One Hundred, One

a hundred birthday candles

Today is an exceptional day for my family, because my father’s mother – the only living grandparent I have left – celebrates her 100th birthday.

An entire century of life! Can you imagine?

She was born in 1917, like the Russian Revolution, lived through two world wars and countless other political upheavals, gave birth to three children, and was one of the very first women to get a divorce as soon as it became legal in Italy.

One year ago I chose this date, my Grandma’s birthday, as the official beginning of my Artist Residency in Motherhood, dedicating it to her, wishing her to live to 100. She did, and I on my side have done my best to stand up to my self-assigned Residency goals.

Or have I?

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Berlin Liebt Dich

selfie in mirror in hotel room

I took this photo on the morning of February 14th, 2017 – Valentine’s day. Ironically, it was also the first night I ever spent away from the two boys I call love. The first night I didn’t sleep right next to my son, his feet in my face, and the first morning I was not awakened by the tickle of his fluffy blond hair in my nose.

19 hours earlier:

I take the Intercity from Dordrecht to Schiphol – Amsterdam’s airport, have a coffee at the gate while staring at nothing outside the walls of glass lining the terminal’s building, too dazed by the perspective of 48 hours on my own to even just pull my book out of my bag. The flight to Berlin Schӧnefeld is on time, I have only my small backpack so I skip the baggage claim area and walk directly to the S-bahn station. I take the suburban train nr S45 in direction Gesundbrunnen, get off at Südkreutz, switch to the S2 in direction Bernau, get off at Oranienburgerstraße. The hostel where I’m staying is just across the street from the subway stop. Continue reading

My Pop-Up Studio

the desk in the guest room

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 colourful 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 favourite 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

Breast In Peace

a pink cup of milk

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

A Residency In Motherhood

artist residency in motherhood manifesto

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