#writerswednesday: Book Reading of Labelled Love // Buchlesung Labelled Love

#writerswednesday: book reading

Cheers my dears,

if you haven’t made it to my Youtube live premiere, you can still watch the book reading of Labelled Love here.
It’s a bilingual party, so all information is given in English and German, while the reading itself is in English.

I hope you enjoy it 🙂

Feel free to leave your comments and questions in the comment section below.

xx

Subscribe to my Youtube Channel and my Newsletter to stay up to date 😉

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Meine Lieben,

falls ihr meine Youtube Live Premiere verpasst habt, könnt ihr die Buchlesung von Labelled Love hier anschauen.
Es ist eine zweisprachige Party, also alle Informationen werden sowohl auf Englisch als auch auf Deutsch gesagt, nur die Lesung selbst ist auf Englisch.

Ich hoffe, es gefällt euch.

Lasst eure Kommentare und Fragen gern im Kommentarfeld unten da.

xx

Folgt meinem Youtube-Kanal und tragt euch in meinen Newsletter ein, um nichts mehr zu verpassen 😉

#writerswednesday: Write it off your Chest ! – A Writing Exercise for Everyone

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#writerswednesday: write it off your chest

Cheers my dears,

today it’s #writerswednesday again and due to the current crisis I came up with something different.
I’ve prepared a writing exercise for you as a little video class to help you release pressure and breathe properly again.

It’s for everyone!
You don’t need to be a writer, poet or to have any skills in advance.
All you need is pen & paper.

The exercise consists of a little warm-up and three exercises.

Join me 🙂

I hope it helps you to get through these tough times.

If it’s helpful and valuable for you, feel free to share it with a friend.
I’d love to read/see/watch your results, so please tag me if you publish something from this exercise 🙂
Also feel free to leave some feedback in the comments below

take care, stay safe & sound and healthy

xx

#randomramblings: Courage, Contemplation and Creativity during Crisis

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#randomramblings: Courage, Contemplation and Creativity during Crisis

Hey my dears,

no, today there won’t be a #sundaystory* but an interims post due to the current situation.
It’s not easy and it feels like the world was turned upside down, many things aren’t as we knew them or as how we got used to them for years, decades or even our whole lives.
I will avoid to repeat what is said in the media each and every day and what we hear from friends and acquaintances, as I assume that we all are already overloaded with information. On the other hand, it’s not my aim to pretend that everything is peachy sky and vanilla cake with cherry on top. It’s not.
But those who have been following me for a while now or even know me in person might have noticed that I have a tendency to be optimistic. I’d like to call it pragmatic optimism.
Because once a friend told me “Okay, Gina, now we have talked one hour about the problem, let’s talk at least one hour about the solution, that’s much more useful.”
What I’m saying is, I don’t try to sugarcoat anything or to confront it with blissful ignorance. That’s not me.
I don’t have solutions for the situation. But I’d like to try to contribute to spreading some light. And you can guess my medium of choice.
I hope the text will be more structured than my thoughts are right now and that you can take something away from it.

There will be more posts following according to my categories #modelmonday, #writerswednesday, #freelancefriday,#socialsaturday that are especially written for this time of crisis.
Make sure you subscribe to the newsletter, if you want to stay up to date.

Here now some perspectives on what we might do during this time, learn from it and take away from it.

Time
Now we ended up at what I already pointed at in a different post.
“We will never have time, unless we take it.”
Many didn’t take it, now it’s there, wanted or unwanted.

Instead of focusing now on what your everyday life normally would look like and what you would normally be doing and where you’d normally be, we can maybe switch over to a more pragmatic and useful approach.
How often did you say something like “Well, if I had more time, I would finally repair the squeaking cupboard door”? Or paint the walls, tidy up, iron shirts, take care of wooden furniture with special treatments, repot the plants on the balcony or whatever. These are productive things.
Of course they can be applied to personal stuff as well, like “Yeah, if I had as much time as XY, I would also do my nails, try out new hair styles, but in contrast to her I have to…” Or “As much time as he has, no wonder he already finished that game”, read this and that book, whatever comes to your mind.
Also popular “If there weren’t so many distractions at home and I had more time, I’d also love to do sports at home.”
Well, the fact about the distractions is real, but let me try to help you with this. God knows I’m not an expert, but as someone who works a lot in the home office and belongs to the more active (some say restless) types, I might have some tipps and tricks for you.

We order the above mentioned:
– productive / pragmatic
– fun
– training / learning / education
– sports

Especially if you’re not used to working at home or educating yourself at home via online courses or the like, the own four walls hold many distractions in store and you might end up in a never ending story.
Tendency is quite high, that it makes most sense to start off with the things on the outward to eliminate as many distractions as possible.
So repair the cupboard door at first, tidy up that bloody chaos drawer, dust off the lamps, clean the floor, iron the shirts, etc. etc. etc.
As said, just make sure you don’t end up in a perpetuum mobile, because while being busy with task A, you might recognise in addition to task B and C many more tasks until Z and then restart the whole alphabet with A’ and so forth.
That’s why I recommend the method that I also used in my IGTV video on instagram and here in one of my blog posts:
Take manageable portions from all the things you have to and want to do, so some that you might really be able to finish within a day and start with those that add to structure.
So, before you start neatly decorating your washing machine with washy tape, please start with tidying up and sorting out the cupboards and drawers and then work your way to cleaning up and then go over to the details. (Unless the details are a little creative pause for you and you feel secure enough to return to the have to’s vs. the want to’s)

Education and learning is another productive and pragmatic way to spend your time.
Now you can learn the language you always wanted to learn, read the business book about topic XY. Many content creators are offering free online courses and e-books right now. #solidarity, so if you’re interested in audio books, languages or DIY projects in your home or whatever, you can browse through the diverse platforms and find free material or get some good content for a small budget from an expert.
Same goes for sports. Many trainers with own apps are offering the subscription for free right now or for less money and some gyms offer free courses on youtube, etc.
And fun, like playing games, finally reading again or listening to music, is not to be forgotten.

The biggest problem is probably the lack of routine that is normally dictated by your everyday life. I understand that.
But, I have good news for you: You’re now the captain of the ship!
You can build your own routine. It’s not easy, I admit, and it takes time, yes and yes, I hear your arguments “Yeah, then I have a new routine and everything goes back to normal, so why?”
Yeeeeeeeah…..no! Other good news: You can also take some of the things you like from your own routine and implement it later into your everyday life 😉

Here now the pragmatic approach:
Take a big sheet of paper. We’ll use the method that I used in the above mentioned video and post and apply it onto this case.
Write down all the tasks that have to be done, should be done and that you want to do. Then categorise them according to work, fun, sports, education & learning for instance. Just randomly onto the paper.
Ready, list everything that comes to your mind, go!

