Sorry, no story

Dear reader, dear listener,

I haven’t written you in half a year and the reason is I have had nothing to say. Egocentric as I am, I have spent a lot of my time observing and scrutinizing my own attention… I guess I wanted to find out what I’m really up to. I must admit that what I learned isn’t pretty. Egocentric as I am, my attention, it turns out, was almost uniquely fixated on me. Go figure.

One might wonder why meanwhile I haven’t come up with a story. I wondered why I never come up with a story. But now I actually think I get it. It’s all a result of my lack of attention for what surrounds me. I don’t see the world I live in. I don’t explicitly refuse to see it. I just don’t. That’s why I have no story to tell. All I have for you, all I have ever had for you, is rumination. And I just want you to know that I am sorry. Ruminations are like atoms. They are like the story without the structure. They are elements you can zoom in on but without connection to the broader scope, it is all they’ll ever be: elementary, but meaningless. They are not alive but they do dwell inside of you and they take up space.

Anyway, I have no story. For example: I went running yesterday. I went running on many other days as well. Same trajectory, or practically so. Yet I couldn’t tell you the name of two streets I ever pass by, the types of pavement I lay foot on, or the view across the river that guides me from north to south and back. I wouldn’t be able to describe any of it, even though I know many words. A tremendous amount of words… In fact, I know the best words. I really do.

I wouldn’t be able to describe you anything, if you held a gun to my head. I don’t do well under pressure. However, I wouldn’t be able to describe it if you asked me ever so gently either, because I simply don’t register. I’m the videocamera you thought was on until you press the button to turn it off. Because that’s when you notice you actually just turned it on. So it must have been off the whole time. No matter how closely you were looking through that lens, no matter how steadily you were zooming in on things… you weren’t recording. With this kind of gear, all you ever end up with are intermittent fragments and thoughts. But no story.

And that is why everything you just read or listened to, makes no iota of sense.

A cobra in the trees

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Dear reader, dear listener,


Here’s a frustrating fact my bored, under-stimulated mind is having to deal with at the moment: each day, the list of things I need to get sorted out is full, turning out to be surprisingly incomplete the very next. In the context of confinement and forced unemployment, during these strangest of times when time is not an issue, you might suspect that I am overstating facts here or maybe even straight out lying.

But I am not talking about chores. The bed is made, the bills are paid and the dishes are done. The floors are clean and the toilet paper supply is at an acceptable level.

What I am talking about are mental trepidations: cobras, one after another, first hiding, then seamlessly slithering passed me, up the tree of life that I am trying to climb. None of them are attacking me just yet. They’re not even really lurking because I can sort of see them. But they are ahead of me, staring at me and looking down on me. As if waiting for me to confront them, grapple with them and then fail.

They are the things I still wish to accomplish but I am not fully aware of, or the ambitions I have but prefer not to admit to. They wear the skins I need to shed to rid me from any scars and present a better version of myself on every occasion I get. They are a metaphorical mess that echoes my state-of-mind, somehow truthfully. They may bite me in the ass if I try to slip by them or laugh at me if I fall, when the branch I’ve been leaning on is no longer willing to carry my wistful weight, and snaps. It is all possible.

No, it is all just me, aimlessly sitting through a global crisis I am not playing any role in. I am no hero, and I am not even clapping my hands. I am your every law-abiding citizen, trying to hold his head up, just moving on; another innocuous cobra aimlessly roaming the trees until this is all over.

Twijfel in tijden van corona

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Beste lezer, alsook luisteraar,

Abs 2019-nCoV virus hologram

Als ik de afgelopen tijd in mijn kot iets heb geleerd over mijzelf is het wel dat ik een moeilijk te inspireren individu ben. Meer tijd is vooral meer tijd om me te verliezen in de eindeloze conversatie met mijn egocentrische zelf, zo blijkt. Andere mensen trekken wel mijn aandacht, maar interesseren mij verder doorgaans niet bijster. Ik ben er niet trots op maar het is zo. Ik ben al blij als niemand afziet en neem er genoegen mee het niet te weten wanneer dat toch het geval is. Ik ben een laffe, stinkende dweil die ergens in een hoekje ligt uit te drogen en de grote lenteschoonmaak is dit jaar onderhevig aan uitstel wegens pandemie. Of is het pandémie? Zoek het zelf maar op.

