The End.

Beste lezers,

Vandaag is er een einde gekomen aan mijn publicatiestroom op deze website. Writer’s Block is niet meer. Na zeven jaar en zo’n 1550 teksten is het tijd voor iets anders. Het stopzetten van Writer’s Block valt samen met veranderingen in mijn leven en werk die ik al heel lang wens. Soms komen dromen uit.

Mijn werk zal voortaan, voor zover ik daar behoefte aan heb, ontsloten worden via reguliere media en mijn geheel nieuwe persoonlijke website www.aliceannaverheij.nl. Writer’s Block zal als archief van mijn werk tot op heden beschikbaar blijven. Dit echter is de laatste tekst hier, nummer 1548.

Ik dank jullie allemaal voor het bezoek hier, het lezen en reageren en de vele vriendschappen die Writer’s Block mij bracht. Ik zie jullie graag weer tijdens exposities, via mijn boeken, social media of www.aliceannaverheij.nl. Voor informatie over mijn werk en bedrijf verwijs ik graag naar www.woordenstorm.nl.

Den Haag 12 juli 2013,
Alice Anna Verheij

Dear readers,

Today, Writer’s Block has ceased to exist. After seven years of writing in this place and almost 1550 publications its time for something else. Stopping with my Writer’s Block coincides with major changes in my life and work that I’ve always dreamt of. Sometimes dreams do come true.

From now on my work will, when I desire so, be brought to you through regular media and my completely new personal website www.aliceannaverheij.nl. Writer’s Block will stay available as an online archive of my work until this date. This is the last contribution to Writer’s Block, number 1548.

I thank all of you for reading and responding, for the friendships that Writer’s Block has brought me. I would love to see you again at my exhibitions, through my books, social media and www.aliceannaverheij.nl. For information regarding my work and company I gladly refer to www.woordenstorm.nl.

The Hague, July 12, 2013

Starting January 2013: Creative Writing Course.

 

Booktitles

Booktitles. Finding the proper title for the book one writes is kind of killing. Sometimes it just works. My last book made its own title. This time however I’ve been manipulating titles for quite sometime. Currently third incarnation of my new novels title is there. This one will stay for as I’m concerned. The previous two titles are incorporated in the book, I’ll explain.

My newest novel is titled ‘Lachrymae‘, the Latin word for ‘tears’. The books is actually two books in one. The first part about Mary Lloyd is subtitled ‘The Angel of Kensington‘, because that’s what she was in her time. The second part, subtitled ‘The Improbability of Love‘ is about Lena Dene and her love for Mary. At least, this is what the books seems to be about if one would stay at the surface. But when digging deeper the book is actually about women who were surprisingly emancipated in a non emacipated age. It’s about love and death. The great themes. And it is about relationships between women (and sometimes men) and the consequences of relationships and the state people are in at different points in their life. The book deals with sickness and how to live (and love) with e genital defect. At the turn of the twentieth century in a post Victorian society with the same hangups that our society seems to have fallen back to.

Lachrymae, I am slowly starting to love the inert quality of the word. For the dutch language version it is perfectly ok, in the English language version this a undecided. It’s how languages work, one never knows for sure what to choose.

© 2012 Alice Anna

Retreat

Yesterday was great. Just like the day before. Traveling, enjoying beauty and friendship. Photographing the beauty of the world. The days gave me images like these:

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And they’re beautiful as you can see.

Today however was an extreme contrast. The mailbox brought mixed surprises. A bad one that clearly demonstrates the complexity of life that to me has become like a Gordian knot, impossible to untie. And it brought me my new ‘business’ cards. The old ones are finished, so I needed new ones. I like the new ones that are more connected with my life now. The front shows my writing desk and the manuscript I work on. The back side shows the two most important things I do. Finishing the documentary and writing the novel.

Looking at the card and thinking about the coming months I know that choices need to be made. About the novel, about the film, about my own future and ultimately about my life. Working on the film will continue until it’s finished, we target at end of year but my co-producer won’t be around in December and I will not make this film the solitary product it has been while filming it. So it might take a few more months and probably be relased about a year later than was intended. I guess that’s how things are when making films on a tight budget with little resources. But we’ll get there and the changed concept has made it a lot easier to get it done.

The novel is something else. I work on it on an almost daily basis now. Sometimes I skip a day. The research is almost done except for some location visits in London. They will probably happen when spring comes near early next year. And I know I now need to isolate myself from the normal daily life to be able to write the book. Everything is there already, story, chracters, scenes, dramatic development and controversial subtopics. So, what I will do is to make a winter writing break starting early December.

