Fast, intense, naked, troubled, terrific, exhilarating, terrible, this November has been about dreams and long awaited (feared?) turns finally coming around. Multiple incredible events took place this past month, but I will tell you about two (2) main ones.
Ever since I was 12, I dreamed about becoming a novelist, AND –
On the first day of November I started writing (the first draft of) my very first novel!
If you follow me on social media you must have already heard that I took part in this year’s NaNoWriMo, which means that in the past 30 days I filled up a word document with 50,000 words.
50,202 – to be precise.
This sounds incredible and much more compelling than what it actually looks like, as these 50,202 words are more like one huge regurgitated blob of disconnected thoughts and episodes and anecdotes and bits of dialogues, all written with great speed and no filters (because word count) rather than anything even vaguely resembling a novel. I’m not even half way through a first version, not to mention revisions, editing, and all the actual work I still have to do for it to start making sense. So please don’t hold your breath.
Then again, what really matters is that I found in me the fire and persistence it took to accomplish this, which is the single greatest act of support toward my Inner Writer I’ve ever had the courage to undertake. Continue reading
I can get quite sentimental about objects. Maybe that’s because I’ve spent many years on my own, living alone, working for myself, travelling so much, which made me learn to appreciate the company and comfort certain things can provide. Not ALL things, of course, I’m not a hoarder and actually I have quite a minimalist approach to the owning of material goods, but there are a few objects I cherish, which have been through a lot together with me, which have stood by me and kept going even when everything else seemed to fall apart (like the water cooker that’s been with me 15 years now and has tirelessly boiled water for my cups of tea across 5 countries).
If I can consider these few objects my friends, then there is one among them which has been my absolute best friend ever since we laid eyes on each other. And, as it also goes with human friendships, for reasons hard to understand and as sudden as a chameleon snapping a fly mid-flight with its tongue, I lost it. Continue reading
Going on vacation is no joke. Every year, when the time comes to start planning the when and where to go, we need to be really careful not to make our relationship (family) implode under the weight of this crucial decision. When you think that, in the 365 days that a year has, we can normally afford to spend 14 of those on our only vacation, you understand we really don’t want to fuck it up.
So many things we need to discuss – do we wanna fly, do we wanna drive, do we want to stay in a cheap accommodation, but for a longer time, or should we choose a better hotel and thus need to come home sooner? Do we want the beach, historic cities, museums, attractions for toddlers, decent ice-creams, or cheap booze? Also, do we want to be there with my parents, with friends, my sister and her two kids, random people we could find online in order to cut the costs and make our vacation so much more spectacular?
Because going on vacation IS a spectacle, and it IS a public matter. Once upon a time there were Continue reading
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