Year’s end and new beginnings.

When I face the desolate impossibility of writing 500 pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day’s work is all that I can permit myself to contemplate. John Steinbeck

I was born on a New Year’s Eve. Nepali New Year’s Eve on April 13 to be exact. Not the one we celebrate here. I wasn’t aware of that until last year. Working and living in Nepal made me realize it. Of course it is of no importance besides the fact that I nowadays celebrate the New Year twice a year. Once is my own new year, the other one is everyone else’s new year. And every year I reflect on the past year, look back a year, or two or three, and compare. Compare how my life is compared to the previous New Year’s Eves. I’ve always done that because I solemnly believe that when times are hard it is good to look back and based on the comparison understand where the progress has been. I thrive on progress and change, that’s why I do that. Because I also believe that the year I can no longer define progress in any aspect I will have lost my soul.

Past nine years have brought joy, challenge, pain and sorrow. So, on the one scale is all that defines me now as the person I am and what I think is good. The other scale is loaded with the negative, the disasters, illnesses and headwind. And I do not even try to objectivate the outcome. Because if I do I I can not be sure that the overall balance is positive. I simply don’t know if I’m better off now than a year ago. This year has learned more than any year before that the negative might just as well bring a lot op positive things and the seemingly positive can be a dark thing.

A year ago I was in love, and love was answered. In another place in the world, far away from home I had unexpectedly found a woman who I fell in love with and in spite of a massive ravine between our cultures. I felt my life had changed and I planned to move away from Europe and start another life in Asia. It wasn’t even a dream but it was a reality and steps were made, choise were made and I felt so good. In February the axe fell. Totally unexpected. Cultural differences prooved unbreacheable. I had to let go and to be honest, I had already done so the day I stepped on that damned airplane that flew me back to my European life in January. Sometimes I still feel I shouldn’t have boarded that plane but just stayed. For that new life. For love.

I didn’t stay. I flew back. I lost my love.

It tumbled me over and then it was the April New Year’s Eve and I turned fifty, thinking it didn’t matter to me at all. But it did. A lot, an awful lot. I fell sick and the summer went unnoticed. I did not live.

By fall I started breathing again. I published a novel and a photobook. Photo exhibitions followed and there is still one ongoing until February next year. Four days after my birthday on April 18 I was in bed with a bad flu and I found a painting on the internet. I swept me off my feet. I had to know what that painting was and I started researching. I found out it was made by a nineteenth century painter who lived in Kensington, London. ‘Flaming June‘ made me restart my life. Research learned me that there was a dispute about the model who sat for Frederick Leighton for thet specific painting. That dispute led me to a forgotten woman who died in the 1930’s but who was three decades earlier one of the most beautiful women in England. And gradually a story unfolded which was already there waiting to be revealed. More on that can be read here: www.woordenstorm.nl/lachrymae.

Flaming_June,_by_Fredrick_Lord_Leighton_(1830-1896)

It’s end of December now, tomorrow is the last day of this year. I am working hard on my new novel which has evolved in a trilogy about three women, about emancipation, about relationships, war, poverty, wealth, beauty and decay. And about me. It’s the work I will have to write in the coming year, maybe even years. I already know most of the story but I also know that as always it will grow and evolve in a much more detailed and compelling story. My biggest work ever. And tonight I look back. Back to this crazy year.

My life is in many aspects destroyed in the past decade. My body is defect in a very private aspect and I feel deep sadness about that. It actually is the reason why relationships scare me. I don’t think anyone can help me with that, it is very much my own struggle to get some peace over that. My economics are, well they are virtually non-existent. To Dutch standards I am poor and in debt to a level that I will never overcome, no matter what I do and no matter how hard I work. This was the year that I had to learn the harsh reality of not having the money to lead a normal life. I don’t have my own front door anymore, most of my belongings have gone (which for the most of it I don’t mind at all), I can hardly afford transport to anywhere and my social life is becoming smaller and smaller. There are days I do not have food. But this year also learned me that I have the ability to go on and after a year living way below poverty standards I am still here. The most important thing that happend to me this year is that I relearned to make decisions about my own life again. Because I did.

Which brings me to next year.