Ready? Great!
It might look like a lot now.
Now take another sheet of paper and create lists according to the categories you chose. (I recommend making them colourful)
And now take a closer look at all the things you wrote down on your random sheet before.
Let’s say you gave your list the colour green for household stuff. Now mark everything on the random sheet green that has something to do with household.
And now put it into the list, preferably according to a logical principal, like mentioned above.
Does it make sense to start a big clean up and then sort out the cupboards? Or would it be better the other way round?
Try to imagine the processes and to list them in a manner that makes sense, so that you don’t end up having done one task seven times in three weeks and totally neglecting another one that you wanted to do.
It will take a little moment. Just do it.
Great.
Now do the same with the other categories.

Amazing. Now you should have structured lists and an overview.
If you like to, you can put it into your calendar or just do it according to your mood and energy level. When you get up in the morning and during breakfast or the first coffee you’re thinking “Ah, today is a good day for sports”, pick something from your sports list. “Today I feel neither creative nor sporty, actually I just wanna chat with my friends”. Okay, do it. Call your friends. While you’re sorting out your wardrobe for instance. 😉 By the way, your friend might even help you decide what items to keep and which ones to donate or sell or give away. How does that sound?

Me personally, I’m a friend of picking at least one thing that I have to do and one thing that I want do, but often I’d also go according to the “What do I feel like today?” principle and then combining the tasks from different categories.
I recommend picking at least one thing you have to and one you want to do.
So, before I do six things I want to do, I’ll pick one to two, three things from the list that have to be done. This way I have success and fun in one day.
The Kinder egg for adults so to day 😉

Before this post gets completely out of hand, I’m gonna throw in some things you might wanna do:

household
– sort out your wardrobe and donate or sell the items you don’t want and need (doing something good and earning some money)
– structure your cupboards and rearrange them
– laundry, ironing, taking care of furniture and floors
– dust off the lamps
– archive photos and store old data from your computer on external hard drives

sports
– online courses and videos and using what you have to get some sports into your day
– if you can’t motivate yourself on your own and maybe live alone, try to find online groups that meet at a specific time of the day and do sports together
– computer games with sporty activities are also an option

business (a separate post concerning business will follow)
– now’s the time to restructure and relaunch your website
– depending on the branch you’re working in, you might find new concepts for your sales, marketing and online services
– you can create special offers and spread them on the various platforms you use

education / learning
– finally you can dedicate yourself to your DIY projects, the material for your self-made shelf is already rotting in your cellar, isn’t it?
– learn something new, a language, cooking, how to cut your hair yourself, doing manicure at home, drawing, whatever it is that you have been interested in for a long time and always wanted to learn

fun & relaxation
– take a long walk through nature and listen to the wind and the birds
– read
– listen to audio books
– finally watch the movie / series you have been longing to watch
– call friends
– playing games in the analogue world with room mates, partners, family or online with friends
– creating and designing birthday presents (especially for those that won’t be able to celebrate their birthdays due to the crisis, hello my Aries babes, don’t worry, postponed doesn’t mean cancelled and we have to celebrate according to the opportunities, and there will be opportunities in the future)
– meditation / relaxation techniques
– dance through the room

This is just a small list, but maybe there are some impulses in it that inspire you. I hope so.
Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments below and share your tipps and ideas. Sharing is caring.

And now imagine this:
What if we all learned something from this situation and took something away from it?
What if, when everything is slowly returning to a level of normality, we got out of it more toned, more educated and if we met all our loved ones in a fresh and rearranged home and took hours to exchange what we have done and learned?

Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s difficult and hard, especially for families with children, who now also have to do home office and are not used to it. For those that still have to go to work with worries in their hearts. For the care givers, doctors, retailers and tradesmen, delivery people and craftsmen, farmers and all the small and medium sized companies and self-employed people, that are confronted with big problems and worries and sorrows.
I see you and you’re brave. True heroes. I have nothing but gratitude and respect for you and I’m thinking of you!
But maybe you too find something in this post, that might spread some light onto your sorrowful soul and that nurtures it with positivity and calmness.
I’m not free from sorrow either, but I decide consciously for hope and optimism.
And I share it with you. I hope your arms are open so that you can embrace it.

Take care, stay at home, stay safe and sound.

xx

Gina.

* the #sundaystory will be paused until my upcoming book is published. I need my resources now to keep my business running and creativity flowing. I hope you understand that. Please bear with me.

#writerswednesday: Happy New Year! 2020

© Thorsten Marquardt, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019 – full text at end of post –

My dears,

I wish you all a Happy New Year!

A new decade is lying ahead
and I hope we use it to spread
ideas and inspiration
reflection and some contemplation
breathe it in and smile some more
set the sails and move from shore
into the great wide sea
to grow, become and be
what and who we are meant to be.

It’s exactly collaborations like these that make my heart jump and be even more passionate about art.
There are these moments where you’re having a really nice and interesting conversation and then, when continuing the exchange via email, something great is forming itself.
Thanks to Thorsten Marquardt, who sent me this picture, which gave me – in connection to our conversation – the inspiration for this poem and thanks to his efforts it now looks the way it does, as he put the text around the picture.
I truly appreciate the exchange with others, as I always say
Inspiration through Communication
And this is proof that it works.

Thanks to everyone who worked with me in 2019, who gave me insights, impulses, feedback.
Nothing of it goes unnoticed.

I thank all the people I was allowed to meet on my way and to collaborate with from the depth of my heart.
2019 taught me a lot. About goodbyes and hellos, about exchange, about nurturing, needs vs wants, about people, life and art. And so much more.
Not only do I thank all the people, who made the year so insightful and meaningful as it was, but I also thank the year itself for having been such a good teacher.

To all of you reading this: I wish you all the best for the new year, the new decade, I hope you had time to reflect on the past, be in and enjoy the present and look into the future with a hopeful heart and determined mind.

The sails are set
and I bet
the wind is soon to come
to move ahead and move along
into a wider space
from place to place
and home once more
into the water and back to shore
ever moving
ever growing
as life itself
a water flowing

© Gina Laventura, 2019

© Thorsten Marquardt, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

poetry, passion and perseverance
let us endure the loss of what once
was our home, our harbour, we were safe
the slight remembrance
and subtle memory, we take to our grave
written in our bones, our chest, our breath,
the idea of paradise after death,
the holy land
after the end,
giving hope, but causing pain,
so we write and love again and again,
to go back
but we lose track
and for the apple we reach
although they teach
us to withstand temptation
but in secret contemplation
we are all half sinners, half saints
and the idea of paradise
faints
and lives only in hopes and dreams and memory
and in art we see
what once
was our home, our harbour, we were safe.
persevered through poetry, passion and prose
and from the grave
they rose
into the holy land.
a longing, a dream, a missing
that will barely end.

© Gina Laventura, 2019

#freelancefriday: Myths and Prejudices

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#freelancefriday: Myths and Prejudices

Hey my dears,

today for something different.
First, I told you I prepared something to make up for my belated #writerswednesday post and secondly, I thought this idea was a good one.
As I talked to other creatives and also listened to the German podcast Creative Kraut* from a good friend of mine, this idea popped up in my mind and stayed there, so I thought it might be interesting for you to read a little bit about the life of a freelancer.
Why am I entitled to speak about these things? Well, mostly because I have been working as a freelancer for 6 years now, officially, woop woop.
Six years?! Yep, instead of searching for a part time student job, I decided to build up my freelance business beside my studies.
Sounds so cool, right? Haha, well, if I did my calculation right, there were many months in which working a part time student job would have been wayyyy more lucrative 😀
But, I learned a lot along the way and it brought me where I am today.