Which is a good thing as I hate the fall and winter and the holidays scare me. I detest Christmas and don’t want to be part of it. Every year it is bugging me more. Probably because of the deepfelt lonelyness that catches me in December. So to add things up, I will go in a retreat during December. I’ll skip the traditional festivities because they hurt me and hide myself somewhere in the countryside in a small hideaway without internet. My only connection to the outside world will be the a car that enables me to do the shopping for food and a phone. Which will probably be switched off most of the time. Where exactly I will be is something I will not disclose. And at the end of year around New Years eve I expect to have finished the bulk of the work on the manuscript og my new novel. After that others will correct it and the discussions with publishers will start. Because this book is to be published differently from the previous ones.

So, for anyone concerned, it is no use to try to contact me in December. I won’t be there. Only a handful of people will know my whereabouts and some friends will know my phonenumber which will be different from the one on my card. I expect to return early 2013. This month I will try to get most of the essential things managed to enable me to jump out of the loop. It’s about time I do so.

Alice Anna

The Writing Desk.

Yesterday I did something tremendously important. I created the writing desk for my next book. A couple of months I was lucky when somewhere else in the house I live in a small desk became available. It is the perfect little desk that can be closed to lock away things and opened to give me a writing spot that’s near perfection.

I am writing a novel about the women at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century. I live in a late nineteenth century house in a late nineteenth century part of town in a almost cliché writers room. Small and cluttered with my belongings breathing an atmosphere of past times and orientalism. My room connects with my work. The desk is made of wood and comes from the 1950’s or earlier. It is small but big enough for work and for storage of the books I need. It can hold a vase with flowers and my personal things like the little china boxes and perfume bottles. It has a seat for some of the furries that have value for me and – out of sight – is a handmirror I use for morning make up and to look myself in the eyes every now and then.

Writing a novel requires a well arranged location to do that. Every book has it’s own specific spot. The first one was a café, the second one another café. The third was my bed and the fourth was again a café which actually played a significant role in the novel. Novel five was written in a mountain camp on a small terrace with just a small table in complete isolation overlooking the Himalayans. The perfect spot to keep me in the right mood for that book. The result is Headwind, Laxmi’s Story and was published recently. (Buy it here!). That ‘desk’ looked like this:

And as humble as it looks, when the view is unveiled I had while writing one can imagine that writing a novel in such a place is literally a breeze. Sorry for making anyone jealous. Of course Kakani, the place in the Nuwakot area close to Kathmandu is fixed in my memory like a beautiful dream. In fact I quite often dream about that place.
But, my next novel is somethings else. It is a book about beauty and decay, love and limitations, models, painters, sculpters and the occasional poet. It’s about the love between two women that could be labelled as lesbian love but was much more than that and about the need and importance of adjusting ones sexuality to the circumstances in life. And because of that it is a book about myself. Hence the mirror in my desk.

My room has old things in it. A 1910 Underwood typewriter. Little bronzes and books, a lot of books everywhere. There’s a chandelier and the kiss from Klimt is on the wall covering almost all of that wall. And now, there is this little desk that will become like a second home and where I no doubt will spend a lot of my time writing. The desk in Kakani is no longer there as a desk. No traces left. The writing spots in the café’s are just tables for people to have a coffee or a lunch. My bed is what it is, my bed. And what will become of this desk? Will it survive after the work is done? Or will it stay with me and become the basis of work to come?

© 2012 Alice Anna Verheij

Een kadootje voor mijn lezers.

Beste lezers,

soms moet je iets geks doen. Soms is dat heel zo gek niet.
Aangezien de drukkosten tegenwoordig hoog zijn en er geen fondsen zijn voor heruitgave van mijn debuutroman, gegeven dat ik die al lang in een eBook PDF versie klaar heb én gegeven dat ik gezien wat er allemaal dit jaar nog uitkomt aan nieuwe uitgaven, geef ik jullie hierbij een kado.

Daar is een reden voor. Ik ben een tegenstander van het beleid van het inmiddels demissionaire kabinet dat over zijn graf heen regeert en nog steeds allerlei maatregelen er door drukt die de samenleving schaden en de zwakken in de samenleving hard in de portemonnaie treffen. Ik ben een tegenstander van het beleid van de gemeente Den Haag die in navolging van dit cultuurbarbaarse kabinet de kunsten in Den Haag afslachten door intrekking van de steun aan het Koorenhuis waar duizenden Hagenaars met veel plezier tegen redelijke kosten kunst leren beoefenen. En ik ben tegen het intrekken van de subsidies aan kleine theaters als Branoul en de Regentes die een functie hebben in deze stad. Dat soort beleid raakt mij aan alle kanten. Het creeërt een klimaat in de samenleving waarbij kunst als nutteloos, overbodig en zonder waarde wordt gepositioneerd. Als hobby, als tijdverdrijf.