January will be very difficult. They’re coming to take some of my things away. I won’t be there myself. Complicated story. Pressure is building on me rapidly and life will certainly not improve in January. But important moves are being made. Finance stuff for instance. In the coming months it will all become more transparant and that will inevitable lead me into some sort of debt reduction scheme or bankruptcy. Life won’t end over that. What will happen is that I’m entering a couple of years of very poor living standards but I have the assurance that they won’t be worse than they are now. And yes, that old divorce thing will be corrected in the coming months and that might very well bring a lot of relief. If only because the negative economic part of that will be lifted and redevided in a manner that is fair and making my life easier. It’s all the direct result of the I choice made this year to start rebuilding my life after a downwards spiral that had caught me in the past nine years.

And then there is art. The other major decision I made is that my life will be about writing my books, making my photos and filmwork and focus on the arts as my line of business and the major driving force in my life. It even tops relationships. I know now I can not make any concessions anymore in regard to the art I make and the reason why I do that. Because writing is for me like breathing. There is no way that I can stop that or want to do so. Which made me to choose a pseudonym for writing my future work. Enter Anna Ros. 2012 has brought me a lot on the artistic plane because I’ve grown and made major steps forward but 2013 is even more promising in that. My work improved and so did my writing. I have become confident in that work. I know my abilities and I know where improvement is needed. And there is a lot out there waiting for me to take on. The trilogy being the most important work but there’s also that other loosely related work which I make with a befriended writer. It will surprise a lot of people and is really exciting to make. And of course the film will get finished in 2013, at last. Not as one major work but as a series of three or four short documentaries, portraits of specific people telling the story of forgotten refugees.

And love? Well, that is something else entirely. I am not chasing it to the intensity that I did in the past years. If it happens, it happens. Which doesn’t mean I am not in love because I think I am. To a certain extend. Maybe 2013 will be a good year for love. I would like that but of course that’s uncertain. What is certain is that it will be a great year for friendships. With the few people out there who really know me.

So, this New Years Eve is a very unclear one. Unclear on how my live will continue in 2013, uncertain about where I’ll live and with who. Uncertain about love. But very certain about what defines me: my writings.

I wish all of you a good 2013. With health and love. Skip the economics and other non important things of life, just go for happiness and health. That should suffice.

Love,
Alice Anna

© 2012 Alice Anna Verheij

Advertenties

Old poetry brought back to live, in songs.

I love the music of Natalie Merchant. I have done so since the first time I heard ‘Thick of Thieves’ that is in my opinion still one of the most complicated lyrical songs around. It has amazing poetic quality and Natalie sings it with unmatched intensity and honesty. Her music has been progressing slowly in this overhyped, short lived world of ours. It hardly gets any airplay at the main radio stations in this country and is hugely underestimated. National radio seems oblivious of what happens elsewhere and solely focussed on the rather limited musical styles of the Dutch music industry (apart from a couple of white ravens).

natalie merchant

So I just have to search for great music on the international scene and YouTube. Which is how I found Natalie Merchant a couple of years ago. Even so, it did take time for me to comprehend the value and quality of her music. I heard the lyrics, partly understood them but they didn’t quite sink in. Until ‘Thick of Thieves’ from her 1997 album ‘Ophelia’. The first lines of the powerful lyrics caught me by the throat:

Remember how it all began
The apple and the fall of man
The price we paid
So the people say
Down a path of shame it lead us
Dared to bite the hand that fed us
The fairy tale
The moral end
The wheel of fortune
Never turns again

I know the lines by heart and whenever someone rings me at least the first four lines sound as a constant reminder of the demise of this world and the deceit of mankind. Even for these few ringtone seconds it alerts me. A while ago I got some tracks from her 2010 album ‘Leave your sleep’. Every song I heard captivated me. I did not understand the title of the album and took no time in researching it. Until last night.

