Monthly Archives: October 2009

Autumn in Amsterdam

Autumn Colors 001

Autumn Colors 005

While walking in Amsterdam Oude West today, I came across colorful leaves and a curious cat.

Autumn Colors 007

Autumn Colors 008

The Angst of Creative Dreams

creative angst

“It’s time to accept that there’s never going to be a perfect sea of endless days when i can write. I will always have other stuff to do. So if that’s the case, then i may as well just get on with it. I don’t want to be one of those people who talks about the book and never actually writes it. It’s time to face up to what’s really going on here – blatant fear of failure. Why do our creative dreams cause us so much angst? – and just start somewhere. Even if i do feel like my days are already full-to-bursting, I can still eek out some time. No more talk; it’s time to put my pen where my mouth is.”

(via inkonmyfingers)

Despite the fact that I actually write a lot — for work, research projects, on my blog, World Pulse, and a dozen other places — sometimes it never feels like it amounts to anything substantial. I have never published a book, although printing my MA thesis did feel like quite the accomplishment. All the research I do for clients is ‘protected’ under NDAs, never to see the light beyond internal boardrooms. Yet, as much as I relate to this observation, I can’t help but think perhaps we’re too hard on ourselves.

A recent article in Seed Magazine describes The Writing Revolution in which we all are now authors. Although their definition of an ‘author’ (someone who has written anything, whether a blog post or Tweet, that has been read by more than 100 people) needs some reworking, the point is that technological changes have enabled us to move from Consumers to Creators. The Seed article is reminiscent of the article We Are All Writers Now. With so many writers and authors running around these days, it’s hard for those of us who consider it our profession to not feel a rising possibility of failure. The quote is spot on with its conclusion. What other solution is there than confronting the creative angst and just getting on with writing?



Light art, sound art, video installations, and performances this weekend in Amsterdam Oost! The fifth and final year of Polderlicht.

An Original of the Clumsy Copy


The horrible ‘here’, the dark dungeon, in which a relentlessly howling heart is encarcerated, this ‘here’ holds and constricts me. But what gleams shine through at night, and what—. It exists, my dream world, it must exist, since, surely there must be an original of the clumsy copy. Dreamy, round, and blue, it turns slowly toward me. It is as if you are lying supine, with eyes closed, on an overcast day, and suddenly the gloom stirs under your eyelids, and slowly becomes first a langorous smile, then a warm feeling of contentment, and you know that the sun has come out from behind the clouds. With just such a feeling my world begins: the misty air gradually clears, and it is suffused with such radiant, tremulous kindness, and my soul expanses so freely in its native realm. —But then what, then what?

Invitation to a Beheading, Vladimir Nabokov

Fifty People, One Question

Fifty People, One Question is a project by Crush + Lovely who film the answers of 50 people in one place, answering one question. A small peek into the lives and wishes of some people on the street. The question asked in Brooklyn: Where would you like to wake up tomorrow?

Encounter with a Snake

Yesterday I was woken at 5:03 by the shrill sound of my phone. My fingers instinctively pressed ‘Silence’, but then I started to wonder why my sister would call so early. Only if something was wrong, of course.

My brother Elliott is in Indonesia working with the local Marines on humanitarian missions to distribute medical supplies, food, and water. While they were in the middle of the jungle in Java, they had an incident when a presumed-dead cobra suddenly came to life:

“We were in the jungle on the island of Java in Indonesia and we were doing a jungle survival course. We were catching and eating snakes and making dinner using plants, berries, fruits, and roots from plants around the area. It is a big deal in lots of Southeast Asian countries to drink cobra blood. They wanted me to help cut the throat and bleed it into a cup. They don’t cut all the way through the head because then you get venom on the meat and in the blood. The Indonesian Marine lifted the snake’s head up while I was holding the cup. But the snake was still alive and, as soon as he saw me, shot venom into my eyes from a foot away.”

A quick life-flight ride landed him in Bali, but not after the locals sacrificed the snake and offered the beating heart to my brother.  The venom entered his bloodstream and caused his vision to go out, which caused quite a scare. Although his eyesight is still not 20/20, I can pronounce this story as awesome since he is on the mend. Stay away from snakes Elliott…

A Gathering of Women

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Earlier this year, I became involved in the project Voices of Our Future with the organization World Pulse Media to help train women around the world to use social media as a tool for social change. A group of 31 women participated in an online training course in citizen journalism and I was honored to work with six of them as an Editorial Midwife, helping them research, write, and present their voices to a growing community.

The women I mentored came from Bolivia, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Alaska, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia. Over the months, our friendship grew and I learned what citizen journalism is really about as they wrote about life in their communities and they issues they face: female genital mutilation, access to information, youth suicide, social inequality, and other subjects. Many of these women struggle to sound their voice in the face of oppressive regimes or smothering patriarchs, but they are determined not to be silenced.

On Sunday, the women submitted their final articles and I was awed by the transformation that had taken place in the period of a few months. These women are emerging writers that are eager to share their experiences of life, their communities, and their struggles and successes as women in the world. I hope you’re listening.