Dream a little dream for me

 

“Lounge dreams” (2017). Awkward cord hanging on the edge of the weirdly cropped images.

How much can a sane person dream in the end? How much time can you submit to your dreams? How many of those dreams come true? Is it essential to keep dreaming despite the odds?

Some, like poet Cleo Wade, make magical verses and get them printed in kitchen wear. Her point in this pop poetry is the fantastic, and she encourages to dream beyond your knowing, to be happy in your dreams.

Recently I discovered that the distance of my life is in arms-length. I am no further away, I cannot be. None can. What happens in our lives is solely in the reach of our fingertips, not in the daydreams or the lounge dreams (above) or the unfulfilled dreams or the nightmares we may or may not be experiencing.

How then in this world to keep your sanity if you know that your thoughts travel no longer distance than that of your reach? How can you just slip in the fantasy world and dream the dreams to come true?

I used to believe in Walt Disney quote: “All dreams come true.” Now I am not so sure. I am not even sure should one take time to dream the impossible and then go chase the waterfalls in the hope of them being beyond the imagination. I don’t say “don’t dream, live your life, settle down for what you have” but I don’t know if it is possible within reason to go on dreaming big.

There’s nothing wrong about being a bit like Alice in Wonderland with your dreams. They might be a bit kooky, out there. There’s nothing wrong about closing your eyes and seeing worlds come together and fall apart, but the wrong is if you can’t distinguish the dreams from the reality you are in fact living in.

 

Advertisements

Creative writing techniques

DSC_0199

I know I have written a lot in this blog about writing. Maybe because I do need a result, end product, deadline or some money to start anything new these days. I have started to hate the uncertainty of my profession and don’t know where to go from here if not learning a new profession for backup.

But to the topic! I have tried mind mapping all my work. For essays and short articles it works all fine. You put a word inside a circle and then make beams out of the sunshine of a topic to subtitles and more ideas.

Now when I was submitting to this respectable East Coast art magazine, I panicked when my technique of writing with a mind map didn’t suddenly work. I ended up drawing little pictures of mirrors and such on the mind map and scribbled down random ideas and research notes on things like identity, time and memory. These are the themes, alright, I thought, but never found myself in the library doing the back round research on the topics at the philosophy section.

In the many creative writing classes I have taken, playing and failing have always been a big part of them. I have written badly on purpose, even written with my left hand on request. I have used tag and keywords, I have tried reading the last line of a book to inspire me to write a first line on my poem and looked at countless pictures to get over the writer’s block.

None of them seem to work better than reading. I am wary of sounding like my inspiration and ending up with a horrible little pastiche. So I take time. I have a nap, surf the TV channels, go out for a bit and then read multiple texts and social media updates to have a good view on what’s going on. Then, I think, I can also be relevant to the time we are living. I pick and choose from quotes, look past lost lines and mix together pieces of work with all the above.

What happened then to the submission in the East Coast magazine? Well, I had to translate older poems to English and ended up sending them instead. I feel still quite uninspired and surprised I was able to write such great work before – and now, now I am just blank. I have a desire to write more but can’t seem to start anything new without a contract, a promise or a result.

#writersblock #creatives #creativewriting

The passion of my life: poetry

P7120007.JPG

Old picture above is from the time I used to live alone in the countryside. 

Today I am going to attempt on writing 5 pages of poems for international submissions. I know this work doesn’t pay me but I’m not too careful with the fact that writers should be paid. I love my work even if I don’t get a dime out of it.

My topics are feminism, identity and memory. I have worked on a little mind map on what to start with: a word like “solace” there and a hand-drawn mirror on the side of the page. Originally I wanted to go to the library to read more on identity, memory and time but because the deadlines are closing quite soon, I am hoping my own research at home and efforts I will be making cut the chase for these USA and UK magazines I am writing for.