I couldn’t sleep. Probably because of the difficulties of life that are continuously challenging me because I really am struggling to survive. Possibly because of a love inside me that is bound by the impossibility of sharing and may or not may flourish one day. Maybe because I’ve been isolating myself too much to work on this novel that is both a miracle to write as a Hercules task and which is tearing me apart every now and then. It really is not an easy (or safe) thing to turn myself inside out and dive into the dark corners of my life, finding words and sentences to transform what’s found there into the scenes in the life of one of my main characters. Writing does hurt. But the hurt can be soothed by this:

leaveyoursleep

My insomnia forced me to write poetry, with Natalie singing in the background. The lights low, the mood heavy. All of a sudden I just had to cry. For no obvious reason but it was unstoppable. ‘If no one ever marries me’ broke me in the early hours before dawn. I searched for the lyrics to read as they are both poetic and sad but strong. The latter I am not. I searched and found and found something else too. At the TED Talks Natalie explained during a concert about the “Leave your sleep’ album (TED Talks in the US really is something else than it’s rather meager Dutch version). She tells about how she made this album and about the poets it is dedicated to.

And I finally understood.

I understood why I love her music so much these days and how that intensified in the past month. Why I listen to it every single day while writing and why I cried listening to ‘If no one ever marries me’. Because it’s the old childrens poetry that awakens me. A poetry that is out of line with this rough and ruthless world, forgotten poetry of sometimes forgotten emotions by forgotten poets. Nineteenth and early twentieth century poetry and as such written in an era I am writing about and researching on every day now. As if I am looking at my lost childhood and youth. The tragedy of the daughter of the great painter Alma-Tadema who after his wife’s death emigrated to England with his children and became famous and wealthy. A daughter who at an early age unwantingly predicted her own life. She never married and died surrounded only by books and her friends. Alone. And yes, that is both my greatest fear in life as a strange desire.

I love this poetry which is way more adult than the label ‘children’s poetry’ suggests. I love it because though written in another time and place, it connects with me and sometimes describes me and my life and desires. It brings me back to a time where people were in less a hurry and gave more attention to what they were doing. Something quite impossible today for most people. Again, with the exception of a few white ravens. It explains to me why it is a good thing that I have to struggle for life and can only write a few lines or pages a day for ‘Lachrymae’. As I am slowly getting to the point where time is of no value to my work and true dedication to my writing is the essence of me.

leaveyoursleep 2Natalie Merchant’s picture book including the cd. I wish I had it!

Maybe this is all nonsense for who reads this and maybe people cannot understand what I mean with what I write here. I suppose in such cases I’ve then proven to be incapable of formulating my feelings and thoughts. But the fact that I had to cry this early morning really comes down to finally understanding why I do all this, why I share my thoughts and writings here and in my books. Why I write this new book. Why I allow people to see through me via my work. Music does make that clear, so please listen to this amazing singer who is not only immensely talented but also a woman of unmatched beauty and a true inspiration for me. And yes, the lines of Laurence Alma-Tadema’s poem do define me somehow for I am still only a child.

Laurence Alma-Tadema (1865 – 1940)

If no one ever marries me,—
And I don’t see why they should,
For nurse says I’m not pretty,
And I’m seldom very good—

If no one ever marries me
I shan’t mind very much;
I shall buy a squirrel in a cage,
And a little rabbit-hutch:

I shall have a cottage near a wood,
And a pony all my own,
And a little lamb quite clean and tame,
That I can take to town:

And when I’m getting really old,—
At twenty-eight or nine—
I shall buy a little orphan-girl
And bring her up as mine.

© 2012 Alice Anna Verheij

Now

featherphoto: ‘Birds of a feather’ (Reims Cathedral, France) © 2012 Alice Anna Verheij

Now
Listen
I woke up
Had to weep
Don’t know why
So I wrote a poem
And went back to sleep
For another couple of hours
Killing my wretched nightly doubts
About this unanswered love
My hopes that leave me
Without the words
I wish to say
Or shout
To you
Now

© 2012 Alice Anna Verheij

In the nightly hour

dawnphoto: ‘Waiting’ (Picardie, France) © 2012 Alice Anna Verheij

In the nightly hour

The night may be dark
but that doesn’t mean
words aren’t sentences
or dreams have no place
in my distorted ways

Past hours may be few
yet in this natural day
but that will not mean
words will go astray
or feelings go away

Daylight may not be there
and sounds still hushed
still my flesh is not silent
my desire not speaking
or my heart not beating

You may not be here
my yearning still untold
but distance is artificial
for our hearts to meet
in long postponed deed

I may not say the words
or gaze at you today
even write another letter
cause I’m sure you know
my words will simply flow

Dawn may come soon
after these nightly hours
light washing thoughts
I wish mine could stay
and you think of me today

© 2012 Alice Anna Verheij

The Story of Mary Lloyd.

