#writerswednesday: Pro vs. Passion

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#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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#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.

Insight into Labelled Love: Terms

On Instagram there is this #6wordchallenge and a fellow writer, @joshuacallawaypoetry challenged me to participate.
I ended up having more than one inspiration, but one was actually taken from one of the chapters of Labelled Love, a little bit modified, but nevertheless.
So, instead of just using it on insta, I thought, I’m going to share the whole chapter with you to set it into context.
Enjoy the read, my dears 😉

Terms

Stamps, labels, scales, measurements.
This seems to be the way we understand the world, our surroundings.
In her life, she was allowed to experience the miracle of unconditional love.
A love without conditions.
Without thinking “I love you, but…”, or “I love you, but only if you…”.
The universe had allowed her a glimpse on the utmost and only truth: Love.
A small glimpse, the rush of a moment and since then, she understood that she was able to love someone without expectations, without ‘buts’ and ‘ifs’.
That was why she revolted against stamps, scales, measurements and labels. They just didn’t matter to her.
Once she had discovered that she loved him, that was the only thing she needed to know.
Where would it go from there? Would she be defeated? Tricked and fooled again? Would she fly too high and fall too hard?
She banished those fearful thoughts and exchanged them with the only reasonable answer or contra question possible:
What does it matter? Does it matter at all?
If she fell, she’d get up again. This might be the most stupid and risky or the best and most moving idea ever. Anyway, it would be an experience.
Truth or dare? She dared the truth.
And she was rewarded by the soft words of a smart young man, who didn’t care about labels either. He told her that the term ‘relationship’ was what they both would define it as. And that they would discover this definition together in time.

Gina Laventura©2014

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

Why Editors matter

Dieser Beitrag ist auch auf Deutsch verfügbar

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And with editor I mean reader, like the person who does the proofreading before something goes out into public.
Why is this work an important work?

Well, first things first.
We are social beings and our interaction with one another relies on communication, be it verbal or non-verbal. “We can not not communicate” as Paul Watzlawick said.
And of course we know that there are different purposes or intentions why we communicate, or at least this is what you’re taught when you study language and literature.
I don’t necessarily want to go into the details of Friedemann Schulz von Thun’s model of “the four sides of a message”, where he says a message has an informative content, an appeal/plea, self-revelation and says something about the relationship between the speaker and their interlocutor. If you’re interested in further details, you can check them here.
But for the sake of the argument let’s stick with this:
A message can be informative, appellative, persuasive or convincing.
So, when talking about business communication, say you want to sell a product or a service, but also in private communication, say you want to convince someone of your argument, I think we can agree that all these channels of communication have one thing in common: a purpose.
But what is this purpose?
When your message is informative, it’s the simple purpose that you want to pass this information, you want to feed us this information.
When your message is appellative, you want us to react upon that appeal, right?
When your message is persuasive or convincing, you want us to agree with you.
What all of these have in common now is not only that they have a purpose, but that they actually have the same purpose: You want to generate a RESPONSE in us.
But what happens if your communication fails?
Well, in the best case: nothing.
In the worst case you generate a response in us that is not the one you wanted, so you feed us information that we either don’t need or can’t handle or that we’re either incapable or unwilling to swallow.
Or your appeal was set out to generate a verbal (“say something!”) or a non-verbal (“do something!”) reaction in us. If your communication fails, we neither say something nor do we do something, in the best case. In the worst case we say what you don’t want to hear and we do exactly the opposite of what you were aiming at.
Or your persuasive or convincing communication fails and we disagree with you.
So, basically in all cases you’re getting a “no” where you actually wanted to get a “yes”, to keep it simple.

Well, nice talk Miss Laventura, but what does this have to do with editors?!
Editors – in the best case – are language lovers. Or at least they know their tools and how to use them. Their tools? Words.