I work based on the requested themes and after adding key words to my mind maps, I start making up verses piece by piece. I write down, cross over, put in brackets till I am happy with a verse at a time. I then type it into the computer, and there we go: have 5 pages of poems ready to be send over online to the offices of these wonderful magazines making it possible to gain some reputation and have exposure on my real passion in life: poetry.

I am fairly new on writing creative writing in English. I used to blog previously for years in my native, Finnish, and mainly write poetry in Finnish too. I have tried writing in my native and then translating but think the poems are more authentic if I choose to write them originally in the language the magazine might publish them in. Of course my vocab is not professionally very inspirational but then again, I like simple things, concise and clear words in my poetry and am not worried about the fact of losing a specific word or nuance.  I also would love my debut translated and sold in the English speaking poetry world but am not sure if I will be granted to funds for the translation. I have found several interesting publishers in English on Instagram and am sure it would make a cut in a house to be sold worldwide. I just have to make some pleads for money to fund the professional translation. I won’t be doing the translation of my debut myself because of the above: there must be a specific word and nuance to everything I have originally managed to put a book forward with so I have to pay a professional to make it look neat. I hope this works out, though.

What else? Well, to keep this post tidy, I add on news from the book market. The suspense is killing me on the fact that after the negotiation for my next book, the publisher asked for some months to make up his mind. I should get the news during November and am waiting anxiously if I will be making a comeback in the poetry scene next spring. I have a back-up plan to publish the book that was started off by me deleting all the poems I once wrote to my Finnish poetry blog and editing them to make a new book out of them. I will be sending them off to other houses, of course, if the decision on publishing the book would be negative, but surely I am hoping it won’t. This has nothing and very little to do with the process of writing new work since I believe this book, now ready, has to go through almost as it is, no new poems added. The theme in the book is becoming and being an artist. The new poetry, the 5 pages I will be preparing to write for the international submissions, might reflect on that theme but are not about it.

Home close to the heavens above

I have written about my living arrangements before but never introduced my current home. It is in Northern Finland, by the sea and has a large balcony to the ocean. It is a one-room rental on the top floor.

Because the landlord was selling this apartment they took pictures of our home. I decided to post them on social media and see what people think. We do have most of our furniture and the stuff as old and used giveaways or sold us cheaper.

For example, I had a horrible pet peeve on television sets. For years I lived alone completely without a TV. I didn’t see the point of having something to waste time with and preferred watching the birds, the snow and the trees from my windows. I still think watching telly is not for me but because my husband said it would help him learn the language, we decided to buy this decent priced used set. Above the television in the pictures you can see the party lights I was inspired by after seeing a blog post years ago about interior decor. The party lights are awfully impractical but they give a nice show off vibe to the lounge space.

The sofa was free. It has a velvet-kind of fabric cover on it and it was in mint condition when we got it. The carpet in the lounge space is inherited from my grandmother, and probably has no more value than the huge sentimental value it has to me. It is the only actual thing I was given from my childhood’s home (a farm/mansion in the East of Finland) and it reminds me of the great love and wisdom my granny had to share.

I see in these pictures taken by a professional photographer and styled by an interior decor stylist the kitchen and the bedroom have been stripped off from our usual clutter of pins, needles, tobacco, keys and other more everyday things one would keep on a kitchen table. The areas of the room, bed gated by a silky salmon pink curtain, have been also styled white. Some potted fake plants that don’t belong to the interior have been added for extra umph.

You can also spot the details of a poster (painting by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, a wounded, blind angel carried by two young boys) and little statues of a golden woman and a deep red elephant decor our room. I am happy here, the view you can see in the photos above is amazing. Especially the sunsets and dawns are worth a while.

Why wouldn’t you tell me what’s your home like?

 

 

 

The private and public in the discourse of the body and the mind

DSC_0045

Some do have the (fool’s) courage to share their pictures in tiny little outfits or more importantly, share their views on mental health helping to find things like #bodyshaming, #slutshaming, #EndTheStigma and be #proud of what and who they are.
In my case the internet imposes a strange question: how much of us as human beings could be revealed without serious consequences? I know it’s not okay to put my body uncovered online like I wouldn’t walk down the street looking like that, not even in the name of fashion and design, and I know that I don’t want to be seen as a diagnose (or a diagnosed person) either. This might – even if it shouldn’t – potentially hurt my career, or my family.