She was a beautiful and praised model at the end of the 19th century. Then she was forgotten.
Until 1933 when a newspaper article told her sad story to it’s readers. The she was forgotten again.
Until 1996 when Dr. Martin Postle, a British art historian discovered photographs of Lord Frederic Leighton’s atelier just after he died showing multiple paintings for which Mary posed. Just like she posed for Frederic Brock when he made the Victoria Memorial years later. Then she was forgotten again.
Until I saw the painting by Frederic Leighton titled ‘Flaming June’ and learned about the dispute regarding the model who sat for Leighton when he painted this painting. That triggered and puzzled me. And when I found out about Mary’s story there was no way back for me.

Mary Lloyd, the forgotten model is the main character in my upcoming Dutch language novel (hopefully to be translated into English later) De Engel van Kensington (The Angel from Kensington). Although large parts of Mary’s life are unknown and impossible to retrieve from the past the story of Mary Lloyd, the upper middle class girl who became a painters model and lived a rather quiet life, is a beautiful story full of 19th century fin de siècle atmosphere, 20th century interbellum excitement and love.

Mary Lloyd who at seventy was still a beautiful woman leading a poor life as a seamstress and housekeeper but looking back at a wonderful modelling career, deep friendships, beautiful art a two loves of her life. So, what really happened in Mary’s life?

The Angel from Kensington is planned for publication before Christmas 2012. The story of Mary Lloyd starts again today.

Alice Anna © 2012

Confused? You shouldn’t be.

Many years ago there was a television series that started every episode with this great line:

“Confused? You won’t be after this weeks episode of… Soap.”

I love this line as it pretty much describes what I am about to tell and request you, dear readers, fans, lovers, friends and who-evers.

Most, if not all of you, know that I am an open and out transgender lesbian woman. Proud on all three labels and at the same time disgusted by the fact that labels exist because they discriminate, set people apart and make them vulnerable to ridicule. The thing is that I am very aware of the fact that I confuse people. Because I am who I am. Wether it is in a café or bar where sometimes a guy gets swept of his feet and starts asking indecent questions (yes, it happened again last week) or online where without asking people sometimes refer to me as a transsexual writer and film maker. As if my writing and film making has anything to do with my past and current gender.

The problem is that I am lesbian and transgender. This is socially a deadly combination in the lesbian community which is by it’s nature my natural hunting ground (pun intended). No really, I love and prefer women so it’s all perfectly natural being a woman myself and being single that I frequently move in the lesbian scene. Like hetero’s move around and meet people in their little part of this gendered world and gay men move around in their little dark rooms. I do not so much differentiate between transwomen and ciswomen, as long as they are gay and can connect with me I will find them interesting. And when attraction hits me the only thing that really counts is the fact that they’re women and not men.

Now why do I write all this and what has that to do with others being confused? It is all quite simple but for some people obviously too darn complex to grab. So let me explain.

I for one don’t give a damn that my past is influenced by transsexuality. And I also don’t give a damn that I happen to be lesbian (although I did hit up some guys in past years like most other lesbians do although some of them are to zealot to admit that). It’s always the others who seem to care. It’s the others who are ‘interested’ in my transsexual past and show that by indecent questions (and sometimes proposals) and a weird interest in how the plumming is inside my pants / skirt / dress / sarwal… I never ask them the same questions. It’s always the others who do.

So I often wonder why people can not just let things be as they are. Simply accept the fact that lesbians do exist and are as much female as any heterosexual woman and that transwomen (transgender or transsexual) are also just as much a woman as any cis gendered (genitalwise born) woman. And I also wonder why people seem to have the urge to think or advocate for me that transwomen should be treated just like anyone else. I don’t need others to speak for me. I don’t need others to advocate my rights to be who I am. And I certainly do not need any promotion for myself and my books and films with a fat line underneath the words trans and lesbian. If I want to use my sexuality and gender for promotion of myself and my work I can very well do that myself, thank you very much!

And as I don’t want to do that and am only interested to play the transgender and lesbian cards when that support emancipation of any of these groups I want to decide when those labels are used in connection with me. So please, please, please, just forget about all the crap concerning gender and sexuality when it comes to me and my work. If you haven’t noticed it by now let me tell you who I really am:

I am Alice Anna. I write. I make photos. I make films. I love women. I love South Asia. I love me.
(And maybe you if you’re lucky!)

