#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

#socialsaturday: Superficial Society

Auf Deutsch lesen

#socialsaturday: Superficial Society

Hey my dears,

actually the first idea for a title was “why do we desire that people desire what we desire?”, but then I thought it might be too long. And maybe too confusing.
But seriously, why do we do that?
Okay, okay, I see, I need to put some structure in here, otherwise we will get lost in a hundred topics.
So, give me a sec. And a sip of coffee.

Okay, back to the topic.
What distinguishes us as humans from animals?
I mean despite regular hair cuts, clothes and make-up and hot baths instead of licking ourselves clean like a cat.
Well, philosophers would say reason and language. Homo logos, you know. Which also implies a correlation between language and divine logic or sense.
Can we just wait here a second.
Reason. Well, I don’t know about you, but recently I’ve seen people doing more things that – at least for me – don’t fall under the category of reasonable than I could put in one blog post without boring you.
I mean, take simple things like throwing trash onto the street while walking when the bin is just 2 freaking meters away from you. Does that sound reasonable?
Or pushing your pram into the bus in such a way that no one can get from the front to the end while the bus driver is yelling that everybody should move further to the back and then you shout at the people who kindly ask you if there was a chance they might pass by. Does that sound reasonable?
Other way round, going to the gym to train your biceps so that every girl would fall for your trained body straight away and wants to touch it, but then being at the train station and watching a mother with a toddler and a pram and not helping her get that pretty heavy thing up the stairs, does that sound reasonable?
I think you get what I’m aiming at, but believe me, there are hundreds of millions of examples where I think doubting reason within people is kind of a daily sport.
(Btw: this doesn’t exclude myself, countless times that I kind of watch myself and then wonder “Well, Gina, was that reasonable? Is there any logical thinking left in your head or is it just on top of your neck to look good on a portrait, sheesh, girl, get your shit together!”)

Language. First, let us ask one simple, but very important question: What’s it good for?
Is it just for me to name things and so that I can define things that pop up in my head and explain them to myself?
The keyword is communication. And this means (at least according to various sources I looked up for this post) the sending, receiving and exchanging of information (or things).
But it’s about sending and receiving. Normally this includes two or more people, doesn’t it?
(Don’t judge people, who use this human tool also to communicate with themselves, it’s just you explaining your own thoughts to yourself, which I consider pretty fine, don’t worry.)
So, why and when did communication turn into one interlocutor using the other one as a stage to put their own life narration into the spotlight?
I mean.. where is the exchange?
Believe me, my dears, I commute too often with public transport and even one time forgetting your earphones makes you notice too many things around you. But on the other hand, it’s an impulse for blog posts, huh?
So, please, play this game the next time you’re sitting somewhere and listen to people talking. And I mean, for a while.
Can you find exchange? Like real exchange? Or is it rather everybody just talking about themselves and then it’s the other one’s turn?
Just observe.

Now for the desire part.
Reason and language flow into it, if you are wondering now why I talked about that before.
So, let’s take some pretty common conversation, okay?

Situation 1: Two people graduated from high school.
A: And what are you going to study?
B: I’m not going to study.
A: What?!
B: I want to do an apprenticeship.
A: Ah.

Situation 2: A student (B) living from a part-time job and a credit and someone being at the end of their apprenticeship (A) and already earning “real” money are talking.
A: And when are you going to move out from your parents’ house?
B: Well, actually I’m aiming for higher education and want to do another degree once I finished the first one.
A: So, you don’t want to move out until you’re what? 28?

Situation 3: An engaged or married woman in the process of family planning (A) and a woman focussed on her career (B) are talking.
A: And when are you going to marry?
B: Hm?
A: When are you going to marry and have children?
B: Um, dunno?!
A: Well, darling, we all don’t get younger, do we?

Why is it that we seem to desire that other people desire what we desire?
And this assumption wouldn’t even be the worst thing. The worst thing is the next step that oh so frequently follows:
Judgement.
As if our life narration was the only valid one.

If your greatest desire is to study and you have the privilege of getting a chance to do it, then value it!
There are people who would love to, but that don’t have access to education, let alone higher education.
And if your friend decides that studying isn’t their cup of tea, then congratulate them on their choice and wish them all the best.

If what you define as a desirable life includes moving out as early as possible and having a space of your own and you get the chance to get it, value it!
Maybe your studying friend would love to have a place of their own, too, but they had to decide about their priorities: flat or next degree.
Who are you to tell them they made the wrong choice just because your choice would have been different?

