Trucking Along.

Throughout the month of October, I was mostly busy editing the film of the show that we had done at the end of September. We filmed it with three cameras, and I took it upon myself to cut that into something watchable. And right when I was done with that, I took all the material and made a little one-and-a-half minute trailer about the show, too, so we can get people a taste of what it all looked like, and what we talk about, without giving too much away. It was a lot of work, but the end result was really not bad at all, and I got some praise from people who are experts and professionals, so that felt good. I’m entirely self-taught when it comes to editing, so it was nice to see that I’d made some progress there.

We really needed that trailer, to now work on building on the premiere of the show – which we’re doing in two ways: One, we’re trying to find new locations that will have us, to perform there. And two, we’re now starting to look for financing. I realized that we’ll go nowhere with this unless we manage to secure some funding from large institutions that are aligned with our cause.

My dating hasn’t really produced any results, there are dates or encounters every now and again, but somehow they never seem to go anywhere. But I think it’s just a matter of time. What’s important now, and I’ve only remembered this recently, that I find a fulfilling plan for my life again, which does not rely on any woman in it, to make it worth the while, but rather have a full life with lots of challenges and fun and good stuff happening just because I am embracing life and doing things, and working on stuff. So that I can be more detached and not get so hung up about whomever I meet, or I may have a date with. I am too often simply not relaxed enough when it comes to this, and that’s something I need to learn. And I think I can, and I think I am.

One encounter was kind of funny – I had an OKCupid date one afternoon, which was so so, but then during the date a conversation with the waitress began, and I kind of lingered afterwards, and chatted with her, and got her phone number, and since then I’ve been coming to the cafe for a couple of times, but nothing else really happened so far.

Yesterday and today, I’m at my parents’, just to visit. They’re doing better, my mother was very much struggling with depression for the last months, but it seems like things may be getting better.

And I am now laying out the plan for next year: I’ll focus on two main projects – building the show concept together with Maik, and building my company by joining forces with Ian. I think that’s a good set-up, and I’ll calmly see at the end of 2018 if that is working out or not. And then also, my own apartment is now apparently becoming a reality – it’s moving ever nearer its completion, and the date with the notary will probably be fixed soon. If all things go according to plan, I will be able to move in in February / early March. And so now I have started dealing with the whole furniture situation as well – Kal is being incredibly helpful with this, he is helping me get inspiration and a feel for what kind of furniture to get. He is into that kind of thing, and he’s an incredibly good friend when it comes to getting motivated for that, and figuring out what to buy. I want to avoid the whole “Ikea standard move”, and get my furniture elsewhere instead, and yesterday him and I spent a few hours looking at stuff. It’ll be a lot of work, and it’s a bit daunting, but it will be really nice once it’s done!

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Posted in Family, Friendship, Job, Relationship | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

After the Show.

It’s hard to summarize what happened in the last weeks. It’s been so long ago that I last wrote, middle of August. That feels almost like a lifetime away (only slightly exaggerated …).

From the middle/end of August onwards, we entered the hot phase of development and preparation for the political event that Maik and I had started preparing about a half-year ago. In early September, we spent four days at the country house, to get the bulk of the show put together in a single presentation document. When we came out of those four super-intensive days – day and night nothing but that project, in really close quarters with the very intense Maik (and me being no less intense) – I really had a bit of cabin fever. And then we had one more week to prepare the actual show, in other words: finalize everything, rehearse, bring all the moving parts together and make the whole damn thing happen. On the last night before the show, I was really worn out and depressed. Working with Maik was and is hard, we are not easy on each other, there is often tension and friction. And that really wore me out. Luckily, the show itself went incredibly well. It was a lot of fun, and we really did a good job, really proved to ourselves and to our audience (the house was sold out!) that we can deliver something new and fresh and helpful. So in that respect, it ended up very gratifying. Afterwards, there was a sense of relief. I had been struggling so much with the disastrous state of the world, and the catastrophe that mankind is in the process of creating, and with my being part of it, and my inability to come to terms with it. But the show itself then seemed to be the very thing that I needed to come to terms with these problems. It liberated me. There was a real sense of relief afterwards. Two days later we had the general election in Germany, with some fairly disastrous consequences and fucking 13% for the neonazis. But still, since then I feel I’m on the right path, and I understand what my contribution needs to be.

Nana and her new boy-friend came for the show, too, and I was happy to see her, and he seems like a nice person, and it was really sweet that they came over for the show. And my parents came, too!

