The comfort of old friends

Screenshots of the movie Angels & Demons by AdS

The first overseas trip and I don’t mind telling you that I was nervous. Would people wear masks, would there be any issue with passengers, and if it wasn’t Covid related, how about the cancelled flights, lost luggage, and the overall stress that comes with traveling overseas.

So, when we were seated I checked the selection of TV series and movies available. I found myself looking for the old familiar ones. The flight was on time, there were no unruly passengers, yet the first time sitting in a plane for nine hours, it needed something comforting.

I decided to watch Angels & Demons. The book I had read years ago and yes, I also saw the movie. So this time, I could pay attention to the art, the city, the chapels, the statutes, and anything I might have missed the first time when I was too busy following the plot and dialogue.

In the beginning, before Conclave, you see all the priests making their last phone calls before being locked in. Some are filming the Sistine Chapel, some are smoking, and before they head in, they hand over all their electronics and cigarettes. It reminded me of occasions were we are asked to silence our phones. It is rare when I have had to hand over my phone. Even for court, I just lock the phone in my car.

As for the movie, it reminded me of the beauty of Italy, the majestic scenes of Rome, the richness of Vatican (yes, conflicted feelings), and the magnificent art of so many talented people. Right now, I am home. But next time we travel to Europe, I am going to try to swing by Rome and the Vatican.

I don’t know where but I write it anyway

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

There are days that the blog posts write themselves. They pop up somewhere in between waking up, singing in the shower, and savoring that first cup of coffee. And then there are days that I just sit here.

I know the topic for the post or what the tone should be but, what medium to use? Is this something as short as a tweet, or is it something that cannot be seen publicly regardless of length, or is this a post that deserves space, headers, and photography?

I am frequently stuck.

Do I have enough to say to type around 300-500 words for a post or are we done in a sentence or two? These days, my writing happens either in a journal, in a few tweets, on my website, or here. But here’s the fun part, I start to either blog or tweet and then regret te choice of medium.

Why?

Anxiety or stress.

Depending on what is going on, I just cannot sit still long enough to type or write. I need the quick release of a sentence or two with the flexibility to tweet that from just about anywhere to anyone, even nobody I know. From the car (when safe, of course) or the waiting room at whatever facility, Twitter allows for that writing release in the absence of a desk with a computer or a journal and a fountain pen.

Writing is breathing

When I do find myself sitting down, I make the conscious decision to breathe and write. I have a subject in mind and depending on that subject it either goes on the website, the blog here, or in my journal. I find that making the decision to combine writing with consciously slowing down and deepening my breath, as we do in yoga, takes the edges off the anxiety that popped up.

Shape shifters

Depending on what I write and how e.g. venting, the stress may go away entirely. In other cases, especially when it is work related, the stress remains but changes shape.

It is not anymore in a powerful position to make me anxious, no. It has changed. I now have the determination to dig, research, and get answers. From there, the words flow and even if what I then produce is just a draft, I have laid the foundation for more writing.

Road maps

If I sat down with my journal, I find that I jot down thoughts and feelings that were simmering underneath the surface, eating away at my sense of self, and therefore giving me feelings of anxiety. The ink on the pages is not always in the best penmanship but they reflect what has been going on in my mind, my heart, and my soul.

I don’t immediately have answers or solutions however, I have a roadmap to get me out. I have turned on my GPS or Google Maps, and I can now actively see what is around me, in my street, and what is coming around the corner.

There are days that I sit here and don’t know where to write what I think. But, even if I have to cross things out, or delete tweets, or rewrite drafts, I write anyway.

A Fresh Start

Photography AdS

Making a fresh start is not easy. What will it look like? What will I leave behind? Is it not worth fixing? How much time and energy are involved in fixing it and isn’t it easier to start fresh? That was me considering my social media accounts.

During the (ongoing) pandemic, a lot changed. Understandably, people were scared and were looking for the patient’s perspective. If I get ill, what to expect and what does it feel like? How long did it last, etc. id you get vaccinated? Did you experience side-effects? But at the same time, the haters and trolls came out in real force.

And now this happened.

Since the last Supreme Court decisions, many changes have become fundamental. Accounts that used to be fun to follow became dark. Dark in tone, dark in passive-aggressive reactions, dark in the subject matters. What was once conversational and explorative (think brainstorming) has become confrontational and exclusive. Say one word against a person or an issue and you get muted or blocked.

If the discussion could not be had in tweets on your main feed, than the DM (direct messages) and subtweets flooded your timeline with other people pouncing. Engaging and interacting on Twitter had become a chore. You needed to find those who would not explode if you gave your honest opinion.

All this, combined with those who are only on social media to collect followers, likes, or (video or newsletter) subscribers, made me consider to just close down and start from scratch. I briefly thought about losing over 20’000 Twitter followers but then I got clarity.

Perspective

My website’s traffic (not this blog) is fueled by keyword searches, not by social media. And, I never checked the main feed on Twitter. I had split up accounts in lists. I made those lists a long time ago to make it easier to follow people’s conversations. I had one for local accounts, one for law, one for forensics, of course, one for stationery, etc. I made them private too. So, why not start fresh?

Size really doesn’t matter

I now have a new, small Twitter account but with lively discussions. After I follow someone, they immediately get added to one of my new, private lists. I have less visibility but there is a lot less drama. And that is fine with me!

It is the small things

MontBlanc Meisterstück at the top and the Platinum #3776 Century at the bottom/Photography AdS

There really is no good reason for temperatures in the 80s and 90s but who listens to me, right? After suffering through that sweaty mess for the past few days we were rewarded with several rounds of severe weather that kept you up at night in a sea of blazing lights and roaring thunder. Now that those storms are gone, we are enjoying low seventies with a nice breeze.

I went into the yard this morning. I knew that the storm had taken a toll on our trees. I heard some cracks but stayed inside. It wasn’t as bad as I had feared. One tree in the front yard took all the hits. I sawed off the branches that were partly ripped from the trunk. What is left of the tree now looks like a swizzle stick. I hope it will recover but the damage could have been worse. Nobody got hurt and the house is fine.

One thing that I wanted to do for a long time is to switch the cartridges from my fountain pens. My MontBlanc Meisterstück has been Royal Blue since I got it years ago. I love the blue colour but after almost 16 years, it is time to spruce things up. My Platinum #3776 Century has been light brown since I bought it about two years ago. The colour is too light. I like the Sepia caramel brown from Kaweco better.

So, encouraged by the upper arm exercise of sawing off tree branches I set out to switch cartridges. I got a little over enthusiastic and now have a blue ink stain on the wall behind my desk. It is not a big stain. You can only see it when you get close to the socket, but yeah, score for Alice.

But after getting my hands stained with Sepia ink that got transferred to my glasses, I now have Sepia caramel brown in my Meisterstück and Pigment blue in my Platinum.

I really should not do chores before I had my third cup of coffee.

Enjoy the weekend!

Absent

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

He should not have come to the funeral. He knew he was not welcome.  

He watched as the nurse treated his wounds. His mind went back to the voices he heard before he lost consciousness. He should have stayed in touch, should have been there instead of at the office.

Suddenly he sat up in his bed and cried. The nurse just looked at him. He frightened her but there was also sadness.

Then she saw how his tears carved paths down his cheeks through the caked dirt on his face. She knew he was mourning and held him tight.

*Flash Fiction 100 words