of pulling the small dog with him he could now barely hold him back.

Billy frowned, it was a strange evening – the sky was a bright pink and the sun was going down ahead of him. Birds took flight, he could hear them whistling a tune, while a soft breeze played with the leafs of the trees above him. It wasn’t that these thing normally didn’t happen because they did, it was just that he never really paid attention to it.

And then he saw it… as did his dog. The pulling on the leash was even stronger now and he couldn’t hold it any longer. The dog pulled loose and ran towards the group of people while he loudly barked. Billy ran after him, loudly calling the dogs name but he wouldn’t listen. He ran past a cop towards the group of people right before he lost sight of his dog and then there was a scream. A loud scream. Had his normally calm and stubborn dog bitten someone or was it just a coincidence?

Officer Woods’ pov

They where on patrol when the call came in that one of the small shops had caught a shoplifter and that they were detaining him and in need of assistance. They had rushed to the shop but upon arrival the shop owner had given the young shoplifter just enough time to escape through the back door.

While his colleague took the patrol car to try to cut the young shoplifter off,  Officer Woods started to run after the shoplifter. He was fast but Officer Woods was a good runner.

His shoes slipped on the tiled floor, but he kept running through the back door and out into a small corridor between a couple of buildings. He could hear car horns honking in front of him. So he knew for a fact that the kid had crossed the road. He pushed himself to run faster in hopes that he would be able to catch up with the kids before he reached the park there where too many possible hiding placed if he was able to get to the park.

Officer Woods ran fast, but he wasn’t fast enough the kid reached the edge of the park when he was about to cross the street. All hope that he would be able to reach the shoplifter in time dropped below zero when he saw the circus tent on the clearing. Families and kids where watching the circus clowns perform outside while they enjoyed the food which was being sold at several different stands. And there was no sign of the shoplifter.

Nevertheless Officer Woods kept up the pace hoping that something would alert him to the shoplifter’s whereabouts. He was lucky enough when suddenly screams erupted from his left side. He quickly turned towards it but before he could reach the group of people on the left side a dog came running.  Loudly barking he alerted the group of people who quickly stepped aside. The barking dog was followed by a loud scream. And calling upon all of his last reserves he pushed himself to run even faster.

Clown’s pov

He was doing a trick for a couple of kids, they where watching him in awe as he juggled with a couple of random objects. He stumbled and turned around – all part of the act of course – the kids started to laugh, especially after he looked sadly when the ball that rolled away from him. He wanted to go after it and stumbled over his own feet. He was wearing those typical way too big clown-shoes, so it was not really a surprise when he stumbled and fell flat on his face. He tried to get up, but he was very surprised when another body collided hard with his. He cried out in pain and fell to the ground once again, the other person fell on top of him. He blindly grabbed the person who fell with him and tried to gain control of the situation.

This bastard was ruining his performance, there was no way that he was getting away with it. He might just be a clown and it might be his intention to make people laugh but there was no reason for someone to push him down to the ground like that. Even a simple circus clown deserved respect.

Then there suddenly was a scream and all movement stopped. The other person was quickly dragged off of him and he tried to get up. For the first time he was able to assess the situation. A boy was pulling on a leash to get the dog away from the man who’d apparently fallen on top of him. While a cop was clicking his handcuffs around the heavily complaining man. The cop easily shrugged the man’s complaints off by telling him that the dog had only put his teeth in the boy’s jeans and that if he hadn’t ran away after he was caught shoplifting he wouldn’t have been bitten at all.

 

Honestly, I have no explanation for this, none at all.

Writing 101 – Day 6

Today, you’ll write about the most interesting person you’ve met in 2014. In your twist, develop and shape your portrait further in a character study.

Our stories are inevitably linked to the people around us. We are social creatures: from the family members and friends who’ve known us since childhood, to the coworkers, service providers, and strangers who populate our world (and, at times, leave an unexpected mark on us).

Today, write a post focusing on one — or more — of the people who have recently entered your life, and tell us how your narratives intersected. It can be your new partner, your newborn child, or the friendly barista whose real story you’d love to learn (or imagine), or any other person you’ve met for the first time in the past year.

The Daily Post / Writing 101, Day six – A Character-Building Experience

A character-study

I know this girl – or actually a woman, cause by all means she is a woman – who I’ve actually met years ago. So in that aspect she wouldn’t qualify for this assignment however for reasons which are at this point unimportant we hadn’t talked in a long, long time when all of a sudden – really out of the blue she sent me a Whatsapp message. The strange thing was that I right before I received that message had been thinking about her but I didn’t have the courage to send a message yet.