Zowat alles is voor mij cliché, inclusief het feit dat alles cliché is. Dat biedt mijn creatieve ambities weinig armslag. Ik hink op twee gedachten door het dagelijkse leven. De ene is dat ik iedereen onwaardig ben en de andere is dat iedereen waardeloos is. Er zijn momenten dat ik hink op beide. Dat zijn de moeilijkste. Er zijn ook momenten van inkeer. Dan besef ik droogweg dat sommige mensen betere keuzes maken, meer discipline aan de dag leggen en hun aandacht beter investeren dan ik de mijne. En wanneer ik voedzaam ontbeten heb, besef ik de vrijheid te bezitten om hetzelfde te doen. Nog altijd.

Als ik de afgelopen weken in mijn kot iets heb geleerd over de wereld rondom me is het dat we meer dan ooit een uitstervend ras zijn; niet omdat we opeens met miljoenen ziek in bed liggen, wel omdat we onstuitbaar evolueren naar een nieuw geslacht: homo cyborgicus of homo absentis, of iets dergelijks. Dat zeg ik niet omdat we de sapiens in ons plotseling hebben achtergelaten. Dat deden we ergens einde jaren negentig al, toen reality tv zijn intrede deed.

Nee, ik zeg het omdat ik vaststel dat we moeiteloos online werken, ravotten en elkander al friemelend op de hoogte houden van onze non-avonturen. Als we in deze tijden nog ergens bestaan is het wel online, ver weg van elkaar. Het tijdperk van de afstandelijke mens is definitief aangebroken. Natuurlijk gaan we deze zomer, wanneer de lockdowns worden opgeheven met onze broekjes en onze rokjes vol goesting het openbare leven tegemoet, maar elk moment zal slechts bestaan wanneer het online te raadplegen valt. vanop afstand.

Of misschien heb ik gewoon nood aan frisse lucht.

On the table

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2020-01-19 15_25_05-Microsoft EdgeIt seems that perhaps the most difficult things to learn in life are the ones you once unlearned before, wittingly but especially unwittingly. From what I can tell, it appears to be so because when you unwittingly unlearn something, it ceases to be part of your subconscious day-to-day life strategy. And as a result, when thousands of days pass by, some of your natural proclivities are extorted from your identity.
Probably, hopefully, at the time, the unlearning was at least effective at obtaining whatever you were trying to obtain. The problem is that the past version of you was a foolish asshole with no regard for who its pitiful thirty year-old version would have wanted to be.

As for me, so it happened that I frustratingly came to realize lately that my unsophisticated seventeen-year-old self had access to something his future self would gradually cease to incorporate and lose touch with: his own voice.

English class 2004… We were given the task of writing our own poem. A poem of which the objective was to provide affirmation to one of the many developing voices that spoiled and self-absorbed teenagers like ourselves would unsurprisingly have. In 2004, I also had a Playstation 2 and so the inevitable lack of time to take this sort of assignment seriously.

So what I did was to concoct a poem of oneliners borrowed from some lesser-known, second-rate punkrock bands, the evening before the work was due. I put in just enough effort, mixing in some of my very own third-rate oneliners, for this treachery to remain unnoticed. And it did. Nobody noticed a thing. After I had just read out loud this Frankenstein monster of a poem, one would have been able to hear a pin drop. B-. The perfect crime.

The poem supposedly represented my inner voice of a young atheist and it delivered. Little did I know to what extent what I brought to the table did represent perfectly what it claimed to represent: a lack of belief.
It is no coincidence that I am today a person who writes down his thoughts, tries to formulate them more eloquently than they initially are, edits them, waits around and only when the initial excitement has faded, publishes them. I am not someone who will often enter into an argument or discussion to say what I believe. I don’t keep my opinions up my sleeve. My ideas are therefore profound but even more so, confused. They are never really on the surface so I never need to define or defend them.

This seems safe but it isn’t, because not defending them in some way implies not defending myself. It means not laying out on the table what I value and what value I bring. It implies not having a voice and it results in having to undergo other people’s hidden agendas, often hidden from themselves as well. That is a pernicious path to be on.

So I intend to re-learn getting my voice heard, even if sometimes I end up regretting what it expresses. Because at the end of the day, regret will always be there with us, if only we have the character to acknowledge it. I’d rather have my voice to be there too.

Just give me a few years.

In the moment

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A sleek leather couch fore-fronting a clean white wall, adorned by not a beautiful cloud but a painting of it. The dockside view from a tall window that could be cleaner but through which nonetheless the light manages to illuminate even the more mournful of days. They are only two of the views I have recently failed to consider intently… wrongfully. Because it is not them who have lost their beauty. It is I who have been distracted once more.