Now, next lesson:
You might tend to think that the way we think determines the way we speak, so that our way of thinking influences our language, right?
Correct. But this works vice versa, and that is a point that many people unfortunately miss.
Let me give you some examples: The Inuit apparently have round about two hundred – 200 !!! – different words for “snow”. How many do you have? But why? Probably because their surrounding is essential for their survival and it is crucial for them to know what kind of snow there is in order to survive.
The Hopi Indians don’t use tenses as we’re used to using them. In the example given in our classes they tried to convert it into English, which ends up being a picture of a man who stands at a wall and in all cases says “He ran”. So, same position, same posture, always “he ran”. What is your natural reaction to that? Exactly, most probably “WTF? Did he run, does he run or will he run?!”, because these are the categories we distinguish time frames and time lines by, right? It just doesn’t get into our system of thinking. Because our language also had an influence and partly determined this system of thinking.
Of course there are easier and more popular examples like the fact that the English language doesn’t know a word for “Fernweh” – the longing for a far away place – or that simply spoken often there are some words that do exist in one language but bear no equivalent in another.

Back to the editors. As said before, they are language lovers or at least know how to use their tools.
And I don’t necessarily mean the manipulative and persuasive use of language that you often find in advertising, that is a topic of its own, although I’d say it plays similar keys on the piano.
But it’s about using stylistic devices (yes, the nasty ones you learned at school, alliteration, personification, etc.). For what? Yeah, now you got it, my friends: for the purpose! In order to get the message across, to generate a response (and when it comes to business or advertising, of course aiming at generating not only a response, but a specific one).
Language can resonate with us, it can move us, hurt us, maybe even heal us.

What I mean is this:
“The categorisation that takes place in emotional amorous relationships serves as a destructive force to the true meaning of the emotion itself.”

or

“Love becomes a lost lullaby when we label it like lipstick.”
Which one sticks better with you?

Why are we to blind to see
that a little poetry
moves so easy
from mouth to ear
so we listen, so we hear
with a smile or with a tear
what somebody has to tell?
That’s poetry’s magic spell.

(yes, just created that within a minute, wasn’t planned for this post, but hey, that’s life, response and stuff)

Okay, well Miss, now you have shown that an editor should know their tools, fine, but the title claims to give an answer to the question why editors matter.
You’re right, sorry, I’m drifting off sometimes, lovely topic of language, broad topic, amazing, love it.
Okay, I owe you an answer.
Look at the picture that accompanies this post. It’s German, I know.
The first one says “You will stay in our heart fo ever” and the second says something like “always loved and never forgtetn.”
Yes, exactly that was my reaction as well!
These hearts were sold before All Hallow’s Day, supposed to be stuck into graves.
Would you buy them? Would you put them onto a grave of one of your beloved ones?
Yeah, thought so.
But why is this a fail?
It’s not just the fact that there are spelling mistakes in it, but it bears a deeper level.
Let’s analyse it: You wanted to sell this product. You wanted us to buy this product. You offered a product and you wanted to generate a positive response, a “yes” in us, manifested in a non-verbal reaction by buying this product.
So, these products actually ending up in store and offered for purchase show different things:
First, apparently the person putting the letters on it didn’t check it. Apparently there was no editor who double-checked. Apparently there was no final check before you put the products into boxes and delivered them to the store.
But you know what the response is? No.
And do you know why the response is “no”?
Because the lack of proofreading, the lack of double-checking carries a message of its own.
And this message is that you don’t care.
That you don’t care about us, that you don’t care about our response because apparently you believe that we’re still going to buy it.
And you know what accompanies this “no”? Repulsion. Because deep down inside and subconsciously it shows a trace of disrespect and arrogance and maybe even a little insult to your potential customers.
This is just one example. Feel free to apply it to other fields.
If your website is full of spelling mistakes or you switch tenses or use wrong words, it always transports the impression that you don’t care about your readers/customers.
Moreover, you might give false information. And I think we can agree that there is a difference between “I’ve worked hard” and “I’ve hardly worked”, right?
And with that you work against yourself as by using wrong words or being careless about proofreading, you generate a response in us that is counter productive to your actual purpose and intention.
In the worst case, we will remember you as someone who doesn’t care and stop buying your products, stop reading your newspaper, not buy your book, not book the services offered on your website.
Nowadays the half-life period of a message is so short that it renders many people careless, because “nah, who cares, tomorrow this piece of information will be old and forgotten”, “nah, it’s alright, they’re gonna understand” is the mentality that we tend to live by.
It’s just language, right? And it’s just on a language level that you don’t care for us customers, right?
In person you care for us like a true nanny, it’s just the language level that lacks your attention, right?
It’s just language, eh?
Is it really?
Think about what we discussed beforehand, how language also reflects on our system of thinking. Therefore, it has an impact on our behaviour, doesn’t it?
Even if the argument “a careless behaviour concerning language shows careless behaviour in general” might be a bit too far fetched, it somehow does indicate it to a certain extent, doesn’t it? Deep down and subconsciously?
Don’t get me wrong, please, don’t take it as an offence.
I’m not saying that you don’t care about your readers or customers.
I’m just saying that this might be the subliminal message you’re transporting, the impression your readers/customers get.
And okay, not every reader or customer pays detailed attention to it, to some it doesn’t matter, but there might be potential readers/customers who will always stay exactly that: potential.
Because their reaction might be “if they care as much about me as they do about their grammar, I’m not gonna go there”.