I won’t be one of the brave women who expose themselves altogether without hiding anything. I will always be hiding parts of me: be them cellulite on my thighs or the awareness of a chemical imbalance in my brain. This play of hide-and-seek comes to me naturally: alike many people, I do not highlight my flaws.

The mind and the body do make us who we are but the naked skin or the sick mind won’t be defining me as a person or a professional of my trait. I do believe in the many good causes revealing all, being open and honest, showing off and flaunting the beauty or making art of the ugly but I won’t be doing so. I do admit I seek justification to my own hiding game by writing this but am not backing off from doing so.

I have discussed before my insecurities and the cultural sensitivity I have to take on when writing here – or anywhere else in matter of fact – or photographing myself for social media- I have revealed the reasons why I want to keep these secrets but haven’t really dabbed on what I feel about the public and the private.

It would be difficult to be exposed in the tabloid pages or seeing no other solution in making the world a better place than taking clothes off for the desired effect of attention and admiration, f.e. For what I do for my living, I see the difficulty in saying “no” to these offers that might fly by sooner or later. I have been given the chances before to show my body or talk about the difficulties of living with a difficult issue I there and then decided forever to keep to myself.

I don’t though believe in staying silent when you should scream and shout. I don’t believe in keeping a distance when all you need is someone to trust in. I don’t believe in denying your problems or the cellulite in your thighs when you should either get help or do something about your issues. I do believe everybody should have an equal chance to defend their ways, views and speak their minds openly in the ideal world. But I choose to be the wallflower in this party where I see the greatest people opening bleeding wounds just to be in the spotlight again – or just to share their stories to help others, as they say – and I do believe there might be seriously beautiful sensual photographs.

These solutions just are not for me. I respect the will and the ways of my people, my loved ones and my family, and choose not to ever show & tell the disasters of my life. There will be other ways to go through them and exposing the pain will never heal it on its own. It might just make things worse.

Beyond the blank moment

14033668_1240233706010497_1921366225_n

I stare at the screen and force myself to go through the process of writing and editing. There’s nothing more than me, my coffee, my cigarettes and the moonlight, some poetic verses like “your heart/is a wild deer” I came up with last night and the memory of a book I started reading today.

I crave for the great emotional expressions that this book is giving the readers. The short, precise and delicate, strong sentences that remind me of my all-time favorite writer, Marguerite Duras. The moonlight suggests that I could do the same but never in my life I could actually pinpoint my feelings in such a powerful way: just by saying that the moon is lit over me and throws a shadow to the park and the ocean I see from my balcony, here, where I live, close to the heavens above.

What I see in my future as a writer is a tad bit dim. If I do not get a publishing contract soon to my next poetry collection I am send adrift, floating through time and space and do not know my name anymore. I see the worst case scenario in front of me: the booze, the cigarettes again, the coffee, the moonlight that reveal how little I have achieved in my life this far.

Knowing this, once more I turn to not recommending my career choice to anyone. But to be honest, it never was a choice. I remember it to be a calling, an urge, a force of nature of its own. It was a true need, it is a passion to keep writing through the thick and the thin, through the worst days of my life and coming back to the light, be it a spotlight or just the moonlight over me.

Not many people will read this post. This is what I am certain of. I will post it quickly, and try to forget the consequences of showing my vulnerability as a poet to the world. More than ever I am scared for my future in this form of art. The world has turned its face on me so many times before when crafting a novel or trying to make my words count in a collection. I still remember the count of the rejection letters from publishers, sometimes receiving them devastated, sometimes just knowing beforehand that they would be in the mail.

