The 2013 Calendar is in the works. It's going to be called 'No Sports' and I'm giggly just at the thought of all the new ideas going round and round in my head.
Did you know I played soccer while I was in Michigan? You likely don't even know that I spent one year in Michigan as an exchange student when I was sixteen. Blogs didn't exist back then, or at least I knew nothing about them.
But I did play Varsity Soccer for one season.
We lost every single game.
A very formative experience, I tell you. The path is the goal!
Among many other fears (cooked carrots, hair in the sink, giant spiders that somehow have eloped from their natural amazonian habitat and now live in my closet...) I am afraid I might end up dumb.
Seriously. I spend all my days alone, sometimes only talking to the lady at the checkout counter in my grocery store. And, yes, my mother. Thrice a day. But still, that's a lot of time alone, and although I usually enjoy working on my own and not having to talk to anybody I am also afraid I might end up communicating like the Yeti. You know how it goes. You're standing right there, ready to pay for apples, bananas milk and some bread, the checkout lady asks you something and you answer somewhere along the lines of
Because you're kind of out of practice?
That's why I'm learning Hindi and Devanagari (that's the written form). At least I'll be able to communicate with the checkout lady in some language. It's most reassuring, believe me.
Ah, but seriously. I really am afraid of not knowing, of being not educated. It haunts me that I didn't understand anything about India. At all. One day I think I might go back and be better prepared.
And so you can find me in the evenings, reading with great application and the utmost concentration every a, aaah, e, i, o and au in every text I can find in Devanagari script.
Have you tried to learn how to write again recently? It's an interesting experience.
For years I've thought that decorating your home for the holidays (Christmas or Easter, you name it) is for girls (it isn't mentioned in the kickboxer's manual to tomboy-ism, for example). Because really, the holidays only last for a couple of weeks (why aren't they called Holiweeks, or even Hollyweeks?) and you have to a) find the decorations in the basement, dig them out, dust them, find a place for them, find a vase for the entire arrangement... and then b), once the holidays are over, take them down, put them neatly into a box (because otherwise you won't find them next year in that croweded basement), hide them in the basement (because if you didn't, where would be the fun in searching for them next year?), and all that just for a couple fo weeks! A lot of effort for a couple of baubles, I thought.
This year though, being much better organized than last year (probably because I have invested in a dishwasher and an automatic vacuum cleaner) I have found myself with at least ten free minutes to spare. And I thought 'Wow, what now?!' So I went to the basement and...
You know what? I've found that a) is really worth it. Because even though I only run by my Christmas-bauble arrangement all day in great haste (and it lives in a water jug intended for large batches of punch), it still reminds me that this is Advent, that Christmas is coming and that damn, in all that running around, between all those trips to the post office, all those emails, the Christmas cards, the whatever-else-comes-up, we should be happy.
Chrissy, you won yesterday's advent gift (which makes me happy)! Would you please write me an email telling me your address so I can send it on it's way?
For everyone who's new to the Lineanongrata blog: We have an ongoing celebration of Advent until the 24th of December. Every day one of you readers wins a small gift. If you'd like to participate, just leave a comment on each post until the 24th of December and you'll automatically enter the draw.
When I started teaching at the beginning of this year I didn't really know what to expect. Since then I have learned a lot. Other people have, too. They learned things about illustration, I learned things about people.
I'm 33 and ancient. What I say is rarely questioned although I am neither a loud nor an aggressive teacher. They just accept the wisdom such old age brings with it.
I have learned to let them talk. They don't need anyone to tell them about life's lessons. For many of them this is the first time they live away from home. They just finished Highschool. And now they can invent themselves all anew. So many possibilities. So many things to think about. So many things to talk about. So I listen.
I have learned that being firm is important. But one can say the same thing in a negative or a positive way. Beginning with the things that are good in an illustration, then talking about those things that could be better is much more helpfull and much less offending than being blunt and saying 'this isn't good'. It's rather hard to refuse making some changes or adjustments if you've just been paid a compliment.
But even with all this wisdom there are still times when I'm surprised, and, more often than not, humbled by something they do or say. Sometimes there are exceptional illustrations. Sometimes there is progress I wouldn't have expected.
And tonight there was a young girl from Georgia. The eastern european country, not the state. She's a tiny little bit, happy, friendly, a bit on the nervous side. She speaks very good German but is always a bit breathless. I knew she had studied German in school and had then been an Au Pair somewhere in Germany. Ours is a complex language and being as fluent as she is takes a lot of effort. I know that, and in my mind, had given her credit for it.
