Writer's Blog

Inspiration comes when it feels like it

Hitchhiker’s diary

I forgot my towel. I gues that means I’m an awful hitchhiker. I cried of happiness and of sadness. I’ve tasted the thin line between feeling free an feeling lost, between roaming the world and feeling homeless. I’ve balanced, I’ve crossed both sides. I’m here now, in all my towel-less shower-less glory. 

Cold wind on my face, I stick out my thumb straight to the side, until my arm feels tired and longer. My face is stiff with a fading smile. I would like to have some dinner, thinking of the dry biscuits in my bag, but I’m afraid to miss the passing car. ‘I’m nice, I swear, please pick me up’. I wonder how many people are passing by, not realizing that they could stop for me. By the time they figure out what this strange girl is doing on the side of the road and that they are going in the same direction they’re already miles away. ‘Should I have stopped?’ Too late. But don’t worry, the car always comes. Just be patient. Let’s sing, singing works. Jumping up and down, half to keep myself warm, partly to keep myself awake and partly to keep myself happy and smiling. I wonder what my smile looks like to other people. There’s a thin line between a happy expression and a desperate one. I’m bordering the last while trying to portray the first. A car stops. No honk, just a stop. Should I go there? Is it for me or are they just checking the map. With strength gathered from pure adrenaline I hold my guitar straight with one hand, lift my heavy backpack with the other, swing it on my back and run. A peek through the window, a shaking head, friendly but defeating, and I walk back slowly and heavy breathing. I gather up the strength for another stiff smile. Happier or more desperate. How long have I been here? On an average between 15 minutes and 1 hour for this trip. I’m pretty lucky this time. I’m pretty lucky all the time. When does luck turn into habit? Maybe, just maybe, people are very nice, an luck is an average. A car passes, a middle finger. Ok, not All people are nice, just a lot of them. Besides the finger, the shaking index finger and the denigrating look is the worst. Maybe people are disgusting. But not all of them. I like the ‘I don’t know sign. Two hands held up and shoulders lifted, a slight shrug and a compassionate smile. Not a stop, but at least an acknowledgment of my existence. What don’t you know? Where I’m going? It’s on my sign. Space in your car? I see enough. Not going the same way? Everyone is, there is One road. Sorry for not picking me up? I can get that, Hitchhikers are scary. My stiff smile probably looks terrifying. Thanks for the acknowledgement, and I’ll be lucky, I’m sure. A car stops. For me? Yes, this time. Hold. Lift. Swing. Run. ‘Thank you so much!’ 

My name is Samantha. I’m hitchhiking through Europe. I’m on my way to Romania to study there. Anthropology. I’ve learnt to say this in about 7 languages, including the universal language of facial expressions and finger pointing. I talk with someone. They tell me about their life. Their history, their future, their dreams. ‘What do your parents think about this?’ ‘Have you hitchhiked before?’ ‘Did you hitchhike all the way here?’ ‘It’s because you’re a girl. I wouldn’t pick up if… (Me in virtually any other situation that I’ve hitchhiked in before.) Standard conversation followed by… Wauw. Some people are just really nice. Really amazing. In how many houses have I slept? Just a couple amazing ones. How many people have poured out their heart to me? How many have fed me, gone out of their way to help me and made me believe in humanity again? I quickly forget my stiff desperate smile and exchange it for happiness. Life can be quite nice.

Norway was definitely one of the best hitchhiking and busking experiences ever.

Day 7:The picture

Day 7: Write a story with the words: tree, box, grandfather and toothpaste.

grandfather-granddaughter-walking-down-lane-sml

“And therefore I will love. Blind, boundless and never-ending. ”

 

He left me something. I don’t really understand why, I never knew him all too well. I don’t know why I consider it important. Why should I care about feelings never had, never transmitted, never known. It can’t matter now, so why should I care? I haven’t cared for 27 years of life. Then why do I care now? But I do.

I didn’t cry. I’m not a person who cries a lot. I don’t see the point. Why cry over something that is lost? Why cry over something that will never return? We walked inside wearing all black. Me and my mother. My little sister had never known him, she was too young. My father had never wanted to. There’s a lot of history between them. I don’t know why I came. Maybe to keep my mother company. She cried. I don’t know if she was sad. She never knew him well, none of us did, but as the music started she teared up. There were a few people I had never met, a few people whom I had heard stories about and a few people that I had met me when I was younger. I wonder if he knew them well. They told me that he had been distant and inapproachable. During the service I sat in the back, I held my mother’s hand. Through a sea of black suits, black veils and white tissue paper I could see the right shoulder of the priest. Just beyond the preacher’s stand I saw a glimpse of grey hair and the bright blue velvet upholstery inside the casket. He hated blue, I learnt that later.

I found it when we cleaned out the house. There was a musty scent throughout the house. Somehow everything there was mismatched. The sofa didn’t fit the table. The rocking chair was wine red, but the cushions were bright blue. The pattern on the table lamp suited horribly to the table. The paintings in the living room varied from expressionistic art to portraits of naked women dating to the baroque age. At first it looked like a horrible mess. I cleaned all of it. The dust wasn’t the worst part, but I found a rotten sandwich under one of the chairs. The style was awful; no one could have come up with it intentionally. The wheel of a bike was hung against a wall. I am still not quite sure if he intended it as a piece of art, or that he had forgotten to fix his bike and left it hanging to remind himself. Somehow every room was ugly, yet it felt like a home. It felt warm. I can’t figure out how my mind has formed a homey image of random collections of every sized garbage, yet I couldn’t shake the pattern on the table lamp and how beautifully red it was. I kept it. Everything felt warm, but I knew it to be lonely. There were no pictures. There was no need. He was never in pictures. The house felt warm, but the dust was a clear signal. He had died alone.