This profession is killing me. At the same time it’s the only thing I will ever truly want to do in my life. It will never be easy to wait for the final verdict on a script, and there’s absolutely no romance in seeing it for what is really is: hard work, very little compensation. In the world of bloggers today it is easier to see how people enjoy this and that, do photography together with their fashionable friends and type in style guides for the rest of the world to read.

What has changed is that I’d rather watch TV than read a book. I’d rather stay away from the blank moment behind the screen and choose an alternative way of spending time, for what average to good writing is, is nothing more than spending time. Like I am doing right now: I am just typing in my worries embedded in my words, make up sentences that could potentially be something greater than I thought when I let myself down once more and just kept on trying, knowing that I didn’t complete the project of writing a 600-page-book in English like I said to a poet once I would do, or that I didn’t get a deal on my books called “The blindness of light” or the one called “The immortal love for a man”.

I have diaries full of plans for the art of writing. I have interviewed people for a novel that never happened and have done a lot of research of loneliness, blindness, even being a designer, to name a few. These plans still are just plans: there’s no solid proof other than the couple of scripts that I still have on the roll – the new poetry collection on the publisher’s desk now and the pages of “Avenue” I wrote during a year in UK at the University City Campus.

Not fully aware why am I opening up about this, or anything else in matter of fact doesn’t take me anywhere. Maybe realizing my plans would push me further on with them. Maybe I wouldn’t just sleep in instead of working if I bared my skin and let people in my thoughts for a moment, maybe there would be more to see in this world than the balcony, the moonlight, the cigarettes burning in the night, the coffee, the TV. Maybe there would be reader’s letters, interviews, performances, reviews, translations, e-books and audio books and art work for the covers to approve. But more so, there is and always will be so much more work than I could even begin to describe to anybody.

Innovative business & economics of art?

So, I am not an entrepreneur myself but decided on a little typing exercise on the topic.

I have grown up shadowed by my father finding a company of his own. I know it takes blood, guts and hard work to get where he is as a retired CEO now. He made himself a living, despite the obstacles and managed to take his education and work experience on board when working on his firm. This is respectable of him.

I have gone to some entrepreneur training programs before. The beginner’s guide to entrepreneurship was interesting enough. I made a business plan for the program about selling art designs, hand-painted t-shirts, postcards and slogan posters. After seeing the figures on the charts I said “nay-nay” and moved on with my life. Then I got into an another program for those who are interested in the internalization of their businesses or developing their ideas in the shape of international businesses. My product was/would have been my upcoming movie. This had a full-stop there and then as well because despite the beautiful idea of taking my movie abroad and having some money to back-up my thoughts on it, to sell it worldwide and taking people to places with me, I never found the way to fund a company – and hence stayed a freelancer.

Now when I am questioning the pros and cons of becoming a CEO or being one, I find so many cons in the financial department that even if the corporate world excites me, I find no solutions to the problems of innovative economy or creative arts meeting the money-driven business world. If things like paintings or films are sold so little, how could even a small-time producer like I could be, or a bookbinder, make a profit out of the truly only real passion in life?

By making adjustments. By seeking funding resources of new businesses. By loaning money from instances that are friendly to the new-comers. Simply put it: selling your soul (and therefore the work) to become more customer-friendly.  Looking at the new trend in social media, it is easier to sell a book of ad-like slogans to readers than actual poetry. This I would have to live with, and face every morning waking up the wonderful world of being a 100 % independent with my income, no back-doors, no fire escape – just the reality of selling it short and selling it fast.

As wonderful and inspirational it is to see fashion or art start-ups, I fear for their survival. It’s okay if the aim is to become a temporary entrepreneur or if the money is for example inherited and technically could be blown in something else instead. In today and this time of my life, despite the great consultants and mentors I have met in the arts and also in the business world, I have never come across a real solution to funding a business when there’s zero savings and zero property in my name. So, what’s your opinion, is being a company owner actually only the ballgame for the well off and wealthy? What about the concessions you might have had to make in your art to actually make the company run on its own profit?

