I’ve started to seriously write fiction. Today I published a short story from the point of view of a dike with an existential crisis.
I grew up in Haarlem, in the Netherlands, which is situated close to the North Sea and surrounded by dunes and dikes and wetlands. I remember once, as we were out on our bikes driving around, we passed a statue of a boy with his finger in the dike. Probably the one in Spaarnwoude (see image). I remember that my mother told me the story about how this boy Hans had saved the dike. He saw there was a little hole in the dike and put his finger in it, to stop the water from coming through. He was the ‘hero of Haarlem’, making sure the town was not flooded.
As I read about this story now, it turns out not to be a Dutch story at all, but an American one first published in 1865. It was written by Mary Mapes Dodge. So it’s American folklore about the Netherlands. Still, for me it is a Dutch story connected to my childhood.
I wrote this story as part of a writers-workout at a group of writers I’ve recently discovered who provide interesting feedback on one’s writing. All peer-review, with some excellent writers who are able to quickly take apart your work and can point out its strengths and weaknesses. Weekly exercises make everyone challenge themselves in new and surprising ways. At least, for me, as fiction writing is still pretty new to me. At least at the rate I’m doing it now. This time round the assignment was to take a public domain fairy tale or folklore, and to rewrite it from a point of view different than that of the main protagonist of the story. Mine turned out quite nice, I think.
Read the full story on Steem
So, if you’re interested in reading from the point of view of a dike with an existential crisis, here you can read the full story.
De Italiaanse filosoof Giorgio Agamben (1942) is een grote naam in de hedendaagse filosofie. Zijn grootste werk is het project ‘Homo Sacer’ – de sacrale mens, de heilige mens. In dat werk en in veel van zijn denken gaat het veelal om de relatie tussen de mens en de rituelen en heilige objecten waar de mens mee samenleeft. Nu in Nederlandse vertaling verschenen het boek ‘Profanaties’. Een recensie door Nicole des Bouvrie. Continue reading “Recensie: Agamben’s Profanaties”
Soms kom je ergens een artikel tegen dat je jaren geleden schreef en niet onaardig is.
Soms heeft de filosofie al door wat er aan de hand is, vijftig jaar voordat het zichtbaar wordt. Teruggrijpen naar dode schrijvers en denkers is dan helemaal niet raar. Toch vergt het redelijk wat vertaling naar de tegenwoordige tijd.
Wanneer we iemand tegenkomen en willen weten wie die persoon is, vragen we vaak om haar naam, en vervolgens waar zij vandaan komt. Dat is niet zo raar. Die naam is handig om mensen te kunnen onderscheiden, en de plek waar we wonen gaat over ons thuis, over waar we onszelf zijn. Maar wat betekent dat ‘onszelf zijn’ en wat heeft wonen daar mee te maken? Gelukkig heeft Martin Heidegger (Duitsland, 1889 – 1976) dat al voor ons onderzocht. Continue reading “Het Thuis van de Mens”
On why teaching about one’s role in the history of slavery and colonialism is necessary. And only the first step.
We have such a long way to go, still.
And I’m not even talking about overcoming divisions, ending structural racism, loving one’s neighbour.
Simply acknowledging the past is hard enough.
While in #Charlottesville this weekend racial hate, gun-carrying militias and white supremacy was openly allowed, the Dutch parties are still meeting to try and form a government. A leaked document now says they at least agree about something… that a new proposal regarding the way the Dutch role in slavery and the colonial is taught at schools, is NOT necessary. (Instead, they decided to teach about the national anthem, …) (Source: article 16/08/17 on NOS.nl) Whereas in the past sixty years, the narrative about the Dutch colonial past has not truly changed, and is still based on the oppressor’s perspective. (See this master thesis on this topic, in Dutch, from 2012.) Continue reading “The road ahead is long”
Is it possible to define the sense of belonging that is more than simply the addition of the parts, that does not erase philosophical loneliness but gives it a place and makes you regard it as a strength?
It has been truly a magnificent gift to be able to spend an intensive week with a group of strangers, talking about venturing into the unknown, into the future of (feminist) philosophy, and who, during the final session, dare to share their feelings of loneliness and inadequacy. In life. But mostly in their philosophical being. A loneliness that is both personal and professional. And I wonder how that shared attitude of fundamental openness creates a space of belonging. Continue reading “The Art of Belonging – reflection on the NSU summer school”
Because she knew the difference…
At first there is nothing at all. A silence that is persuasive, that leads nowhere and that asks you to follow in its footsteps.
At first there is disbelief. A search for truth that extends to nothing but the very fact you want to un-hear. The search that leads only deeper into the woods, into a translation that cannot be undone. Continue reading “In memoriam: Anne Dufourmantelle”
As a child I thought I despised repetition. Little did I know that I actually loved it, and practiced it. Just not at school.
“Skill development depends on repetition…” I am reading a book by the American sociologist Richard Sennett on the position and the role of The Craftsman in society. An interesting book. But that sentence would have made me angry. At least, when I was young.
When I was a child I was convinced I hated repetition. I hated it all through elementary school and all through high school. At least, that is what I thought. But I was made to repeat tasks that were much too simple for me. Now I know, that if they had given me Chinese characters to learn, told me to repeat them hundreds, thousands to times, I would have gladly done so. Continue reading “On the Frustration & the Beauty of Repetition”