I honestly had no idea but apparently I wasn’t the only one who’d been thinking about our previous friendship. It’s interesting how those things work sometimes. She sent me a message and I responded. There was no reason why I wouldn’t respond, even though it took some time before I knew how to respond. I wanted the friendship back but at the same time something was holding me back. Probably partly because I have trust issues, anyway I did send a message back.

And since that moment we’ve been messaging back and forth and just like our friendship started all of those years back when we only had MSN to talk to one another, we’re now using Whatsapp and Tumblr. And I’m glad that we have our friendship back because ever since I met her I’ve known what a wonderful and strong person she is and I’m glad that she’s part of my life again. She’s a good person to have by your side. She’s one of those people who’s always ready to talk and give advice and makes you feel completely at ease. She’s positive, loyal and helpful even despite all the things she had to go through in life and life certainly didn’t hand her an easy card. She’s one of those people who will never judge you for what you went through but who will always try to understand you. If you need her she’s the one in your corner, but she’s also honest enough to tell you differently if you need to hear it. I hope she finds in life what she’s looking for and I hope that I get to have her in my life for a long, long time and see how things turn out for the both of us.

Maybe it’s strange that I choose this particular person – since at one time in my life I felt like she might be more than just a regular friend. But our timing has been off … it has been off all along. So that hasn’t worked out the way I thought it would and in the back of my mind I guess I always thought that we would get together one day. Maybe not now … but in the future though recently I found out that we’ve both got really different ideas of what that future might look like and it’s one of those things which is essentially a deal breaker. And while I understand her position on the subject and it is a deal breaker on my end I wanted to include this in the assignment because it also shows how important and special this particular person is.

 

I’m sure that she knows I’m talking about her and if she wants me to take this down I will, but for now it’s up.

 

 

Writing 101 – Day 5

You discover a letter on a path that affects you deeply. Today, write about this encounter. And your twist? Be as succinct as possible.

The Daily Post / Writing 101, Day five – Be brief

Succinct – characterized by clear, precise expression in few words; concise and terse.

I have to admit – I’m not native English-speaking – so the word ‘succinct’ is not a word which I knew so I had to look it up to make sure that I had the right idea for this assignment in my head. Before I actually started thinking about it.

Version 1 – The letter

It wasn’t something I would normally do, open a letter which wasn’t addressed to me. But the original address on the envelope had faded what looked like a long time ago. I unfolded the letter inside and my eyes flew over the words.

The words written by a soldier many, many years ago obviously meant for a loved one. Suddenly a single thought came to mind. What if this was the last letter this soldier had written to his lover and what if he never made it home? What if they would never know how much he missed them?

There was only one thing I could do, I needed to find either the person who wrote this letter or the person who the letter was intended for.

Version 2 – The letter

He went away in a shiny new uniform to defend his country, he never came back to the place he loved so much that he wanted to risk his life for it.

Version 3 – The letter

He left his beloved country to defend it, he never came back.

 

 

The first version was pretty short especially for someone who loves details, then I decided that I could do a shorter version … and an even a shorter version.

Writing 101 – Day 4

Today, write about a loss. The twist: make this the first post in a three-post series.

This doesn’t need to be a depressing exercise; you can write about that time you lost the three-legged race at a picnic. What’s important is reflection on this experience and what it meant for you – how it felt, why it happened, and what changed because of this.

The Daily Post / Writing 101, Day four – The Serial Killer

Loss

Loss comes in many shapes and forms. And everyone perceives it differently, how much it affects someone is also vastly different. What one person might perceive as loss could be hardly called loss from another persons point of view.

I, like everyone else, have lost people dear to my heart – family members. People who I loved and whose loss I’ve grieved. But that’s not what I want to talk about. Though their loss has effected me there was a certain kind of loss which has affected me personally more. Deeper, a loss which changed me to my core.

I lost hope, I lost everything. I didn’t think that my life was worth living anymore, if you get kicked down enough times you start to belief that you somehow don’t deserve any better. That is the biggest loss in my life, I lost myself. I was being bullied in high school and it took me losing myself to eventually overcome all the crap I had been going through. I was bullied for three years, I never knew why. And I’ll probably never know, but that doesn’t matter anymore. It has taken me years and years but eventually I managed to overcome what happened to me. And part of me probably still hasn’t completely overcome the loss of my old me. I guess I never will. People who have been bullied will probably what I mean by that.