It took a full day to clean out the house. I had nearly skipped the last door, as it was hardly distinguishable from the wall. I found the key in the kitchen drawer and at first I wished I hadn’t. The attic was covered in spider’s webs. I found the remaining pieces of the bike as an answer to my question. I found a mountain of boxes with mostly nothing in them. I found a lot of things with little or no meaning to me, but I also found what I had never thought about. I found out who he was, as a person, as a husband, as a grandfather. Everything of his I found in a small box under the staircase. The box itself was the only wooden box in the attic. Small, yet precious. It had a carving on it of a bird with spread wings. The wood of the box had a reddish glow with a dark striped pattern. The key was already in its lock and I felt that I had found a treasure. I was right. Mostly I found out that he was a writer. I found stacks of letters, notes and scratch papers with vaguely formulated sentences. I found everything. Feelings, thoughts, adventures. My grandfather wasn’t a very organised man. He didn’t have one diary, but he just had his whole being stacked in this messy pile of papers. I found his deepest thoughts on a shopping list.

Shopping

  • Milk
  • Bread
  • Painting
  • Instant noodles
  • Happiness
  • My family back
  • Toothpaste

He wrote about the daily things, he wrote stories, poems and songs.

“James asked me today if I still cared. I told him to mind his own damn business. No way the town baker gets to know my thoughts. Of course I care. But I’m tired. I know that people think I’m distant. The truth is that I don’t know how to feel. I know that one time that I felt, and I felt everything. I felt the wind through my hair, I felt the rain on my skin. I felt every step I took, I felt air enter my lungs and leave again. I got tired of feeling, so I stopped. I felt everything when she left. The love of my life. Alongside my kids and their kids. Of course I care. I should really get to fixing my bike today. I might be old and alone, but I’m sure as hell not gonna be old, alone and fat. (2005)”

He had gotten fat later on.

“There is this dream I’ve been having. It’s nothing special, but it’s special in that way. There is a small house in the mountains that has my name on it. It’s a small wooden house near a lake. There are some trees, some plants and there’s a small waterhole nearby. I spend my days farming, making some music, staring at the sunset as I drink a cup of tea. Of course I’ll have a dog who keeps me company. I’d go on long walks in the surrounding nature and I’d pluck some flowers along the way. I’d collect them and keep them healthy until the next time my granddaughter comes to visit. She’d like them, I’m sure. That’s the life.”

I never went to visit. Should I have? When I found these notes I had started liking him more. Funny, since I had never known him well. I started reading and I kept reading. Before I realised it was morning. That’s when I found it. There was a picture of me. I hardly recognised myself as there were few baby pictures of me. In the picture a younger version of him was holding me. Grandma was right next to him. He tried to look in the camera, but he was clearly focused on me. His hands were wrapped around me as he tried to hold me steady. The wrinkles around his eyes were less deep, but he looked tired. The thing that struck me was his smile. I had never seen him smile. We never hugged. We were never close. Still, in this picture he held me so tight and his eyes. It looked like love. I have seen love in other eyes and this is what it looked like. It really made me wonder. If he had smiled like this at one time, if he had loved like this, where had it gone? Why was it gone? Why do I remember a distant man with little love, while here I saw someone who cared?

There was a note on the back of a picture. It was actually a letter. To me.

“Dear Emma,

One day, I promise. One day when you can walk and talk, we’ll walk and we’ll talk together. I’ll give you a bunch of flowers, and you’ll love to see their colours. I’ll give you a flower for every year. We’ll walk together in the forest. We can build a tree house together. We’ll talk about everything, you can tell me everything! One day, I promise, we’ll be best friends. You’re going to get a little sister, I just know it. We’ll run and play and have fun, just the three of us. I’ll get a dog and you can name him. Dear Emma please grow up quickly, because I am getting old. Please grow up before my legs won’t run and my hands won’t draw. As you grow up, know that I love you. Seize the day, live, laugh, love! If I’m not there, still know I love you. I will always love you. A flower for every year that I still love you.” 

I cried. Not because he broke his promise. Not because I never knew him. Not because he seemed to never care. I cried because he cared. He cared at one point in time, and that was enough. I don’t know why that matters, since the lost time cannot be gained. My tears were not of regret, knowing what I had lost. My tears were those of joy, realising what always been there. That moment of caring, that moment of love was worth more than all the years not knowing.

I continued cleaning. I found 27 flowers, dried up in a book. I stopped crying and I started smiling.

So I went some places and saw some things…

A perfectly vague title for a perfectly vague blog. Bottom line: I went traveling for about a month and I went as far as my wallet could get me… Western Europe. Mode of transport: hitch hiking. Company: Me, myself and… Actually a lot of people!

I was going to give a very elaborate and perfectly chronological report on everything I saw and did, but I decided I’d rather talk randomly about all stuff until I feel like I’m finished. So to understand, here’s a very brief summary: I hitchhiked to Brussels with two other girls from uni, we did some tourist things, I met up with my friends and I enjoyed my last little bit of comfort zone before setting out alone. Then I went to France, I stayed in Taizé, a Christian community with international youth, for a week, then I decided to stay another week because it was awesome. In Taizé I found some awesome people to give me a ride to Switzerland, I went to Basel and Zurich for a couple of days. I continued to Austria, then Germany, then Luxembourg and from there back to the Netherlands.

What?! A girl hitchhiking alone?! Do you want to get yourself killed? Well, I’m actually surprised I didn’t die ten times over along the way.. For those who don’t know me, I’m really clumsy. I get myself into the weirdest and dumbest situations while at home, so I’m kinda proud that I made it ‘abroad’. I mean, I’m the girl that was still afraid to take a direct tram to school for 11 minutes by myself when I was 14 years old. The first time I went time I went to Brussels by myself I was terrified to take a train alone. I was nearly 18… Now I’m going hitchhiking by myself, which really isn’t that impressive but for someone that is actually scared most of the time, yeah I’m proud.