The following evening, Brandon’s girl-friend celebrated her birthday, and I was there with Ian, and it was really fun, and it felt like for the first time in months I knew how to be relaxed and even flirt a little, and just hang out and chill. That’s actually mostly what’s been happening since the show, I’ve been chilling, recharging the batteries. I’ve been alone a lot, and sometimes lonely, but even my online-dating (which I usually abandon and then only pick up again in very sad moments, which is a bad idea) seems to produce some more interesting results, now that my profile seems to show that I have found my place in life again. I haven’t met anyone yet, but it’s really the first time that I’m getting responses from women who seemed really interesting based on their profiles. Who knows, maybe there’ll be a date or two this week. (That Sicily holiday idea that I mentioned in my last posting went absolutely nowhere, by the way.)

Funny enough, I even felt the urge to buy some clothes. The other day I went out and bought some flashy sneakers (and got compliments for them just the next night!), and some other clothes, too. Maybe I’ll be more into taking care of my looks, now, too.

Also, I’m thinking about simply hiring Ian. We get along so incredibly well, working with him on the sounds for the show (which we did) went totally well, and was a lot of fun, and I am fairly convinced that we can build some business working together. And that would liberate him from the drab nine-to-five job that he currently has, and we could work on all the fun projects that we want to work on. I am in the process of trying to figure out how much that would cost, and how we could pull it off.

A week before our show, I travelled across the country to see Steve’s new theatre piece. It was, once again, an incredible piece of work, and it really impressed me, because of the heart and the passion and the sense of justice and courage that spoke from it. Him and Ursula couldn’t unfortunately come and see our show because they had booked their holiday then, but I am hoping to be able to show them the recording of our show.

This week will also be slow, there is a holiday tomorrow, so lots of people are out of town, including Maik and Ian. This morning I read in an email that a guy I went to university with died earlier this year, from a stomach ulcer. I cannot really believe that.

Posted in Art, Entertainment, Job, Politics | Tagged , , , , , ,

Revelation & Revolution.

That one-week conference I wrote about turned out to be a revelation. It was the most remarkable collection of intelligent, engaged, involved, passionate, open, curious people I have ever been part of. It’s changed the way I see the world, and it’s given me hope. Hope that the kind of revolution in thinking and in doing that our world needs may actually become possible one day. I am incredibly grateful that I got to go there, and meet these people, and be part of these circles, and make some friends there, and learn so much.

I have been looking for direction and for answers for over a year and a half now. This conference provided me with that direction, and with some of the answers. Just as I am writing this, I am realizing that my sweat problem, which I’d been bothered by for so many months in varying ways now, is gone. Maybe that’s an outcome of that conference, too?

I spent today and yesterday at the little country house again. I made some nice progress with my work for our show event that I am organising with Maik. That project is now becoming my main focus, and as the deadline moves closer, it’s both daunting and encouraging. It feels very nice to have a job again, a task, something to do and develop. With Maik it’s not always easy, we’re too similar in some ways, we tread on each other’s ground, but overall it’s a good relationship and there is a lot of trust and energy.

Friday, something interestingly strange happened, connected with that show project. Maik and I had interviewed a whole bunch of people on Wednesday, and there had also been two women from a refugee support organization, they save people from the mediterranean sea. And I thought that one of the two was really interesting. Then, on Friday, I am meeting this woman from Hamburg for lunch, we’re friendly, I’d met her through Maik, too, and as we’re talking, it turns out that she knows the one from the refugee organisation – but not only that, they’re also planning to go on holidays together to Italy. I mention that I wanted to go on holidays, too, that same week (right after our event), to the little house here. And she says: why don’t you come with us to Italy?!

Huh. Let’s see how that may turn out.

Here at the house, I had a chat with one of the neighbours yesterday, he’s the one who basically controls access to our property because we have to pass over his to get to ours. There is a history behind this (essentially my father got duped way back when he bought this piece of land), and so there’s this unresolved issue with access to our place. It seems like it’s coming to a head now, because the neighbour wants to build, and get us off his drive way, and so wants to help us find another solution. He told me in fairly clear terms that he found it hard sometimes to deal with my father, and that I was nicer to speak with, and that he (and others) might prefer to deal with me rather than with him. I’m happy to step in, and I think my father won’t mind if I do – still, it remains complicated, and in the coming weeks and months I’ll have to see how to deal with this.

