August has been terrific – the best month of this whole Dutch “summer” of ours, by far. And it has been terrific not so much because of the few days of actual heat, and enjoying picnics at the swimming pool, and Martini-tonics on the terrace at sundown. But because it brought many small, almost imperceptible revolutions, like the flapping of butterfly wings which circle and grow, make waves, move waves, become hurricanes and landslides. The biggest, most significant magical shift in this rather demure lifestyle we lead, you see in this photo – yes, it’s a child (our child) sitting on a child seat on the back of a bike (my bike). Nothing special? Well, to me it is.
I’m sure we all have situations like this – this sort of roadblocks we plant in our own strides and then moan as the discomfort grows, but take months if not years to take a simple step, make an uncomplicated decision, and get rid of them.
This time it went like this. Continue reading
This probably is the strangest post you’ll ever see on this blog. First, because I don’t do reviews. And second because, of all things I could review if I were to, I doubt I’d ever choose to talk about an app (I’m so analog). But having stumbled upon Down Dog a couple of months ago made a real difference for the state of my chakras, and I consider this totally worth a shout-out.
By the way. I’m writing this out of my own free will – the good people behind this app have no idea I exist and did not hire me to write anything nice about their work.
The first time I ever tried yoga was shortly after the worst boyfriend I ever had dumped me in the most painful of ways (by getting his ex-girlfriend pregnant). I was so heartbroken I had to do something not to drown myself in tears of doom and close to my place there was this cute little yoga studio which shot a Continue reading
Ever since the very first day I became serious about my writing (about 8 years ago), I’ve been dreaming about a studio. An office, a room of my own, a place exclusively dedicated to my writing work, where only I had access, so I could leave my notebooks lying around without worry that anyone would accidentally read them. In my imagination’s eye, this space is cozy but stylish (in a retro-shabby way), filled with light coming from a large window which offers the additional bonus of an inspiring view. Piles of books, photo albums, bunch of notes cover most of the free surfaces, post-its with summaries of the scenes I’m developing hang in colorful patterns on the walls alongside photos, magazine clippings with articles pertinent to my newest projects. The solid but slim desk is of course the heart of the studio, with its perfect writing chair (ergonomically shaped in Scandinavian wood), but my favorite place secretly is the soft armchair in the corner, with the lamp next to it, the warm plaid draped at its feet, my reading nook. Of course there is also a plant or two, a candle here and there, some nostalgic frames displaying the sheepish smiles of past lovers. Nothing fancy, as you can see.
Well, in my eight years as an on-and-off professional writer, I did not yet manage to make this dream come true. Continue reading
For me, eating pizza is a lot like going on “vacation” to my parents’ house. The dynamic around the two processes looks virtually the same. First, I think about it – Hey! Why don’t I go get me some lovely pizza? It’s been so long since I ate pizza! Mmmmm, pizza! – which every time sounds like the best fucking idea, because pizza is so awesome! Everyone loves pizza, few things in the world are tastier and more comforting than good pizza, one of those made with the heartiest ingredients and baked in a real wood-oven like they do in the country I come from – Italy. Pizza is warm and soft, it smells like yeasty roasted heaven, and it tastes even better, that simple yet perfect combination of tomato sauce and melted cheese, topped to perfection by fistfuls of what your palate loves most – olives? rucola? grilled aubergines? salami?
Just please no canned pineapple. Canned pineapple on a pizza is some strange brand of heresy.
The problem between pizza and me, though, is in the mozzarella. I shouldn’t eat real, juicy mozzarella because I’m Continue reading
Control. Somewhere at the heart of my darkness there has always been a march to the drum of this notion – CON-TROL, CON-TROL, CON-TROL.
I crave it, stride for it, ideate ways to achieve it, fight for it when needed, wallow in it when I have it. That’s where my thirst for knowledge and understanding comes from, it’s not just a snobbish para-feminist statement that I, as a woman, regard the shape of my intellect much higher than the shape of, say, my tits. No, it’s the first stage of my need to minimize the chances of unforeseen circumstances, subtle panic.
For someone so hooked on control as I am, life with a baby (a kaleidoscope of hormonal explosions!) morphing into a toddler (a thunderstorm on a wedding day!) is like asking someone with arachnophobia to adopt a tarantula. Continue reading
The image you see was taken at the beginning of May in a very special laundromat in Antwerp, Belgium. If you look closely, in the top right corner you can see two of the many laundry machines lining the walls of this really hip joint, which also offered a wide choice of drinks and cakes and, obviously, had a piano too. We stopped there after spending the whole morning at the beautiful Antwerp zoo and then wandering for a good two hours across the city’s center.
This photo is very dear to me for multiple reasons, but let me just tell you about the two main ones. Continue reading
I’m extremely excited to announce that on May 11th (2016) I have become an Artist In Residence In Motherhood. Incidentally, on this very same day, it was also my Grandmother’s 99th birthday. We are not very close, but I nonetheless would like to dedicate this Residency to her. May she get to a hundred.