And since nowadays on all the platforms setting up your own business and leaving your corporate job and do what you love is so intensively and extensively promoted, I thought you might be interested in me sharing a part of my journey and thoughts upon it.
What do you think? Good idea or rather “hard liquor idea” (Schnapsidee is what we call it in German, don’t ask me why, probably because your ideas after consuming hard liquor might be quite, erm, weird?!)
So, let me know, if you’d like me to continue this series in the comments below or as usual on any other platform like Facebook or Instagram or even via email.

What I prepared for today is to do away with some of the myths and prejudices that are connected to the perception of freelance work.
I’ll post a statement, just like the ones I have heard or read in the eyes of my interlocutors, and then touch upon them.
Of course, as always, the answers derive from my own opinion and experience and are not to be generalised.

Little disclaimer: I write from the perspective and experience of a freelancer working and living in Germany. Of course, certain regulations and have-to’s might differ in your very own country. I would love to hear about freelance work in other countries, so please feel free to share your experience!

So, let’s start with the myths & prejudices:

1. Oh, wow, so you don’t have to work 9 to 5 and can schedule your work as you please!

Well, it depends on the job you got booked for.
If you’re booked for a coaching session on a regular basis or giving courses, of course you have to show up when it’s supposed to take place, huh?
But sure, preparing and the work afterwards you could do when your time allows, as long as you are prepared for the next session.
If it’s a job with a deadline but no schedule in between, it might seem as if you could sleep in and paint your nails all day and then just work one hour here and one hour there.
But let’s assume you have more than one project running at the same time (which by the way is not unusual, as it has something to do with money, too, but I’ll come to that in a minute) and then you have to be an effing master of time management to not lose track and guess what, my dears, often you end up working late and you don’t have a weekend and due to that it might also happen that you forget which day it is at all.

2. THAT is your rate per hour?! You’re earning a fortune!!

Phew, okay, breathe in, breathe out.
Yes, my hourly rate is higher than what you earn in your regular job if you take your monthly income and divide it by your working days and then hours.
True.
BUT: I don’t have a boss that pays a certain percentage or even half of my health insurance. I am my boss. Means I pay 100%.
Depending on the field you work in, you might be obliged to take a private insurance, as is often the case for freelancers in Germany.
Little note: we make a difference between freier Mitarbeiter and Freiberufler, which could be translated as free employee and freelancer, so the latter is mostly by definition a lawyer, architect or – like me – someone working in a creative field, like an author for example.
And private insurance is never cheap.
Furthermore, I don’t have paid vacation. Every day I don’t go to work is a day I don’t earn money.
I repeat: Every day that I don’t go to work is a day that I don’t earn money.
Let that sink in for a moment.
And yes, that means for many freelancers that they go to work although they are ill as a dog, because they simply can’t afford to be sick.
Additionally, I run on projects. Sometimes a project contract is as long as one year, sometimes it’s some months and sometimes it’s a short term thing, like editing a book within a week.
That my friends, means that I have to earn as much as possible in a short time span because in most cases, if you’re not lucky, you don’t have a following project already signed, so it might happen that you have to live on your savings for months or longer. (Note: Your fix costs are still gonna be booked from your bank account, because they don’t give an eff whether you have income or not)
That, connected to what I said before, leads to many freelancers taking nearly every option for a job, even many short term ones, to ensure they have enough savings if the next project start is delayed.
And that in turn makes many freelancers end up having no weekend at all but working their butts off in order to gain a feeling of pseudo-security.
And now, my dears, imagine that nearly 80% (number is estimated, no proof) of the people interested in your services try to press your prices down and negotiate with you.
Try not to look desperate and to keep some self-confidence and self-worth remaining.

3. It’s really cool, you can choose your projects and your work is so diverse, it must be exciting!

Mh, yes and no.
Yes, it’s true, the work can be very diverse as you might be editing a cook book for one client, translate a website for a coach, go on trade fairs as a translator for cosmetics and support the relaunch of the virtual spaces of a shoe company.
Sure, it’s diverse. And that’s an absolute lovable trait to freelance work, to my mind.
But it also means, if all or some of the projects are running in parallel, that your brain needs to work quickly and to stay flexible enough to jump through three different topics within 12 hours and still deliver the best work it can. Or within a week you might have to change the writing style, switch your brain from one language to the other and stick to appointments and schedules.
So, yes, it is exciting and you get many insights into different fields of work and you can learn amazingly much!
(How many things I learned from editing texts about topics that voluntarily I would never have dived into as deep. And then suddenly you find yourself on a party talking about digitalisation, smart homes, finances and medicine, just because your brain remembered the pages you edited. haha)
So, yes, it is exciting, but it can also be very exhausting.
And on some days you just wish you had “a normal life”, come home at the same time of the day and then be free to do the things that need to be done (grocery shopping, household stuff) – because guess what, besides all the project and topic hopping, that needs to be done, too in a freelancer’s life – and then chill with a good book or your favourite movie.
But it would be a lie if I claimed that it’s not diverse or not exciting. Of course, not every project is a wow one, and even in projects you love there are days where you just don’t feel it.
But that’s definitely a trait of freelance work that I consider exciting.

So, so much for the myths.
Before people start arguing now, let me take a stand for myself:
1. I don’t mean to say that freelance work is shit because you don’t get paid vacay or because you have to work a lot and have to deal with a certain insecurity when it comes to projects. I don’t mean to complain about that, either, cause you could say “Well, that’s what you chose. Nobody forced you. You can still go and search for a regular job. It was your decision.” and I wouldn’t have any counter argument against that.
2. Neither do I mean to belittle regular jobs and praise freelance work or claim that freelance work is more stressful than a regular job. Heck, no! A friend of mine is a nurse and I know how much stress that means, and yes it’s a regular job including paid vacation and health insurance, etc., and I truly admire her and her colleagues for doing what they do. Just like I admire everyone getting up in the morning, whatever they work and giving it their best.
3. My main aim is to create awareness and to do away with some of the commonly spread misconceptions as I’d call them about freelance work. Sheesh, when you look onto social media it seems like everybody’s telling you to throw your regular job into a trash bin and follow your dream and do what you love.
What I’m aiming to say is: Please consider some points of freelance work before you throw anything into the bin, okay?
Just because you’re working as a freelancer and have different project options in diverse fields doesn’t mean that you live your dream, because as stated before, sometimes you just have to take the next best offer to pay the bills, you know.

I don’t mean to put any of the jobs, be it regular or freelance, on a pedestal and talk the other one down.
Understanding in both directions is what I’d like to create.

Let me know what you think.
Are you a freelancer and loving it?
Do you have a regular job and are playing with the idea to step into the freelance life? (if so, I hope my post didn’t make you hate the idea, that wasn’t my intention. If that’s what you wanna do, do it, I just say, inform yourself and do your research and do not dreamily trip into something and when you wake up you think “what have I done?!”)
Have you experienced both sides, and if so, which one do you prefer and why?