The thing I like most about this month is the things I got to learn and the people I got to know.

First of all, I’m a poor judge of character. On one hand I instantly hate 90% of the people I meet. On the other hand, I instantly trust every person I meet. So when I meet someone and hate them, I just switch off that feeling and switch to full naivety. ‘My first impressions suck, so this person must be nice, right?’ Witch hitchhiking that brought me to two completely different situations. In France, kinda close by Nancy when I was stranded without a single soul to pick me up I was walking somewhere at the lonely edge of some unknown village. About 15 minutes of walking later I see a car stop and a woman steps out and saves me from sleeping on not so comfy grass next to not so friendly sheep. Not only did she get me out of the middle of nowhere, no this women was amazing. She offers me her house to sleep in, use of her shower, she makes me a delicious salad and a fruit dessert and the next morning she personally drives me to the highway with a lunch pack with cookies and juice and fruit and a tiny quiche and cold water. I must be a very lucky person…

The second situation I won’t elaborate on too much. I stepped into a car, 5 minutes later I stepped out. Let’s just say I now know what kind of people to avoid and I got out really well, which is nice 🙂 After this interesting ride someone else picked me up. He seemed nice, so I stepped in, of course shaking like a scared puppy. He started blabbing to me in French about being a beekeeper and making wine. So I nodded and pretended to understand more than three words at the time. Suddenly this guy stops in the middle of the bushes and says in his best English ‘I want to show you my bees’. So naturally I start sweating and thinking I’m going to get raped and murdered. He steps out of the car, he takes me with him to the bushes and… He shows me his bees. Actual bees. I’ve never been so happy to see these stinging buzzing bastards. I got lucky again.

Another thing I’m really happy about is Taizé. Like I said, I came for one week and I stayed for two. As a student in cultural anthropology, as someone who is trying to figure out the meaning of life and as someone who loves music, I can say Taizé was definitely the place to be. Life in Taizé, if you’re a regular guest, basically lasts one week. You arrive on Sunday, you get an overview of the rules and activities, you make friends, you say goodbye to your friends while crying your eyes out, exchange contacts and start planning your next visit. A day in Taizé is as follows: You wake up at around 7 (or 8 in my case) and you join the morning prayer and (some) receive the Eucharist. (I did that one time for the first time! Interesting!) After that you join in breakfast with about 3000 other people (in holiday times ofc.) after breakfast you either have a kind of work or bible introduction. I started out with cleaning toilets in my first week. It was actually fun! They had this cool cleaning song that changed every day, and the people I cleaned with were pretty cool :). In the second week I was in the food distribution team. We handed out lunch to 2000 people every day for a week! That was really great, I definitely want to do that again. Also, I had a great team with great people who sang Disney songs with me and we played ukulele! After work we had the afternoon prayer and lunch. This was followed by bible introduction. First we discussed a bible text with a very big group, after which we split up in small groups to discuss a little more. With a little, I mean a lot. I love discussions, so I went full on. I had a really great small group that thought me great things about religion and weren’t afraid to defend their opinion. I really value the time I spent with them, and I’m even a little sad we don’t get to discuss like this anymore. After this it was around 5pm (or later, depending on how much we wanted to talk…) which was tea time. The tea in Taizé is a lie. It’s not tea, it’s water with sugar. But in severe heat, it’s oddly refreshing and I always really looked forward to tea time! One time, I took a friend to first aid and she got actual tea. With tea bag and all. We took a picture for the momentous occasion :). Ok back on track. After tea time you get to follow some really interesting workshops until it’s dinner time. (The last two days I joined the dinner distribution team as well, which was really cool! They were great!) After dinner you go to evening prayer and after that I would always go to Oyak. This is the place for people to hang out, get some drinks, get some guitars and sing. Yes that’s right, sing all the time. In these two weeks I sang so freaking much. In prayer we sang more classic church songs, at work I sang Disney and every song that came to mind (including a French song that a guy taught me when we cleaned toilets :)) and at night I sang at Oyak. I never stopped singing. This is also how I got to meet some really great musicians! In the first week there was a group of Germans with amazing voices and music skills, and in the second week I met two Germans who sang really new songs to me. The guy played guitar, while the girl played a kind of oriental drum while they both sang. Another guy, from Lithuania, joined and started completely improvising on his harmonica and his flute. Later I sang some classic worship songs with him as well 🙂 Man, I really really love singing. I rediscovered my passion for this in Taizé 😀

What interested me most was the structure in Taizé. Somehow, people from all over the world join up and live lives as Christians, whether they had zero religious background or were born, raised and dedicated Christians. They joined together, they accepted each other. They made friends in just a week, enough to cry over the, at the end. They quickly adapted to the structure, it became their routine overnight. They functioned as members of a community, in just one week. It’s like they built up an entire life overnight and after the week ended, so did that life. I had the privilege of staying for an extra week. I watched the majority of the population in Taizé change overnight. People came and went, and I stayed during that whole awkward goodbye fase when everyone was crying goodbyes to others and I just thought, hey, I’m staying. (Not so much for the crying… I guess I’m really getting used to this whole goodbye thing!) After that I got to start up the second week by meeting new people… Again. They got all settled in while I just though, hey, I’m here already. It’s so weird how everyone just arrives and naturally follows this rhythm that ends within days. Then they go back to live their lives, maybe changed, maybe not.