And THAT, my friends, is why editors matter.
Because they can help prevent those scenarios depicted above from happening, because they know you, your message and your interlocutor and they find the right approach to the right channel to get it across, they can help you when all the other work concerning your project has rendered you stuck in a rut and you just want to get it done.
Because they are language lovers or at least they know their tools and how to use them.
Their tools? Words.

PS: Yes, I am cross with myself each and every single time I find spelling mistakes in one of my blog posts, although I don’t earn any money with my blog.
PPS: Yes, “love becomes a lost lullaby when we label it like lipstick” was taken from my book Labelled Love, although normally I find it strange when people quote their own works.
PPPS: Yes, well guessed, I am an editor 😉

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.

#prayfortheworld

My dears,

the posts I promised you are either in the making or were already finished and timed.
Regarding the events that took place IN THE WORLD during the last days everything else falls silent.
Therefore, today once more a poem of farewell.
In silent memory.

“With every breath we take
and every move we make
we carry them with us
the loved ones,
the lost ones.
In memoriam.”

#prayfortheworld #prayforpiece

img_1781

translated from the German original

Since death has taken you away from me
I learned how fragile life can be.
Life’s journey we all share
but seldom there are hands that care.
Now we think it’s broken, the bond
that once was so strong,
but no one can ever break this bond,
neither devil nor death are that strong,
because it defeats the storms and rises up above
and teaches us the true power of love!
This bond connects us all,
stays with us when we rise and fall,
yet it is not always perceived.
During all the things that are still to be achieved,
we carry it with us
in the depths of our hearts.
We overcome the pain and defeat the harder part
because deep down inside
we feel the caring hand at our side.
The bond did exist once and will never vanish
because it will never be banished
and continues to live within us.
With every pound our hearts are giving
the memory does carry on living
in love itself.
With every breath we take
and every move we make
we carry them with us
the loved ones,
the lost ones.
In memoriam.

