Happy New Year

We’re 12 days into the New Year, and I’ve finally found some time to write a blog post. I would like to wish you all the very best for 2019. What a good year will encompass is different for everyone. To me personally, it should contain love, growth, and justice.


Joe Strummer of the Clash once said: “Without people, you’re nothing.” It may have been the simplest of statements, yet it says it all. Without others around us, life is meaningless and, I would even dare to say, impossible. We need each other. Granted there are days I loathe the entire human race, including myself, but those are the days I should pull my proverbial cranium out of my hindquarters and get a grip. Luckily those days are rare. Most of the time I realize how lucky I am with the people in my life. I’m incredibly grateful for the amount of love, inspiration, and support I have received from them in the past year. They made 2018 a good one. This is why, to me, love is the most important ingredient for a happy new year.

Then there is the other ingredient; growth. One summer, when I was visiting in Maldon, I got introduced to this hardworking and modest guy. He had something about him that I connected with and we got talking. I found out he was keen on learning new things. He had taken a course in photography, learned to play the guitar together with his son and managed to get his GCSEs (for non-British people, this is the equivalent to your high school diploma) many years after dropping out of school while working six days a week running a tool shop. student-2052868_640Now I like to learn things, but he was taking it to a whole new level! Even though he is now one of my best friends, he probably doesn’t realize that he is the one who made me decide to learn something new every year. Not only did I pick up a lot of new skills through this resolution, but it also gave me a huge kick and more confidence. So no new year is complete without growth.

The last ingredient to a good new year is justice. That is the most tricky one as well. I see injustice everywhere around me. I see it in the big factory across the river, that knowingly spend decades covering up the toxicity of their products. I see it on my timeline, where the word refugee has become interchangeable with illegal. I see it on the streets, where the homeless people are sleeping. In the company where my husband works and where he gets paid a good wage while his Polish co-workers are robbed of their passports, work at low wages and are being beaten by their superiors. Injustice is everywhere, and it starts with us looking away. With us allowing it.

first-aid-850481_640I’m no saint. Far from it. More often than not I’m far too busy worrying about my own life than about that of those less fortunate than me. Still, I try to float back to Justice as the main item on my agenda. I can’t change the world. Hell, I can’t even run without tripping over my own feet. But with a bit of luck and a lot of help, many people together can change a little part of the world. I hope I can be one of those people.

Taking a Break

After a very productive half year, during which I drafted two novels, I’m currently on a (planned) break from all my writing activities. Well, almost all of them. I do still take a lot of notes on ideas that spring from my mind. But aside from that, I haven’t properly sat down to write something since late April. Luckily, I’ve had very happy reasons to set this summer stop.

The first of those reasons being that I got married. Or should I say eloped? Either way, after a relationship of 10 years with Joep we decided to tie the knot. On the 14th of May, we married in just the company of our witnesses. A day later everyone received a card with the wedding announcement and a dinner invitation. It was a simple ceremony, but it was exactly as we wanted. No fuzz or frills. Just love. Now as some of you may know, I’m polyamorous. I also have a relationship with Tony. That didn’t change. I’m still happy with both men, and both men are still happy with me and the arrangement we have. In fact, Tony was one of the three witnesses during the ceremony. Even as an atheist I feel blessed to have such great guys by my side.

Where the wedding was a small ceremony, the dinner party that we held two weeks later was bigger. We had about 50 people coming over to a buffet style restaurant. Some folks would say that is still a small party, but I was totally blown away by the amount of attention we got. One of my best friends even came all the way from the UK on his motorcycle. Others were there despite being very ill. It was unforgettable, to say the least.

After an epic party, we dove right into a new adventure when we got the keys to our new home. A lovely little house in the town of Hardinxveld. It doesn’t need much work, but with my Dyspraxia and Joep’s herniated disks we are moving a bit slower than other people. It’s not a problem. All in due time. At the moment the house is habitable, with a couch, bed, and tv. Recently my sons have helped us move the old oak desk to the writing room. They did a great job. Soon the whiteboard will go up, pictures will go on the wall, and my office will be ready for action.
For now, my planning from the end of September onward looks as follows:

  • Finish editing “Still time Stork”
  • Take a course in screenwriting (and simultaneously apply the learned knowledge by writing a screenplay)
  • Finish “River of Illinois”
  • Start editing “Broken at Tumbleweeds”

For now, I wish you all a very pleasant summer, and I hope to greet you back here in September.

Punctuation in British and American English

united-states-2391371_640 This blog post is my assignment for the course English Grammar and Style by UQx & edX.

