First Drawings

I just made the first few drawings for my book, and I have many more to make. One for each chapter.

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Book Cover Rift

So excited to present my first sketch for the book cover. I’m getting a crazy talented artists to color it. Lucky me!

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Strong Female Character

Today I discovered a good blogpost about the female protagonist in modern day stories.

In this post, Tasha Robinson poses an important question: Looking at a so-called Strong Female Character of a story, would you—the writer, the director, the actor, the viewer – want to be her?

While writing my book Rift, this is exactly the question I ask myself. Rift is filled with strong female presence. I am very aware of the importance of the characters and pay close attention to their development throughout the story. The strong female voices I introduce, do not get pushed to the background so that they can be taken over by the male character who has to save the story. This is what too often happens in modern day storytelling, as Tasha states. And I do think that a story led by a woman, can be a fun read for a man. Why does everything have to be so segregated. Most of my male friends, enjoy stories with female protagonists.

We need more powerful women in the world. And when speaking of a strong character, I do not mean a women who mirrors the power aspects of the men. With strength, I don’t refer to muscle power, spitting on the pavement and saying harsh words (Tasha does tend to make that comparison). In my eyes, it is time that we discover the true strength of the female in story-lines. Im talking about a strength that goes beyond violence and foul words. It is a strength that thrives on vulnerability and honesty.

Check the blog-post here.

strong female characters

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The Barn Swallow

Coming from the Netherlands, I always thought swallows were black, at least that was how they were portrayed on the matchbox. Turns out they come in color too! Here in Canada, David shot the most astounding picture…. Click on it for the lager version.

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Doing what you love – Jim Carrey

“You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

*Jim Carry.

Doing what you love doesn’t mean that it comes with ease. Doing what you love, often means you need to face great fears, your own fears! Financial challenges are often a reason to opt for the ‘safer route’. However, there is no safe route. The current economical downfall is the best example of that. The funny thing is, this evidence makes people even more afraid.

This is your life, and you only live once (in this moment…). So you better make it worth it!

Doing what you love, often also means that people around you will have an opinion about it. You are doing, what they want to do with their lives! Just remember, deep down, in their envy, lies their admiration for you not giving up, for you not compromising, for you eating dust in the more difficult moments. You are doing, what others are most afraid of. And you do it with grace and trust. It is about trusting yourself. It is about knowing that following your heart is taking the right route.

writing in NYC

I’m writing a book, I’m compromising every day to get done what I want to get done. Though my life is upside down right now, I know that my heart is growing. My trust solidifies every day. I loved watching this video, it tells me I’m on the right path. Only good things lie ahead, no matter how hard the present can be. Because I do what I love.

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Living on the Road

What about falling asleep with a myriad of reds, pinks, yellows and purples in the sky, the sounds of rippling waves that scatter on the shore… and the person you love the most by your side.

Yes it is heaven, it is my life.

Did I mention we live in a van at the moment :)

I love that marriage for me means more adventure instead of less…

nomadic living

 

nomadic marriage

 

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The dance of writing

I write, that is what I do… I write. When I feel good, when I feel bad, when I feel slightly in between and even when I don’t feel. When I create I energize temporary non-existing words and give them the magic to appear. With that same energy that flows through my fingers, I create sentences that create a story.
My words are always there, I make them dance on the paper.
Yes, my words dance for me, they perform a show.
Sometimes it’s ballet, sometimes its modern dance and sometimes they just move freely on a good background beat. Sometimes it’s a fairy dance, sometimes a demon dance, but mostly it’s my own dance, my soul dance. And only I know what it looks like, for only I can see them perform. For me my words looks like music, and they sound like a symphony that will be different to every ear it touches.

I have my words work for me and with me. They entertain me, and I perform with them at the same time, it’s a partnership. I let my words move in me in directions I wasn’t thinking of going. I let myself go, I float, I dance, like no one is watching, I write like no one is reading. I just am… when I write.