Chit chat & nothing to say

DSC_0006

Lately, after moving to this new town about half an year ago, I have had so many lattes with so many new people. I actually posted an ad on a Facebook group to make new friends and wrote about it on this blog earlier.

Anyways, sometimes there’s absolutely nothing to say when you meet a new person. Of course you can take the easy way out and discuss the weather, your hobbies, work, relationship status, the nightlife and the like. General small talk.

But the purpose of these meetings shouldn’t be just to meet once, have a nice little chit chat and the go your separate ways. Personally, I am looking for long-term friends and hence I am eager – at some point – to go to depths and lengths with the conversations.

This might freak people out, especially if meeting for the first time. I never quite know if it’s okay to burst in flames about a on-going art project, the philosophy and nature of it – or should I just politely stay quiet and listen to the every day going-on’s of any normal life – without the hassle of having something difficult to say.

I don’t like shutting up about the above. Like anybody, I too, like to say what’s on my mind. I have before got the silent treatment on in a cafe when trying to go to the deep end of things in the conversation and also I have chosen to ask more about topics that don’t necessarily tick my boxes of interest.

This happens in life: you at least pretend to listen but lack in passion when talking about how’s the day going this far. I crave meaningful, inspirational contexts and kick-ass conversations and am thankful for anybody who I have a chance to have one with.

After posting a lot in the blogging communities in Facebook to promote my blog, I am trying to discover new topics to blog about. If you are there, seated nicely behind the desk or laying around in the sofa, please send me suggestions beyond chit chat that I could post in this blog about!

Future: fluent, not fixed

Faces

I have always enjoyed good nostalgy. I have dreamt of writing my memoirs. I like to refer and reminisince on what happened a decade ago.

But last night I had a relevation about my attitude – towards ideals, past, present and now. Redefining these and who and what I am even to myself came to me like an enlightement whilst I was updating my Instagram bio (@itseevamaria).

I can’t, won’t and don’t want to cling to the past – be it professionally, publically or privately. I have learned to let go and go with the flow. I want to dance to the unknown future and sing my own song.

The ideas that kept me going for years now feel stuck up and stuffy, fixed and way too certaint when all I have to do now is embrance the time that is now. I have to live up to new ideals and figure out contemporary ways of living, expressing and saying things. A 10-year-old back up plan for life or trendy slogan won’t cut the chase.

As I ponder the concept of time I feel the necessity to deeply understand that inventing new ways of living, expressing and saying, making art and writing the philosophic statement for the piece have to be fresh, cutting edge and not only because it’s way cool but because it also benefits my life.

As much as this is a relevation of the concept of time it is also a question of language, identity, sense of self and self-acceptance. Its admitting to the present tense and working hard if you have to for the courage to do the leap of faith to the tomorrow that might not anymore be in the personal comfort zone.

My litrature cannot be a collection of fixed poses and wordings! My life and identity cannot be old and ancient when the day is new!

 

#IBelieveYou

Rutiini-Papa.jpg

#metoo, a campaign for people to post their personal experience with sexual assault and harassment is now viral in social media. #metoo is an empowering campaign of solidarity and power over being just a victim, it makes us survivors instead.

My title is though today #IBelieveYou because I feel my #metoo -story is triggering and would harm potentially any readers with their experiences emotionally surfacing. #IBelieveYou is a reply to #metoo and should be just as important to notice this hashtag too.

The #IBelieveYou hashtag emphasis the point in simple words like “hey, I get you”, “I know what you are going through” and that “I believe you, it really happened to you”. With the support of other people, be it family or friends, or simply strangers that notice your update online, the power you are given is immense.

#IBelieveYou is something I have been needing all along with my #metoo -story I am not going to be sharing anymore online. I did on Twitter, and it got over tens of thousands of views. But it feels so raw, like a sensitive, open wound and I don’t want to address it.

Many organizations are doing local helplines for example if #metoo triggers those bad memories on you. I suggest you take your time to find out the right place to seek for help, be it anonymous or not, and pour your heart out if you need to.

I have. And it helped.