I loved seeing how Taizé worked and I kinda want to go back one time. Also to participate in a weekend of silence. I did my own little day of fake silence. Not that I didn’t communicate with people, or heavens forbid that I didn’t sing. I only did it to not use my voice to communicate. And it was hard. Everyone was talking to me and I didn’t know how to respond. I learned two thing from this. First: Man, I talk a lot. Crazy. I really should talk a little less in some occasions. Second: I like being silent. I really enjoy listening to other people. Knowing that, I’m gonna start finding key things that motivate other people to talk a lot, while forcing myself to shut up for more than two seconds so I can actually know people. That’ll be interesting 🙂

I also really liked meeting the people I met. I heard new stories every day from people everywhere. In the second week I met a really nice Swedish girl. It’s too bad we only had a week, I feel like we could be good friends 🙂 I was even kinda sad to leave because of her and because of all the other friends I made and things I learned and saw in Taizé. To make it harder to leave, this girl gives me a bubble blower with a plane from Disney on it!! (I lost my bubble blower the week before and I was really sad.. Yes, a bubble blower is in my standard travel kit.) I really had a good time there, but for someone that’s allergic to routine, I think it was good to keep moving 🙂

So at this point, the real travel started. I was dropped off in Switzerland by some really nice people. I had zero planning, no idea where I was, no idea where to sleep and zero sense of direction… I made it off quite well 🙂

Up until now traveling alone has taught me two things (aside from the million other things I learned). First: You’re never alone. Really. In cars, in hostels, in the city. You meet people constantly, you’re socializing constantly, and it’s great! Second: The perfect contradiction. Sometimes you’re really alone. At some petrol stations I was waiting by myself for such a long time, constantly talking to people and seeing people, but there I was, basically on my own until some passer by showed mercy on me. Ok, it wasn’t that dramatic most of the time, but sometimes it was. One time I ended up sleeping against a wall at the petrol station, sleeping bag over my head, pretending to be a garbage bag for passerby’s. Another time I spent around 2 hours waiting for a ride when worlds cutest family (mom, dad and baby) picked me up, gave me a bed for the night, breakfast and my ride the next morning. In between the best and the worst cases it comes down to its essence. Just you. I loved it most of the time. Doing my own thing, going wherever I pleased, getting stuck in bushes near the main road because I thought it looked interesting two hours before. But I also really like having a friend nearby.

After admiring the beauty of Switzerland and Austria and feeling in heaven multiple times is continued on to Germany. About three days in advance I asked my friend where in Germany she lived, I warned her I was coming and three days later I stood at her doorstep. Or rather, I stood in a big field as far as the eye reaches that was the closest to her doorstep I could get dropped off. (confusing sentence..) Little did I know that she lives a couple miles away from the middle of nowhere. But it was great 🙂 about 10 minutes in, I realized I hardly knew anything about her. We met in Ghana, later we met again with a group of old volunteers and now here I am in Germany realizing we never talked that much. So this time we did. I quote: “We shared pee stories, now we’re friends.” Sadly I’m not going to elaborate on this hilarious story. So I ate pasta and drank coffee with an Italian family (I’m so lucky) we made music and I got to be a typical tourist!

After two days there she went with me to Stuttgart and we got to stay at her best friend’s house for the night, which was also really fun. Now comes the awesome: when I left she actually left a secret present in my bag that I could only open after she left… She gave me her cool awesome bag and her two kashaka!! I mean, who does that? Why would she… Ok let me explain why I’m so happy, I tend to break things. I’m dumb like that. So I took a bag that I severely overused during this trip and it was ripped from all sides. I was sad, because I hate breaking things, especially when I got them from Ghana. Besides that, being a big idiot, I also broke my kashaka that someone went through the effort of getting for me from Ghana! I probably used it too much… Then hero comes along and gives me the two things I really want and need, without me even asking! Plus, I got a jar of homemade jam that I’m eating as I type 🙂 again, I’m so lucky. (Fun fact: My mom likes the jam too!)

So after Germany I went to Luxembourg, which was really nice. The city is beautiful! It kinda surprised me how small it was, and that it had different levels. That basically meant me climbing up hills just to sightsee… I liked it from the moment I was at the top! On the way from Luxembourg to the Netherlands I got really lucky again. Someone picked me up from out of the rain, he drove me to Liège and on the way he stopped at a restaurant and got me dinner!

In this month I got to meet over a hundred nice people, I was in around 40-50 different cars, I saw 6 countries, 10 different cities, loads of amazing sights, I slept in 2 stranger’s houses, 2 friend’s houses, one friend a friend’s house, two freakishly fancy hostels, a Christian community, an occupied house and a petrol station and I got to learn around 5 extra languages to say goodnight in. I loved it 🙂

Going back home was kinda nice too, I was getting tired of living out of a backpack… Pfff, who am I kidding. It took me three seconds of being home to get bored. I need to travel, I have to! I want to go to see Great Britain, and I want to see the whole of Eastern Europe and then I want to see the whole of the world. During this month I, as always, thought a lot about the meaning of life and seeing the world and my urge to keep moving. I just decided that this is the way my life is. Maybe one day I’ll find a place that feels like I can be there for a long time and maybe one day I’ll find the person I should be. But I really think, at least for ‘me’ I will spend my life searching. I don’t want to know who I am or where I’m going. I want to see it all.

So the clue of this essay long ‘summary’ of my holiday: I get lucky a lot.