If you get bullied you ultimately try to change – that doesn’t necessarily mean change for the better. They make you believe that it’s you who’s doing something wrong. In my case since I never knew why they bullied me I tried to change so many things about me that I lost myself in hopes that I would somehow fit in. Be liked and would be able to get along with my classmates. But it didn’t change anything – except for myself that is. In fact it was as if the bullying only became worse and that was when I shut down. I became numb, silent and anti-social. Three things which I certainly wasn’t before I got bullied. I tried really hard not to lose myself. But it was too damn hard, I wasn’ t able to do it. I lost fate and hope, I couldn’t deal with it any longer and I basically didn’t want to be here anymore. The fact that I couldn’t do something like that to my parents was what kept me going. Because I knew that it would break them and at least now they didn’t know how bad it was.

I guess that I’ve been depressed, but I never saw a doctor. So I’m not sure. Outside of my parents and my immediate family I didn’t trust anyone. Not even a professional. So I’m really not sure if what I felt like and how I behaved meant that I was depressed. A couple of years ago when my fears of being inadequate started to interfere with my job I was told that I should try to get help to benefit myself. The strange thing was that I at that moment did not really see that I was loosing control of the situation but I was trying to see if, where and how I could get help because I knew that there were still some unresolved issues. I went to a therapist for a while. A really sweet woman who I trusted and felt safe with. I knew that I could tell her anything and none of it would leave the room – past experiences with a school guidance counselor had prevented me from doing that sooner. I’m now thirty-two and I can finally say that I’ve given the fact that I was bullied in high school a place.

In hindsight I’m glad that I never did anything stupid because there is a lot to live for even if you go through a time where you feel absolutely useless. There will be a time where things are going to get better and I know it can take a long time … any time will probably feel like it’s too long but I promise you there is a lot to live for. I’m now in a much better place, I can’t say that life is perfect – I guess that no one can claim to live the perfect life, perfect is an illusion – but it’s good.I changed a lot and I used up a lot of time trying to regain my trust in the people around me. It’s been hard, it’s a struggle but I can now tell this without crying and even without feeling bad and that is saying a lot. I couldn’t have written this a couple of years ago without feeling completely miserable and without crying. I’m proud of what I have accomplished, but I hate what I had to lose to get where I am today.

Writing 101 – Day 3

Tuesday I didn’t have time to write, with work and yoga so I wanted to do this on Wednesday. But since Wednesday was a National Day of Mourning I decided against posting anything which celebrated something. It felt wrong to do that on such a day. So I waited till today to post this.

Today, celebrate three songs that are significant to you. For your twist, write for fifteen minutes without stopping — and build a writing habit.

The Daily Post / Writing 101, Day three – Commit to a Writing Practice

Three songs …

That seems like an undo-able task, I love music narrowing it down to three songs seems so unfair. There are a lot of things I can´t talk about which I would really like to share. Besides being as eclectic as I am there is so much music I love that it makes it even harder to choose just three. However I did make a choice, although I have to say that if you ask me again in an hour or two the songs I choose might be different songs altogether.

For now I choose these three songs, songs from which the lyrics have a really powerful meaning – at least to me they do.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Mary Lambert – Same Love

This song I hope that the reason why I love it doesn’t really need to be explained. It shouldn’t have to be.

 

But I know how the world works so here it goes. It shouldn’t matter if you’re straight or gay, if you’re black or white, Catholic or Muslim. None of that should matter … what matters is who you are inside and what you stand for. This song is particularly about being gay or perceived as being gay. But it could really be about any sort of minority. I personally like people for who they are and if that particular person has a different view of the world than I have, I just see that as a positive thing. It could provide some really interesting conversations. That is basically how I see the world. Bigoted or close minded people in my eyes are just missing out. The world is such an interesting place and if you rule people out because of one little aspect of their life –  you’re missing out. Simple as that. If I tell someone I’m bisexual and suddenly they threat me differently, the fault is not with me. I’m still the same person, I didn’t change … you just got a new piece of information about me and suddenly I’m not being treated like a normal human being anymore. That just really shows where there problem lies. And this song gives some really good examples of how the world perceives people who are gay.

