Tuesday, January 22, 2013

And the Award for Very Inspiring Blogger Goes To:

Being rewarded for your efforts by people whose opinion you value is big. Being put in the spotlight by a smart, kick-ass young writer such as Sezin Koehler, author of American Monsters, is a triple thrill. I'm serious. I could be a fuddy duddie in the eyes of Zuzu, but I'm not. So...

Thank you Sezin for tweeting this wonderful surprise!

Now it's my turn to pass on The Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

The blog Julie Unplugged is hosted by Typepad. I like the tight and lively lay-out. You can see Julie is busy writing, she's got lots of badges in the sidebar that tell you her occupation and that she's passionate about writing. Her blog post speaks for her adventurous spirit, she must be a good improvisor: "YES, And then", could be her motto, shouldn't it be every one's?
And then the post itself, it's not that I didn't know of Imogen Cunningham, or wasn't familiar with her work, I am, but it's Julie Jordan Scott's voice and P.O.V. that adds to what I already knew.

Padmaja Ganeshan Singh is debit to my new guilty pleasure: sneaking a peek at the stories about her family's expat life here in Seattle. Her great narrative voice, grip on dialogue, not to forget the delightful characters who inhabit her stories (her life) got me hooked. I can hear everyone speak as I read her posts and often am laughing out loud. Here's your chance to hitch a ride, follow her for a couple of installments on her Journey into the better part of life. By the way, Padmaja's novella about motherhood is hilarious, can't wait for a publisher to pick it up.

Recently met during a storycraft TwitChat, a brave and honest writer, unafraid to tackle sensitive material, or to share the heartfelt on her blog Chalk The Sun I'm pleased to introduce Julie Christine!

Many cooks have their own garden, be it a plot or some terra cotta pots next to the front door, where they grow herbs, and if there's room whatever else is needed for a good soup. "Potager" is just that, the garden beside the house, where you go for nourishment of mind and body. Terrill Welch paints and writes about her creative plot, the process, her way of seeing, wonderful brushstrokes illustrated by words on her blog Creative Potager

If you liked Julie and Julia, you're going to really love Sasha Martin's Global Table Adventure I learned about her blog a few days ago on Twitter, and tweeted back something about cultivating a palate one dish at the time. I don't just love the idea of cooking foods of different countries and cultures around the world (I've been doing that myself for decades), and how she addressed the issue of picky eaters at home, but also how she laid out the plan for her culinary and cultural adventure on her website/blog, and how she fills it in. Delectable. So, to be honest I am not a bit surprised that Sasha landed a book deal. The folks at National Geographic aren't stupid.
I haven't seen any blogging awards on her site, perhaps she doesn't like to post them, in that case, I'll just keep it right here for her.

Honoree, here are the steps for joining the Very Inspiring Blogger Award/Very Inspiring Blog rolls:
1) Thank and link the blogger who has nominated you.
2) Then post the award logo to your blog.
3) Write a post on the nomination and nominate other very inspiring bloggers.
4) Notify them and then tell seven things about yourself.

Seven things about me you probably don’t already know:
1. You'll be hit over the head with The Mitford Sisters if you don't give me the cookies.
2. I was blond as a toddler.
3. My left foot is so straight I still haven't found the right shoe.
4. Give me scissors and a comb and I'll cut anyone's hair, including my own. 
5. Darn socks, that's what I do for fun.
6. Still can't get my dog to pronounce the words I taught her, my way.
7. Number 3 was a half lie, my right foot is straight as well, but that's not that funny.

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Artists and Writers Give Testimony of War and Peace

Writing about the aftermath of war.
My 85-year-old friend Ada often tells me, "enough is enough, why write another book about that war?"
I understand where she's coming from. She survived Auschwitz, and built a life abroad, far from her former homeland. Reading about the Holocaust or even the aftermath of WWII brings to the surface, if not memories —she has forgotten on purpose— a sadness that is so profound, and goes so deep, her sensibilities tell her not to trigger those feelings of despair she no doubts knows will appear.
For me it's different, I need to tell the stories I've heard as a child, and facts I researched for many years. I need to share the manuscript I wrote about growing up in the aftermath of the Second World War with parents who continued to hide, and lived as though the war never ended. I have to share how this has influenced the rest of my life, how their fears jeopardized their dreams for me, how we lived from day to day, because tomorrow could be the end of times as I had known them. I have to share how their love for each other and for me has made me who I am today,  more sane than could have been predicted and yet colored by my father's PTSD and mother's psychosis.