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Luna Love

This is the new love of my life, she keeps me company while I plow through hundreds of pages of book- material. Re-writing, Editing and Expanding is quite some work! But loving it, it’s the most amazing project I have ever done. So thankful to be able to write this fairytale!

luna dog Rift

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If I had only one day of depression a year

Today the weather is gloomy… in LA, which never happens.
The moment I realized it I grabbed the chance to get my yearly Winter Depression over with. I hadn’t had the chance yet with all the sun we’ve been having and its already February! So I decided to make it a good one:
I slept in too late, grabbed black coffee from the day before while eating a cold pizza, also from the day before. I checked out some Internet pictures of the extinct Baiji dolphin, added on some pics of Justin Bieber getting arrested and topped it off with an old episode of Beverly Hills 90210 where Dylan dumps Brenda, all while listening to the soundtrack of Titanic.
I smoked 4 cigarettes… at once, popped some Zoloft and Prozac and read the bad side effects while chewing them down. I clipped my toenails too short and then I borrowed some sugar from the neighbor which was an excuse to talk to someone about not having any friends. Eventually I overdosed myself with a massive amount of marihuana and passed out. If you only have one day a year to be depressed, you better make it a good one.
Thank god the sun shines again tomorrow…

Of course I didn’t do this but this is probably what a depressed day would look like if you only were allowed to have one a year.

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The Book: Coming Soon!

For the last six months I have been writing a book. Its been an adventure, and I’m almost done. Writing 5 pages daily has taken my attention away from posting online…

But I’ll be back!

xxx

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Continuum

 

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The Merge of Anger

I remember my first post I ever wrote in LA. Lovely to look back, having an online diary does good things. I often don’t remember first impressions. And having it written down somewhere is very entertaining.

I realize now that I moved into the Venice that I enjoyed so much that ‘one day in LA’ two years ago. Life flows in strange ways.

I’m most grateful for having been able to set my feet in this happy town with its sunny days, it’s colorful houses and bleached haired surfers.

One thing that I have not yet started to appreciate about LA is traffic.

I don’t drive a car unless it is really necessary. Which is surprisingly enough not often, Venice has it all. I guess nobody here likes traffic. And it’s one of those necessary evils in LA: can’t live with, can’t live life at all without a car. LA is big.

I’m glad David drives, he is a great driver, and I’m happy he carries the burden. But even David is not immune to the stress it brings.

This is what happened:

A sunny Saturday. Half day spent in bed with cuddles, kisses and sunshine. Finally we move from the bedroom into some essential day planning. We decide first to go for carrots, ginger and apples to feed our daily juicing desire. And since Trader Joe’s is 40 minutes away (a big change from SF where it was a two minute walk), we decide go hiking after that.

When leaving trader Joe’s in West Village, a place that feels almost Mediterranean, we are happily stacked up with green and orange vitamins.

Slowly with a 2 mile an hour speed we crawl towards our hiking destination. Traffic. Luckily we know its only going to be twenty minutes until we will be moving again.  We come to the end of our lane, and it is necessary to merge. However, the car behind us in the other lane, does not like that plan. It will make him arrive at his destination one car length slower.

When a space appears we stick in the nose of the car to move left, getting ourselves to get off the lane that now is soon to end. CRASH! The person behind us really didn’t want to give us any space. In such a way that he thinks its more rational to crash his nose into our side than to wait a few seconds to give us the space we were taking.

More surprisingly, he starts pushing us to the side, digging his nose deeper into our door. When we back off and try a second time since our lane will end, he decides to plunge his nose into us again, now with more force. BANG! He drives straight into our backdoor. This was clearly a hit out of anger. I am utterly confused. Is this really happening? In my mind my fear fed imagination starts spinning. He will hit us again! And then draw a gun! I mean, this is LA and I have seen enough movies to know what is next! A gunfight, shots, me screaming.
But it stays with those two clashes. Thank god.

The dream-catchers in our car now sway heavily back and forth (yes I married a man with dream-catchers hanging in his car). The paper-mache  mask that decorates our dashboard looks less happy now, being clearly equally shocked as we are. The anger explosion behind us jumps out of his car.  “ASSHOLE” we hear from behind. I am not sure I want David to get out. So I decide to join, hoping that some female presence might tame the typhoon of adrenaline.

This is the part I don’t understand: our car is nice but no way new or shiny. Yes I love it, it has gotten us everywhere. And it has been like a home. But his car is expensive. It is a nice KIA, silver, unscratched, probably quite new.

Perhaps the fact that the driver is not the owner explains something? The owner sits right next to him, frantically pushing buttons on his phone, calling the police. I wonder what he was thinking when his friend rammed his car into ours in his blaze of anger. But observing the car owner it is quite apparent he is convinced that our ship needs to go down.