That’s all there is to say about me. And if any of you ever want to refer to me as a transsexual or lesbian: ask me first! Because after all, that is none of your business until I allow you to make it such. Don’t abuse my identity, my gender or sexuality. Don’t abuse me. Because I have had it with that completely. And believe me that has everything to do with the general behaviour and transphobia in the lesbian and hetero scenes where a lot is said about acceptance and tolerance but much less is done to allow women like me to fully participate. My dear people, if not specifically requested by me in person, stay the fuck out of my knickers!

I rather see you buying my books, photos or come and watch my film when that’s coming out of the closet in a couple of months because you like them!

Alice © 2012

I am me.

To start the day off in a positive way, I give you this.

I am what I am. I am me.

Like most people are ‘me’ for themselves. And though it might sound silly to say this, it is in fact one of the strongest statements one can make. Because it underlines personal pride and strength. I wish everyone could state these three little words in all confidence realizing that they really are who they are. With all defects but also with the beauty and strength they have. Unfortunately many people never get to that stage in their lifetime but I am hopeful that one they everyone will.

So, what and who is that ‘me’ that I am?

Well let’s say it like this to explain it a little…

I am proud of myself. When people ask me if I was a guy then nowadays I can safely say that I never was because I at least do understand that physical construction doesn’t define masculinity or femininity because it’s in the mind and the heart. And right after that I would probably pinch them in the butt. I am also a lesbian in love with geeky stuff and gadgets and fashion and I do wear lipstick. Every day. Wether you like it or not while kissing. Oh and when I have a girlfriend I really do love her until the other side of the world. And although I love the female attire I am pretty damned good with heavy camera’s and equipment, look stunning in trekking gear and I can most certainly read maps and find my way around. Anywhere. Anytime.

Ok, I am also transgender in the sense that I transitioned without dying first. Pretty smart thing to do as it saves me the long waiting for reincarnation without certainty of the outcome. And it was not a nice thing to do. It scared the shit out of me, was painful and it ruined most of my private and professional life. Friends proved not to be friends, work proved not to be something that I could take for granted so I lost my businesses and ended up in heavy debts. It ruined my marriage and my God(s and Goddesses) I have cried so many tears that it could fill a mid size mountain lake.

On the other hand, I just restarted life as if nothing had happened. I learned a new trade and some new tricks and even became frikkin happy at times. And that was a first. I’m struggling often, am depressed every now and then but also regularly in love and f*cking amazing in what I do and create. And I have lost the ability to be scared of most of the crap that other people fear as their worst enemies. I learned the relativity of money and the joy of true friendship, the beauty of a song and I even sing the damned song myself every now and than. Never thought I would do that. And on top of it all, I learned to write and visualize and although the fight is sometimes long and hard I am out there and you, yes you, are reading my scribblings. Which is quite nice actually and I thank you for taking the time to do so. Oh, and did I mention that I do have three great kids? No? Well then, here it is: I do have three great kids!

Thing is my dear friends, I can do so much and so much more than all these grey mice living their grey lives in a grey society. I live with color, sound and images, words and stories, friends and lovers and in spite of the occasional backdrop (ok, a few too many sometimes) I do all that with energy and strength. And I do that without having to thank a white bearded old sucker high in the sky sitting on an imaginary cloud of nonsense. (I feel more attached to the vivid, colorful Hindu Gods anyway.) And I do all that and I am who I am because I endured and I never really gave up. While struggle and depression have become an integral part of my life, shining and radiating and being awesome from time to time is the better part of my life now. And for all intents and purposes (I love that Shakespearean line) I am proud that I live my life to the max of my ability and I am proud that I have so much love in me that there is no way that in my lifetime I can get rid of it all. And if you didn’t join me in my current efforts to make a difference in a positive way I sure hope you will join me soon in one of my next endeavours. And if there is no new endeavour coming from me than I am either disappeared and vanished somewhere or I am to be cremated. And that is for as far as I am concerned still a long, long time from now.

I can only hope, dear friends, that you will see the real me in this picture. Because this one stands for who I am, who I want to be, what I want to do and how I am in the happiest moments of my life.