Let me know in the comments below.

So long, my dears

xxx
Gina.

 

 

 

 

 

*[unpaid ad]

#writerswednesday: Pro vs. Passion

Beitrag auf Deutsch

#writerswednesday:Pro vs. Passion

Hey my dears,

it’s #writerswednesday again. Yes, I know I’m too late, but sorry, “real life” as the grown-ups call it, kept me busy.
But don’t worry, I’m planning on something as a compensation to make up for the delay.

So, what’s today’s topic?
We’re going to have a little chit chat about writing as a profession and writing as a passion.
Which, by the way, does not necessarily exclude one another.
But step by step.

So, let’s say you’re a writer. A passionate one. Maybe you’re a good one. Maybe even a great one.
Let us be honest, tendencies are quite high that you’re not writing for a living.
(If you are, please get in contact with me or comment on this post, I’d love to hear your opinion on all that’s gonna follow now.)

So, maybe you have tried to get your works into publishing houses or maybe you didn’t.
Well, which other options are there to work as a writer?
You could be an editor, so correcting other people’s texts, books, websites, dissertations and other academic texts.
Or you could work as a copy writer in an advertising agency or a marketing agency.
If you have profound journalistic knowledge, maybe you’re even working for a newspaper or magazine. As a writer. Or editor.
Or as something completely different, as it is quite often the case.
But let’s assume your work has something to do with writing, be it building headlines and capturing texts in order to market a product or be it reading and correcting books or other written works.

It was in Austin Kleon’s books Steal like an Artist* and Show your Work* that I was confronted with the idea that instead of aiming for a writing career there is a moment of bliss when your writing hasn’t been commercialised yet, because you can follow your passion and be as free as you want to. No expectations, no briefings, no deadlines, no customer that wants some particular text from you.
In that moment, years ago, when I read it, I was a bit taken aback by this utterance, but the more I thought about it, the more it dawned on me what he meant.
A similar thing is what I experienced in my academic work, because as long as I could choose a topic and hold a presentation on it in a manner which was rather free, besides the design of the slides that was mandatory, I felt like doing exactly what I wanted to do. But once I was asked to write a term paper with all its framework and structure and requirements, I felt so under pressure and was so concentrated on making my academic work fit into the framework, that I actually didn’t pay as much attention to delivering the content in an understandable and logical manner. (I know there is a problem with this example, as presentation and written term paper are two different mediums, but let it just sit here for the sake of the argument, okay? thanks.)

Anyway, as long as your art is not commercialised (yet) you can do what ever you like as you’re not obliged to please a client.
Of course, you should keep your audience in mind and create content that they hopefully gonna love, but that’s not the same as someone yelling at you “THAT is what I paid you for?!”.
You get the idea, I guess.

So, does this now mean that as a professional you’re not passionate?
And vice versa: A passionate creative is not professional?

Well, I’d object both ideas.
But, I’d say the way in which you burn for your own projects differs from the passion you put into your professional work.
My professional services range from text creation to translations, editing and professional storytelling to writing texts for special occasions and I wouldn’t say that there is no passion whatsoever behind it. I love this kind of work!
But I have to admit, the process of creation oftentimes differs from a spontaneous poetic idea that you can’t write down quick enough before it slips through your fingers.

On the other hand, when concerned with my own creative projects, I do not lack a professional approach when it comes to organising a photo shooting, planning in advance or when preparing photo and text combinations.
For instance my Instagram account displays mostly my passionate creative projects and not my booked professional work. But I do plan and organise which post goes together with which picture, when to post it, etc., so I’d claim there is a professional approach towards it.
Admittedly, if I do not stick to the planned postings because I don’t feel like it and prefer another idea, of course, in this field I’m free and flexible to do as I please, which is not the case with a booked service.

Nevertheless, I wouldn’t claim that profession and passion exclude each other.
But the emphasis might differ.

The question is:
Will you really lose your passion once your art becomes your profession?

I for my part, cannot give any hands-on advice on that, as my professional work and my passionate creativity revolve both around language and writing, but differ concerning the content and purpose.
But I know from a friend, who used to draw passionately, that once she had to draw for clients, she felt like losing the passion for what used to lighten up her days and meant fun and relaxation for her.
I’d claim there are often phases, whether it’s writer’s block or just being fed up with something you used to pursue passionately in your free time, but once it gets to the level that you can’t find any joy in it anymore and feel the urge to quit it all together, maybe reconsidering your choices and then adjust them, might help you not lose your passion.
For me personally, I think it is a bliss that everything I do is more or less connected by the red thread of language and text, but that professional and passionate work (because actually, it’s both work, though one might be paid and the other not or not in the same manner) differ content-wise.
If that is possible for you, maybe that’s an option for you, too.
I know others who would get distracted by having so many different projects running and who prefer to concentrate on one approach or method or type of work completely. (Which I can understand completely btw!)
And it’s not that I chose all my work to differ to this extent, but it just took its way in that direction for now and I see the positive in it.

Fortunately, I never got to a point where I considered giving up writing all together.
Giving up Instagram? Yes.
Deleting Facebook? Yes.
Stop blogging? Yes.
But writing itself and for itself? Never.

Whether that was now supported by the fact that my professional and passionate work differ or whether it’s just written into my bones and onto my heart, I can’t define.

What’s your opinion and/or experience with that?
Did you make your passion your profession and regret it afterwards?
Do you purposely not make your passion your profession?

Please share your thoughts, I’m eager to know.

So long, my dears

xxx
Gina.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

#modelmonday: The Carnival of Characters

Beitrag auf Deutsch

#modelmonday: The Carnival of Characters

Helau & Alaaf, my dears!

Well, if you don’t know what that means, probably you’re not from Germany and/or have never lived in areas where carnival a.k.a Fasching (in my area we call it Karneval) is celebrated.
No prob, it’s a great festivity before Lent, with a long tradition, where everybody dresses up as someone or something else and celebrates with parades and music (and a lot of booze).
It’s not comparable to the colourful carnival de Rio, obviously, as the weather mostly isn’t as spectacular, but many people across Germany get feverish for the 5th season, as it’s also called.
[if you want to know more about this tradition, which has its roots in Christianity, let me know or ask uncle Google or aunt Wiki :p ]

So, now, Gina, is modelling like a great carnival in front of the cam?
Do you feel like wearing a disguise or dressing up as someone else when you work as a model?