If your vision of a desirable life necessarily includes getting married and having children, and you found the right partner and you were physically able to give birth to healthy children, then guess what, value it!
And if you found fulfilment in that and you think “wow, now I truly know what I’m here for!” than that’s great. But who are you to tell another woman that unless she has children she doesn’t know her purpose here on earth? Isn’t that a bit harsh?
And even if she doesn’t want to, or didn’t find the person with whom she’d love to, who are you to judge someone else’s priority list?

Let me tell you something:
We will all be judged one day. But that’s not our job, believe me.
Who are we to tell other people which desire and life narration is valid and which is not?
And when did we get so presumptuous and arrogant to assume that our choices are the only right ones?
When did we forget to stay open and listen and see the world from different angles?
When did we forget to communicate?

And now for reasonable communication:
Why don’t we listen? Why do we act our lives out on a virtual and now even analogue stage as if it was the best play ever written and any other narration was invalid and less worthy?
Can we maybe change the narration?

How about

Situation 1
A: Are you going to study or do you want to do an apprenticeship?

Situation 2:
A: What are your plans and desires for the future?

Situation 3:
A: Do you want to marry and have children one day?

On a grammatical level, most yes-or-no-questions or questions without suggesting an answer, offer more space for real communication.
Be open, be interested, listen. And for the sake of an open and less superficial society: Don’t judge!
Please.

Can we maybe start asking really cool and interesting questions again?
Like
How are you?
What makes you happy?
What’s your favourite dish?

I could go on writing about this subject, but I’ll leave it at that. For now.
As always, feel free to comment here, share your opinion with me via email or Facebook or Instagram.

So long, my dears.

xxx
Gina.

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

#tbt: Winchester – Now and Then –

Dieser Eintrag ist auch auf Deutsch verfügbar

#tbt: November 2014

Two years ago I’ve spent a semester abroad in England. In Winchester to be precise.
Before coming to the main topic, the short comeback to Winchester this year, I think I have to take a detour and start from the beginning.
3 months England. 3 months Winchester. “3 months holiday”, some people think. Haha, no. 12 weeks preparing courses and assignments, working on the mid-term assignments, the mark of which contributed to the final mark. Furthermore, one had to adjust to the different “system” as even essays are structured differently there.
3 months full of interesting courses and I had the luck of meeting amazing lecturers who were truly inspiring, not only concerning the content of their courses but also concerning their method of teaching. Moreover, I had a course about the short story and that was when the prose line of my writing started.
3 months of meeting new acquaintances, but moreover, making new friends. Friends who I still keep in contact with and in whose lives I still can – due to modern communication channels – participate at least a bit.
3 months I like to remind myself of. Not because everything was peace, love and harmony in a sea of milk and honey. It was a nerve-stretching time and a lot was moving and changing and it continued when I came back home. But maybe that’s the reason why I like to remember this time. Because it was milk and honey in sleepless nights and cake combined with contemplative days.
3 months, I wouldn’t want to miss.

Interim: I came back home. The first thing I did? Taking everything out of each and every single cupboard, shelf and other storage possibility I own and sort it out. Outside the box so to speak. Making room for air to breath. Meeting friends. The friendship to my beloved people intensified and we grew closer to each other than we were before. And I’m thankful for that.
Uni. Work. Creative stuff. Inhale, taking a run-up and run. Making up time. Tearing forward in order to hopefully get where you want to get.