11885229_10204833238413322_7612936544750167731_n 11880683_10204833262373921_5520806243902480618_n 11880422_10204833269694104_268156462745955480_n 11880373_10204833261813907_3505875595902176350_n 11873459_10204833237813307_4956685546420174957_n 11870762_10204833245453498_1537993808713310843_n 11866376_10204833251293644_8362746256257982766_n 11863487_10204833241893409_4040862127833426806_n 11863473_10204833252813682_7008125029242202822_n 11863295_10204833268214067_8382160771060396337_n 11855751_10204833252013662_613083909274390263_n 11846800_10204833237453298_1677521248707817240_n 11836812_10204833240493374_7217748642309926123_n 11836923_10204833259533850_6845326232158370554_n 11846567_10204833265774006_1551052189052023514_n 11846538_10204833259093839_6868768770258224277_n 11831656_10204833251773656_2490574166824753240_n 11831647_10204833239333345_8243398449024906684_n 11825200_10204833260893884_503690996261857890_n11825077_10204833243813457_3447380617870716920_n11822817_10204833252373671_7456977158969938585_n11822384_10204833243293444_3996573806014819220_n11822717_10204833244853483_8588260182370491269_n11822297_10204833241693404_5083311136705432188_n11816816_10204833242133415_7172188324210357483_n11053122_10204833253053688_8131046296567114294_n 11826047_10204833260413872_8017008896555382833_n 11826023_10204833265013987_5025795392124283309_n11846587_10204833266814032_7638159792838811906_n 11825205_10204833267494049_7240659310502070651_n 11836756_10204833260533875_149788811986176569_n

To be continued

 80 years considered healthy, 100 in good luck.
Hours spent on learning, days to process and years to truly understand.
It makes the time to really know significantly less.
Supposed to find a subject, an interest and a goal with minutes left to spare.
Supposed to find your purpose, yet barely time to find yourself.
It’s hardly fair feeling the pressure when you’re not even halfway through. 
Yet the urge to rush my life is nowhere to be found.
Not to mourn what never was, not to think what might have been. 
Instead of rushing on, I’m inclined to take the longest road.
In 80 years, most likely less, my life is laid out plain.
To fill the days without routine, to learn the world, to learn myself.
If what is said about the journey, making the finish worth it’s while, I might always choose to always walk.
No rests, no stops, but many turns. The road and me, until I’ve seen it all. 
If I’m never to find me, I will still choose not to mind. 
If I’m nowhere near the end, I’ll still trust my choice to walk. 
I might not finish the road I’m on, to find ‘me’ at the end. 
Still I hope to have some fun.
Avoid straight lines and jump through curves, in 80 to 100.
Never finished, but always lived.

That feeling if I stray

If I stray and see the world, if I head out and explore,

What will I call home?

I walk and paint my steps, I go and I’ll continue.

From life they came, to dust they go, leaving traceless thought.

If I wander and if I see, will what I’ve seen be lost?

And if my thoughts excel from then, will ‘then’ cease to exist?

If my expectation changes and if what I’m expected fails.

If its essence still is beautiful, I’ll cherish mixed relief.

If questions find their answers, those that have been there all along,

Should I not have asked?

What’s hidden should be found, what’s  found then should be lost.

Not to seek, just to remember. Not to know, but just to feel.

If I’m inclined to lose my way, and if I refuse to find it,

Will my road bend on its own, and lay out trails to follow?

If I stray and see the world, I know I will be lost.

I’m good at getting lost, I’m bad at being found, I’m worst at coming home.

To stay would be to give away,

And I can’t yet accept to leave,

That feeling if I stray.

Day 6: My Biggest Fears

Day 6: Make a list of 5 things you’re afraid of happening to you. Then write a story in which one of them happens to your character.

There’s this moment of insanity, when you know you’re crossing a line.

 

“Lily, sweetie, I’m just a little tired ok? Go play over there for a bit.” She said waving her hand at the corner of the room filled with coloured boxes, toy cars, white sheets of paper and crayons. “You can draw something if you want.” Lily looked back at her with curiosity. She seemed a little paler than usual. “Is everything ok, mom? Why do you look so white?” Her mom smiled at her. “Don’t worry about it honey, I’ll be fine. Why don’t you draw me a nice picture?” Lily grabbed her mom’s hands and leaned forward to look at her more closely. “Will you feel better if I do?” Her mother gave her a weak grin. “If it’s from you, I’m sure I’ll feel a lot better.” Lily stared intensely into her mom’s eyes as if she was trying to memorize something. It took a few seconds before she suddenly jumped up and ran across the room to get her crayons.

“Mom!” She yelled as if the other side of the room was the other side of the city. The woman rubbed the side of her head with a pained look on her face. “Yeah..?” It was all she felt she was able to get out of her mouth. “I’m going to make you the best picture ever!” The woman smiled weakly again. “That’s nice, sweetie.” A few seconds of silence went by, but the more time, the more her head felt like exploding. She felt herself falling away into a blur, but she desperately tried to stop herself. Something told her that she should fight this feeling, but she didn’t know what was keeping her from what felt like a good nap coming up.

“Mom!”  Lily yelled again after a few minutes. “How do you spell your name again?”

“Q-U-I-N-N.”

Lily returned to her paper with unwavering concentration. Quinn could see her lips move to form the sounds of each letter. Somehow it made her feel happy to see her daughter like this. It made her relax a bit and for a moment she wanted to let it all out. Slowly she dipped into the blurry feeling she had before. Slowly she felt a blackish shadow reaching her, but it felt… easy. Comfortable.

Lily moved her head back a bit to observe her piece of art. Her mom, her dad and herself holding hands. The little red lines that formed their lips cut across their faces in a casual way. The sun was shining. They looked happy together. At the top of the paper she had written in big letters ‘FROM LILY TO QUINN’. She smiled at her achievement and looked up at her mom.

She looked up at her mom suddenly standing next to her. She looked up at her mom that wore the same smile as in her drawing… a red stripe cut unnaturally across her face. Her eyes as large as she had drawn them. She felt cold air surrounding her for just a moment. Her smile faded. “Are you okay mommy? I made this for you.” She said pointing at her drawing. Tears formed in her eyes as she felt cold hands reach for her. She took a step back to get away from the cold, but she felt trapped. For a moment her breath stopped, her heart stopped and everything stopped. Everything was now in front of her. Her mom’s soft, gentle hands like claws around her wrists. Her mom’s warm smiles like souls calling for help. Frozen in her steps she looked at her mom’s hand reaching for her throat…

 

I can feel myself moving. I can see myself moving. I’m doing it myself… So why can’t I stop. Stop it! Not her, no please. I love her. Why isn’t this working? Why is this so hard? I just want to let go. I don’t want this anymore. I don’t want control, I don’t want it. Why can’t I stop? I’m tired.