Met het gratis beschikbaar stellen van mijn debuutroman maak ik een statement tegen dat beleid. Tegen de destructie van de kunst, of dat nu amateurkunst of ‘professionele’ kunst is. Het is een statement gemaakt met de wanhoop van de schrijfster en de bohémienne die deze samenleving onderuit ziet gaan en als enig antwoord daar op heeft haar kunst op straat te gooien. Niet omdat die kunst niks waard is, maar omdat het de enige manier is waarop iedereen met of zonder geld daar kennis van kunnen nemen. In de hoop dat de bestuurders ooit hun verstand terug krijgen.

Mijn debuutroman Eén latte, een cappu en een espresso is vanaf vandaag gratis te downloaden vanaf deze website én vanaf GoodReads. Het downloaden hier is natuurlijk het eenvoudigst want dat is als U dit leest precies één klik weg. Klik HIER voor de eBook versie.

Ben ik gek dat ik de eBook versie gratis weggeef? Absoluut!

Alice Anna Verheij

For my English speaking readers: what is written above this is an announcement of the availability of my debuting novel FOR FREE DOWNLOAD. It is in Dutch, so if you’re in for a challenge, please go ahead and download and enjoy the book. And spread the word! To get it, just click on THIS.

The benefits of being ill (for a while).

Sometimes life travels at lightspeed for some. The reasons why are usually a totally unpredictable combination of events, challenges, situations and probably more known factors like character, emotion, personality, ambition and health. For me it’s not difficult to attach something personal to all of these words but the last one has, for the time being, become like the sand in the machine. And that was about time.

There’s no need or ambition in me to go through that whole string of words but a few things are at this moment determining my life in the short term. That is until expectedly the end of this year.

So I fell ill. An intense flu crossed my path and although that is no drama at all for me it meant that I for the first time in many months was forced to take a break. If only for a week or two. And taking a brake from work, obligations, efforts and ambitions forces one to think. Usually.

In the coming months is a lot of work waiting for me and with a lot of luck I’ll be able to get it done before summer. The long awaited novel is getting printed and so are two photobooks. The latter two however still have to be produced from ground up and that is quite a job even for someone like me who is able to make beautifully layouted work in a relative short timespan. And then of course there’s the big one. The film. Still so much to do and so much of it only possible to be done by me. It was, is and will be the biggest time consumer for at least another couple of months. That isn’t everything on the agenda. Because I am turning this work of writing, filming, photographing and publishing my profession rapidly. I know exactly what I want to do in the next part of my life and in fact I have been doing that already since about two years. It feels good, it is me out there doing what I love.

But there’s also the demonic shadow of the past preventing me to build a business of it in my home country because of a business past gone bad (nothing special there either but the left overs are still quite unmanageable). So if I want to do what I do on a solid basis I will have to work internationally. The good news is, I love that. Still, being stranded by illness for a while does force me to revise plans. Not in the least because when out of the performance loop the mind starts asking questions. Making reality checks. And so plans change.

Sure, I still will start to work from abroad for a large portion of the year as soon as it can be arranged. Economics will decide when, I decide if. But the timelines and the way this will happen shift, turn and change. It is not realistic for me to work from Nepal as a home base. I will however keep visiting the country I love so dearly and keep following, filming and reporting the fate of my Bhutanese friends in and around the refugee camps. Not because I promised but because I see that as an obligation to do so. There are more angles to the Nepalese society and the developments of Nepal that I want to report about. But it will never be my only world.

I am still a novel writer and that will not change, just like my love for writing poetry and songs for entertainment. So there will always be times when I am not in Asia or anywhere else for local reporting or filming but in stead I’ll be somewhere, anywhere, writing a novel. And the topic will not necessarily be connected to previous work because my very being as a literary artist doesn’t allow fixation.

So what does all of this mean for the plans I had and for a part still have?

