Reasons not to Write #3: Boys in Trees

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Yesterday, on my run through a nearby park, four ten-year-old boys stopped me to ask the time: Hoe laat is it? I changed my watch from GPS to clock. Half (two syllables) vijf, I said. When they giggled on in Dutch, Ik sprek Engels, I said. Engels? Well, um, how old are you? one asked. Twenty-nine, I said, You? When do you go back to England? another asked. I live here in Den Bosch, I said. I don’t know when I’ll go back. And your man? Is he from England too? Amerika, I corrected. According to my GPS the boys then ran with me for half a kilometer, longer than I had expected, the tallest of the group, though, out-striding me for sure. I made the rest of the lap around the park alone without event until I saw a fifty-foot-tall tree shaking and calling my name. If I’d been writing, I would have missed it.

I’d like to think that when I forgo writing, it’s for adventure. That life simply sucks me up in a whirlwind of exploration, and that’s why I didn’t get my quota in today. But, a lot of times, it’s neither: no writing, no adventure, just me and a lonely computer screen trying desperately to make something up. Which never works, by the way. I don’t suggest it.

So, as much as I hate New Year’s resolutions (besides, it’s Feb. 11), that’s my pledge from here on out. If you don’t hear from me in a while, I’m out on an adventure.

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Defining a Scene

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I’ve been to a lot of literary festivals, but prior to Friday, I hadn’t been to one in The Netherlands. And then here was this thing: Writers Unlimited. Not stodgy, not stuck-up, not held in a musty room filled only by equally-musty people all speaking with six-inch NPR voices. It was sound booths and DJs pumping international tunes, twenty-foot live trees and tabletops covered in chalkboard, so that while you gulped your beer, you could instantly self-publish. Fiction. Non-fiction. Short speeches dubbed Tirades delivered from a soap box in the middle of the crowded floor. For me, it was love. I will be back again next year.

Writing between a Rock and a Hard Place, or a Garbage Can and a Vent

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Sometimes when things aren’t going my writing way, I need more of something not going my way. Because sometimes, something that shouldn’t work, does. I shouldn’t be inspired by the smell of rotting banana peels or the awkward huffing of a ventilation fan, and shouldn’t shouldn’t be the most important word in a sentence.

Poem promo update: I just finished putting flyers in the doors of all my neighbors. I can’t yet promise any poems fully in Dutch, so we’ll see if I get any takers. As always, to take your free poem, click here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/165156186/custom-poem-for-25-cents-free-shipping?ref=shop_home_feat.

It’s a Poem, not a Flu Shot.

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I’d never been to the opera before. This weekend, I saw Armide in downtown Amsterdam. The singing was French and the subtitles, displayed on an overhead digital board, Dutch. In two-and-a-half hours, I managed bonjour and vrouw, the Dutch word for woman.

When three knights in plastic armor swung in circles fighting flower petals falling from the sky, I was mesmerized. When goblins with melting faces appeared writhing next to women in blond wigs and pink skirt suits, less so. There was a lake and a desert and a horse and a witch. Did I understand what was going on? Rarely. Was I enjoying trying to figure it out? Absolutely.

So that’s my challenge to everyone: give it a try. Buy a poem. They’re twenty-five cents. If you can’t afford one, or can’t seem to get the online shop working, email me: christinepsstocke@hotmail.com.  I’ll try not to be intimidating. I’ll try not to be overly-complicated, but if the poem is, if I am, worst case scenario, recycle it. Otherwise, for the twenty seconds it’ll take you to read it, have fun. Take whatever you want from it, and leave everything else behind. Like the first line and hate the rest. I’ll never hold it against you.

For those of you who’ve already purchased poems, it’s understatement to say that you’ve made me feel better about life and literature. Your passion for the topics you’ve chosen has made me want to write and write and write. And for an author, there’s no better feeling.

(https://www.etsy.com/listing/165156186/custom-poem-for-25-cents-free-shipping?ref=shop_home_feat)

Productive Spaces: A Canalside Park

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I came across this poem while on a recent walk, and if there’s one thing I like more than walks, it might be surprise poetry in the countryside. It also came as a surprise that my Dutch is progressing well enough for me to read it. Thank you to Hans Ridden, and thank you to the person who took her walk with a piece of laminated paper, a metal stick and a sledgehammer.

Then I sat on these chairs and watched a man fish.

Only 5 days down in the poetry promotion, and 28 poems already sold. Get your own surprise poem while they last: https://www.etsy.com/listing/165156186/custom-poem-for-25-cents-free-shipping?ref=shop_home_feat.

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