No Longer Hiding, No Longer Dropping Balls, No More!

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup..

Dear Sara,

It was tempting to not write a public blog post, and just like for our last call two weeks ago, to write a private email.
Except: I didn’t really have a good enough reason.
There were no matters that were affecting me, and that needed to stay private.
There was no reason to only email, aside from the fact that I had kind of liked that. It had felt like skipping class, to break my self-imposed rule to always write a blog post preceding our call.
To “earn” your coaching, or to justify spending money on myself.
To first work.
.
So there was nothing going on, compared to last time.
But the fact that I wanted to not write, was a pattern that I have witnessed the past two weeks or perhaps even longer.

That I don’t feel like writing for my LS Harteveld account, or even hesitate writing my pen friend The Saint/ Nikki;
It is all related.
And in a way it feels like mourning.
For a lot of things: Sexuality, my lover (we still see each other but our affair is over), but most of all that I m not further along the road with my art, and in particular with my books.
.
In autumn last year I cleared my agenda to publish my books, as LS Harteveld, so that I could start fresh with a new career under my real name in January.
But it didn’t work.
I barely published any books, and yet I lost three months as well as my entire productivity.
.
Where I used to write one sometimes two posts a day, or create a video and a post, usually under one of my many accounts;
Since autumn it has been terribly quiet.
.
I started 2021 with even less than I had in September or early October.
Feeling massive disappointment, I had screwed it up.
.
And I think that’s most of all what I m coming to terms with on a deeper level. That I can’t clear my agenda to create books. It has cost me three months now, but this has been going on since 2018.
We’ve been here before.
.
It feels like I have been so destructive by throwing all that time away to nothing..
I hope writing it out as bluntly as this, will speed it up. But it feels raw.
.
The good thing that has ultimately come from it, but no sooner than today which is why I am writing you much later than I usually do, is that I understand that creating and posting (so creating something that gets done) has to come before creating things that have a longer cycle.
.
For example, under my real name I make reviews from old Bon Jovi concerts for YouTube.
That usually costs me 5 hours, preparation only.
.
And another example would be publishing the books for Lauren Harteveld/ this account.
That can take anything up to a few days to a few weeks per book.
.
What I learned is that I am a daily creator first, long cycle creator second..
Combined with other obligations this will mean that the long cycle posts and the publishing of books more often than not will not get done.
.
Another thing is that for so very long, I have considered, tried, structured, planned to do important things every day.
And on days when I have a lot of time, I do enjoy it to add half an hour of this and half an hour of that.
.
But Friday, Saturday and Sunday were three days in a row where I had a minimum of two long appointments a day, as well as many people who asked me things and so on;
And all the good habits, and mental peace I had been building during the week, went overboard.
.
By the time it was Sunday night, I was so extremely frustrated over not having done even one blog post in over 72 hours, nor making any headway with my art.
.
So from now on it’s creation first.
Everything else second.
.
And if the publishing of the books of Lauren Harteveld gets done somewhere in the upcoming decade;
That’s soon enough.
.
.

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

I am a writer | 1996 diary

scene introducing Catherine Tramell, movie Basic Instinct (1992)
Thursday January 7, 1996
 

The new year began by paying a high price (a week) for a lesson that in all likeliness, could not have been learned any other way.
At least not by me.

Until the first week of January basically burned all my ships for me, I would have been too tempted to drag at least one, if not all boats, with me.
A boat named “yoga”, a boat named “real writer”, a boat named “Real Business”.

They’re all gone now.

I will spare you most of the unpleasant stories of who disappointed who, and how people, mentor figures, who had been in my life for years, have suddenly disappeared.
But it was ugly.

But like I said: It did what it was supposed to do, and forced me to say goodbye to three areas where I was still holding on to something that was a Plan B for when the thing I really wanted (be a writer) had failed.
They were the three career paths still available to me, at any time in the future.

The first thing I did was throw out the books from the yoga training. I only kept a handful of regular yoga books I had collected over the years, secondhand. 
Books the yoga training did not approve of, and that are for amateurs.
I also stopped practicing yoga, although I may pick it up once I have detoxed from the idea that I have to teach it. 

There came a gigantic push-back from my old employer, the publisher, when they found out I m going to publish my books at the Publishing On Demand company that opened last year.
They are afraid I m going to tell secrets, or client information, and even wrote me a letter reminding me I am legally prohibited from sharing any information about their business. 
This uproar, and local gossiping I presume, got the interest of the Publisher On Demand. They had not realized my potential, and probably just saw me as a crazy woman for having claimed 21 book titles and ISBN numbers on the last day of 1995. 
But by now they probably see me as the Mata Hari of books.

And finally the network of business school graduates who were working independently. I had been attending their meetings and was on their mailing list, but aside from the glossy magazine (and the knowledge their network was worth gold and could get you a job within days) I found little inspiration there.
Being a writer is not the same as being a consultant.
Their focus on making money gave me the creeps.
Or maybe I was just jealous that I did not have the luxury of choosing what I wanted to do with my life and at what price point; I have writing just pouring out of me, and will probably choke on it if I don’t do it.

The freedom to have a conversation with someone who calls himself a client and then draw up a contract for which price you’re going to do something? 
Eighteen months after graduating I know I am never going to have that conversation.

The only thing I can do is have faith that God gives no task that is too big for you.
Not even if it is to publish 21 books.

Because I am a writer.

.
~Lauren96
An unexamined life is not worth living

I am a writer  | 1996 diary
is the first chapter to
1996 diary 

To receive all chapters in your mailbox, find the subscription button on this page.

Archive:
1994 A Performance Project
and “1995-1996; book 2 of my performance project
.

.

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

Appetite | 1995-1996 diary

TO RULE THE WORLD
Monday December 28, 1995
.

At the risk of sounding like The Twelve Days Of Christmas, what I will refer to as “the third day of Christmas”, was a reflective one.
After all the wining and dining and surplus in being social, I couldn’t even think straight anymore.
Plus I m having a holiday, so although I should probably think about how I m going to make a living as a writer in 1996;
I just couldn’t make myself.
I didn’t even go for a walk, and spent the day at my mother’s where we went through old photos.

We encountered photos from 1989, the year Jonathan became my boyfriend in January, broke up with me in Spring, and in December I asked Bear to be my lover. What a transformational year.
I ve changed so much since then and not in a good way.
As pragmatic and determined as I was then, that’s how lethargic I ve become.
I ve gained nothing but years, weight, and disappointing experiences.

Part of me is still angry I cannot profit from my academic diploma, despite finishing almost first and many of my friends still at uni.
I should have gotten a proper job by now.
Not the desk job at the publishers I got, and not the half in half out independent I am now.
Something real.