Well, I am the journalist writer, photographer and filmer interested and focussed on human and women rights in South Asia. No doubt about that. But maybe after finishing the film not for this year anymore. Probably if not almost certainly next year again. But I am also the heremit writer in a soft spot somewhere writing that next novel. The sort of novel is already decided and quietly I am starting up research for it already. It is going to be very different from previous work, a challenge to write (that’s never a surprise) and a very special book. And I will also every now and then take the stage with a song or a short story in whatever show with dear theatre friends.

It will mean that I will not leave my country permanently. It will mean that I will leave my country intermittently, sometimes for long periods. But I’ll always be back for long periods. Like this year. Because this year, after the dust has settled of the books and the film and the two years of work involving the Bhutanese exiles issue, I will take a break for something very different, to keep myself in shape and not loose myself in one topic to work on and to take care that my mind stayes free. (I will not drop the topic of the Bhutanese, I can’t but it will be not the main focus for some time.)

Sometime this summer the real work on my new novel will start in traditional writing style. Designing the essence of the story, the plot if there is one to be, the characters, events, images and emotions. It will be England from roughly the end of the 19th century until the 1930’s. It will be distiguished romantic painters and one specific exquisitly beautiful model. A girl who became a model by fate and lost that work also by fate, never known by the public by her real name because she was not so high class savvy as that other famous painters model in that time but by the names of Greec goddesses or biblical Heroïns and who faded away in history but by her image remained unforgettable. I long to write about the life and loves of that woman who was once ‘Flaming June’. And this novel is one that will take quite some time to write wether I am in the flow or not. But it is a certainty that this will be my next major work.

Alice © 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

Welcome visitor number 300.000!

Well well, today this site will see it’s 300.000 visit since I started it all. Thanks dear friends. And as I am at a Nepal conference today I have no time to post this at the exact right moment, but who cares. Anyway, this writer / director and professional human being is grateful for the support and continuous flow of readers over here. I love you guys and girls and please keep coming back.

Alice

For my fans, if any, just a little picture of me at my best and happiest in beautiful Sikkim not so long ago.

Headwind and bad times.

Within a couple of weeks my world has turned for the worse. I experience a shitload of headwind.

For whatever reason my love left me, the exact reasons are still a bit unclear although some hints are there. No one to blame. After that came creative crisis. Poetry is far away, theatre performance went well but the videorecording failed tragically (can’t do camera and perform at the same time) and a few days ago my allowance was decreased with more than 30% leaving me with not enough money to live. Rent, health care and normal dayli things leave me without enough money for food. Hard times ahead. And to top it all the effort of finishing Headwind is for whatever reason anyone has until now still more than 90% depending on me. Too little support, to little progress, too little co-operation. It is so clear that if I would stop working on this film it will never hit the screens. That alone makes that this is essence a film made by with. With some support but not enough by any length. Financially this film project has made gone all the way into post production with a reasonable balance sheet but also with ruining my personal economic life. Productionwise it still is mainly me effort, no matter what has been tried so far to expand that effort and have others become co-creators. Currently I am doing camera, audio recording, soundtrack building, audio and video editing, directing and 90% of the producing, writing and financing myself. That is not a good feeling at all.

So I have to get back in fighting mode but somehow I really can’t. Too damned tired of it all. Because doing this all on my own is just too much. But ok, I’ll put up another fight, like I’ve always done but there is little pleasure left in my life especially as I feel so very much displaced with my heart and emotions left in Nepal and my body in this cold, grey and cynical country. From whatever perspective my personal life is a total shambles. Single, desolated, technically bankrupt and creatively worn out. This time the fight is extra tough and I have no idea how long it will take to get on my feet again.

A few things are clear however.

I will finish my film no matter what happens and my finished novel will be published. No idea where or how to get thefunds for it, but it will certainly be finalized in the coming two months. After that all I do will be connected with making my personal life manageable, because at this stage it certainly isn’t. And when that point is reached I will be gone. Leaving this country for as long as possible beause I do not want to spend the rest of my life in this land. I cannot survive here and I feel out of place an useless. I hope that some time soon I will be able to go and place my life in the hands of whatever God / Gods and dedicate what’s left of it to writing, filming and showing the western world the gravity of life in South Asia. Because it is high time that that region with all it’s challenges becomes more known to the west.

I feel I am finished here and as always before in my life I know that this means I have to go elsewhere. And no matter what, I will be able to finish what I started and what I love to do when I feel a bit better: finishing Headwind and bringing my work to the screen. And that is not easy, not easy at all. But it certainly is worth all the crap that is happening to me. Because there are people waiting for that film to come to their screens. Unfortunately in the west most people don’t give a damn about knowing the reality of forgotten exiles let alone support the making of a film. In the end it is like with most guerilla filmers: you make it because there is no way not to do that, wether anyone is interested or not.