What’s really nice: the “cinema” in the basement is now set up, last night I watched “Rogue One” there, and I’m really happy that I can now watch movies here on a really big screen. (There is no Internet, so they need to be on physical discs, but that’s on purpose because this place gets it peace from the fact that I am not as distracted by the Internet. I am typing this online, but I have to establish a connection with my phone, which I am only doing for specific purposes, and this weekend I completely avoided reading or write email.)

I’m going back home tonight, also to meet up with Ian and return to work on our little film, but as always I don’t want to go, and I’ve already planned to come back here Thursday and Friday this coming week.

Also, I am trying a new habit: for 21 days now, I want to go running every day. I’ll go in about half an hour again, before driving back, and this would then be the fourth day in a row.

Posted in Health, Job, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

45.

It’s my birthday today. I am turning 45.

I was a bit depressed last night. I had fallen in love with Lynn on that weekend, and so I had written her afterwards that I would like to see her again. She had finally, after a month, written me yesterday that we should be friends. So a day before my 45th birthday, a woman tells me that we should be friends. I don’t know why – because we live too far apart? Or because she doesn’t like me enough? Reason one was never a good enough reason for me not to pursue a romantic interest. I made a relationship between Berlin and New York City work, once. Reason two would be really annoying.

Anyway. 45. Usually, on my birthday I take the day off and only do things for me. I go take a long walk, go to my favourite books & music & movie store, and just try to be by myself. I won’t be able to do that today because I’m going on a trip to this one-week conference, about alternative approaches to economic studies. So I’ll be driving, with three strangers who I’ve agreed to take along in my car. Let’s see how that goes.

These past weeks were intense. After the weekend with Lynn, I went on an 8-day trip to the south of France with my parents. In my car. The plan was to allow my mother to visit an old friend of hers. The trip was incredible intense, for a number of reasons, and it ended with a big fight between my father and me on the way back. But it was still good that we took it. And I discovered that my French was still working very well, I even played Pétanque.

A couple days after the trip, we went right into the most intense shooting day that we’ve had for our short film, beginning at 5am, and working without much interruption until 11pm at night. It was very tiring but also very successful, and I am very proud of our team.

And since then, my focus has mainly been on planning and working on our event, our politics show. And waiting for that letter from Lynn. Which finally arrived. Oh well.

Posted in Family, Photos, Relationship, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Light At the End of the Tunnel.

I think I’m getting there, finally. After months of uncertainty and doubt and worries and frustration, I am now finally seeing the path before me. I never expected that the road to a new life would be this tough to travel – particularly considering that there are no economic worries and no other “objective” problems that bother me. But problems are subjective, and just because judging from the outside it seems like you should have a magnificent life doesn’t mean that you will. Happiness happens internally, not because the outside thinks you ought to be happy.

There are two things I will do from now on, and they work hand in hand and complement each other. For one, I will keep working on the political issues that concern me and that I am worried about. By continuously reading and then writing on my (other) blog, I can be engaged in political discussion and in the thinking and learning about what is going wrong in the world. And out of that, I am producing a show together with my new friend Maik, who’s a journalist, about where the world is headed, and how we – as responsible citizens – can respond in our daily lives to the challenges that humanity is facing. This respects to my need to do something for my conscience and to try and feel like I am doing something worthwhile with my life.

And then, I will produce and direct films. It sounds a little grandiose – but I found out that I’m actually good at this. In the past months, a small team of people – which I have joined essentially through my involvement with the Berlin English language Improv scene – has started working on a comedy short film, and I’ve grown into a producer / director role within that project. And it’s not only that I enjoy doing these things, but more particularly that I feel like I’m actually good at them. I understand both what it takes to run a project like this (I’ve been managing things and people for years, after all, and that helps me now), and how visual storytelling in the medium works. I can have informed debates about it, and justify creative choices. And in Ian, an English musician turned camera man, I have found a really great partner to make these things happen with. We work really well together, and we have a list of ideas already that we’d like to make happen.

So I will be, or better: I am, a media producer and director of sorts, both within the context of my political work, and within the context of my film work. Making it clear and phrasing it like this allows me, for the first time, to properly understand what I am, or who I am, professionally now and for the foreseeable future. And that is incredibly helpful. It enables me to finally leave this vague bubble of uncertainty and enter a much more defined mental space, with boundaries (we all need boundaries!) and a more or less specific realm of activity.