 

 

He observed the woman in front of him carefully. His eyes, worn down by experience, laughter and many looks of sympathy were strictly focused on her. He looked at the dark lines under her grey blue eyes. He looked at her lips that were pursed in a tight line. He looked at the crooked way she was sitting on her chair and at the black unwashed hairs hanging warily over her face. Of all the things he saw, behind all the things that could make her stunning if well taken care of, he saw only things that evoked repulsion. In her eyes he saw the one thing he had never seen before. Her eyes weren’t filled with tears, exhaustion or fear. They were filled with death. Never had he seen such emptiness and misery reflect in the mirrors to the soul. A shiver ran down his spine and he wondered. He has never been religious or spiritual in any way. He did not believe in anything but that which he could see, but for the first time in his life he could see the absence of that what was beyond understanding. Her soul.

As they sat in silence the only sound was his pencil scratching nervously across the notebook in his hands. The silence lingered between them, but she did not make any attempt to break it. She had not spoken, moved or shown any sign of recognizing his or even her own existence.

“What is your name?”

No response. For days on end he had shared that room with her, but she had yet to speak a word. Still he kept trying. Was it his own sense of pride, his curiosity or a simple need to help, he had not considered giving up on her. It was his job, and he was good at it. He trusted in himself.

He leaned back and looked at her in a more casual manner and politely smiled at her.

“I look forward to the day when we can have a conversation over some tea.” He chuckled. She didn’t budge. He thought back to nearly a week ago, to the report that had lain on his desk when he entered his office. He had read it in a single breath of perplexity. A woman and her daughter, her husband was away from work. In the picture she had looked charming and happy. None of them had a medical history, a record or anything unusual whatsoever. They’d lived a happy peaceful life. He looked at the woman again and tried to find a resemblance between her and the picture that was taken of her only a month back. He had looked at the picture of her daughter, before and after the incident. She had been a beautiful child of around 8 years old with long black hair and a light brown complexion. Pictures of a bruised child, barely alive and broken in spirit flashed in front of his eyes as he rubbed along the temple of his head. He thought of his own daughter who had long passed that age and he felt painfully grateful. He looked over at the woman again and saw her soulless form.

“How much do you remember?” He asked no one in particular, not expecting any response. Within a moment he felt the icy fingers of death reach over to his neck and clamping around his throat. Her empty grey blue eyes were staring straight into his and even though she had not moved anything but her face he felt her aura near him as if it was attempting to draw him into hell.

“Everything.” She said with an icy, creaking voice.

 

So, here’s a fun fact. I figured that when I have inspiration to write something, it’s crucial for me not to stop. When I stop, it’s gone and it’ll never come back. I hate my brain sometimes. So I’m basically stuck in the stories’ world, until I’m finished with it. Tell you what; it’s not that much fun being stuck in a story filled with your greatest fears… I genuinely got small panick attacks when I imagined being Quinn. So here’s my list 🙂

  1. Losing complete control over myself and do stuff that goes against me (like insanity)
  2. Hurting/losing the people I love more than anything
  3. Getting hurt by the people I love more than anything
  4. Trypophobia… fear of holes (don’t google it.)
  5. Ginormous freaking hand or bigger sized freaking spiders that like partying in your mosquito net when you want to sleep. 

Day 5: Reasons To Love Rain

Day 5: Think of a random word and Google images for it. Write a story about the 7th image. 

He looked straight up at the night sky. Even in the darkest of nights the thick grey clouds stood out, covering up the skies. He shivered as cold raindrops poured on his shoulders. He was carrying and umbrella, but it was barely covering him in an attempt to keep the girl clinging to his arm safe from the cold. He glanced sideways only to see her grinning with a sparkle in her eyes. He chuckled. “You’re silly…” The girl looked up at him in surprise. “Why?!” She asked with astonishment in her voice. He chuckled again, looked away from her and meaningfully glanced up at the rain falling from the sky. “Just because…” He looked at her again. “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?”

“What…, the rain?” She asked.

“Yes.” He paused for a moment.

“The skies are sad, the world is crying. Everyone gets gloomy when it’s raining, yet you’re just standing here smiling.”

“That’s not true!” She said with an indignant tone in her voice.

“What, you mean to say that this never ending grin of yours actually means you’re not happy?” He laughed.

“No, I mean to say that the skies aren’t sad!” She looked up with a familiar sparkle in her eyes. “The skies are trying to make us happy… Think about it, when do people snuggle up together? To get warm when it’s cold! When do people gather around to talk? When they stay inside together, hiding from the rain! When do we hold each other more tightly? When you want to protect me from the rain…” She came closer to him while her thoughts seemed to wander away. After a short pause she continued. “Don’t look at the dark clouds, ok? Look at the streets. Just keep looking!”

As they walked through the city he looked for what she saw. Her eyes told him she’d seen something precious, but his mind was filled with the grey clouds above his head. Suddenly he noticed her staring at him in the corner of his eye. He looked straight forward when he saw the clouds lifting, only for a moment. He saw the light of the moon reflecting from the wet street stones. He saw the warm colours from all around him, from stop lights, from signs, from headlights… All of them reflected on the streets. Everywhere around him there was an explosion of colour. The longer they walked, the more he looked. The more he looked, the more he saw. For a moment, he faded away. He forgot the rain, he forgot the cold and he forgot the clouds that were slowly lifting. For a short moment all he could see was a painting in front of him, behind him and everywhere he looked; A piece of art more alive than he had realised before. With the soft noise of the ticking rain above his head he felt relaxed. He looked to his side and saw her familiar smile again. As if she had read his mind and knew what he had seen. He turned towards her with a soft smile on his lips. He leaned in closer and closer until they were sharing one breath. As he came near she closed her eyes. Slowly he tipped the umbrella away from him and… In a split second he took a step back and shook out the remaining rain droplets on the umbrella out over her head. “Hey!” She yelled. “You’re right!” He responded quickly, before she could continue yelling. He stared off at the beautiful play of colours in front of him, took a deep breath and held her tightly. “You’re right…” He repeated softly.