Well, for me personally, my work in front of the cam is not comparable to carnival.
Although I participated in photo projects in which I felt like wearing a disguise or rather like an actress playing a role and slipping into a different character.

dw-foto-art
justyhmakeup

But in my personal case, I have to say that modelling showed me rather more of my own facets than taking me away from my own character, I’d say.
I think, the fearful thoughts of a mother, when the kid says “Mum, I’m gonna become a model!” swirl around things like “Great, now they will get superficial, compare themselves constantly to other models, take their measurements three times a day and only eat cotton pads soaked with orange juice!”. Ergo: Panic!
And by no means do I intend to diminish or belittle these worries.
The age, in which many of the girls and boys start entering the model business, is a fragile one, one, in which the self-confidence and character is not yet as stable as to deal with the constant competition, the comparisons and the many rejections without taking it personally or connecting it to oneself and one’s body.
On the other hand, we could say that youngsters don’t have to enter the model biz for that, as peer dynamics and peer pressure do the same.
That’s what I know from my instagram-free youth. Nowadays the oh so social media just adds to it.
But what I’m aiming at, is that youngsters and young adults will end up searching for themselves and their uniqueness by trial and error anyway. One day they will run around like a hippie without a bra and the next day they’ll wear fake lashes looking like a femme fatale.
I am not denying that the pressure in the model industry, especially if pursued as a professional career and not a hobby, is another dimension!
Important note here: No matter, whether it’s normal peer dynamics or whether your children, friends, etc. decide to start modelling, let them try out things, but if you detect dangerous and harmful changes in their behaviour and thought patterns, please do talk to them! That’s my humble opinion.

Talking from my own experience, I can definitely say that there were moments in which I compared myself to other models concerning height, measurements, weight, outward appearance, hair, style, body and work ethic. But probably every employee and amateur pursuing a hobby does the same.
We compare each other and our work.
And probably that’s the biggest crux in this particular field of work: To make a distinction between your work and your body when it comes to modelling isn’t as easy as in other fields, let’s say a report, a product, a text.
If I wrote a text my client doesn’t like and they say “Gina, the text you produced does not fit my requirements.”, of course, I could take it personally, but there is the text and here I am. Although I produced the text, the text is not me.
But when a photographer says “Gina, your posture is a catastrophe and your body doesn’t look like the measurements on your profile, you seem more corpulent.”, to make this distinction between my work and my outward appearance, my body, the home of my soul, becomes far more complicated.
I think you get what I mean.

But it’s not impossible. It’s a lot of hard work, as is taking critique not too personal in general and to despair and doubt oneself directly, which probably everyone of you knows, be it professional, hobby wise or in personal matters.

Fortunately, in retrospect, I can say that modelling rather helped me see and understand my own facets than pushing me into crises.
To the contrary: On days, where work didn’t go as planned or when in personal situations things went wrong and I started doubting myself, my work and wondered what the eff I was doing, a look on my colourful portfolio often gave me a kick of “I am Miss fucking Laventura, I have been so many things already, a fairy, a nerd, a fashion model, an artificial being, the powerful rock girl, the delicate one, and so much more. Why the heck should I not be able to do it?!”

helena behle

JimP4nsen

dw-foto-art
justyhmakeup

vanessa marie

sw-fotografie

norbert josefsson

But, here’s a big BUT, that can also be related to the fact that first of all I didn’t pursue a professional model career, I didn’t run from casting to casting, and quite early on my focus was put on creative, artsy productions and later on on expressive pictures that I could combine with my texts. Maybe that helped me a bit to escape the pressure of the mainstream. (And I say that with all the love, I mean the popular fields of beauty, fashion, lifestyle, commercial).

By the way, I don’t mean to sugarcoat anything here. I received so many rejections that I can’t even put all the frustration, disappointment and doubts into words right here.
Agency after agency rejected me because they didn’t see good placement chances with their clients, because either my face was too special or not special enough.
So many jobs slipped through my fingers, although I fulfilled all the requirements, etc. etc. etc.

But through all this experimenting one can learn what feels natural and what doesn’t, where is the line between a facet of me and a role I play?
There were shootings in which I wore clothes and styles that couldn’t have felt more strange to me and I can say, it was a role I loved playing.

christian becker
visahamm

What counts then for me is: Did I play the role well? Does it come across as authentic?

Likewise, there were shootings that set out as a role, with which I couldn’t identify at all, and during the shooting itself I discovered that it was an unknown or even neglected facet of myself.

norbert josefsson

This playing and experimenting has the potential to teach you a lot about yourself, which can also contribute positively to self-confidence.
After a while, it becomes clear what feels natural and what feels like a role, which role is a role that I can identify with and which one goes completely against my natural disposition.
Likewise, it teaches you to reject projects that don’t fit you, no matter how versatile and flexible you are, because if it’s a role that you cannot bring across authentically, it doesn’t serve anyone.

And sometimes it’s just great fun to jump into a different character and to be someone you’re normally not.
Like on Karneval: You’re a princess, a king, a clown, a childhood hero.

The most important thing is that you always take the core of yourself with you.
And that means mostly and foremost to know yourself and to get to know yourself. Of course, laughing about and with yourself, too.
And in an ideal case it’s fun and enjoyable to be yourself.
With all the facets, crazy attitudes and quirks.

manufaktur lichtbild
andreas trnka

Did/do you celebrate carnival?
If so, what’s your disguise today? Who are you?
I’m sick, so I go as a bottle of cough sirup.
And you?

xxx
Gina.

#writerswednesday: Tips for Creativity & Inspiration

#writerswednesday: tips for creativity & inspiration

As there are many creatives out there in different fields, be it photography, film making, writing, singing, acting, modelling, dancing, painting, whatever, I realised that often they are confronted with the same or similar problems.
Some of them being in the direction of the following:

* I’m not in the mood, I don’t know where to go with my art, it feels useless what I’m doing
* I have the feeling that I’m just repeating and reproducing what I’ve already done
* I have too many ideas and my mind is all over the place so that I feel like getting actually nothing done

These and similar thoughts I myself have encountered, but I also heard them quite frequently from other creatives, as by now I know quite many of them.
That’s why I’d like to share some advice with you. And this is not just for writers or photographers or other creatives.
Creative comes from create and therefore, any task that creates something can be seen as a creative task.
Be it gardening, redecorating your home or something else.
To cope with all these negative, limiting and blocking thoughts, I’m gonna share some tips with you that helped me all along the way of my creative path.

1. Take a break, have a coffee*. Consume art.

* can be substituted by anything you like, tea, whiskey, chocolate, cake…

When you feel like not being in the mood, like having all these ideas in your mind but they don’t mould into the next great piece of art, leave it. Let it take a rest. Don’t let inspiration run away, but give it a little time.
If you feel like being really blocked from it, it can also help to consume a lot of art to get into your own flow again.
As a writer, read. And read a lot.
As a photographer or model, watch a lot of pictures, follow other models/photographers and get your inspo board refreshed.
As a film maker, watch a lot of movies.
As a cook, read recipes, watch cooking shows or youtube videos.
The list could go on like that now, but I think you already got it.
This is not to say consume a lot in order to copy, but in order to get your inspiration back on track.

2. Sit down. Turn your phone off. Produce.

When your mind is so overflowing with ideas that you’re loosing track and you always think “I don’t know where to start.” this is gonna be lethal to your inspirational flow.
Instead, sometimes, although it feels like sh*t, just take the next best thing on your list (or if you already prioritised, take the top priority), sit down and get something done. Just start.
Or if you feel totally lost, like nothing great is coming out of your mind, take one thing that has been on your to do list for a quite a while or take a small creative task and push it forward.