Fast Forward: 2014.
Finally there was the possibility of visiting Winchester again. Even if just for four days.
After the bus that started at Heathrow spit us all out at the King Alfred Statue and I was able to inhale deeply, I had to smile. The sleep deprivation and the inconvenience of travel (and yes, it is an inconvenience to ride on a bus for one hour when it smells as if a complete fish market decided to lock itself up in there), was irrelevant. Washed away. I was there.
Besides the fact that in most cases when you travel and you are “away” the atmosphere is different, England always had something special about it for me.
When saying “away” we mostly mean being “away from everyday life”, away from routine, from constant repetition. Taking a break from the meritocratic and hectic society in whose wheel we run every day just to fall out of it at the end of the day, crawling into bed and falling asleep with the feeling that we haven’t achieved enough.
At least this is how you can feel from time to time. We’re just talking about a feeling, not about it being an actual fact. And whether this is optimal or not we don’t want to discuss now, either.
But here’s the main point: I often tried to analyse why I felt so comfortable in Winchester, in England. (So comfortable, that it’s always hard for me to leave again.) Is it because of all the memories I harbour? Because of the fact that I always connect it to an aha-moment and a moving time? I really tried to analyse it over and over and over again. Do I idealise and if I’d be there for a longer time, everything would be as much routine as here, as stuck, as hectic, just the same?
For now, and I say for now, the diagnosis of my analysis is this: I personally perceive the mentality there as different. The people there also have a job, a house to clean, hobbies, friends, families, obligations, ambitions and goals. But somehow they still manage to meet their friends once a week for a pint and a round of pool in a pub or to have dinner together and talk. Without watching the clock all the time, without getting nervous and making the impression as if the length of their to-do-list just doubled because of this enjoyable time.
It’s this having time, or maybe taking time for things that make you happy. And still managing to get everything else done. But the people seem more relaxed about it. I say seem, because it is my personal opinion, my personal impression. If you want to agree, you can agree, if you can’t agree, then you don’t agree with me, that’s ok. As said, I’m talking about a feeling, not necessarily of a fact that can be proved.

I was asked “Is Winchester still the same as when you left?”
 Well, yes and no.
 Of course, the air is the same, the city didn’t change too much, although there are some new shops and some building sites. But of course, things changed, we changed. It’s been two years now and it would have been a shame if everything was still the same, wouldn’t it? We all progress and proceed with our lives and that is good, we grow and develop.
But what I can say is this: It was an absolutely amazing feeling to meet again after such a time span and seeing old friends again, catching up, sitting in a pub and talking as if two years had been nothing at all.

And no, to say “just take this relaxed attitude and atmosphere and apply it when you’re back home” and believing that this is as easy as it sounds, is just wrong.
But it’s worth a try.

#sundaystory: Light at the End of the Tunnel

IMG_2192

The information given was:
a) English
b) Light at the end of the tunnel
c) hope, end, tired
d) sarcastic

dedicated to Mathias

Work is done. I’m hitting the road with my car. Rush hour. Traffic.
I’m tired, I’m stressed, I’m exhausted.
Red lights in front of me. On the other lane white and yellow lights staring at me. Inch by inch we move.
How much this situation resembles my life at the moment, I think. I’m moving, but barely do I get forward. Everywhere I look I see red lights, stop and go, slow movement, while on the other side of the road it’s going quicker, people rushing by, leaving me behind.
I just want to get home, it’s my daughter’s birthday and I hope I make it in time to see her opening all the gift boxes. And I still need to prepare a presentation for the meeting tomorrow. Big client. Important client. Sleep is overrated anyway.
All those obligations, musts, have tos. What makes a man a good man? What makes a father a good father? What makes an employee a good employee? Here’s the path. This is how it has to be done.
No options, just obligations.
Similar to my ride in the car. You want to rush, but you can’t, unless you want to crash the car in front of you. You want to turn right, but the lane goes straight forward. Only options are the junctions, the exits. But somebody else established them.
A look on the clock. Tic toc. Time’s running, but nothing’s moving. I get nervous, angry, my hands start sweating.
Deep breath. I put my head on the steering wheel.
Oh, we’re moving again. Slowly, but moving, entering a tunnel.
The darkness embraces me as one of its own. Red lights blinding my eyes. We stop again.
I’m trapped.
In a dark tunnel.
The black walls swallow all my hope, all my senses, all my sanity.
And what they spit out is fear. A fear that creeps up my chest. Barely can I breath.
What if it is going to stay like this forever? Stop and go, but no real forward movement? Blackness around me, lost hopes, and the only thing that stays is a pain in the leg from trying to push the pedal. In vain.
The further we get into the tunnel, the more lost I feel. The more I can only think of black walls surrounding me, the red light directly in front of me, the white light directly behind me.
Everything blurs and turns.
I can’t look ahead. I can’t think ahead. I. am. stuck.
While I’m pushed and pulled by darkness, red and white dots dancing around me, mocking me, I suddenly perceive a beam. Is that the sun?
I close my eyes for a minute. I open them slowly. Inch by inch.
Yes, indeed, it must be the sun.
Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!
Oh!
The red light that beforehand was so close in front of me had moved further away.
We were moving!
Not only were we moving, but we were moving towards the sun.
Its beautiful radiance becoming bigger and bigger, smiling at us.
The darkness vanishes. Slowly. Inch by inch.
I see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Finally, I can breath again.