 

The random word I Googled was the word ‘Art’ and the 7th picture brought me to one of my all time favourite paintings! Really, this painting has it all! It has my combines my favourite season (autumn), with my favourite weather (rain … (I might have mentioned that more than a few times before in more than a few different places and occasions…)), and one of my favourite activities (walking in the rain), using my favourite colours (red, black and white)!! I think I’m gonna get myself this one or at least one of Victor Figol’s paintings because I completely fell in love with them 🙂 

Day 4: Seven Days Of Insanity

Day 1:
It’s surprising how little time passes between the moment you decide to tell the truth, and the moment the world legally declares you insane. Within seconds people start to doubt you, minutes and they blame you and only days and they will pity you until they see no other option. So now I find myself in a room. Completely white, no windows and a door made to blend in with the walls. A camera somewhere, I suspect, and in the middle of the room there’s one chair. ‘Solitary confinement’, they say, but it’s not. I’m not alone.
Day 2
It’s quiet. No people around, no social obligations, no small talk… God, I hate small talk. Small talk is the language of people shrouded in their own ignorance. Ignorance is bliss, they say. No. Ignorance is what got us here in the first place. Here being this little white room that was, is and will be again my temporary, little, oblivion free world. My world where unseen cameras and unseen eyes pierce through my skull, attempting to see what’s inside my mind, but never really seeing the beautiful destruction that’s working its way outside… Yes it’s quiet, for now.
day 3
This always happens. The more I think of it the more I see myself as the idiot I am. It’s not that I’m lying, really. It’s just that the truth is too much. The first time I told the truth right away. I was young and naïve, they said. Then I tried telling it when I was older and when that didn’t work I tried somewhere. Somehow I always end up telling. Like I said, stupid. Things don’t change.
day 4
i found a single black spot on the white wall. i’ve been imagining it to change shape, grow, shrink bend or anything actually, but after staring for what seems like forever, nothing changed. It’s been grabbing my attention for the last… I already lost track of time. It doesn’t matter. It can’t take too long anyway. Last time it was 5 days, before that it was 20, now… 7? I’m going for 7. i hear someone agree. 7 is a good number.
day five:
Someone sat on my chair I know it Nobody else in the room, they say but someone sat in my chair. Normally they don’t give me a chair but now they do and someone steals it. I can’t believe I’m getting frustrated over a chair. You should be, they say, you have the right to be, they say. Let it out, they say, why won’t you let us it out, they say.
Day 5, day 6:
they say it’s time and 7 makes perfect so it’s now or never. Back to the end and backto the start maybe. The new me will know more, be wiser and don’t say the truth. Someone is sitting on my chair, he stands up. He fights. He destroys. The truth is out.

Day 7:
It’s done. As I see the ruin all around, my conscience is clear and my heart is satisfied. They thought I was crazy, that the voices were fake and that there was no chair. Only when the white walls crumbled they saw the real truth beyond what they thought was ‘normal’. Inside I know that they will never believe me and I know they’ll always put me behind the white walls where it can’t reach me for ‘my own good’. With a clean slate I can step outside and I can witness the beautiful chaos while telling them, ‘I told you so.’

Day 4: Imagine you’re unable to leave a room for the next 7 days. Chronicle each of the days using max. 100 words for each day.

Yeah… I know, the whole point of a challenge is the whole 30 consecutive days thing… Well I didn’t quite feel the 3rd challenge so I finally decided to just skip to the fourth one xD 7 Days of insanity, I hope this ‘diary’ confused you as much as it did me.

Day 2: How To Forget

There are two trees in particular, right at the beginning of the road, before you enter the small forest. The two trees seem just like all the others behind them, with equally green leaves in the summer and an equal coating of bright white snow in the winter. One would never walk by and stop to consider that something so seemingly insignificant would in fact be a very important part of a forgotten past. Three weeks ago about a handful of people probably walked by with their faces buried in whatever touch screen device they had in their hands at that moment. Those who did look up probably didn’t even notice that something was weird. That the leaves on the trees were rustling more than usual or that the shadows behind the trees were 3 shades darker. That the thin mist around the forest was more than just your casual low hanging cloud, and that it was masking more than just a stray dog or a wild rabbit hopping around. Three weeks ago two shadows materialized out of thin air. They walked out of the forest surrounded by a wall of silence and clothed with exhaustion. Three weeks ago we set our minds to the same simple goal. To forget.

“So, now it’s all over, will we just go back to not knowing each other?”

She had answered with a simple, “Yeah.” I don’t blame her really. Out of the two of us I think she had the hardest time. It didn’t matter who was stronger or faster, once it was dangerous, she would be the one to take the lead. “I can handle this. If I can spare you, I will.” Is what she said. I’m the weak link, I guess. I can’t keep anything in. I don’t keep secrets. That’s just not me. Or at least, it wasn’t.  Sometimes I see her walk by with some of her friends. Catching up, for old time’s sake. Laughing at the little jokes, worrying about the small things. I remember when I used to watch her. Always surrounded by people, always a part of the group. Always laughing and joking around. I remember admiring her smile from afar. It didn’t light up the skies or make flowers grow around her and it wasn’t magical or surreal, but it was quite the opposite. Her smile wasn’t devastatingly attractive, but it was painfully honest. When she laughed she looked like a clumsy 5 year old, but when you heard her laugh, you’d instantly laugh with her. I was perfectly fine with not knowing her at all if only I could just see her smile a couple of times. Now I know her I’m still amazed by her every day. How does she continue, like life has always made sense? How does she forget, as if there was nothing to remember in the first place? How does she keep smiling after years and years of forgotten history and when did her smile stop reaching her eyes? 5 Years have been erased out of the past to make a better future. Things I knew so well, friends I loved so much and a smile I learnt to care so deeply for, all gone for a world that wasn’t much to me. After everything that had happened her smile was the strength behind my every step, because that alone was undying and after one single moment even that faded away.