As Picasso said “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

So, if you’re missing inspiration, it’s not necessarily gonna come while you’re contemplating about not having inspiration, you know.
In most cases, negative thoughts create a negative environment, so why should inspiration feel invited?
Create an invitational environment for inspiration and keep on working!

3. Try something new.

If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut and you’re only reproducing and repeating things that you already did and you tend to be bored by yourself and your art, just try something new.
Again, this is not to copy someone else, but if for instance you’re a writer of romantic stories and you’re completely stuck, try to write, dunno, a detective story or something from a different genre. Just to see whether you like it or not, to challenge yourself and to keep your mind in your creative field but with a different perspective.
This can also add to your own authentic voice, because maybe you find out that you actually like this genre, or parts of it or even that you don’t like it at all. It doesn’t matter. Either way it’s gonna show you something about you and your art and work.
For me, I realised that the #sundaystory helped a lot with this. It is challenging to combine the prompts to something coherent and as the mood or tone or genre is given as well, sometimes they are completely off my normal field of creative work. But I consider it exciting and really refreshing to use my skills in a different genre and to learn and grow with it.
Of course, this also works in other fields, cook something new, wear a combination of clothes that you haven’t worn before, style yourself in a manner that you’ve never styled yourself before in, take photos of things that normally don’t attract your photographic attention, etc.
Just try something new. It’s refreshing and helps you grow and learn.
About you. About your work. About your art.

4. Communicate. Meet friends. Chitchat. Share. Exchange.

One of my creeds and believes is “Inspiration through communication”.
Oftentimes while chatting with close friends, business partners and strangers, this exchange gives me impulses that hit a spot that was untouched before. And sometimes a good conversation is all you need to get you back on track again.
More often than not, when my mind is overflowing with ideas and I don’t how to prioritise them or whether they make sense or not, calling my best friend and chatting with her over a nice cup of coffee is the best thing I can do.
It’s not only her input, although it’s a beautiful input and I feel blessed to have such great friends, but it’s also that while you’re talking to someone else, you’re also talking to yourself and in that moment you shape things in a manner that you weren’t able to when everything was just in your own head.

5. Take yourself on a date.

As much as communication and conversation with people can be inspiring and give you impulses, as much is it important to take some time just for yourself. And no, darling, I don’t mean you on your own, glued to your phone, having a ton of chats open and still communicating with others.
I mean you, yourself and you again.
And when I say take yourself on a date, I really mean it.
Don’t go to the laundry service alone with a cuppa to go and call it a date, ok?
Don’t cheat!
I really mean, if you were another person taking yourself on a date, what would it look like?
Would you go to a restaurant? A cafe? To the cinema? Taking a long walk in a park?
Whatever you consider your dream date to look like, don’t wait for anyone, treat yourself to it.
Sometimes you would find me in a cafe with a cup of coffee and a piece of cake, mostly with my paper notebook or my laptop or a book to read, enjoying some time alone, just doing things that I love and that inspire me.
And no, no, no, I don’t do it to have a cute picture to post on instagram.
I mean yes, you caught me, that happened too, but I don’t go there in the first place to promote and advertise dating oneself on social media, you know. If I do so, I do it because I’m in the mood.
One of the things that I also love doing is getting up early in the morning, when the streets are still quiet and drive into a city, any city that I like, and walk the streets, watching all the details of architecture for example, taking pictures of the rising sun between houses or a beautiful flower on a wall or anything that captures my attention and that I therefore want to capture too. It’s really an intensive feeling taking a walk alone and watch a city waking up.
Sometimes I also take a walk in a forest or in a park or at a sea, whatever I feel like. And yes, a lot of the times I’m talking to myself.
I mean, hey, this is a date, huh? And normally we do talk on dates, don’t we?

General advice: Disconnect.
In many cases it’s a good choice to enjoy these moments disconnected from emails, social media and chats.
This is not a necessity, but it helps you refocus on what’s important to you without comparing yourself and your art to others and their work. And this gives you more freedom in your mind to work on your very own business.
You can still share the pictures you took, the things you’ve done, the experiences you made later on, but grant yourself a little time to really feel them inside of yourself.

I hope these tips and advice gave you some impulses on how to get yourself and your creative energy flowing again.
Of course there are many more things that I could put on this list and I might make a series out of it, but right now, I don’t want to bore you until the last spark of inspirational flow ran out by reading a blog post that was waaaayyyy too long.

Plus, guess what I’m gonna do? Yup, I just heard some coffee call my name. Can you hear it, too?

Reclamation – A poem in episodes

The special series I announced on my blogwarming party

a poem in episodes, by gina laventura

norbert josefsson

Don’t label my body
As if you had the right to
Cause you don’t

norbert josefsson

Don’t try to narrate my story
As if you had the right to
Cause you don’t

norbert josefsson

Don’t bathe in my glory
As if you had the right to
Cause you don’t

norbert josefsson

This body is not yours to label

norbert josefsson

This story is not yours to narrate

norbert josefsson

This glory is not yours to bathe in

norbert josefsson

You don’t own me
I only owe to fate
I write my story
I worked for the glory
Your bodies
Narrate different stories
And that is fine
But my body is my body
And my story
With all its failure and its glory
Is mine

Gina Laventura © 2017

A huge thank you to everyone who hopped over to instagram and followed the series there bit by bit and for all the comments and feedback.
It was a very special series that we produced last year and that I didn’t want to publish “just like that”, or just instantaneously (see what I did there?), so it was clear to me that I’d publish it when the frame was set. And when the blog finally went into relaunch and I was able to present my new virtual home to you, it felt like best choice that this series should be the first decoration on the long wall.
I hope you enjoyed it. A lot of energy and emotion fled into this one.

Blogwarming Party

Hier Beitrag auf Deutsch lesen

norbert josefsson

Welcome!

Grab a drink, take a seat or join me on the dance floor and let’s celebrate together.
The sofa is already there, decoration is not yet complete, table and chairs are ordered but not yet delivered, so take some cushions and make yourself comfortable in my place of creativity, my new virtual home.

Just like a housewarming party where not everything is 100% ready and perfect, I throw this blogwarming party today, where the frame is set, new layout plastered on the walls, but some details might still be added or removed in the course of the coming weeks.
Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy it here and that you come over and visit me often.

After two years of not blogging, many months of planning the new layout, structuring ideas and setting up a whole strategy and subject schedule, pulling all-nighter after all-nighter in order to progress and proceed here, my fingertips are still covered in colour, my hair’s a mess and I’m still sweating.

But you see me with a smile on my face as it feels good to be back.

Let me give you a quick “room tour”. – Everybody should know where the loo and the fridge with fresh beer is, huh? –
On top you find the different topics.
The portfolio offers you an insight into my photo and video repertoire.
The about section offers you information on me, this blog and my work. Same in German below.
The services section gives you an overview of the services I offer on this website, including modelling and writing with the specific services of poetry & prose for special occasions and professional storytelling.
Contact & booking explains itself, I guess.
The Creative Chaos Cloud shows you all categories which you can find blog entries about, so that you can quickly get to the topics you’re interested in.