English is spoken by 1.39 billion people worldwide. Some of them are casual speakers, that only speak the language occasionally. About 800 million people are using the language more frequent. They speak English on a daily basis and are either native or bilingual speakers. Although all these speakers tend to understand each other well, there are localised differences. The most apparent differences are those in the use of words. Such as the British ‘anticlockwise’ vs the American ‘counterclockwise’. However, more characteristics set the localised versions of English apart, one of them being punctuation.  Continue reading “Punctuation in British and American English”

Camp NaNoWriMo

teepee-1149402_640NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. This event, which takes place every year in November, has as goal to get people writing. Preferably a novel, but the organization also accommodates ‘rebels’ who opt to write a screenplay, biography or whatever they can come up with. The word count for this event is quite steep, 50.000 words in one month to be precise. For some this threshold is a bit too much, for others it’s a great way to stay productive. For the latter and all people who desire a reboot of NaNoWriMo halfway through the year, there is Camp NaNoWriMo.  Continue reading “Camp NaNoWriMo”

Concert Review of Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real

coverLukas and his band probably froze their asses off when they landed on our frostbit continent. It wasn’t the most welcoming weather for the Austin, Texas-born frontman and his band, of which the members reside mostly in the Southern States of America. Still, this didn’t stop them from giving a stellar, heartwarming, and passionate performance in the city of Utrecht, the Netherlands, yesterday.

The location was an excellent choice. Tucked away on the top floor of Tivoli Vredenburg, there is an cosy music room called ‘Cloud Nine.’ It holds a maximum of 400 people and has an excellent acoustic paired with an even better atmosphere. In this intimate setting, the band kicked off with, how appropriate, “Set me down on a cloud.” This track also is the opening song of their latest, self-titled, album. Although a few sound settings needed to be adjusted when the first notes got played, the band quickly slipped into their comfort zone, and the audience followed.  Continue reading “Concert Review of Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real”


brushes-3129361_640This blog post is my assignment for the course English Grammar and Style, lecture 1.2 by edX and a response to Infosys ‘Why I make’ video campaign. 

In essence, I think I am, and always have been, a creative person. Somewhere deep inside me, there is this drive to make something. To make anything really. As a toddler I was already scribbling notebooks full with my drawings and, as I grew on, the drawings became paintings. Later on in life, I got a camera, and I learned about the wonderful world of photography. Other arts and crafts followed and managed to spark my interest. A fair bit of tinkering also got added to the list. Welding, soldering, and pyrography. Writing is the most recent thing I picked up. This made me wonder; what is it about creativity that has such a pull on me? Why do I need to create in order to feel alive?  Continue reading “#WhyIMake”

Free Grammar Course

english-2724442_640My primary language is Dutch. Being born and bred in the Netherlands, it comes easy to me. Although there are some nasty pitfalls in the language, my gut pretty much knows how to solve grammatical difficulties. I’m not unique in this. Most people will naturally feel what is right in their own language.

When we learn another language though, it’s like being thrown in at the deep end. It is not that difficult to learn what translation each word has, but when it comes to forming sentences, it gets messy. Even more so when you start to write in that language.
For example, in Dutch, a dialog is preceded by a colon. That’s odd, isn’t it? Let’s take a look at the way the Dutch would construct a sentence with a dialog.  Continue reading “Free Grammar Course”

Writing Positions

shoes-1480663_640Last week I read this post in a Facebook group for writers: “Should writers be allowed to write characters that they have no similar experience with? Such as writing a character of a different gender, sexuality or race. Curious about other people’s thoughts. I honestly think you should, but I have encountered people who think you shouldn’t.”

Of course, I responded in the said group, but the subject is important enough to explore further. I’ll explain why. As humans, we are compelled to group people. Friends, family, and acquaintances. Men and women. Black and white. Gay, straight, and transgender. There’s an evolutionary reason we do this. In “the old days” we needed to recognize our tribe because we were vulnerable beings. Sticking together with your own group gave you the protection you needed. After all with bears, tigers, and god-knows-what-else on the loose, it was a dangerous world. So we distinguished between “my people” and “other people.” Continue reading “Writing Positions”

Writers Retreat

people-2593593_640As I wrote before, most writers perform best when writing alone. I’m no exception to that, but my home is often crowded. I’ve got two partners, two sons and a flatmate. The partners have their kids, the sons have their friends and my flat mate loves to watch the most annoying comedies. As I started to write more, my need for a quiet place became bigger. I looked at several options. Writing in my bedroom for instance. But even there I’m bothered by people asking me where their favorite t-shirt is, if I’ve seen the Pikachu on our lawn and whether I’d like to watch a series with them. All legitimate questions, unless you want to do some serious writing.  Continue reading “Writers Retreat”


people-2567617_640Most of us write best when we are alone. No distractions, no questions asked. Just you and your story. Maybe some music. Or a cat on your lap. As long as it stays there. God forbid it starts walking the keyboard and replaces the last fifty pages with random letters combinations.

We perform better as solo artists. Shining on a stage loosely constructed from paper, ink and tears. In an awkward theater where the crowd doesn’t appear until the artist left the building. Only to find a written account of the show left on the stage. Yet they cheer.  Continue reading “Inspiration”