Three weeks later I felt myself drawn to where it all began, wishing I could go back to the dark cruel world that had become my home. So now I’m here again, staring at two trees, looking like a complete idiot. I see people walking by questioning my mental health and wondering how long a person can stare at a tree before getting tired. I used to come here feeling magic and life drawing me in. Now I’m feeling judgmental eyes puncturing the back of my head. I don’t care, I keep staring. Hoping that some sign comes to me proving it wasn’t all a dream. Not much later the sign comes in the form of a hand touching my shoulder. I look around. “Mia…”

“Hey Leo, it’s been a while…” She smiles at me. We share a long minute of painful silence, both looking back and forth from the tree to each other until Mia breaks the silence. “Let’s sit down and talk for a bit ok?” Without answering I sit down leaning against the tree and wait for her to start talking.  “They just look like trees huh?” She says. “What else would they look like?” I respond with a little more hostility in my voice than I intended. “Don’t do that.”

“Do what?”

“Push me away.” I look at her. Honesty all across her face, but that’s all. No pain, no suffering. Just life going on.

“Last time I checked you wanted us to go back how it was.” She looks down.

“I’m sorry.” I quickly continue. “I get it, really. It’s just kinda hard sometimes and stuff just seems so easy on your side.”

“It’s not, you know. It’s not gonna get easier anytime soon, I can promise you that. But I guess it’s just better to look at it from the bright side.”

“I can’t. I just can’t. Where’s the bright side in all this? Where do you see the light, tell me because I don’t see it at all!” A small hazy edge appears just in my line of sight. The world starts fading away a little as the haze grows. I find myself looking at her without really seeing anything, as a tear slides down my cheek towards my chin. “I can’t stay strong. I can’t keep laughing. I left my family there, and here… You have people that care for you in this world, but the past I gave up to save them was all I had.”

“Leo!” She puts her hand on my knee. “We went there without knowing what we got ourselves into, but we always knew that at one point we had to go back. I know that it’s hard. I’m struggling too, but you have to try. Smile. A little longer, a little harder. Smile a little wider and a little happier. Smile more, as if you’re happy. Maybe if you keep on trying they start believing it’s real. Maybe after a while you start believing it’s real too.”

I look at her in amazement. She’s smiling at me. Again.

“When did you stop smiling like you did?” She looks surprised. “Mia, what you’re doing isn’t brave. It’s not staying strong. It’s torturing yourself. It’s not dealing with your problems, but it’s stuffing them away. It’s acting for the world but you’re building yourself a time bomb.”

“What should I do, not smile. Let the world know what happened and that I’m not ok? What good does that do, I’m not helping anyone with that!”

“You’d be helping yourself. Something you’re really bad at. I’m an emotional wreck and I can’t keep myself from crying, but you… Let me help you, Mia.”

“No thanks, I’m fine, really.” She stands up. “Don’t worry so much ok, Leo? Look at the bright side and you’ll be fine. I’ll see you soon ok?” She starts walking away, but I quickly grab her hand.

”It’s not me I’m worried about.” For a split second I think I see her crying, but she quickly pulls away.

“I’m here if you need me, Mia. Please take care of yourself.”

As she disappears into the crowd I lean back against the tree again. Her smile wasn’t real. It hadn’t been for the past three weeks. With a shadow over my head I start walking home. When a shiver runs down my spine I look back. Not everyone would see it, but for me it came natural. A cold feeling spreading under my skin gave away a hint and the shadows behind the trees formed the conclusion. Through the thin mist I could see the shadows had become 3 shades darker.

 

 

Day 2: Use the sentence “Her smile wasn’t real.”  

I don’t know why, but getting myself to write something down feels like a tough challenge lately. My mind is just completely blank, so I’m kinda glad that I at least got this far. And hey, there’s even a lesson in here somewhere, next to the whole vague, I don’t know what on earth I’m reading part 🙂  

 

Day 1: Life Is Like

Life is like a forest…

You have the path to walk on, and you have adventure! You might stumble over sticks and stones or fall out of a tree that was way too high for you to climb in the first place (experience speaking), but you’ll always end up with some beautiful memories 🙂

Life is like a string…

It has a beginning and an end.

It bends the way you make it bend, but maybe not the way you want it to.

Along the way you might get tied up, A knot that`s getting bigger.

The string is thin and weak and stuck, but just like life, there is a way.

A couple knots along the way, A couple unplanned bends.

But it gets easy when you realise, the knots have made you stronger.

And you stand stronger with a friend.

Life is like a nose…

You have no choice but to follow it all the time and you really can`t choose what you smell and when you smell it…

Day 1: Go to http://creativitygames.net/random-word-generator/creativitygame/lifeislike Write max. 100 words on each sentence you make.

Woohoow, day 1 of the challenge 😀 So I went to this website and it gave me three random words to make a ‘life is like’ thing with. I personally think it’s very inspirational to compare my life with a nose. Deep man, deep… Next up is an actual short story 🙂 If you wanna see the full challenge, please, feel free ^_^  https://samanthaaarts.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/creative-writing-challenge-take-2-2/

Post Navigation