But I know the real things I could be doing with my diploma will never come. Every minute of the day, except maybe on the third day of Christmas, my mind is on something else.

Like Madonna said on MTV:
“I want to rule the world.”

.

DARK TOO SOON
Tuesday December 29, 1995

A friend and me have a standard joke, where we plan our walks by adding:
“Because it gets dark by 5.”
And then the other suggests a time, adding:
“Because at 4 it’s already dark.”
The final one is always the one who says:
“Because the sun already sets at two.”
Whether it is my winter depression, or an exceptionally cloudy day but by now I really am convinced the sun really sets at 2 in winter.
But yesterday I was too busy to notice.
I didn’t even go out until it was pitch dark, and I was just in time to get my cards in the mail.

I spent the day behind my desk drawing new year’s cards.
I was very pleased with the result, and happily surprised all had gone well, and the job was done within a day.
So I mailed everyone who lived out of town, and then I had a nightly bicycle ride to deliver all the others.

It was the first year I didn’t deliver a message to Bear. Last year, I didn’t send cards. I don’t think it was because he broke up earlier that month, although I m sure that didn’t help either.
If I had wanted to deliver a card to him in 1994, I could have, but he lives with his girlfriend now. They re playing house. I can’t send him anything anymore, without running the risk of him being uncomfortable with it.
So I didn’t.

But maybe that made this year’s round less satisfactory, despite being pleased with my home designed card, and very happy I had something so beautiful to share.

That although I m almost a hundred percent certain, that in 1996 we will start sleeping together again, occasionally;
I couldn’t send him my best wishes for the new year.

And that makes 1996 imperfect, before it has even begun.

Like a day when the sun sets at 2 PM.

.
I GOT THIS

Wednesday December 30, 1995

In the end, meaning less than 48 hours before this year closes, it was always there. How is it possible that something that has been so omnipresent in your life, takes one failed first proper job (at the publisher’s), one vocation that I never started (yoga teacher, I got an offer to teach early this year), and half a year of working as an independent and being clueless how to make money or even what to focus on –
How does something that was present all that time, takes so much time to figure out?

In my defense, it may not make me money.
So it wasn’t that obvious.
It wasn’t like I accidentally missed a fully mapped out business model that is a guaranteed way to fame and fortune in 1996.

But it is the way to a guaranteed future that will keep me fully engaged and excited about what I do.

In the new year, I will focus all my attention on the three things I do when left unattended, so to speak.
– studying yoga books
– listening to Bon Jovi bootlegs
– drawing childlike cartoons

Yoga, Bon Jovi, and cartoons.
That is what I commit to, and that will be my work.

What a relief to have the vision showing up, on the doorstep of the new year.
It took me eighteen months since graduating from uni but here I am.
And I got this.

.

JUST SAVED MY YEAR
Thursday December 31, 1995
9 A.M.

I should be dead tired, because I had so little sleep.
Or perhaps I should be making myself a proper breakfast, instead of the snacks I ve been randomly pulling out of the kitchen since 5 P.M yesterday, when I started my 1995 sprint, which had both the potential to save the entire year;
As well as the risk to kill me before the end of it.

So what happened?

A couple of months ago, I made an inquiry with a new company, which I knew from my final months at the publisher.
This new publishing firm does not work as a traditional publisher, but it works for the author.

Like a copy shop or the local printing service where my mother used to bring our home designed New Year’s cards.
We’d usually design them over Christmas, and then they’d go to print, and reach our friends and family on the 29th or 30th of December.
Sometimes the first days of the New Year, not everything went perfect.
But it did give me a sense of accomplishment and I still make my own cards.

Either way, this new company focuses on helping authors to publish their own books.
Anais Nin too, had her own press after a long period of not being able to publish her work.
Maybe that is why although this new publisher was talked down at the publisher during breaks, I never joined.
Part of me knew that I didn’t really belong working at that proper publisher. It wasn’t me. I even hated my own translations, because I thought the Dutch words looked incredibly dull and dry.
I hated what they did to the art work on the covers.
English cover: colorful, appealing, brilliant.
Dutch cover: like a textbook from the 1950’s

I understood the new competitor was favoring authors that would never be able to publish their work, unless they were willing to buy their own press like Nin. And that this meant the quality would go unchecked.
And at the same time I knew that was me.
The good, the bad and the ugly.

The good because this new style of publishing books reflected how autonomous and unique I am.
The bad because it reflects how incapable of doing concessions.
And the ugly? Well. There really is no saying in what you will think of my work.
I love it.
And that’s the end of that story.

A few months ago, I contacted them, but it didn’t exactly fly. I was put on hold I think, or maybe I didn’t explain myself well enough but the phone conversations and the tour I got through their building, didn’t really lead to anything.
So what I did is, I threw all our ideas and half-ideas out the window, of how we were going to conquer the world with my books, and started over.

I wrote them/ my contact person, a plan on how I wanted to do it.
And then I heard nothing, which I thought was typical.
I didn’t really mourn it, because at least they had now rejected how I really wanted it, and I was no longer engaging in half-baked plans that no longer reflected who I was.
It was okay to be rejected for what you really want.

But then, yesterday afternoon, someone I had not talked to (I think he’s new) contacted me and asked me if I was still interested and I said yes.
So with the speed of light we cooked up our approach and one of the things I really wanted was to publish my books in 1995.
Not 1996.
This meant that I had to claim my titles and ISBN numbers, before the end of today. So that’s when I frantically started going through everything I have ever written, from articles for the European Bon Jovi fan club to articles for the school newspaper and yearbooks.
And of course all my diaries and everything I wrote when I was dating Bear.

Just like I had announced;
It was a lot.

But even I could not suspect it would actually be a lot times twice! Instead of the ten books, which I had expected, I had twenty.

So this morning I handed in 20 titles for 20 books, and I waited until my bill was ready.
Next to printing costs of the manuscripts and ultimately running a test copy, the ISBN costs are the only cost that is unavoidable.
They also want you to send in a free copy to the public library in The Hague, but I m not going to do that.

I gracefully accepted the bill:
Seven-hundred eighty Dutch guilders.

This afternoon I m invited at the publisher’s for oliebollen (a Dutch treat for New Year’s Eve) and champagne.
On my way over there, I m going by my bank to wire the money.

It’s the best I ever spent.
And the best 31st of December I ever had..

.
~Lauren95
An unexamined life is not worth living

Appetite  | 1995-1996 diary
is the fifth chapter to
1995-1996 diary 

To receive all chapters in your mailbox, find the subscription button on this page.

Archive:
1994 A Performance Project
and “1995-1996; book 2 of my performance project
.

.