So, as I said, I am me. And I don’t have a clue why I write this today other than I just felt the urge to do so. Maybe it’s just because I love you and I think you are worth that love.

© 2012 Alice Verheij

Here we go again…

I know it might sound cliché, but some clichés tell a true tale. Like this one. Norah Jones sings this Gram Parsons song the way I feel it. The longing and the loss, the hurt and the time it will take and the admiration for a lady living a hard life with an amazing voice who captured my breath and my heart. And broke it.

Things won’t change for the better. Some things will not repair, and sometimes it’s the memories that are left and to be cherished. Not in regret but with a pain that will become softer and lesser in time. And in the dark my tears will be there so that in the daylight they will not flow.

Ok, so it didn’t work out after all. And I am so sorry for that.

All things have a reason for happening someone told me a long time ago. So there is a reason for recent events. And without going into too much detail I think this one is pretty clear. The reason is probably ‘misjudgement’. Misjudgement of the ability to make that move in life. Misjudgement of intercultural language. Misjudgement of signals given and received. Misjudgement of what is really needed to build something special. Misjudgement of love. Misjudgement of feelings. The result is two broken hearts. And I do not regret the love I felt and still feel, I just regret that sometimes worlds collide and hearts can not synchronize.

And there the story ends. For her. And for me.

What’s left is two people, both hurt. Both lonely, both sad for what didn’t work out. For the one it’s not being able to grasp that opportunity to a better life at this moment in life. For the other it’s not being able to grasp that straw for a happier life. The emptyness that’s left is huge and unmanageable. What the future will bring is once again in the stars.

Today words are not enough. Maybe later. Music will do. Tomorrow I will perform. Sing on stage and be radiant because the show must go on and it will. I long for that performance and I am scared of it. Not for breaking apart because I wont, not for showing true emotions because I will. Not for having to last minute improvise because I can. But for the questioning eyes in the audience of the ones who know. And still I long to go on stage. The prove I am still there, hurt but never more myself than in this time. And to show my friends who I am and what I create. Because in the end that will be what’s left.

In the meanwhile I will just have to switch back to recovery mode. I will do that and I will survive. I always do so although there is a fresh wound that will change into another scarr on my heart. It’s not the first one but I will not allow myself to become sour and be scared for love, although I really am scared now. But that will go away slowly one day. I hope. Maybe someday there might be friendship left from all this, I don’t know because it’s not up to me. Today I had to step away gracefully. Gracefully, a strange word but in this case meaningful. I know I have friends for me to help me through this and I can only hope my love, that you will have friends and family to pull you through. I just was not meant to be I guess.

Alice

Tweet!

Just a little ‘day after’ poem for someone special,
because I like writing little poems
on special little days and not on just one day in the year.

Alice © 2012

On Valentines Day…

My love and my best friend in Nepal.

On this Valentines Day
my weary mind flows away
to a place so far from here
and to people oh so dear

To a ricefield and a farm
and a sun that is so warm
to friends for life out there
and someone for whom I care

And as my heart is over there
without any doubt I dare
to say and even write it too
my sweet heart, I love you

Alice © 2012

If I could not tell you…

Today it is exactly 1 month ago that I had to leave my love behind in Nepal. Since that sad day my mind has been with her every hour, minute and second of the day. This lovesong translated by me from the beautiful Afrikaner language version I dedicate to my love and my heart.

Just a little love song in the works. I’m in that mood today, I wonder why (well not really…). So this is Amanda Strydom’s beautiful ‘Hoe ek voel’ in English… Some changes might still be made in the coming days. I love this song! Original lyrics in Afrikaans by Johannes Kerkorrel, the gay singer who in the aftermath of the Apartheid regime in South Africa was so controversial that he was banned from radio. He ended his life some years later under still unclear circumstances. His inheritance is one of wonderfully crafted and sometimes lyrical songs that still touch the hearts of many. Further on you can listen to the original on YouTube.

So here’s my English language version:

If I could not tell you

So if I could not tell you
If I could not let you see
I would order a portrait painter
To make a painting of thee
And if he would finally finish
If he would finish his masterpiece
You would know, you would know
That what I did, didn’t show

How I feel, how I feel, for you!