And while my parents told me "not to forget", it's Ada's voice that keeps me from sharing.
It's time to stop listening, I want to see my name, the titles of my books added to the list of books and films on the Dutch website entoennu.nl —"back then now", or I'd say it's about time.

Put no limitation on the time to share stories that need be told. 

'Enough is enough' is true for the pain that surfaces when a survivor is confronted with yet another book or film about that what triggers heart ache.

I say the same when I open a novel to find out the story deals with the death of a baby or young child. No matter how well written, no matter how good the intentions of the author are, sadness takes grip of my tender heart, and before long I realize my response has more to do with my personal loss than that of the characters in the story. And if I can't shake that feeling of despair, as was the case with Nassim Assefi's empathic novel Aria I put the book aside. Believe me, I have grieved intensely the loss of our baby girl, and every once in a while sadness hits me still, and takes over my being. I accept that as part of my life. But I'll put the book aside. Let others read that story, a story that needs to be told so the reader learns and understands what loss is about.

Enough is not enough regarding stories about war and its aftermath, people need to know, artists & writers testify for those who can't or dare not voice their experience.

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Artists n Writers Home Buyers a Story of Love and Hate

Plant your roots.

The title of the ArtistTrust First Time Home Buying Workshop at Velocity Dance Center on Thursday January 10 would have scared me ten years ago. The reason I didn't attend now, is that we already own our home. We already bit the bullet, figuratively broke ground in the Pacific Northwest, so to speak.  Seeing a picture on the ArtistTrust Facebook Page made me wonder though.

Did anyone mention how much strain being a homeowner puts on the shoulders of artists and writers, struggling or not? Did anyone mention calling the landlord about a problem in your home will be a luxury of the past?

Don't get me wrong, I love our house, but when I think back to that first year, holy cow, the responsibility of the maintenance, the overflowing gutters, replacement of 50+ year-old windows, a unintentional green moss covered roof, not to forget the flooding of the garage and part of the basement the very month we moved in, I want to yell:

Know what you're wishing for!

Learning that, no, you don't have to keep up with everything all the time alone took us a year.
Twelve months and countless hours —previously free for creative thinking, or non-thinking— spent worrying about mortgage, taxes, the yard work (mowing, raking, pruning), yes, always that never ending upkeep.

This could be in one word: Dreadful. 

Six years down the line, eight, if you count the two years in our first home, a condominium with a 9'4" ceiling, a deck with western exposure, a view of Puget Sound, and the tips of the Olympics, but also with the HOA board's power tripping members we were oh, so glad to leave behind, we have got used to the needs of the house, the role of homeowner, the distance from the city, the feeling of not being in the midst of things.

And yet, we love it, our home, our yard, having music, writing and art studios all under one roof, and our woof Mocha, loves her own front and back yard too.

Kudos to ArtistTrust for organizing a workshop around this matter, I wish there had been one eight years ago, when we first embarked on this Real Estate adventure, glad to know ArtistTrust has the notes on this one.

Presenters at Velocity Dance Center on January 10, 2013:

Wendy Ceccherelli, broker for among others Arthaven
Randy Engstrom, Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs
Garbo Grossman, homeowners program assistant at Homestead Community Land Trust
Michelle Taul, Directors Mortgage

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Rolled Wavers Symbolize the Unknow in the New Year

Krumkake or Wafer Cones ©Judith van Praag 2012

Beside the national favorite "oliebol" you may be served iron baked wavers on New Year's Eve up north in the Netherlands. They stand for the known, old year. When visiting people the first days of the new year you're bound to be presented "rolletjes", wavers rolled around a dowel, and served plain, or stuffed with whipped cream.
The reason why I created the cones in the picture is practical, I didn't have a dowel. I could have sawed the bowl of a wooden spoon, but I'm rather attached to my old spoons, thank you very much, so I decided to use the cone shaped gadget that comes with the Krumkake wafer iron.
The nice thing about a cone is that it holds more whipped cream or fruit mousse (whipped cream spooned through a puree of for instance mango), and who would object to that?

May the 2013 be happy, healthy and successful, and filled with pleasant surprises!

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License