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

When you’re talkin’ to yourself and nobody’s home | 1995-1996 diary

Madonna about 23 years old

Sunday December 27, 1995

I can feel Bear was slightly surprised I didn’t want to have sex. Didn’t want to use us coming together again – despite the fact that he’s living with his girlfriend now – to have sex this calendar year.
To make 1995 a bit less rotten, a bit less lonely, by ticking off that I had intercourse so at least it wasn’t a total failure.
But I just couldn’t.
For multiple reasons really.
. 
First of all, because by now I ve made my peace with being single again. It’s okay to have a shitty year if the man you’ve been with for five years breaks up with you. Even when it was only a loose tie in terms of commitment and visibility.
It’s okay to mourn that.
I have no desire to mark this year as any different than what it was, by making up for it in November or December.
.
And I told Bear that much, that I was okay with becoming a lover, you could even call it I was okay with becoming “the other woman”.
But not this year.
I told him that much.
.
What I did not tell him was that December in particular, as the month we would reboot our affair, had been a very mixed bag right from the start in 1989.
We had been on a date, not even a proper date it was coffee in a cafe. I had told him I was looking for a lover because I had been single since spring and had been unsuccessful creating a sex life for myself.
I was still a virgin.
I needed someone skilled and patient. Skilled sexually and patient with my Aids phobia. Although I loved oral sex, I frequently panicked afterwards, and could almost black out for days.
It was like the entire world would disappear behind a fog of loneliness and despair.
.
I needed someone who was not going to freak out by that; Not in a way of calling me stupid, but also not in a way of frantically looking for reassurance that we had been “safe” and that everything was alright.
I needed someone who understood sex and in particular safe sex, was multifaceted. Someone who could resist dumbing it down.
.
Bear had proven to be that partner.
But in December 1989, things had not looked good.
.
Despite our first date being very business like, and two dates where we kissed and cuddled a lot;
He had dropped out of communication second half of December or around Christmas.
I don’t know why.
Maybe he had a girlfriend he had not told me about. Someone who wanted his attention. Or maybe he was having second thoughts, now that he had a better understanding that I was indeed not the merry go lucky girl so many people thought I was.
That there was darkness and doubt, and so much fear within me.
.
The fact that we had not had sex yet, did take the sharpest edges off his withdrawal. But I don’t think I ever forgave him. There was always distrust, that whenever his normal life called him, I would not be included in that.
I remember my holidays being very lonely that year, and certainly didn’t have that glow anymore of having found him, and of negotiations and our first kissing dates having been so great.
I feared I had lost him.
In January he contacted me, and we picked it up where we had left off.
Neither one spoke of December.
But when late November and early December, we were kissing and cuddling again, I had no desire to take it any further than I had six years ago.
.
I ll just wait until January.
.

.
~Lauren95
An unexamined life is not worth living

When you’re talkin’ to yourself and nobody’s home  | 1995-1996 diary
is the fourth chapter to
1995-1996 diary 

To receive all chapters in your mailbox, find the subscription button on this page.

Archive:
1994 A Performance Project
and “1995-1996; book 2 of my performance project
.

.

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

The Story Of Dutch Lockdown Told in Crafting Paper

My “Don’t Know What You Got Until It’s Gone” – crafting pad as sold by German bulk store Action (stationary departments are closed until January 19th, 2021)

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup..

Dear Sara,

For 21 days, I m test driving 2021.
As opposed to business coach Katrina Ruth, who once baffled the car dealer when he asked if she didn’t want to test drive the car before ordering it, by answering:
“It’s a three-hundred fifty thousand dollar car.
I assume it will drive.”

I am making no such assumptions about next year.

With a year of Covid under our belt, I think we’re all done assuming anything will drive.
We’ve learned even the most obvious things, cannot be taken for granted.

Oh! This brings me, about five paragraphs early to the crafting paper story I wanted to tell you.
So I ve added a photo of my crafting paper pad – let me rephrase: of my favorite crafting paper pad – and I ve also added a German video about a haul at Action, featuring this pad.
You can find it at the bottom of this post.

Thanks to this video, I can not just give you a good viewing of this pad, but I also know the price.
Bulk store Action, who also has stores in the Netherlands with similar prices, sold it for € 1,33
Just to compare:
The last listed price for this pad on Etsy is € 10. 

So in 2019 I bought this pad on one of my own Action hauls.
The first time I really started appreciating it was when I used it for my continuously updated and expanding vision board card deck, which I started last summer.
I used them as the back of my cards, and particularly liked the process of selecting the card size frames on every page.
I wanted the paper to be used economically, but I also wanted to keep certain prints (such as one unicorn) whole, and not end up with two backs of the cards both featuring half a unicorn.
I was making a vision board not a puzzle.

Yesterday, on my daily walk  – and also the only 2 hours I did not spent news binging to an unprecedented level which has taught me I m not bringing THAT to 2021! –
a friend asked me, which products I would have bought, if I could have had one more go at them before our current lockdown, which will last to January 19th.

I confidently answered:
“Crafting goodies!!”

I think the look on his face was comparable to the look of the Mercedes dealer in Goldcoast Australia.

Since you are an assemblage artist, this is of course preaching to the coir. You understand perfectly well, why the final minutes shopping before lockdown should be spent on buying crafting goodies, but just to make my point, I present to you the mouthwatering, scissors rattling, glue pot waiting,
Crafting For Adults assortment of the Action store.

Action does not have an online store, so for five weeks I will not be able to access these products.
Among which I detected a crafting notebook which I have baptized “man cave” (design #3, on this product page).
Twelve years ago, Nijmegen did not have an Action, but I knew exactly where to find it in Arnhem. Even though, traditionally, the Action is never located in the main shopping areas to save on rent.
But it’s things like crafting pads man cave, that make it a store I will never get tired of visiting, and even travel for!

So when my friend asked the hypothetical question, if the non-essential stores had not been flooding with people the final few hours before lockdown (although my neighborhood Action which opened this summer, has had people waiting in line every day)
then which products would I have hoarded?
The answer was crafting materials.

But the underlying premises was that it were not just crafting materials, but a haul at Action, where you can buy anything you want on impulse, leave it on your shelf for a year, and then start using it for your vision board cards and be blown away by how amazing it is.
My wish had not been to have a go at €10 paper pads which demand immediate use to not feel like you wasted your money.

I need to have a lot of space around my crafting materials, and for them not to be utilitarian purchases. 

So this summer was the first time I realized I loved this paper so much, I started looking if I could get more of it.
But the few times I visited Action, they never had my glitter and unicorn crafting pad, and the others were nothing alike.

Ever since then, and totally unaware my time window to visit Action was rapidly closing, the realization had come that even though I would not be able to stock up on my favorite crafting pad:
That I should buy more crafting paper, with a different print.