There we are, standing still on the highway in the middle of LA, dodging the anger flames from these strangers. David, a modest boy from Minnesota and a shocked Dutch girl that is not sure what is going on. It feels surreal.

I feel more foreign than ever. Is this the LA way?

Does LA sting?

The police man is extremely nice, though I’m sure that our newly obtained friends will tell him terrible stories about us. I mean look at us… We can’t even fight back!

So that was a good Saturday afternoon. The time we reserved for a hike has been spent in a parking lot, trying to figure out insurance information, talking to the police and waiting for this mess to be over.
Luckily there was an amazing hawk circling the parking lot, we got a bit of nature in the hot desert of concrete.

The most interesting thing about this situation is that I got to observe myself in fear. The nerves in my body got tightened like guitar strings. I was on edge the rest of the day. Every new merge we made I frantically looked backwards, expecting more crazy clashes.

In the evening I went rollerblading over the boulevard by the sea.

On my way back a gentleman makes a joke, expressing that I am taking too much space on the bike lane. My still tightened strings in my body instantly respond to his accusation: ‘Where am I supposed to go then?’ I ask him with an agitated voice.

‘On the pavement,’ he responds.

‘It is full of holes!’ I snap back at him. And I turn my back towards him, hiding the flames in my eyes, almost giving him the worst of all: the finger. Luckily I’m able to restrain myself.

He starts laughing. Confused I look back. He says he was joking. It was an attempt to start a conversation with a girl on rollerblades. I feel terrible. When did I become so flammable?  Is this what it takes to merge into LA?? I hope I can keep my guitar strings nice and relaxed so that I can play good tunes instead of the angry ones.

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What happened

I look around and see an entirely new place. It looks nothing like any of my other hometowns that I have temporarily inhabited.

Here I see small colorful cute cottages with little lights on the porches. I see larger luxury apartments with roof top swimming-pools and office spaces in their basements.  I see a crowded boulevard that even in the middle of the night has activity.

I hear seagulls hovering over my head. I smell ocean. And I see a long strip of light sanded beach. Next to the boulevard I see several street musicians, dozing homeless people, dogs without leashes and dozens of clumsy bikers that are trying  not run into each other. I witness an occasional accident (the occasional biker hitting the occasional long-boarder), a yogi in down dog pose, I child with a little bucket and a street cleaner taking the treasures of the homeless.  I feel alive, awake and content. I landed in Venice Beach Los Angeles.

venice beach los angeles

It feels like I just woke up out of a dream that consisted of flares and flashes of meagerly tied together experiences that have a lucid feeling to them.

To get some sort of stability I have decided to plant my feet in one location. Or should I say OUR feet? Because I now wear a ring. A ring that I share with an incredible soul that decided my path was also his. And we conquer it together in love and desire. For life.

A marriage happened in the dust. The desert of Nevada was the stage of our love. We gathered a group of Barbarellic splendor a.k.a. dear friends to celebrate our life long union.

I can honestly say that my months of undirected flow have taken a turn into true love and physical bliss.

And the lucid dream of tantric training, art explosions, hard confrontations with temporary realities continues. Together we battle the daemons that sporadically try to push us from heavenly clouds.

We know that gates of heaven are always fully opened. And we dip in and out, playing with both the sides of the coin, the double sided sword. We are all light and dark and living it is awakening our flame of consciousness. Once lit everything seems less dark.

Venice Beach is currently my heaven.

 

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I remember the joys, I remember the pain

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Melbourne. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in

mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.

Cranky Old Man

What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . … . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . … lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . ..my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. …Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future … . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME!!

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Touch

“Never forget that consciousness breathes…”

“Sometimes awakening is more like a glacier melting, slowly and inexorably. But often the consciousness goes through painful episodes. And the briefer they are, the more intense. When the whole suit of armor gives way to awakening in the adult, the state is both identical to the newborn’s and different in the sense that it is heightened by the beauty of the journey, and it is not generally followed by regression. And adult heart that is awakened is a heart that hasn’t breathed for a long time, that has retained an enormous capacity for genuine love. We are all like bombs ready to explode with love. Even the most violent, most terrifying men and women, the ones most rejected by society because of their crimes. Agreeing to touch each the other is agreeing to make the bomb explode. It is the only solution to violence. Touch.”

~ Daniel Odier, Tantric Quest ~

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