It is astonishing how easily distractible I can be. But if distraction is the worst problem I have to deal with, then it is still safe enough to assume reasons to be hopeful. Because being undistracted is about finding focus on something, which basically means I can ignore my way out of other shit. And let’s face it. It is not a very difficult task for me to ignore things. I ignore plenty. It’s just about using my ignorance in a more productive manner. To starve what is pernicious and to feed what can help me grow, even if it only means… older. Because I assume some wisdom will come along with that.

So, as I choose to make way for more oblivion, I promise myself to keep on recognizing how stupid I can be sometimes, but not so recklessly as to diagnoze an idiot. Because I am not… I just sometimes tend to think more than my brain can manage. And, comical as that may sound. It is different than me being an idiot. Denying that, is a lazy excuse to not live up to my potential. Or more accurate than laziness, it is fear, ferociously finding its way through the pores of my thin-skinned ego, unwanting to acknowledge my imperfection. Hence the sweating.

So, what’s next? Is my own will to determine what follows? Or has the chain of past events established an inevitable path my lifetime is too short for to divert from. God only knows and devil may care… Probably all that matters is now. Or at least so they say. And right now I have an obtrusive urge for beer. And since I only drink during the weekends and it is Sunday afternoon, I better get to it, before the past catches up with me in the moment.


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What I am going to say next might resonate for some and not at all for others. If you are part of the latter, then good for you, you’re in a better place than most, and too bad for my effort of writing today. But so be it. At first, I didn’t know what to write. But thoughts have an interesting way of revealing themselves whenever I stick to the keyboard while ruminating for a few hours. So here it goes:



I’m not sure what to say, because my mind keeps gravitating towards places I don’t understand or I simply don’t want it to go. There is so much to know and to say about everything and it is so hard to concentrate, on pretty much anything. It’s surely some sort of cognitive disability or character flaw I am not dealing with the way I should.

Nevertheless, never before has my attention had so much appeal: from brands, companies, people yelling from the hills of their self-proclaimed moral high ground, and simply people that happen to be around, branding themselves with every move they make, every stance they take and many untruthful words they speak.

Yet it seems to me that never before, people have cared so little about what others really think, as long as these others seem to accept their alleged inferiority. When people notice that this is not the case, they seem to be shook up and choke. I say, let them, so that the ugly part of them dies off and a better version of them can be born. Who knows they can become actual friends, that contribute usefully and positively, not just by being entertaining but by being reliable partners not just in crime and clubs but in solace and success. Partners that help us make the right choices and don’t secretly (yet so obviously) rejoice when we’re making the wrong ones.

I am just saying. Enough bullshit already. And that goes for all of us bitches and assholes.

Past or present

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Dear reader, dear listener,

Image result for past vs present

I stumbled upon an interesting question today. It goes something like this: What is it we are looking for? Is it living the best possible experiences? Or is it having the best possible memories about these experiences? Think about it…

And when you do so, realize that even though it may sound like it, this is not a journey vs. destination argument. The issue here is a psychological one. It is about how you deal with your journey. Do you deal with it as an experience or as a story? Are you almost perpetually living your life in the moment or do you surrender your conscience to the past? The way I’m laying out the question here, it may seem that the latter enjoys less of my esteem and that I honor the first option more.

But I am undecided. I know just as well as the next person that we will always have more past than present. And so I truly wonder how much I should sacrifice the one for the other. And even if the answer is “a lot of it” then to what extent should I sacrifice the present for the future? Because that is where it all comes together, isn’t it?

This kind of introspective mess is basically why I tend to forget every morning whether I turned off all the lights or not, closed the front door, sent out that important e-mail yesterday and, let’s face it, often come off as slow… Once again, caught up in the past.

Be that as it may, given that time is scarce and accepting that I am a fool running errands for my future self, I simply try to get around by planting seeds of meaning. Knowing that hundreds of them will be washed out by rainy days that  I cannot foresee, but hoping that maybe one or two of them will find a way to define themselves slowly, and that I will know I have been alive, in more than one place… because I have a few stories to tell.


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Dear reader, dear listener,


I think I want to say something about my own arrogance today, because it isn’t something anyone or I, myself, tend to notice, I notice. It is imprisoned somewhere deep inside the sanctuary of my wretched ego. If it were out in the open, I would be discussing a different kind of arrogance, the kind of arrogance that is often associated with good looks, a razor sharp mind or a killer body, or all of the above. But that is not me.

Me, I am modest. Have you ever humbly dismissed a compliment you were given? Even just a tiny, formal one that seemed merely motivated by courtesy or compassion? If you have and you are anything like me, you probably tend to feel that this is the most dignified way to react in a situation of this sort. But what I’ve come to recognize lately, is the cruel fault in that assumption. My arrogance is my modesty. And it is ruthless. Yet I’m trying to get a handle on it. Because it is an emergency. I don’t even think that this is an overstatement. Now that I really come to think of it, it may be a matter of life or death.