That I should stop browsing the Action crafting shelves looking for just my own design, and then be disappointed it wasn’t there.
And instead let myself be surprised by whatever it was they did have.
Just like today, when because I m writing you, I visited the Action site and found us this man cave pad.
Spontanously.

It was probably there all along, I just didn’t see it because I was too focused on getting a duplicate of the one I already had.

So, the crafting department of Action and this particular paper pad had been on my mind for months, when yesterday The Netherlands went into a new 5 week lock-down.
And this time it DID close all the non-essential shops. 

Stores like Action are only allowed to give access to their essential product aisles*

Being a notorious stationary hoarder has never been more rewarding.

Next to crafting paper, I own:
– a laminating machine, supplemented with ample laminating covers
– a small basket full of stickers
– about 20 rolls of paper to cover books and wrap presents
– a large basket full of gift ribbons, textile ribbons, gift cards
– a large assorment of postcards
– and an assortment of notebooks in various sizes, that probably requires a “We need to talk first” conversation before I let a man into my life who claims to love me, and wants to take things next level

There is a genuine possibility that my love for stationary exceeds my love for sex.

If you would drop me on a deserted island with the stationary and crafting assortment of an average Action store, I would not even miss people, Sara.

I think Dutch government has not realized that what they call “non-essential” is actually more essential to some people than human interaction.
PLUS
If you delete human interaction for five weeks, it will be the next go to for even more people!

After Netflix.
But – and this is the story I really wanted to tell you, before I realized that this story should be all about stationary – I quit Netflix.

I had JUST quit watching Netflix, where I had become a heavy The Black List user, and just like with all addictions it had become progressive and I now needed two episodes a day.
When after one day of “This is not too bad!” I was SUCKED INTO A 24 HOUR HOLE OF NEWS ABOUT THE LOCKDOWN AND PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE ABOUT THE LOCKDOWN

I should probably have reintroduced myself as:
“My name is Lauren Harteveld, and I am an addict.”

Because the first day of quiting Netflix had been so easy, I had not noticed that I was still carrying a hole the size of three seasons of The Black List with me;
And that ANYTHING could have jumped in there!

For me it was binging unapologetically on news about the lockdown.

New ethical low in the history of the Netherlands:
All schools including for little children and daycare, are closed for the upcoming five weeks.
The reason is not because our government have new evidence or suspicions that the children are spreading the virus, but because the parents who come to school to drop their children off are spreading the virus, AND because the parents are going to work at the office and do not work from home, as long as the children are taken care off by school.

So the Dutch children have lost their right to education, as stated by the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959, to serve as human ball and chain to their parents.

I don’t know, maybe it was not just coming down from my Black List addiction that made me go under in a 24 hours binge on the latest news on how our politicians were rationalizing that.

Maybe I really am a little concerned over this.
A little more than not being able to buy crafting paper.

Maybe, when the rights of an entire new generation are violated so brutally, and a right for education is apparently valid until we need you home to shackle your parents:
Maybe that asks for uproar, aggression, and a mother fucking revolution.

But if it doesn’t? 
Then the VERY LEAST it requires, is more crafting paper.
And no I do not mean for me.

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

* Within 24 hours the rules changed, and now Action and other stores with less than 70% of products essential, have to remain closed during lockdown and are not allowed to open to sell essential products.

At the bottom of this post you can find a video on my design paper. (not my video)

Books 

My diaries are available at LULU
New books will be added.

The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.

Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld

Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

video (German): At 11 minutes 55 you can see my beloved crafting paper 

I ve Never Been More Ready In My Life

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup..

Whether you share a bath or all the orifices in your body; In 2020 it’s all the same

Dear Sara,

It is hard to resist reading what I wrote you last time, to provide context to how good I m feeling.
Am I really doing great?
Did I make optimum use of the past two weeks?
Of have I in fact been plateauing, and am I just on my End Of Lease Yoga Studio Emptied Out All Done – high, that is keeping me from seeing that I did not publish any books the past two weeks?
That I did not see my lover the past two weeks.
And that I m still a reborn virgin considering our last time intimate-intimate was months prior to him breaking up with me, so summer 2019.

Even my erotic pen buddy The Saint, has been less frequent in his correspondence, although certainly not less open or confidential.
But things have been better.

Something I DO remember from my last email to you, was an elaborate review of the masturbation challenge The Saint gave me!
And although that was very relevant to my creativity and productivity outbursts, every time I reread that letter on sexual alchemy, I thought:
“What will people think that I write this to a coach?”
So I do remember feeling self-conscious.

But despite the challenge, all its miraculous insights and the stunning results it brought me, I can confidently (and perhaps reassuringly) state that my sexuality has completely flatlined since then.
So there is absolutely nothing embarrassing to share this week.

Yet my coming to terms with owning my sexuality, and the decision that this is the way way it’s going to be, has become very defined and outspoken.
It feels totally different from last time.

There is such an awareness that because of Covid, and also because my lover will be having an affair with me (he’s married, as he was the past 6 years since we know each other) I ve calculated how this will influence our sex life, should we restart it.

This year, the times we were back to kissing, cuddling, maybe a bit or a lot more than that but still very modest and rounded off it doesn’t really count – 
that was spontaneous.
We did not talk this through.
And I realize now that this was both something we still needed, we weren’t ready, had not made up our mind.
But it was also how things have historically always been between us.

To never know if you re going to have sex, or if it will be a normal coffee date that doesn’t even get to go some place private.
It was always up in the air and that was what made our dates fun.
I loved that dynamic of him always having to conquer me, and at the same time also him leaving me frustrated when he didn’t conquer me.

It was addictive.

However, and this is the new 2020 insight, under the current circumstances, if we are in the same domestic space, where we’ll very likely and just naturally will not have kept the 1,5 meter distance;
We ALREADY ARE close contacts!!
As defined by Dutch health services.

Dutch regulations do not distinguish, in terms of contagion and danger, between being in the same room doing the dishes together, or doing a 12 hour marathon of which body part fits where and a rerun of the ones you liked.

To Dutch Health Services those are all “close contacts”. 

So a hairdresser and a lover have the same status, when it comes to catching or spreading Covid.

Now, I wonder, do you see what I see? 

Because in my opinion this means that, contrary to all the years we were together, this is a time to shake up our routine, and have a basic understanding that if we see each other;
We’re going to have sex.

I understand what we’ve been doing this year;
It was messy.
It was not the best choice.
And considering the risks we took even breathing the same air, the discussion and my thoughts on how to manage having an affair/ a sex life/ a lover, with Covid going round, were almost surreal because if you’re already in the same domestic space you may as well get going with it,
but okay.

When you know better you do better, right?