Gina Laventura © 2015

One night in February


Photo & Editing: artaquis

#tbt: Once night in February

One night in February, after I had followed my never resting thoughts for way too long, I decided to do what I had been wanting to do for days, no, for weeks, and prepared to take a walk. I promised myself to only take paths that were illuminated by lamps. For safety reasons. And safety gives freedom for creativity.
So I was walking down the street, passing the houses that I pass nearly every day when driving the car, passing the lamps. At the end of the road I turned left and passed houses that I normally don’t pass that often. Past one of the big paddocks, past the farm that sells firewood and during advent season Christmas trees. Here I made a halt and wondered whether I should walk on or turn around and go back. Because the dead end before me attracted me somehow and because I realized that I have never walked it until the end, I decided to follow this feeling and to walk the path between the riding stable and the paddocks. While I was walking and dwelling on thoughts, the typical scent of horses came into my nose. I turned my head to the right and let my glance wander over the paddocks and behind them I saw the houses that I pass every morning by bus. How peacefully they were lying there, those houses with their warm lights. After having passed the extensive buildings of the riding stable, my glance fell upon an old wall and trees covering a house that stood behind. Shortly afterwards I came across the illuminated driveway to that house and that was exactly the moment where I stopped and wondered “Isn’t that what everybody is wishing for? A house in a country side like area but still not too far away from the city? A little house in an area that resembles the landscape in ‘Midsomer Murders’ and when you lift your glance a bit you can see the distant city lights? Wouldn’t this be the perfect location to live in? Finding contemplation in your little house, lying quiet beside a paddock and green fields, calmness in its pure variation and when you feel the need to get in touch with people, feel that hectic life in a city where you sometimes seem to be anonymous and sometimes just too well known by the people you meet, you just walk some minutes, take the next bus and there you are, in that beautiful, dirty, loud, pretty, familiar city of mixed odours, mixed impressions, mixed audiences, mixed shops, mixed feelings and mixed thoughts. How come that I never realized the beauty of this area so much? How come that there are paths directly beside me and still I’ve never walked them before? How can I pass all this beauty and tranquillity without even really perceiving it? Did the hectic of the city dull me so much that I had become unaware of what was going on right next to me? Does it really matter? Now I am here and this moment is just here to be enjoyed, the air is just here to be inhaled and this feeling is just here to help me find contemplation and get my restless mind sorted again.“
I walked further on, letting my glance wander around the paddocks, the green fields, the quiet houses with their illuminated windows until I finally came to the end of the dead end. Here I turned around and stood there for a while, letting all these odours, the fresh breeze, the picture of the sky with stars and everything that I perceived in that moment enter my soul. Then I slowly made my way back the road that had led me to the dead end. Past the illuminated driveway of the house that lies behind an old wall and trees, past the riding stable, past the farm that sells firewood, past the paddocks. After thinking about taking a different way back home, I decided to walk back on my own trail, a bit like a dog. Well, it wasn’t a real decision, but I just did what my inner feeling told me. So I walked past the houses that I normally don’t pass that often, looking around the green meadows and the houses and the small street with parked cars on it. As I walked further on, I watched my own feet making one step after the other, I examined the pavement as I walked on it further and further on. Shortly before the junction where I had turned left before, my look fell upon a small ball lying on the pavement. A small pink and green ball.
As I lifted my head again after having stared on that ball for minutes, my eyes were filled with tears. And out of a sudden a thought entered my mind. “You are not dead! How could you be dead when I still carry you with me in my heart in every step I take, in every decision I make, in everything I do, in everything I am? You are not dead! How could you? How could somebody dare to tell me you are dead when I feel you with me every day? When I can see you in my dreams? When I’m talking to you right now? How could you be dead then? That is ridiculous! You. Are. Not. Dead.!
How could somebody ever tell that somebody is dead? Nobody is ever really dead as long as there are people remembering this person. As long as there are memories, as long as there are photographs, as long as there are texts, diary entries, poems, stories, little notes and emotions that trace back the existence of that person, this person can’t be dead! As long as there are memories shared at a table, as long as there are conversations about that passed away person, as long as the texts are read and the photographs are watched, as long as the memorizing heart is beating and the missing tears are flooding, you can’t be dead! Isn’t that an amazing idea? How about building a house and making a room for everyone you love, designed with all the things this person is attached to? A room for mother, filled with books and green plants, with mild music and everything she loves. But wait, no, just one room for one person wouldn’t really fit to the existence of that person. This room has to be linked to another room, to the room of somebody this first person is attached to. And how you build this house doesn’t matter, whether it is done in texts or photographs, in paintings, in thoughts, in memories or really built as a small model of a big life. As long as there is a trace of your existence, you can’t be dead! Shakespeare isn’t dead, Wilde isn’t dead, Woolf and Austen are not dead because their works are still read, their biographies are still discussed, their works are still analysed, still read and people talk about them, have discussions, fall in love with them and become fans. How can Shakespeare, Wilde and Woolf be dead when the trace of their existence is still so present and vivid today? Isn’t that what every author is wishing for? Immortality.”