Alice © 2012

About the need for free journalism for the Bhutanese in exile.

A couple of days ago a fire ravished a part of the Beldangi 2 Bhutanese refugee camp in the southeast of Nepal near the little town of Damak. I know that camp well as I have spend there a lot of time filming my upcoming documentary ‘Headwind’. There were no fatalities or severe injuries and that of course is both a good thing and a miracle. Knowing the situation in the camp and knowing where in the camp that fire was I can safely state that swift action of the inhabitants of Beldangi 2 who demolished some 35 huts to prevent the fire spreading has saved them from a disaster like the one that took place on March 22 2011 in the Goldhap camp which was almost completely incinerated. This time ‘only’ some 250 people have lost their huts, their homes.

During the hours of the fire incident and in the wee hours of yesterdays morning I reported on the incident on my website mirroring and analyzing the information given to me through different channels I have with people in Nepal and outside of Nepal and who had direct access to witnesses at the scene. That has made it possible to be clear on the status of the incident and be clear on the fact that no casualties were to be counted, a thing that is of great importance to all Bhutanese who have family and friends living in that camp. I tried to be as objective as possible and continued checking facts and figures by referencing the information coming at me. Hopefully I did that well enough to serve the community. Looking at the statistics of my website it is obvious that the news regarding the fire was well read by many people in a very short span of time. I am pretty sure that a lot of Bhutanese have read the information I gave.

One thing that has become very clear is the fact that it is totally impossible to have any news concerning incidents like this spread to the global community (and international media if needed) without the presence of journalists in the area. Most of the people I connect with are young journalists who are taking their voluntary task as a non profit journalist very serious and they have once again proven to be the backbone of news and information gathering and publishing for the Bhutanese community.

But their work is under grave threats. Let me explain.

First of all none of them are regarded as professional journalists because they are refugees themselves and therefore not allowed to work as a journalist. This means they have no press cards and no legal protection like other journalists do have.

Secondly, a lot of them are themselves being resettled and the more experienced in that group of very motivated young people are quite indispensable for free journalism in and around the refugee camps.

Thirdly, they are lacking professional equipment and good connections for swift response even though some equipment was brought to them recently.

And besides all that they have only limited support for their work.

Still, there are some media initiatives that have proven to be of great value and some of them have been working in this area for years. Websites like Bhutan News Service , Media Network Bhutan and the newly instated e-paper The Refugee Herald are well managed regarding the circumstances they have to work under. These guys need support, continuously. Support from international media and support from the global Bhutanese community. Their work is of increasing importance now that the resettlement of the refugees is going fast. Within a couple of years most of the refugees will have been resettled, but not all of them will leave. Many (some think maybe up to 15,000) will stay in the camps after resettlement closes in 2015 as the UNHCR has hinted. Who will tell their stories if local journalism has gone? Who will keep relatives and friends informed of their situation from a journalistic angle.

This observation should lead to a call for action. A call fo action to the international journalistic community for support and a call for action to the global Bhutanese community to not let these guys down and support them in supporting the Bhutanese living in the camps and living in diaspora.
For me this means that I will continue reporting and traveling to the region in the coming years and do whatever is in my ability to help out.

Alice © 2012

Writer’s Block went global.

Today was a fun day. Valentines day, a day with gifts. Self induced gifts. First there were the wonderful pictures of my love and my best friend in Nepal, a lovely surprise during a long and loving Yahoo chat. Then there was of course the release – finally – of the first official trailer of the film I am making. A milestone for the production team. And on top of that I can say that as of today Writer’s Block has gone global.

Image by Flag Counter based on 1 month of monitoring Writer’s Block.

After a few years of writing on this website and a recent change from Dutch to English as the first and main language on my website I got the visual acknowledgement that Writers Block is being read all over the globe, on all continents. From Europe, to America, to Asia, Australia and even Africa. Obviously the largest audience is in Europe but the US is following strong and there is a great spread happening in South Asia. Not really a surprise but certainly something that I like very much.

Thanks everyone for reading and responding. Thanks for supporting and please keep coming back!

Alice ©  2012

2011, a review.

It’s two weeks after the demise of 2011. A good moment for a quick review of my life in that year.