So now that I see this, now that I realize that I don’t have to overthink how far I want to go, and if I only want him as a normal friend, or just as someone to kiss and cuddle with, or (if he would like that) if I want to have sex;
Now I feel so thrilled!

It’s not that there will ever be an obligation or entitlement, from him to me or from me to him.
Of course every sexual move will be deeply felt by both, and very consensual.
So this is not about bypassing that.
But any principal choices are completely irrelevant!

Due to Covid, lovers or people who want affairs, have a binary choice.
No more complicated stuff.

Here’s the binary 2020 choice on anything from friendships, sex and relationships:

option ( 0 ) You’re friends, you meet for walks in the open air.
Technically this is still a “close contact” according to the Dutch health services, but I think it is so obvious that this is a far safer situation than any indoor appointment or date

or

option ( 1 ) You’re lovers who have sex.

ANY and ALL arrangements that are no ( 0 ), automatically round of to ( 1 )! 

Isn’t that absolutely thrilling?! 
It’s like a game, where I knew how to play it, and then the rules changed.
And my initial response was phobic, was confused, was defeated.

But now that I understand what this new situation actually means, and that it has made a complex multilayered decision extremely easy, it has become exciting.

It has the excitement of having sex with an entirely new man, except now it is the excitement of having sex in a totally new world.

This time in my life, where sex is a binary choice, will never happen again.

And I can’t wait for it to start!

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Books 

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I’m healed, good to go, pret-a-porter and definitely done (final episode) | The C Diaries episode 5

This is the final episode of my series about my Covid induced celibacy.

On one day I received:

– a very sexy and empowering photo from the only female friend I have who is as sexual as I am.

– a message from my former lover
Sex or no sex, active status or not;
At this point I consider him the patron saint of my sexuality.

Speaking of saints;

– an email from The Saint
Today’s message brought out an avalanche of sexual ambitions that made me realize that although I did not have sex yet, I am fully healed of all fears and phobias.
I m not just good to go, I better start moving because I have so much I want to do!

I started this series when I noticed Covid brought out dormant social phobias. Just like with Aids in the 80s, my anxiety appeared to be around catching Covid, and triggered by not being able to handle the risks of sex.
But in reality it were always social phobias.

I was afraid of the social consequences of becoming hiv positive.
And in 2020 I became afraid of the social consequences of testing positive for Covid or of being deemed irresponsible.

What I picked up as a teen, and what I ve picked up in 2020 as well, is that there is a lot of unresolved tension around sex, and around other topics that society is just way too eager to piggyback onto some contagious disease.
The disease, and conversations and regulations on how to prevent it, becomes this HUGE metaphor, that provides an umbrella to take shelter from the real topics that none of us want to address.

Just like when Aids became a way to keep teens from exploring sex;
Covid too is taking the fall for a lot of things that have been falling apart for years.
Like our stripped healthcare system, making The Netherlands dependent on Germany for ICU beds and Covid test capacity.

Although both Aids and Covid are real threats, they are almost impossible to have healthy, transparent conversations about, because of other fears, other judgements; Because of conflicts of interest, reluctance to invest, ruthless budget cuts, and so on. 

So that was largely the starting point for these C diaries;
That I had a social phobia, and not a phobia related to hypochondria.

And I’m sure I ve also mentioned, and if not then now is the time, that the reason I had fallen prey to this Covid induced social phobia, was because I felt people had become shameless in projecting their fears onto other people.
It was basically about a demand from others:

“Give me a safe feeling.”

There’s few things I do so reluctantly, as giving people a safe feeling. 
I never do it without making a mental note to minimize contact, and will remove that person from my life if I can.
Feeling safe is your job, not mine.

So that is what I can remember from how I started this series.

But the main breakthrough came when I started thinking in terms of eroticism. More than sex, I need space where everything and anything can happen.
It’s the reason I resist monogamous relationships.
It’s the reason I will never have “a sex date”.
I need possibilities, options, tension, a field where we can play.

The erotic space, as a space where anything can happen, has explained for me, why my sexuality fell flat on its face when Covid came and I tried to connect with the rest of society over the dangers, and over how to now do life and so on.

My erotic space evaporated, and my libido with it.

Since I know that I have been able to restore and protect my erotic space, I’m healed.
It’s over.
I can now have sex with Covid present, just like I can have sex and manage the risk of hiv.

And the three messages I got today, from my three friends, brought out the first glimpses of all that is yet to come. Of all the things I have not experienced yet, and that I want to.
From being fearful and paralyzed, I feel life has now become this giant erotic space, filled with the three questions my lover once asked me:
“What do you really want?
Or are you afraid to ask?
Afraid you’re too horny?”

I know what I really want.
I am not afraid to ask.
And there is no such thing as too horny.

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

So a new era has started.
New sexual adventures will be most likely be shared, although there can be time delay because I always need to keep it for myself for a while.
And sometimes the time is not right.

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Out With The Sex. In With The Erotica | The C Diaries episode 4

This is my series about my Covid induced celibacy.
I m close to ending my celibacy at a practical level, but also, and more importantly, to discovering why I was struck by Covid and Aids induced phobias which affected my sex-life.

And how to fix it.

If I had one message, then what would it be? 
I often ask myself that question, because I have so many outlets and art forms.
LS Harteveld is a large part of it, but this is a pen name account.

I ve started calling it my workshop, a place where I shape my thoughts, much rather than sharing one message or outcome.

From writing in my LS Harteveld workshop for 14 years, has one message surfaced?
And I believe it has.

But I have come to understand that this message is first of all not as generic as I thought it was. It is a one size but it doesn’t fit all.

And secondly, that I got the message, not so much wrong or backwards, but that I had been using the wrong vocabulary and therefor it was constantly getting me in trouble because I was communicating something that it wasn’t.

The message that has been mine since I broke up my longterm relationship in 2006, and started writing, is an unaltered one:
Sex is important.
And you cannot mess with it, contain it, restrain it, deny it, or even chain it into what we call monogamy, without doing serious damage to it.
That second sentence was not part of the original thought, but it quickly became the appendix when I found how damaging 14 years of monogamy and 14 years of being part of two-some had been.
I was so unsuccessful when I started allowing new men in my life, that it took a whole year before my first kiss.
And I had never heard anybody speak about how monogamy brings you to sleep, in hibernation, and keeps you from developing yourself.

Just like you are eating on your own capital, when you don’t have an income, you start eating on your own erotic capital when you become monogamous.
You can start off as two healthy adults, and even create mutual erotic capital in the first months or years of being together (which makes it even harder to recognize what’s going on when it goes downhill later on);
And years later you are sexually deprived, erotically poor, and robbed of all confidence that was yours when you started.