Gina Laventura © 2012

Gap

Dieser Beitrag ist auch auf Deutsch verfügbar

I write for you. About you.
I don’t write you.
I translate you. Into a format that I understand.
But like in all translations of great works, something might, or surely does get lost. Because the words do not suffice. Freedom of interpretation.
So I have to learn your language in order to get close to the root of this masterpiece. But like it is with a newly learnt language that is not your own, there will always remain these parts that one does not understand completely, that bear no equivalent.
So you have to learn my language in order to reciprocate me. But like it is with a newly learnt language, there will always remain these parts that cannot be expressed the way they could be in your very own language.
They will always be there, these gaps that remain unfilled, these moments that cannot be translated completely, the doors that stay locked or can only be opened not more than an inch, the rooms that one can only vaguely perceive through the keyhole.
And probably that is good.
I don’t write you. I read a foreign language.
We don’t write each other. We read.
With gaps.

And while I am writing these lines, coffee and ink drop out of my pen onto the blank paper like blood.

Gina Laventura © 2014

Blood and Ink

I bleed my heart out onto this page. This snow-white blank page.
Black ink and red blood.
Misery can create beauty and melancholy can capture pretty pictures.
One more unspoken word. Ink.
One more untold story. Blood.
The pressure becomes unbearable, so I open my mouth and I open my heart.
I speak ink and bleed my heart out.
Onto this snow-white blank page.

Gina Laventura © 2014

Oceandeep


Photo & Editing: Ralph Wietek

I tried to keep you close to me.
I didn’t succeed, I didn’t succeed.

A thousand seas I would have sailed,
but I failed, I failed.

Tried my best
to protect you from the storm that was raging in my chest,
but my best just wasn’t good enough,
so I gave up, so I gave up.

Now I’m drifting hopelessly alone
remembering the stars that shone
when you were at my side,
hand in hand facing the tide
and dreaming about a million ways,
back in those days, back in those days.

The star you were, it shone so bright
and guided me through every night,
when I think back.
The sky is black, the sky is black.

Now I’m drowning and I’m drifting,
my head barely ever lifting,
I’m longing for you day by day,
I lost my way, I lost my way.

I face the ground of the ocean deep
and when I weep
my tears drop deep into the water’s blue.
I’m missing you, I’m missing you.

Finally, I found a way to soothe my aching heart,
an ending would become a new start.
On the ocean’s ground a fallen star became a gem,
we’ll meet again, we’ll meet again.

Gina Laventura © 2015

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

Underground

I enter the underground. It’s packed, but there is a free seat next to a woman of distant origin. Round about forty. She’s rummaging in her handbag, but takes it onto her lap and shuffles around to make space for me. She gives me a smile, barely noticeable, but a smile so full of warmth that it touches me.
I sit down beside her and inhale. I smell a thousand scents of the Orient, spices and perfumes, bodies and wood, sand and the sun. Her headscarf is perfectly wrapped around her pretty face. She’s beautiful. And warm. A stubborn little strand of hair has loosened itself from under the headscarf and tickles her cheek.
There is only little space between us but neither our bodies nor our clothes or belongings touch. Still, I can feel her warm skin against the little hairs on my arm and the texture of her textiles against my skin. I can feel it through the air, the space between us.
It’s not even a deep wish or a need, but an utmost urge that is crawling up inside of me:
I want to tell her how beautiful she is, how wonderful her headscarf suits her pretty profile. But moreover, I want to rest my head against her shoulder and I want to listen to two thousand and two stories told by her. Stories of sand and scents and love and people. I want to dive into her stories, close my eyes and while inhaling all these scents from far away and yet so close, I want to feel her warmth through her garments on my neck as she embraces me and listen to her voice, taking me somewhere I have never been, a world I have never seen, and maybe never will.
And it wouldn’t even matter if she told me those stories in her mother tongue and I wouldn’t understand a word of those syllables that are unknown to my ears. Because I know the sound and the waves and vibrations of words would make me understand and let me walk right next to her while she is passing through her line of talk.
Three stops later we both have to get out.
She goes her way and I follow mine.
And I will never know her stories.
And she will never know that I wrote one about her.

Gina Laventura © 2014