This last weekend actually provided the last building block for this concept of myself. I went to visit Lynn, a film maker whom I met months ago through a family connection. I’d met with her a couple of times in the city where she lives (on the Western end of Germany), she’d been to Berlin for the Berlinale, we’d also met then, and we also had a few phone calls in between, to discuss a documentary film project that we want to do together. I spent Friday evening and all of Saturday with her (and returned to Berlin on Sunday morning). And it was incredible helpful to spend so much time talking to a creative mind who thinks in similar terms, but then also has a very different point of view based on a very different personal history. On Saturday evening, she took me to a dance performance. I would have never considered going to anything of the sort, and the experience was incredibly inspiring. It was actually there and then that I realized what my role is within the political show project. I’d spent months talking to Maik and other people involved in the project, always feeling slightly insecure about what my specific role in the project is. Maik, after all, is a journalist, and so naturally it would be his role to think helm the journalistic content side of things. I have very specific ideas of things that I want to talk about, but at the same time if we had to distribute roles (and we do have to, at some stage) it’s clear that Maik’s role is the one of editor in chief of our project. So what is my role? And as I was watching the dance performers do their thing on Saturday night, at some point I suddenly realized that I needed to be concerned about the actual show quality of our work — of making sure that people would come to our event and not just say “oh that was interesting”, but rather say “fucking hell, what was that, that was amazing!” And so it turns out, while Maik is Chief Editor, my role is that of a Creative Director or Art Director. It’s a bit scary because I have no training in that field, but at the same time it’s incredibly inspiring and liberating.

The weekend with Lynn was not only interesting because of this. It was interesting, inspiring, fun, funny, and all kinds of things in many ways. On Saturday night after the show, we came home and spent hours on the sofa, watching films, and talking, and eating, until 5 in the morning when the sun was up, and … there were some moments when I was wondering if this wasn’t the moment when I should try and kiss her, but I didn’t, and I am a bit concerned about this, well, maybe not, … I think now that the weekend is over, I am slowly but surely falling in love with her … From a distance. And a little voice inside me says it’s good that this is happening incredibly slowly, because she has some hurt and fear inside her, and so do I, and we also have complicated lives (she has a small daughter, with her ex), and we live 500 km apart. But I want to keep pursuing this because I just like to think of her now, and something felt very close and warm about the weekend. Even though nothing “happened”, as they say.

And another nice thing was that at the beginning of last week, I spent three days in Italy, with my friend Pac. Months ago, he had invited me to go to a concert with him on Tuesday, and so I had planned a little three-day trip, and he took Tuesday off, and we hung out, and talked a lot. It was incredibly helpful to spend time with him. He is both funny and wise, in some ways that are hard to explain, and he is a much more relaxed and much calmer person than me, much less stressed. And spending time with him, and being exposed to his very different way of being greatly helped me reevaluate some of the things I do and think in life, and I came back from that trip already a slightly changed person.

I am very grateful to both Pac and Lynn, for having had this effect on me and my life during these past few days.

Posted in Film, Friendship, Life, Relationship | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Search Meaning and Make Meaning.

I have a very tough weekend behind me – emotionally tough. I went to see my parents and keep working on the project in the little country house. And we all were, all three of us, in really bad shape. It began with my mother giving me a call while I was on the way there, and on the phone it became clear that she had another depressive episode, she was crying, and at some point she said something so outrageous that I started screaming — literally screaming — on the phone, and we had to finally end the conversation like that. It’s a pattern now, when my mother calls me in a severely depressed state, I literally flip and cannot handle it. Well, I went straight to the little house and started working there, but the emotional distress that I’ve been going through again lately had come back (I’d watched the film Tomorrow the night before, and this thought that we only have 40 years left as a species on this planet was just badly messing with me). So when my father came over to the little house to check in on me, I was not in a good state of mind, mentally speaking, and so we quibbled a little, and had little arguments, and they turned into a really nasty full-blown fight by the end of that day, after we’d both gone home for dinner. The next morning, everyone was depressed.

But we salvaged the situation somehow, and calmed the waters, and got over it.

And then later in the afternoon, as I was thinking about all of this, I realized something: in order to function in this life, we as humans have to do two things – we have to search meaning, and we have to make meaning. Searching meaning is basically all about trying to find your place in the universe. And that, I think, is incredibly tough for me these days, because of all the disaster that I am observing, and that I feel helplessly confronted with. And if this is all the meaning you can occupy yourself with, it definitely becomes overwhelming. So in order to counterbalance this, we must make meaning. That is seeing meaning in the little things – not thinking about your role in the universe, but finding meaning in the smallest things, and in the smallest interactions, and in a laugh that I can share with my parents, and in a happy breath of fresh air, in a flower, in a nice note from a friend, and in a cup of tea.