 

The right wing conservatives think it’s a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made rewiring of a predisposition

 

If being gay, bisexual, transgender or whatever people identify with was a choice I’m sure that a lot of people would choose differently. There is a lot of crap people get thrown at them (both literally as well as figuratively) and that is not something you willingly choose. However we choose to be happy and part being happy means that we don’t want to hide who we really are and who we love. And that is all we want, we want to be able to show our love to the people dear to us even if that person has the same gender. For a lot of people marriage means showing the world that you are committed to a certain person, that’s what we want too. And this song just means a lot to me in that aspect.

 

A word rooted in hate, yet our genre still ignores it
Gay is synonymous with the lesser
It’s the same hate that’s caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It’s human rights for everybody, there is no difference!
Live on and be yourself
I might not be the same, but that’s not important
No freedom ’til we’re equal, damn right I support it
When kids are walking ’round the hallway plagued by pain in their heart
A world so hateful some would rather die than be who they are
And a certificate on paper isn’t gonna solve it all
But it’s a damn good place to start
No law is gonna change us
We have to change us
Whatever God you believe in
We come from the same one
Strip away the fear
Underneath it’s all the same love
I stripped down the lyrics quite a bit but there is still enough left to show you the powerful message this trio wants to show the world.

 Beth Hart – Beautiful Child

 

I’m  a huge Beth Hart fan and there is absolutely no way that I was setting up list of songs (three in this case) without adding Beth Hart. No way. I choose a song which is a couple of years I think about five years old, give or take. It’s a funny song, but also one with a really deep meaning. Beth Hart doesn’t have children but she wrote this as if she was singing it to a child. The reason I chose this song is because it’s the perfect balance between funny and really powerful, it’s filled with good advice. Advice which anyone could take to heart.

 

Just remember my beautiful child
We’re just here for a little while
So live like your dying and laugh till you cry
And love yourself like I do my beautiful child
You will crash you will burn
When you do you will learn
Just like me in my youth

If it won’t cure you
It will surely make you smile
Just remember my beautiful child
We’re just here for a little while
So laugh like you’re crazy and dance in the aisle

And love yourself like I do
Forgive yourself if you have to
Choose yourself cause I do
Never loose yourself cause I love you my beautiful child

Wicked (Musical) – Defying Gravity

In Dutch (Willemijn Verkaik):

In English (Willemijn Verkaik);

In English (Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth);

Ever since I’ve seen Rent (the musical movie) I’ve been in love with Idina Menzel. She a beautiful woman, a great actress and a phenomenal singer. So after seeing Rent I looked up what else she did and I found Wicked and without ever seeing the actual musical I ordered the soundtrack online I fell in love with the songs and her voice  …. just wow! So about two/three years ago I saw this billboard stating that Wicked was finally coming to the Netherlands – as a Dutch production of course. One part of me was kind of worried if the magic would hold up if I saw it in Dutch, since I knew the songs by heart in English – by Idina Menzel.  But I also knew that this was probably the only chance I had to actually see it on stage. And since everything and everyone had to be approved by the people who also did the Broadway show I just knew that I couldn’t pass this chance over. It had to be good if they gave their approval seeing how this show has been running for more than ten years on Broadway.

Eventually the names of the performers were announced and there was this woman Willemijn Verkaik – who I had actually never heard off. But apparently she had been playing Elphaba in Germany for three years even though she is Dutch (she’s actually from the next town over). Less than a month after the premiere I went to see Wicked at the theatre with my mother and sister and it was amazing! I was so much in awe, way more than I had expected beforehand because for years I had listened to the Idina Menzel version of the songs. Unfortunately there is no official Dutch Soundtrack, which sucks because I would have bought it no doubt about it.

I’ve been lucky enough to see the show twice, both times with Willemijn and both times she absolutely blew me away. WOW!

So this video up here is not from the actual musical but from a performance at some television show, because that video has better sound than most of the videos online because they were made in the theatre with mobile phones.

Oh yeah, Willemijn Verkaik is so good that she actually went on to play the role on Broadway (yes, the one in New York)  for a couple of weeks and on London’s West End. That is how talented this woman is!

 

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap!

It’s time to try
Defying gravity
I think I’ll try
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I’m defying gravity
And you won’t bring me down

So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately,
“Everyone deserves the chance to fly!”

I’m defying gravity!
And you won’t bring me down, bring me down, bring me down!

 

And there you have it, three very different yet favorite songs of mine.