How dare I decline any seed of encouragement when I am so fiercely yearning for growth? Who do I think I am, that I can presume the motivation behind the kind words on offer. And even if I guess right, does it give me the right to guess? Maybe, there is much more at stake than I realize. Because what is being offered can be a lot of things. And it can be a lot of things at once: a little bit of momentum to thrive on, or just to get through the day, when it’s one of those weeks. Perhaps it is the touch of relief that keeps me from unleashing yet another agonizing recital of my fears, apprehensions and confusion about life to my dearly beloved, at least tonight. A little push to get me moving and eventually send me off towards unmapped territory, on which I end up discovering everything I didn’t know yet before. Who knows?

I am done feeling bigger than the little gifts I am given. No matter how small they are. So let this be an inquiry to my modest me to stop taking itself so seriously and take a damn compliment from time to time. Hell, take them all, all of the time. Because clocks are ticking.


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Beste lezer of luisteraar,


De tijd blijft het goed doen. In volle vaart vooruit. En ze kijkt niet achterom. Ik tracht gelijke tred te houden met haar kolossale voeten.

Niet omkeren dus, maar vooruit op mijn dubbele maat vijfenveertig (ten behoeve van enig theatraal effect, behoudt de schrijver zich het recht voor fictieve persoonsgegevens doorheen dit schriftuur te gebruiken).

En soms gluur ik dan toch weer even achteruit. De toekomst die voor ons ligt is vaak niet glashelder en voor een flauwhartig sujet als mezelf is het op zulke momenten productiever om me eraan te herinneren waarvoor ik vlucht. Op de beste mijner momenten heb ik beiden: tastbare hoop en aanschouwelijke angst. Dan maak ik reuzenschreden, verlies ik kilo’s en maak ik nieuwe vrienden. Dan is mijn geest van haar demonen ontladen. Dan worden dingen zo duidelijk als ze ooit zullen zijn.

Over toekomst gesproken. Ik zou daarin toch ook eens een keer mijn plafondlampen moeten ophangen. Maar een weekend is zo voorbij en mijn goesting een beperkte energiebron voor dat soort karweitjes. Een kaal ogend plafond met wat loshangende elektriciteitsdraden schrikt mij niet voldoende af om daar wat aan te veranderen. Het heeft zelfs iets allegorisch, zo een eenzame lichtpeer temidden een zorgvuldig ingerichte kamer, op een dinsdagavond in Januari. Als ware het een koppige vrucht, die na een droge zomer ook de duistere winter trotseert… Totdat alles licht werd.

En derhalve heb ik eindelijk weer eens wat geschreven. Laten hangen die handel!


Innerlijke strijd

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Luisteraars en lezers,


Sommigen onder jullie zijn er misschien al mee bekend: de minzaamheid van het menselijke genus. Men heeft de neiging mij er nog mee te verrassen. Dat komt deels door het feit dat ik (althans tijdens mijn slappere momenten) stiekem een verstrooid en rancune-drachtig personage ben, roepend om wraak maar niet wetend jegens wie en ook niet echt waarvoor.

Daar zit ik dan mee, bij momenten.

Zo geschiedt het dus soms dat een goed menende ziel me onwetend verontrust met een blijk van respect, waardering of geloof in mijn kunnen. Daar vecht ik dan tegen, binnenin. En dan vraag ik me gelukkig wel eens af, waarom?

En overpeinzend kom ik dan tot de conclusie dat de antagonist die om vergelding schreeuwt in mijzelf gevangen zit. In mijn verleden, in elke confrontatie die ik ooit uit de weg ben gegaan, in mijn angst. Dan wordt ik herinnerd aan de dualiteit die mij inherent is. Engel en Demon. Zachtmoedigaard en woesteling. Pijn in het hart en vuur in de ogen.

Het zijn energieën, neigingen, tegenstrijdige genen… allemaal in elkaar verweven en elkaar tiranniserend voor de bovenhand, voor het postuur van mijn lichaam, het geluid van mijn stem. De één zegt alleen maar ja en de ander zegt alleen maar nee. Het is een innerlijke strijd die steeds woedt en moge ze nooit beslecht worden want dat zou een halve dood betekenen.

Ik heb de gevallen engel in mij recht getrokken. Het evenwicht is herstellende. Kom maar op wie durft. Ik zal vechten. Dat wilde ik alleen maar even laten weten.