One without the other makes you crazy, the other without the one makes you myopic and naive. We need both.

I will try to remember this.

Today I had a good day, I ran a workshop with a small company that I know, they are friends, I was trying to help them figure out how they could develop their business. It was something I hadn’t done in a long time, and it was really fun, and produced a helpful outcome for them, I think.

It’s really warm in Berlin these days.

Posted in Environment, Family, Life | Tagged , ,

The Rollercoaster Keeps On Keeping On.

My last text here had quite a serene feel to it. But since then, I have been on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster ride once more. A couple weeks after publishing it, I actually wrote a kind of “personal crisis text” on one of my other blogs. It felt like all was becoming a bit too much. In the text, I attributed it to the fact that I have basically chosen to open myself to everything that’s going wrong in the world. And once you do that, you’re essentially bombarding your brain with disaster. There is just so much to be upset about, and so much to worry about, that you essentially end up with a feeling of utter helplessness. There are so many (good!) texts on the web that you can read every day, which talk about pollution, outrageous political decisions, incredible foolishness, greed, basically insanity on a planetary level. And it’s incredibly easy to succumb to all that.

I think there was a lot of truth to that, and I think that does contribute to the way I felt. But there were two specific issues that drove my anxiety and helplessness more than anything else. One, the election in France. The prospect of having this idiotic woman dismantling the European Union was just too much to bear. I am not saying that Macron will save the world, I have quite some doubts about that, but still, I felt a huge relief when the results came in. Two, a very personal project: I am still looking for an apartment to buy, and there is one that is basically earmarked for me, it’s currently under construction, it’s the top floor of a building, they’re turning it into apartments, the guy who is building the project is really nice, and down to earth, and he’s very accommodating about my personal ideas for the space. But he ran into some issues regarding clearance for the project, and had to go hunting for signatures of other owners in the house, and so a few doubts were cast on the project. So I started looking around again, and quite surprisingly another place in quite a cool location, with a remarkable terrace on the rooftop, and 360° view, became available, and all of a sudden there was a lot of stress, and the need to take decisions, and my parents and a friend of theirs came to town, to help me look at it, and I was suddenly under a lot of pressure to make a 600,000 EUR decision – for the new spot, and against the other one, which I described above. And being in this kind of limbo, having to make a decision, with incomplete information, and under pressure, just really messed with me. I finally decided against the new offer that came up, and I am sticking with the older project. Last week, we went to visit that as well, and it really feels like I made the right choice.

So after these two issues were resolved, I finally managed to catch my breath. Also, I am experimenting with changing my schedule around some, and reorganizing my days. Currently, all my weeknights and all my weekends are busy with stuff, and that’s a bit much as well. But in part that’s also due to the fact that I’m really getting into Improv Theater lately, and that takes up an increasing amount of my time now. It’s just a really good way to both hang out with cool people, and spend your time in a very creative way. And there are various projects developing around the Improv crowd I am hanging out with – with a little team I am working on this comedy short film, I am trying to form a little Improv team myself, there are other film ideas, etc., it’s really nice. I am realizing that I am now doing what I had been wanting to do way back when I (erroneously?) decided to go into business studies: hang with artsy people and develop creative media projects.

The way I do my work is still a bit of a puzzle for me. I am often not sure if I’m on the right track with my projects, and whether I know what I am doing, and if this will ever make any money. But I think I just have to keep pushing and figure things out as I go.

Other smaller stuff includes the fact that I decided to sell my electric motorbike. It’s still in Munich, where I had it repaired, and just as they were supposed to send it up here with a freighter, I felt like it’ll just be a hassle and something else to take care of. So I told them to put it up for sale. And then I went on another online date, and again, it’s like they often are: “nice”. But now what? Also, I went on a trip to Brussels a couple weeks ago, to go see a show that I was interested in, and to stay with an old friend. My parents are doing very well, my father is helping me so much with the changes we’re making to the country house, I am incredibly grateful for that. They also came to visit me for the first time here at my new flatshare, and we had a very nice dinner with them, and with one of my flatmates. I cooked for them, actually for the first time ever, maybe, and I think everyone quite enjoyed it.

Posted in Family, Job, Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,