So much for the room tour, I hope you’re gonna find your way and if you still have questions, don’t hesitate to ask me. I’m trying to be a good host, you know.

What are the plans for the next weeks, what do I offer and why should you come back?
First of all, I’ve worked hard on a concept and contents that might be of value and interest for you.
So, here is what I came up with:
I will blog four times a month, so once a week about topics connected to the different fields I’m working in. One topic a week, that is.
Thus, what you gonna get is this:
#modelmonday: Information for models and photographers, funny anecdotes I experienced during 10 years in front of the camera and other info connected to this field.
#writerswednesday: Information for writers and readers, food for thought, inspiration and impulses revolving around writing and reading.
#socialsaturday: Random topics connected to us humans interacting with one another, social phenomenons, questions, perspectives, impulses on social topics.
#sundaystory: Yes, the sundaystory will be back and we gonna play again. If you don’t know what the sundaystory is, please click here. I will announce the next round early enough, but this won’t be before August probably, as I still owe two of my readers their stories.

After this blogwarming party, where you can take your time to stroll around and look at the redecoration, the new furniture and features, there will be a special series on the balcony, a.k.a instagram. So, don’t forget to check out my plants on the balcony, too.
Plus, I will also take you with me behind the scenes of creative productions in the insta stories.
The special series has been a production with Norbert Josefsson, which we produced last year, but I considered it so beautiful that I kept it for a special moment.
And I think that moment has come now.
So every day, starting on Friday, 15th June, I’m going to post one picture with text on instagram and facebook, which will add up to a series of six. On Thursday, 21st, you will get the complete series here on the blog as well as on instagram.

After the special we will start off with the first sundaystory on the 24th, as it has been two years of me owing these stories to two of my readers.
I hope you’re still there and I hope you still gonna read it.

Which leads me, after the organisational part, to the speech I’m supposed to give on such an event before everybody starts popping bottles like crazy – or at least that’s what I’m gonna do –.
Ahem, clink clink, ladies and gents, may I have your attention please: (you better grab another shot and drink, this is gonna take a while – or just skip the part written in italics – the perk of being here virtually and not in reality)

Thanks for being here tonight, for sharing this moment with me, for taking some time out of your busy day to join this celebration.
I’d like to thank all of the followers here on WordPress that stayed although I haven’t blogged for two years, which, in nowadays time is like an eternity.
Also I’d like to thank all the followers on instagram that didn’t unfollow when I didn’t post for six months, which is close to social media suicide.
I’d like to thank the virtual community for staying with me, supporting me and being patient with me.

Most of all, I’d like to thank the people, especially my closest friends, who virtually and in real life sent me their positive vibes and words, who encouraged me to keep up the work, who relentlessly kept asking about my work, my art, my blog, my writings and my poetry, who invested their time and energy to provide me with tipps and tricks, good advice and knowledge about social media, who gave me input and impulses for new content, who were patient with me when I asked for advice and feedback and who were loving and caring when I had to say “no” to events and instead had to sit down and work, who shared their nurturing positive energy with me and who knowingly or unknowingly inspired me and fuelled my motivation.

Without all of you, your patience and support, we probably wouldn’t be celebrating today.
It wasn’t an easy time and task, but now we’re here and I raise my glass to all of you. I’m forever grateful.

martin zethoff

Now enough of the talk and enjoy your time here, I hope you gonna stay a little longer and come back frequently.
If you have any questions, let me know.

xxx
Gina.

My Catalyst for Creative Impulses

My dears,

It’s already been a while since I’ve been blogging.
But I’m on it, working on it.
But here’s something, I wanted to invite you to:
Follow me on Instagram!
Why?
Because, you know, sometimes, when it’s just too busy a time to sit down and write a blog post (including obsessive paranoia about spelling mistakes resulting in three circles of proofreading..), but still inspiration hits you hard, you need to find a way to release that creative pressure.
And I found a catalyst for those inspirations that jump on me in moments when I’m most busy and in the flow, mainly when I take a short coffee or tea break from working.
Well, that catalyst is Instagram, because with the app InstaQuote I can create neat little pictures with texts on it and upload them on Instagram and Facebook with just one click.
So, if you don’t want to miss out on anything, I invite you to follow my Insta profile to stay tuned.
Of course this doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop blogging, it’s just a way to release the pressure that builds up when inspiration strikes me, but I don’t find the time to create a full blog post here.
Here are some results that I’ve created so far:

This one was the first one I created and I felt so released afterwards
gina-laventura-remaining-scars-victory-memory-free-set-me-free-

The following one was my contribution to Valentine’s Day (for all the cynics out there 😉 )
gina-laventura-valentines-day-cynics-my-hail-to-love-storm-wind-compass

The following one has the caption:
“Talent is fine, but in order to live up to your full potential, passion is essential. Passion and the will to pursue and to persist. To pursue your dreams and to persist on your goals. And to persevere when it gets hard.”

IMG_3699

And of course I use it for funny things as well 😉
gina-laventura-workout-selfies-gym

Please tell me what you think?
Do you have any recommendations for other apps that might be helpful?
You can comment here or on Facebook or on Instagram.

I hope a wonderful and joyful Easter weekend is ahead of you.
All the best and stay tuned. 🙂

xxx

Creating Controversial Content

Gina16Oct12-192
Photo & Editing: Dave Greensmith, 2012

Controversial content can raise awareness, right?
Often it does.
A “Fuck” in the title is almost a guarantee for clicks and reads, isn’t it?
And when you utter a controversial sentence, you can assume that a huge discussion will break loose, right?
Controversies polarise and that’s why they often gain attention.
That’s why many people use controversies on purpose.

I once created controversial content.
But not on purpose.
I created content. The story Underground.
And back at that time (still on the old blog) I got a response to it.
A response that showed me that I actually had created controversial content without being aware of it.
Suddenly, when reading this comment, I was confronted with a critique of this story, because the comment criticised the headscarf that is mentioned.
It was said the headscarf was a sign of oppression through the patriarchal system.

My first reaction to that?
“Sh*t, I need to delete this story, it’s controversial and bears the potential to polarise.”
I was shocked because I didn’t expect this controversy to arise from this story.