No one had ever talked about it like that.
No one had ever warned me what the cost of monogamy, even the accidental you could almost say “natural” monogamy we had, would be once you come out of it and find your sexuality to be in a deplorable state.

So that is when the second sentence, about the costs of monogamy, was added to the first more inquisitive quest I set myself on, on wanting to find out who I was sexually, without my partner.
But because of those costs, discovering what I wanted sexually, and who I was, which originally had been my idea of what I would be doing when I was single, became Step 2.
I could not begin there.
First, I needed to setup the entire operation at ground level, much like when I was an early teen and started to fall in love with boys.
THAT’S why I lost an entire year before I got my first kiss.

If you had asked me then what my number one message was, it would have been that whatever you do, don’t become monogamous, because it eats away and destroys everything you hold dear about yourself.
And basically that’s still what I would tell you today.

So when I bypass the relationship aspect, the bigger theme, my real message is and always has been;
-> make sex the guiding principle of your life <-

Use it to indicate how well you are doing.
Use it to develop yourself.
Use it to heal yourself.
To heal another.
Use it to connect.
To identify yourself.
To comfort yourself and to comfort another.
To excite yourself, to excite another.

Use it for intrigue and mischief.
For betrayal and reconciliation.
For understanding and to make not understanding each other more palpable.

Use it to live with that which cannot be changed.

And when I say use I mean:
Do.
Experience.
Give.
Get.

The formula being:
{ positive verb } + sex = a good thing

And yet I kept NOT getting my message across, and was constantly entangled in movements and lineages that had looked like my thing, but that were not my thing.

I followed teachers and therapists who appeared to have been knowing on this big fallout monogamy causes.
Only to then realize they were coming at it from an entirely different angle, and ended up with conclusions I did not support.

And I have been studying Tantric sex for couples (which is not what I believe is the real Tantric sex at all, but like all couples I looked at what we call Tantra for help) as early as the 90s.
Only to realize that I would probably not want to have Tantric sex even if it was with the movie star man of my dreams with whom I was granted a night of Tantric sex.
That even with new, exciting men I was in love with and everything was new, I would not be able to “get it up” for Tantric sex.

And problems started to arise on the other end as well.
I wrote erotic stories, but didn’t feel a connection to most of the people who read it, and they did feel a connection to me!
They had felt like I had taken them to bed, and all I wanted to scream was:
“I m pretty sure I didn’t!” 

I was asked to write an erotic story for a site that promoted long healthy sexual relationships for couples, only to then have my story banned when I had finally been able to frame having sex with your real partner in a way that was erotic.

I was asked to pose nude or in lingerie multiple times, because I would be portrayed as a writer of erotica.
To this day I don’t understand why a writer of erotica would be more willing to take her clothes off.

The confrontation with the world about my core message became so uncomfortable, not because I got push-back or angry people, but because I could not express myself in a way that reached the right people.
And looking back I think I abandoned my message.
I gave up.

I renamed this account a workshop, and starting January 1st, I m going all in under my real name.
With a message that is packaged in a way that most people will NOT be able to relate to.
And it is the most deliberate choice I ve ever made.

My message is wrapped in three layers of Bon Jovi, and no one but the die-est hardest of fans is going to find it there.

So what happened?
What is the reason, that after 14 years I only feel comfortable sharing my message either anonymously, under a penname and barely showing my face?
Or share it using the cover of a double-neck electric guitar.

The answer came this week when I realized what I had been struggling with, was the difference between erotica and sex.
For instance: Where I had thought the problem with monogamy was that it kept sex between two people, my real problem had been that it kept eroticism between two people.
And because eroticism (I think by default!) DIES between two people, the sex in longterm relationship becomes a shadow of what it once was.
The two people die their erotic deaths.

When I complained about your sex-life needing startup time after a longterm relationship, what I had actually meant was your erotic identity requiring to be brought back to life.

When I wrote the entire list of how to use sex, or the formula
{ positive verb } + sex = a good thing
The word sex should have spelled eroticism.

And even this series, the C. Diaries, about my Covid induced celibacy;
What died from Covid was not sex; it was eroticism.
And without eroticism, I can’t have sex.

That also explains why most other people CAN have sex during Covid;
Either their eroticism has not died, or they do not need, or no longer need, eroticism to have sex.
When your eroticism has died before Covid, Covid will not bring a fundamental change to your sex life.
And when your eroticism can stay alive, or perhaps even thrive, in times of Covid, your sex-life can be absolutely great.

So before I share what I know so far on how to restore my sexuality, in Covid times and all other times to come; 
I want to explain the key to eroticism, and why it dies when you throw Covid regulations at it.

That is because eroticism is a space where an alternate reality is created.
An alternate reality about who you are, who the other is, who you are together. 

Eroticism is something that exists in a plane that is unbothered by facts, and rich in mysticism, the forbidden and the hidden. 

Because the Covid pandemic is battled from the perspective of mechanistic, scientific thinking, a cure A will lead to result B kind of approach, something I will explain in a minute why that is true, but not for the reasons you think – 
the culture around fighting Covid is the opposite of the erotic plane.
And the mysticism, the forbidden and the hidden that is of course omnipresent especially in a culture battling Covid is deemed so threatening, that it is simply denied.
That taking part in the mysticism, the forbidden and the hidden, and even looking for the boundaries to where your individual freedom can be pushed, is demonized and frowned upon.

Why the mechanistic structure of Cure A or Plan B will lead to outcome C, DOES work, but for different reasons than you think:
When in 2008 the banks fell, and people who worked at the banks knew about the financial system being broken, a lot of people argued that the public should be informed earlier when things like this happened.
The public should know there is no solid basis to their financial system, and how fragile it is.
No! 
This awareness would have been fatal.
If in October 2008 the general public had known what the bankers knew who fled to safety buying guns because they thought a civil war was upon us;
A civil war WOULD have come upon us.
The only reason it didn’t is because the population, world wide, BELIEVED in the financial system.

Same with Covid regulations and their cure and the future of how this will unfold: It will go according to the road, the path, that most people BELIEVE to be the best. 
And that the rest of us find acceptable enough not to riot.
And that is exactly how it should be.
Because it is not about what is right or wrong, you must go the path that is supported by the majority of people.
If the majority gets a sense of safety from a certain set of regulations; It’s a Go.

And now we have come full circle.
Now it is clear why my message will never be for the majority, why eroticism will always be under threat, why my sex-life has suffered in the 80s during the aids era and why it is suffering now in the Covid era:
Because the majority needs a sense of safety, a sense that things are under control. Affirmed by practical actions they can do themselves.
We all know that condoms are not a 100% safe.
And we definitely know face masks are not a 100% safe.

The story that a simple behavioral adaptation can contain the threat of Covid,  aids, or the threat for being left by your partner and ending up alone,
is one that gives the majority of the population a sense of reassurance which is the glue that holds society together.