First of all, I’m getting used to realizing that part of my life actually is not following the western calendar but the Nepali calendar which means that this review is some three months too early. Anyway 3.5/12(2067)+8.5/12(2068)=2011 in a somewhat nonmathematical way the reality of last year but for the sake of readability and because I just happened to live in Europe until last year let’s review the past twelve months as the 2011. Thing is, 2011 has become a very surprising year in almost all aspects of life. So much has happened and although some things were really bad most of the year has brought me happiness. Reviewing is not an easy thing in my life as it might very well become a rollercoaster reading experience so I will try to stay chronologically correct.

End of 2010 I had started working on the Headwind project (then Atma project) to bring myself to Nepal and become useful for society in a place that is not as selfish and egocentric as the west. At the same time I had to experience a conflict in the lesbian scene in the Netherlands that pretty much made me sick to my stomach and desiring even more to let it all go and go elsewhere. Little did I know of what would happen.

In january the Atma Project turned into a project for filming a documentary and the decision was made to make a research trip to Nepal and hopefully to ‘a refugee camp’ to find out if making a film would be feasible. We left in February with three team members and it became an amazing trip. We did see a camp, we talked to UNHCR and affiliate organizations and we decided to go on with the filming. That is to say we decided I would continue filming. One team member couldn’t cope working in Nepal. In March we returned to Holland.
Back in Holland that lesbian thing had become worse and so did my disgust with it. It’s not nice to see how a friends business is destroyed by cybercrime and idiots spreading false information on the internet and in the scene. It’s even worse to find out that most lesbians and even some lgbt organizations swiftly hopped on the crucifixion bandwagon pushing for the destruction of an honest business and not caring one bit for the person who runs it. It became the downfall of many lesbian ‘icons’ for as far as I am concerned. So I wrote about that shit.

Then on March 22 the Goldhap camp in Nepal burned down and I just had to leave for Nepal to go to the site as soon as possible. Which meant that I left for Kathmandu in April and stayed there until August. That whole summer including the monsoon I worked and filmed there. I wrote my novel in June (to be published within a couple of months) and I came back with almost all the footage I had set out to get. I visited three major camps including the unfortunate Goldhap camp and the huge Beldangi refugee camp. I gained friendships with amazing people and in the end I lost my heart in Nepal. In August I returned, in love with the country, the people and a woman that I’d met. I had not intended to fall in love, but I did. Still I didn’t know if the feeling was mutual in spite of the special friendship we already had developed. From September disaster (relative disaster that is) struck. The investments for the film had been high and financial support extremely low basically draining my last financial means to the extend that I had to leave my house. Eviction, a traumatic experience.

But I found out that friends do exist and to my great surprise within weeks I found a much cheaper and much nicer place to live. Within a group of people in a beatiful city house and for the first time in ten years I really felt at home. Home is not about the roof above the head but about the people one lives with. A great lesson to learn. And although the financial troubles were big, and still are unsolvable, I felt much happier. The filmwork was in good progress although the Dutch shooting took much longer than anticipated. And then after a couple of month filled with homesickness for the beautiful Nepal countryside and missing my dear friends there all of a sudden that phonecall was there. My co-producer / co-director suggesting me to travel to Nepal and India to escape the grey Dutch winter.

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I knew it was my chance to do extra fieldwork of the things I had missed and, more important, to find out wether my love was something that could be mutual. To find out if she loved me too. So we went on December 10. Back to Kathmandu, back to Jhapa, Damak, the camps, the little farm, to my love. The trip to Nepal and India was amazing. A true adventure shared with the best travel and working companion imaginable and resulting in more than 10.000 photo’s, 8 hours of great video and in the end with a new love in my life. December has been the best month in the year for me which is in itself miraculous as I tend to hate that month.

So it worked out pretty well. And here I am now, fresh in the new year, counting the days before I can travel back to Nepal and start a new life, living together with my love in Kathmandu for at least half of the year and maybe longer when we’re smart. Only months before the release of Headwind, the documentary and the publication of not one but three books. Only months before I will be able to hold her again with the solid intention to start sharing life again.

In the meanwhile that gruesome Dutch lesbian community affair had escalated into the courtroom and end of the coming week a verdict will be read by a judge against one of the people who’ve been rightfully accused of setting up a slanker campaign to kill some other woman’s business. I’m curious wether justice will be done.

As for me, this year will be different from other years, this year I will divide my life between time in my country of birth and time in my country of love. This year will be the year that I am finally done with the biggest perils in my life and restart into another stage of my life with better, more important and more creative work and for the most of it together with that one woman I love so much.

2011 has been a miracle, 2012 is going to be magic!

Alice © 2012