If I could not let you see
If I could not let you read
I would rent a fax machine
And send poems made by me
And if you then would receive
If you read and can believe
You would know, you would know
That what I did, didn’t show
How I feel, how I feel, for you!

If I could not let you read
If I could not let you hear
I would send a choir to you
A serenade in the evening late
And if you would wake up then
And throw your windows wide open
You would know, you would know
That what I did, didn’t show
How I feel, how I feel, for you!

You would know, you would know this
You would know this, you would know
That what I did, didn’t show
How I feel, how I feel, for you!

Original music and lyrics: Johannes Kerkorrel
English lyrics: Alice Verheij © 2012

Alice © 2012

LDR

LDR. Not LBD as in little black dress, the must have wardrobe item for just about every western woman, but LDR as in Long distance Relationship. I never thought I would write this. But I do. Because this is how my life is now. Thing is, when someone falls in love with another person than that is almost always with a person close by. If not permanently then at least temporary as in a holiday love. But at my age, with my past life and my unclear future it certainly not expected to be in that unreasonable but ever so nice state of being in love. And certainly not with someone who now is over 10,000 kilometers away.

A LDR is something with it’s own dynamics. It involves a lot of trust and dedication and it involves special measures to be taken to give that relationship a fair chance. It also involves making an effort. Especially since quite often it’s not only physical distance but also cultural distance and sometimes even religious distance. Or, when things are really complicated all of them.

one side of 10,000 kilometers

the other side of 10,000 kilometers

So now I am learning Nepali on a daily basis, studying Hindu religion and learning much about Nepali culture. The only good thing being that all that started long time before love was in the picture. And to adjust to this new reality I researched a bit on experiences of others. And that certainly proved to be a world on its own. Biggest downside to that is that most info is about long distance hetero relationships and therefore only of very limited value.
Apart from too large phonebills that need to be resolved, finding ways to lessen that burden while not having to be completely dependent on internet because mains power is something not available continuously and internet access for my ‘better half’ is over half an hour walking away, there are issues like texting that won’t work most of the time and physical letters that might very well never ever arrive. It’s a hassle.

the very reason to overcome these 10,000 kilometers

But I live on the easy side because my love has a much more difficult situation to tackle. Culture that’s not always understanding this kind of relationship, practical issues as described earlier, hard work on her farm taking out most of the time of day and issues with the language. So many things against us, so many things to conquer. It often pushes my thoughts in the hopeless department and often I feel saddened by all those practical issues. But then, when that phone call comes through every other day it like my battery is recharged in the shortest possible time. Just chatting away, quickly discussing the important things and spending the rest of the time just talking and listening, strengthening the ties. Then as quickly as imaginable this whole LDR turns into what it really is: just two people loving each other. No matter what.

I guess we’ll be fine, if we’re careful. If we put in the effort to keep talking and listening. If we put in he effort in organizing our lives in a manner that in the end that dream becomes reality. The dream of overcoming these 10,000 kilometers. Permanently. Because I push myself to keep thinking and believing that love in the end wins.

Alice © 2012

When I close my eyes.

The rice fields just north west of Damak, Jhapa district, Nepal

When I close my eyes

 

When I close my eyes

I see paddy fields of rice

Against a stage of blue hazed mountains

 

Small clusters of leaves

In rhythmic pattern

Growing in square ponds filled with rain

 

I see oxen and a plough

And hear the man shout

Synchronous with the animals breath

 

A schoolboy on a bicycle

Slowly crosses my view

From left to right with a youthful smile

 

The rope in my hands

Of the bucket in the well

Gives me something at least to hold on to

 

While my mouth tastes

Freshly plucked mango

Mixed with cardamom scented black tea

 

And your soft hands strike

My arm with the sensual

Brief touch of an unspoken tender love

 

Alice © 2012

A thousand lines

A thousand
A thousand lines of text I give you
maybe they’re about million words
A thousand stories and poems too
written down for you to be heard
A thousand tales and a song or two
echoing over too long a distance
A thousand kisses saved just for you
delivered all at a single instance
A thousand signs of feelings and fears
some happy, some sad or depressed
A thousand emotions and warm tears
and smiles and laughter for the best
All these words make me humble
Cause it’s not me who writes this stuff
It’s my hearts that frequently stumbles
and it’s my heart dear, that makes love
Alice © 2012