Eroticism is at the entire other end of the spectrum.
Where insecurities are played out, toyed with, teased with.
To create an erotic environment within Covid, you would have to accept our times like war times, when seeing your lover is dangerous.
Something that could get you killed, your loved ones too, something that is an act of rebellion and freedom, when everybody around you is in a state of panic, a constant numbing fear that is only just contained by regulations that provide a veneer of safety as long as we all comply.
You have to feel, and really soak in all that social pressure of cornering you until you behave like the majority of the people want you to.

And then meet your lover instead.
In secret.

That is eroticism.
.

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

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Button on this page, probably on the top right.

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The Erotic Space | The Book Club final chapter

1983 Madonna by Steven Meisel

Before you get any boudoir like ideas about how erotic my current space actually looks, or how I look, I will tell you I am typing this from my desk which also contains five to ten notebooks, journals and diaries all of them in use, a teddy bear, also in use, a water bottle, a stack of laminated vision board cards (not as frequently consulted as I want to), hand-cream, three pencil cases, an inspirational photo of my 40th birthday and I remember being slightly disappointed because I did not think I had my ideal body, where I can see now a woman in killer shape.
And I m wearing a towel covering a coconut hair mask.
Right now; Not on my fortieth birthday where I had gorgeous blonde mane, which contained no grey hair not even underneath the dye.

I am writing you from a space where only the memory of size 8 times past, and the future vision of card decks to come are alive. You would be hard pressed to find anything erotic.
Yet as soon as I heard of the word or concept “erotic space”, I knew it was a key element in defining my art, my writing, my sexuality.
But also my yoga, the way I talk, how I teach or coach or perhaps the reason why I don’t teach or coach.
Erotic space, and the necessity of it in my life, can explain for all of my likes (erotic space present) and dislikes (erotic space absent).

And here behind my desk on a Tuesday in November, writing the final chapter for The Book Club, the erotic space is present.
It is in the freedom to put words to this day.
To mark it as special.
To have a plan for it, which is here right before me, and to then abandon it.
Instead of doing research for two areas of my art where I from now on want to get my fingers in on a daily basis, I am writing.

The erotic space, why it is so rare, why people forget to pay attention to it, or fail to put it high on their list of wants or – like I now know – their list of needs, is first and foremost;
Space.

Space in itself is already highly erotic, although in theory it can be taken up very rapidly by things not erotic at all.
But more on that later.

So space, is the basis of erotic space.

Having a date to have sex is not erotic space.
Having a date to be together and talk over the day, connect, see how the other is, is not erotic space.
Knowing you will buy a toy and unpack it together is not erotic space.
Writing a chapter knowing what the different elements will be is not erotic space.
Dedicating time to doing daily research of two areas of your art is not erotic space.

A long time ago I knew the ending for a book. I knew the theme, I knew the plot. It is the only book or topic I never did anything for.
Because there was no space, so there was no erotic space either.

Everything that is dedicated (to anything other than “let’s just see what happens”); Everything that is planned, plotted, and intended does not have space, and is therefor not erotic space.

I will start inserting the disclaimer that this is a personal experience;
To me, those things are cramped, confided, forced, dead, or fake.
And therefor I can’t do it.

Or I could, but I would never get the same “out of it” as others seem to get (I presume), and I have a low tolerance towards those activities.
It would come with a high cost of energy and will-power and probably a lot of recovery time, mental processing time and so on.
For me, the benefits of doing those things rarely outweigh their cost.

I will give you an example.
A wedding is planned out, and the outcome is fixed. There is no room for anybody to not have a good day, to not be at their best, and so on.
There is no erotic space in a wedding.
A regular party is also still reasonably fixed, although far less than a wedding. Therefor there could be erotic space at a regular party.
I presume erotic parties would have a lot of space to fill in the way you like, so they have erotic space.
But quite unexpectedly, and certainly a lot cheaper, I would say the most erotic space can be found with parties or get togethers which are not planned, or planned at very short notice.
There are no expectations, and anything rolls, giving spontaneous parties or gatherings the most erotic space of all.

You can extend this analogy to relationships, but also to your work, or to making art. You can extend it to how you raise your children, to how you meet your friends, but also to how you relate to your family.
In all of those areas, the more outcomes that are fixed?
The more mental-states, feelings, impulses, ideas, and stories are beforehand excluded.
The more it is dead.

Erotic space is therefor first and foremost an awareness, appreciation, and a deliberate creation of space.
A choice for the unknown, for infinite possibilities, for mysticism, for the untold.
I have called it the world between worlds.

It is from here that everything, and I would say “by nature of its sheer right of being there”, is erotic.
There are no longer boundaries, to anything.
There is only the being in this space, where automatically creation begins.

Creation of feelings.
Creation of experiences.
Creation of visions.
Creation of what we could call the “fine arts”, except they re not the fine arts, because that would be defining and binding it.

Sometimes you can bring something from this space, outside of it.
A painting, a book, a memory.
But way more often, the moment you have left the bubble of where it was created, the very thing you thought of bringing with you, dies.

Just like the love between two people can be very alive in their first months together when they have ignored their agendas, their earthly duties, and live inside this bubble;
But when they bring it outside and come out as a couple it dies.
The only way to bring it back, is to create the bubble:
And not by repeating the things you did, when you were in the bubble.

Doing the things people do, or which you did, when you were in the bubble, does not create the bubble, the space, the erotic space.

Writing daily does not bring you where the Called Ones are writing automatically every day because they can’t not.

Having sex every day does not bring you where the lovers go automatically and spend every waking minute exploring each others bodies and mind, laughing, making up games, creating their own vocabulary and nourish their own fresh memories from how they met.

Planning a party every week does not bring you where people just naturally flock together and someone gets a six-pack of beer, and another suggests pizzas, and a meetup at 4 P.M. turns into a bonfire and singing Irish songs together.

But creating space can bring you there.

Whether the space is then occupied with people needing to share their thoughts, the heavy energy of grief, discontent, despair.
Of lover’s quarreling over who’s fault it is the relationship doesn’t work.

Or whether that space is filled with eroticism, creation, lights, laughter, or all those things we all want it to be?

That is beyond our control, because you cannot stop the first, the what-you-don’t-wants, to whip and kick the latter into existence into your bubble.
You can’t will the eroticism into your space.

So all you have to do, but also all you can do, to be as often as possible in the erotic space;
Is to create as much space as possible.
In your work, your agenda, your friendships, and in the relationship with your lover.
Leave AS MUCH as you can open, by deleting everything that has a contracted, limiting, or even dead energy around it.
Let go.
And go.
And go.

And then just see what happens.