But you know what the good thing about a critical comment is?
It makes you shift your perspective onto the very thing you created.
Because what happened next was that I started arguing for the story, like I would defend my argument when it comes to literary analysis.
So I was wandering through my room with a cup of tea in my hands and hold an imaginary dialogue, or monologue, and said
Well, first of all, neither is the headscarf condemned nor is it glorified in this story, second, don’t read too much of the author into the work, as it’s only the character’s perception described, thirdly, take a postcolonial reading to it and you will see that Orientalism is at work here, as the character associates exactly the attributes to the woman that can only stem from an Orientalist point of view, like “I smell a thousand scents of the Orient, spices and perfumes, bodies and wood, sand and the sun.”. Furthermore, this aspect is even criticised in the story when it is said “[…] I want to listen to two thousand and two stories told by her.”, which aims at showing that still the stereotype of “1001 Arabian nights” is at play here, because although the amount of stories is doubled they are still limited, which shows a critical claim that the Occidental point of view is limited and doesn’t grant the woman of Oriental origin an unlimited number of stories. On the other hand, the story also shows a disappointment raised by the fact that the perception is shaped and therefore somehow limited to a certain extent, when in the end it is said that “And I will never know her stories. And she will never know that I wrote one about her.” after the two characters separate. So, it shows the sadness that those two characters and their perception of each other and of themselves will never be as close as they could have been.
This was just a little excerpt of the monologue, but I hope you can see what I mean.
Had there not been this critical comment, probably I would never have changed my perspective on the content that I myself created.
Because, to be honest, everything mentioned in this monologue had not been in my mind while creating this story, only after receiving the critical comment and when I started arguing and discussing my own work was it that I could read more into my own work and engage differently with it.
And today I’m glad that I didn’t delete it, and I’m thankful for that critical comment, because it opened my perception towards a new perspective.

It still didn’t make me want to create controversial content on purpose, but I think it helped me overcome the fear of putting something out there that might be controversial or have critical comments as a result.

It was a perfect example of inspiration through communication and I invite you all to think about it.
I invite you to overcome your fear of putting yourself or your work out there because someone might criticise it.
Critique can be a great chance to change perspectives, to see more, experience more, and it is an interaction between you and your audience, but also between you and your work.
I’m not saying “try to take sh*t from the naysayers as something good”, no, please don’t.
But if it is a constructive critical comment, don’t be afraid of engaging with it.

So long, my dears.
Be kind, spread the love.
Be creative. Be yourself.

Dear Brother

#tbt: I once submitted this one to a flash fiction competition with the given topic of “a lie”. Unfortunately, I didn’t win, but I hope you like it. 🙂

Dear Brother,

Probably you’re going to call me a liar, as everyone else does in our neat and
narrow-minded neighbourhood.
But you’re old enough now. Happy 21st birthday, little one!
I’m not going to put all the cards on the table. I’m going to make the whole house of cards collapse! The house you call home. The house you call your life.
Where do I start? I didn’t run away like Mum and Dad told you. They threw me out. Because I didn’t live up to their expectations. And failure is forbidden in this family.
How funny and paradox, when I think about it, as our beloved parents did fail on so many levels.
Mum isn’t as perfect and loyal as everybody claims her to be. That’s why Dad isn’t your dad.
Are the thin paper walls already shaking, brother?
You wonder why I didn’t celebrate your 18th birthday with you? They told you I left everything and everyone behind me when I ran away, right? Even you. But I didn’t.
They wouldn’t let me enter the house anymore. So I climbed the neighbour’s tree to watch you celebrate in the garden. Eating colourful cake and sipping soda. By the way, Mum didn’t bake the cake herself as she told you, she bought it at Cosmo Cupcakes down the road. I sat in that tree and saw you eating cake while Dad was filling up his tea with booze and Mum was locking herself in the shrubbery to call one of her lovers. Oh, and while you were enjoying your perfect party, I saw your oh so perfect girlfriend making out with your best buddy behind the hedge.
What a lovely party it was!
Remember when Mum and Dad told you they wouldn’t like you to participate in those BMX competitions because they were afraid you would get injured badly? Well, actually they thought you weren’t good enough.
And failure is forbidden in this family.
Dear Brother, you’ve been living a lie.
And that’s the truth.

Yours faithfully

Lying Lucy, the shame of the family

Mirror Madness

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Photo & Editing: Ralph Wietek

Fitting to the upcoming Halloween, here something uncanny 😉

Mirror Madness

The uncanny. The unfamiliar. Something that doesn’t feel familiar, not like home anymore. The other. And yet it is in my home. Should normally be an image of myself and not of the other.
It’s dark and quiet, I am alone. The familiar noises muffle and shuffle away and what is left is silence. While I’m wandering around searching for something known, something familiar, even the sound of my feet on the old floorboards sound strange. I switch on the light and I’m frightened. What I see there should be familiar, known, but it scares me. As if this pretended image of myself suddenly could start a life of its own, turn into another direction, even wink at me! Like in this nightmare years ago, where this person, caged in modified glass, looked at me from strange green eyes, laughing, maybe even laughing at me, winked at me and stuck out its tongue and nobody was there, who could have helped me, nothing familiar that could have put this person into its place. The world was sleeping. And I was alone with this stranger.
I shake my head and sneak into the bathroom. Cold water will revive the senses.
But after drying my face, I look up from the towel and it’s there again, this strange person. I try to gain control by forcing it to do what I do. I do grimaces, it does as well. I laugh and smile, but what laughs back and smiles back, or better to say smiles at me like a maniac, is not me! Can’t be me! I don’t want it to be me!
And a feeling that had been banned from my body for so long, crawls up through my feet, first slowly and then rapidly and lies down heavily on my breast: Fear.
I’m frightened and scared, I can barely breath. I am alone. Could somebody please come and set an end to this mirror madness?
The fear grows. Even after turning away from the framed glass, it feels as if this strange person was still there, as if I wasn’t there anymore. I try to feel myself, to gain back ground under my feet and to tell myself that I am still there and that I am stronger than the stranger. But I don’t feel myself, I’m not there.
Fear paralyses. And paralysed I dare one step after the other, slowly, through the omnipresent uncertainty.
Finally! A familiar sound in front of the door, a key, a shrieking noise. I am not alone anymore.
For an instance my fingertips start getting warmer again and I decide to set an end to all this by going to bed. Tomorrow will be a better day.
A last hesitating glance over my shoulder. It stares back. Does its mouth move? Does mine? Do I smile?
I touch my face, but my fingertips and my face feel unfamiliar. Nothing is familiar anymore.
It’s unfamiliar. It’s uncanny.

Gina Laventura © 2014

Enough

#tbt: Enough!

Nobody ever thought that she’d leave them.
But she left them all.
They fought too much or not enough.
Why she left them? Because they didn’t have the right perception of her. And she couldn’t convince them to change their view.
Is it now her fault because she was incapable to show them what she considered the right view? Or is it theirs because of their incapability to change their view because they were stuck in their narrow-minded boxes? She doesn’t know.
Maybe this isn’t about fault at all. But sometimes she wonders why they perceived her like they did. How could they think that she’d never leave? Never go away? Never get sick of all the arguments, all the little heartbreaks, all the aspects that caged her in a personality that wasn’t hers? How did it occur to them that she was for granted?
She never took any of them for granted. Nothing was sure for her.
And yet some of them left. Well, not actually and really, because they didn’t tell her that it was over. But they separated from her before she made the final cut.
In their minds. There the process of separation started. As it is always the mind where things start. And the heart of course.
Her gut always seemed to be smarter than her. But she didn’t listen.
She kept on doing what she did, endured what she didn’t have to endure. Because she thought she had to learn to stop being a little runaway and learn how to endure.
Until one fine day it was enough.
And then she left.

Gina Laventura © 2013