If you’re curious, you will find all the details about the Artist Residency In Motherhood on its official website, but if I were to tell you with my own words what compelled me to join, I’d say. It’s a project that radiates wit and a badass creative approach not only to art (any art) but to life in general, and my lust for things that are both intelligent and fun is too great to not want to be part of such an inspiring, empowering project.
With just one crucial shift of perspective, I understood that in my hands lies the power to turn my Toddler into my Muse, rather than a burdensome distraction from The Real Work. Many a time I’ve been reminded by fellow artists and film professionals and other such authorities that I will not be able to Continue reading
April has been teary. There have been tears, small drops of salty moist, and there have been tears, slight rips in the structure of my emotional fabric. But also, there have been many rainy days. Lazy showers, thunderstorms, drizzles, hammering hail, and all other precipitation the sky can afford. Being stuck indoors with an electric Toddler displaying great appetite for turbo movement is not easy. Especially when it’s for days upon days and you’re too low to constantly come up with entertainment methods and time-killing techniques.
My beautiful child does not harbor much inclination for the fine arts. I gave him pencils and coloring books, he threw every single one of them down the stairs. I gave him play-dough, he rubbed it into the carpet so fervently I don’t think I will ever be able to get it out of its fibers. I gave him crayons, he ate them, I gave him chalks and a small blackboard, he crushed them into fine dust then rubbed it all over his mug. But then, by absolute accident, we discovered theater. Continue reading
Previously on my Tale Of Three Guitars: I actually start with no guitar but singing in a church choir and not wanting to play the piano. Then, I become a rebel and buy the ugliest bass you’ll ever see, start a band only to watch it come undone after the first gig. I have more luck with my second band, thanks to which I have my first lick of rockstardom, until high school ends and I have to leave the country. Next, I sell my first guitar for a ferry ride (to Finland) which, somehow, brings us to a story of
30 Birthdays And The Second Guitar
Slide your eyelids shut, inhale through your nostrils, and let me time-travel you to the morning of Friday April 11th, 2008. Imagine the heavy, dusty boots of a delivery guy climbing up the concrete-grey staircase of an Eastern European post-soviet film studio, cursing under his breath, smelling of yesterday’s vodka, hug-dragging an uncomfortable, unconventional, shapely package. He moves down a somber corridor, scanning the numbers on the doors, looking for the one marked on his order. He finds it, it’s wide open, it’s a production office for one of the many movies being shot somewhere around the studios. Three people sit behind desks in the room, the delivery guy doesn’t knock, he pants his way in and plants the thing in the middle of the coffee-stained carpet, staring, waiting for the bitch who had the brilliant idea to have such a thing delivered by mail to jump up from her chair in utter delight.
That bitch is me, and the funky thing that looks like a Blues Brothers’ guitar case fucked a postal package and gave birth to this, is what I got myself for my thirtieth birthday. Continue reading
Although I like to think of myself as an ever-flowing, dynamic creature who is not scared of transformation, there are a few things about me – and especially about my body – that have been always true and true they will (possibly) always be. One of these pillars of my earthly being is that nothing in me (not my mind, not my body, not my mood or style or interest) likes being forced.
I will never forget this one event from my childhood. I had a milk tooth that was taking forever to come out. It was hanging in my mouth for days, dangling, wobbling, hurting, making me miserable and whining and because I would not allow anyone of my family members to get between my gums and put an end to my misery, my mother sent my dad and me to the dentist’s to finally get it over with. Next thing I know, I’m reclining on the dentist’s chair, the pleasant lady doctor asks me softly to close my eyes while my father smiles and nods sheepishly. At first, I do close my eyes and open my mouth, but at the very last moment something clicks in me and I lift one of my eyelids to see the most terrifying-looking pair of forceps looming over my face. In one split second, my safety system went in complete lock-down. Continue reading
This past month has been rich in memorable events. The beginning of spring, crocuses and snowdrops under our feet, new haircuts and very wet out of town trips, head-colds, outdoor playdates, Easter with its many boiled eggs and slaughtered lambs, my parents’ (still ongoing) visit, days at the zoo. Also, numerous blasts of toddler emotions, an intensifying need for closeness, greater manifestations of naughty, the mind-blowing development of language which, in the past weeks at least, is nothing short of a true explosion. Colorful doodles on the toy kitchen blackboard, feeding ducks on chilly afternoons, reading books together wrapped in a blanket, on the balcony, in the gentle sun.
But the event that most made my month, this March, is something altogether else. It’s the story of me finally making my way to that corner Continue reading
It’s almost Easter again. The purple tips of the blossoming magnolias, the moist scent of last winter’s dog poo awakening in the sun. Also, everyone’s pregnant with their second child. And by everyone I mean my next-door neighbor, 97% of the girls in my mama group who popped with their first within the same few months as yours truly, and – most importantly – my sister.
My mother is about to come stay with us for two weeks and she’s on a mission like one of those groggy police negotiators who take jumpers down from the edge of buildings, unharmed, unsplattered. If I want to survive the upcoming holiday, I need to prepare to fend off the numerous, unrelenting conversations about this epidemic of second human conceptions that’s holding me under siege. Continue reading