Tonight we were talking about this and that while she worked on a drawing. I asked things about Georgia, a country I know literally nothing about. She told me bits and pieces about politics, arts, how people live... I asked her if she missed it. Of course, she replied, but she'd always wanted to come to Germany. In school she had the choice between English and German. She was one of three pupils who chose German. When I wanted to know why (after all, English is the one language that makes things a lot easier in life for all of us), she looked at me with surprise. Because Germany has produced some of the greatest minds and artists! What a question, her face seemed to say. Musicians and philosophers, too. She had studied German because she had always wanted to read German literature. Not translations. The real deal.
Had she read the Germany philosophers, I asked. Some of them. Nietzsche she liked best. Although, and here she looked a bit puzzled, she doesn't understand why he so dislikes the old greek philosophers. They weren't bad, after all!
So tonight I need to write myself a note: Don't put people into convenient little boxes with convenient little labels. They might express their thoughts in funny ways and naive language. But at the same time they might be more widely read than I ever will be.
Hanna, my favorite sister, you won yesterday's advent gift. You don't need to write me your address, it's one of three I actually know by heart.
To any of you who are new to this blog: There is a continuing giveaway until the 24th of December. Every day I give one little present to one of you readers. If you want to enter the draw, leave a comment each day on that day's post.
Lord, it's 23:40 - no, please correct that. It's 23:44. 11:44 pm. I'm working and I'm exhausted. I hope you are well, though.
If I had one wish, a professional wish, you know, not the kind of wish that kind of warrants the answer 'world peace'. Just a working person's wish, I would please kindly ask for the ability to plan ahead. Or to just let it go sometimes.
If there could be a ban on new ideas before trade fairs that would greatly improve my sleep pattern also. Could we install that, let's say, two weeks before each trade fair?
That would give me the time to finish all the projects I already have going on.
I wouldn't be loosing sleep because of new projects that might or might not get finished before the fair.
Which is Sunday, by the way.
Possibly maybe if I promise to be good for, let's say a week?
Two weeks? No?
What do you do when every possible surface in ones apartment
- and I do repeat: every possible surface - is covered in things to print, glue, make or finish?
Well, you weave a way between your kitchen and your sofa, sit down with a beer,
knit quietly and silently, fervently, pray that it may pass until next you sneak a look.
Can you guess?
Ok, here goes the explanation:
At the beginning of March I shall take a flight to India where I will spend three weeks. It's exciting and completely new and the Hindi words I'm trying to learn just seem to tumble out of my head as soon as I try to twist my mind around them.
But nothing, I tell you, could be as exciting and unnerving as the search for my passport. Because when I went to my local passport office (Located in a highly spooky place that used to be a hospital in the 19th century. Frankly not the most trust-inspiring place on a cold January day.) I was told by a very kind passport lady that I already had a passport, valid until twothousandandmany.
Aha, thought I. How nice. The question is just: Where?
Of course the thing was right where I suspected it was, only that I never trust myself, and even less so when it comes to being organized. So the place I thought it must be was the last one I searched.
Does that make sense? It did when I was searching.
But oh, the gratification of finding it, and right where I thought it would be! Delightful, really. King Arthur could not have been happier, had he found the Holy Grail.
And what about the pincushion, you might ask.
Well, dear friends, when you travel to India you need an awful lot of shots against an awful lot of awful illnesses. Even more shots than I thought, and I already suspected the worst. 8 Shots in three weeks, starting today. Swiss cheese will be nothing against my holi-ness in the end, and I strongly suspect my left arm will have to amputated tomorrow. Who knew Tetanus and Hepatitis B hurt so much even when you don't get them?!
Did I mention I love a good chance to be dramatic?
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
A very happy New Year to you all! I hope you all celebrated and style. And I wish every one of you that whatever you begin may be successfull and that what you wish for may come true.
I seem to remember that I made a list of things I would have liked to achieve this last year, and I do know that most of those things never got done.
A couple of days ago I stumbled over a 'poem for New Year's Eve' by Erich Kästner that states 'we should not put too heavy a load on the new year', because like a sick horse it might break down under too much weight. And the more plans we make, the more difficult their realisation becomes.
So this year I'm pretending to be wise.
I'll just do the best I can.
Usually the myth of that 'calm and quiet Christmas' makes me laugh. Who's ever had one of those?
It's only late at night, with that sugar frosting of snow out there that I at least understand the principle.
LeeAnn, you're yesterday's lucky Advent calendar gift winner. Will you write me an email with your address, please?