Age

This has been a week of rather deep talks. I had missed them. With the people around me I usually stay on the surface and it was boring me. But the last few days I was talking to two women about great ideas and interesting stuff. One of them was my mum.

We had a skype date which she had not set up. She does not use a computer, never did. She does not use internet and survives perfectly well. She does not own a mobile phone and has not been driving a car for ages, although she once got a driving licence. I admire her for that. Obviously, her life circles around the region she lives in, but with others setting it up for her, she can skype with her daughters who are spread all over the world. She forces herself out of that comfort zone of writing an unpersonal text message or a mail. I like that she must talk to people if she needs to make a call urgently. She has to approach people if she needs to be driven somewhere. She bakes bread for them or takes care of their dogs or buys them tea.

And she always says that something will come up anyway. Something will unfold, something will arise, or as people elsewhere say: Life takes care of itself. We do not have to worry. I learned that from travelling and I learned that from my mum.

Some days later I left my classmates stressing in the classroom in front of the big computer screens and took the train twenty kilometers out of Ö, where the farmer’s mother picked me up. She is over eighty, about thirty years older than my mum, and she still drives her car – though not in the dark anymore – and she has a mobile phone and we are communicating via mail. She moved into a small historical house, had some parts painted red and green and had some flowery wallpaper put up. Her family history stretches over places like England, Java and South Africa and the house is full of Indonesian gongs and Japanese figurines and old exotic frniture. She has travelled a lot herself and although she said that now is the time for her to stay at home, she told me she prefers to travel alone to be able to do what she wants. I totally agreed. And she said something very wise: Maybe you do not need a certain place that you can always come back to, that can be you center which you are circling around. Maybe it can be a person. (and later:) Maybe it can even be a table.

Advertisements

Reality Benders

This is a story about two men. They are about the same age – compared to me they are just old. One is the owner of the apartment, the other one is the main lecturer. I am sure they do not know each other. But they do have something in common.

I start with the main lecturer. He is not very much liked, because his comments and presentations are often of no value to the class. Sometimes I only go to his lectures to get information on current assignments. He talks about irrelevant and simply untrue things and gives his personal opinion and judgement instead of explaining principles. Once he insisted on a picture being taken in the newsroom of a big American newspaper, although we pointed out that all the workers there and some writings on a board in the back looked rather Asian. But he kept talking, not able to admit his irrelevant mistake, but rather defending it, as if we had attacked him personally. Either he has a very weak self-esteem which he has to defend against everything all the time. Or he really was convinced that it was an American newsroom and he had bent reality to his pleasure, so that it fit into his frame.

And that is exactly what the owner of the apartment does, too. He never buys milk but always uses the packets of the others from the fridge. (My dairy-free fourty days started yesterday, so there is no danger he would take anything from me.) And then he complains that there is no fresh milk, all of it is open for three or more days. As if he could make any demands concerning the milk of the others that he uses without asking.

He does buy other stuff though, and plenty. A treat to him is a certain raspberry juice. He let me taste it, it is pink, thick, sweet and very tasty. He says it is almost like candy, and how it is only pure raspberry, no additions, no nothing, pure and natural and yummy and healthy raspberry, one hundred percent.

It is not. I read the label. It is concentrated juice with sugar, just as every other juice is, too. I didn’t tell him. But I don’t know why he would say so and where he got the idea from. The label clearly indicates something else, but he keeps praising the totally pure raspberry juice. Maybe to make himself believe to be consuming a health drink? Bent reality.

I do not like that. I become hard and I cannot feel any empathy for those people who are unaware and who are stiff enough to be able to bend reality to their pleasure. So that is exactly what I am now trying to remind myself of: to feel empathy for everyone and get rid of aversions against reality benders and any kind of people. So that my resistance crumbles. So that I develop selfless compassion and maybe I get the chance to see amazing qualities within these people.

On blogging

I started this blog more than one and a half years ago, in my mother tongue, but I had had others before. It was definitely a literary exercise for me, something that forced me to produce some writing every Friday. By that time I was preparing for studying abroad. So it would also be a platform for reflections on my year abroad.

There is a gap where I did not blog for a while, shortly before the flight, but once I had arrived I picked up the habit again. By that time I was reading a lot about minimalism for one, and freelance blogging on the other hand. This caused the language switch to English, and I made the blog a little bit more public on social media.

There are people who give really good hints on their blogs about blogging: That you should give the reader helpful tips. That you should keep it simple and clear but also personal. That you should build a community with other bloggers and readers by commenting and linking. That you should provide  newsletters and rss to keep readers coming back. And that you should have a little extra e-book or video tutorial to attract subscribtion or even payment. That’s why most of the posts in these blogs sounded like: “The ten simple steps I followed to create my succesfull blog – Subscribe for free video lessons!”

I realized they are using exactly the strategics they are talking about. It made me feel like “another one of those people who fell for my trick to keep them reading my blog”. The minimalists were often those inspirational motivation coaches who wanted to unveal my life purpose to me in five simple steps with a questionair. Well, I stopped reading them soon. But I still stick to some blogs that I found while reading about minimalism and blogging. One of them is zenhabits.net.

In its posts I find tips and steps and all that, and I can subscribe for a monthly coaching program, but I still read in between the lines that this guy first of all writes for the sake of writing and that’s what I like because I do the same.

On another note it is a great help to prepare my fourty vegan days before Christmas. Maybe a funny combination, but from next week on I will be dairy and — video free until Christmas. Vimeo and Youtube have recently been stealing my time, so I will reclaim it. Dairy always seemed to be impossible to do without, but as it was written in a recent post at zenhabits: “the resistance comes when we imagine the loss, not when we actually experience the loss.”

News!

I am studying journalism. And then I want to become a farmer. That makes it very easy to not go crazy about the classes. If I knew my future life would look like what is currently presented to us, I would be scared. Or quit all together. But the nice-to-know-but-not-forever attitude towards it helps to stand all that.

For example. this is what we currently learn:

  • writing feature stories
  • layouting a magazine
  • taking professional news photographs
  • editing the photos
  • web design
  • radio production

These are some things that are due soon:

  • class magazine
  • poster of edited photos
  • reflection on the poster
  • ideas on paper how to design a website
  • test website

The magazine is full of (feature) stories that are not news. How can my farmer friends who are retiring for winter into their house possibly be of interest to anyone apart from me? Me going there and asking questions made them to be news. We are creating news every day. Everybody does. The newspapers, the radio and TV stations, the websites… they all go somewhere, pick up something rather random, put the headline, the lead and the nut graph together, have a photo that has worked several times before, design it psychologically to attract the viewers eyes and kick it off, creating fear and prejudices and making money with it. I pretty much don’t follow any news and I survive just fine.

If I read blogs about how to attract readers to my blog, I feel like one of these readers who got trapped by the clever structure and writing of that very blog. A number, statistics, one point more on the blogger’s scale to success.

News are constructed. (Like everything else. People who know me know that I think so.) I will keep on blogging here.