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

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the Book Club: Demons and Daemons

You just read part 1, my column.

Today’s chapter below, is the final chapter from my novella Demons and Daemons .
Bringing an end to our time together, and this series.

The Book Club and the novella Demons and Daemons, will be published together, as “A Map Into Unknown”
The best way to stay in touch, and be informed when it’s ready, is to subscribe to this blog.
The button is somewhere on this page, probably on the top right corner.

.

Chapter 12, Untitled Notes from Lauren #11

COMMITTED (a happy ending)


day 20, Saturday August 1

I have a sign in the bathroom of my yoga studio.
Yes- I still have my yoga space.
Even though I ve retired as a yoga teacher and am no longer teaching friends either, because of Covid.
For the time being I m keeping it on as a space for my own private practice, and who knows I will really start connecting to it again, and feel that it is a part of me.
A place of power.
A place of history.
But right now, in summer (there were some issues with the heating, which makes it hard to look into the future and know if I ll keep it) I ll keep it.
It’s a nice and cool place to practice, so it’s ideal.
.
Today, the first of August, I studied the sign at the door of the toilet.
It has about 30+ meme like sentences.
And I decided to pick one every day, so it will be my private yoga theme for August.
.
The first one was:
“Find a passion and pursue it”
.
And I immediately thought about something I had read this morning, in a book on Vincent van Gogh.
That Vincent had struggled finding his place in life, and he would continue to do so (his brother supported him) BUT!
The moment he ceased his search to earn a living and become successful with another profession and commit to his art instead, a weight was lifted from his shoulders.
He started developing himself really quickly and his work would never have reached the height it did, if he had stayed stuck in trying to be something he wasn’t.
.
I have been less deliberate in choosing the path of a writer, and certainly not at age 27, because I wasn’t a writer then.
Although the professor who had supervised my thesis, had saved my emails and had printed them and gave them back to me when I got my diploma.
He had really enjoyed reading them, and wanted me to reread them some time.
.
Aside from diary writing and correspondence, I didn’t start writing until the year we broke up our long-term relationship.
We had been together for 14 years, and in 2006 it would strand and I would also start writing.
.
Just like my relationship had lasted 14 years, the existence or this work under my pen name LS Harteveld, also became difficult after 14 years.
This summer I have made some drastic changes one of them is that I write here under my real name Suzanne,
and that LS Harteveld (Lauren) is living in 1995 and writing offline.
This means (among other things) that I will never write online about my life, in particular my love life.
.
Online diary writing or erotic story writing has ended –
and with that LS Harteveld is now far less active/ current than it used to be.
In the end that was really all there was to it;
A shift from online writing to offline writing for LS Harteveld.
.
But I didn’t know that beforehand!
There have also been times when I thought this summer was the moment to stop writing for this account LS Harteveld entirely, and delete all the blogs.
.
It all worked out differently.
I m curating the blog, and I m also – almost automatically – writing for this account daily.
It costs me hours and hours, but it are stories that I really want to tell.
And I also write for my other account under my real name.
.
So I read this first sentence on the sign on my door:
Find a passion and pursue it.
.
I read how much good choosing for his art did for Vincent.
.
I have a daily practice of writing for two different accounts.
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I am looking for a part-time job in manufacturing, or cleaning;
Something that has me up and walking, instead of sitting.
Something that doesn’t require any mental bandwidth.
But most of all;
Something that saves me from myself.
.
So that for like 24 hours or so a week, I DO NOT write.
I DO NOT think.
I do not drive myself mad, I do not “sit behind my typewriter and bleed” as Ernest Hemingway called it.
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So this summer, for the very first time, I had consciously put all those building blocks in place, accepting the inevitable:
That I am a writer.
.
And yet; I had not committed.
And yet: I had not pursued.
.
I had treated Writing as some unwanted force in my life.
Like a life event or an all-consuming job that you didn’t voluntarily choose.
And for the first time I had designed my life around it.
.
My life was now crafted around the inevitable fact that I was a writer.
.
My PASSION, the thing I had automatically started doing when my partner and me split up, the thing that had taken the place of my partner immediately –
and even before we had decided to split, oh how symbolic-
that passion, Writing, had become:
The inevitable.
An all consuming and unwanted force.
An all-consuming job that I didn’t voluntarily choose.
.
The combination of the choice from Vincent van Gogh for his art, and the first sentence on that sign (Find your passion and pursue it) made me realize I wanted more for my writing, my purpose, my faithful companion since 2006, than to grudgingly be allowed to exist.
.
So from this day forward, till death do us part:
I CHOOSE you writing.
.
Muse that has come under different names and different shapes.
Muse that has always given me more ideas than I can possibly process or execute in this lifetime.
You are the bringer of plenty, that much is certain.
I choose you for better, for worse,
for richer or for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
’til death do us part.
.
I do.
———-

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Facebook page LS Harteveld
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About The Book Club

In The Book Club you can find:
– a post
– and one Chapter of my novella Demons and Daemons.

These Book Club posts will form a new book, “A Map Into Unknown”
Covering a journey of three weeks into darkness (Demons and Daemons)
and the rest of 2020, finding my way back to the light!

.

Books LS Harteveld/ Lauren

Lauren’s books are available at LULU
New books will also be added to Lulu, as sites are being curated.


Nederlands blog:
https://zegmaarlauren.com/

The Sexual Alchemist

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup..

Dear Sara,
.

Yennefer in The Witcher

I found myself just not being okay with adding a picture of the real alchemist of the series The Witcher;
Which was “Giltine” played by the actor Julian Rhind-Tutt, who I know as Mr.Pimms from the first Lara Croft movie.

But Giltine played by the actor Julian Rhind-Tutt was the real alchemist, not Yennefer whose picture I used.
Giltine was the one who transformed all young witches into what they wanted to become.
In that respect, Yennefer was only the subject of the alchemy.
In exchange for her womb she went from having a dislocated spine and jaw, to being breathtakingly beautiful.
.
So if I really wanted to write about being an alchemist, I would have to illustrate this piece with Giltine, Julian Rhind-Tutt.
But I couldn’t do it, Googled Yennefer’s transformation instead, and then the memories came back.
Of who she really is.
.
Not just the most powerful mage from The Witcher series, but also the most sexual one.
Even when she was just starting out in magical school, she was sexually active, and very sexually independent.
.
She could really enjoy the physical benefits of it, and if my memory serves me correctly, she has two other lovers later on, one of them being The Witcher himself.
.
So although she had been transformed by a male alchemist, her being so rooted in her sexuality as well as being so powerful, does give me permission to use her photo.
.
And in fact, this aspect of her reminds me to start this story at the beginning, when I just like Yennefer felt disformed, out of shape, lonely, and yet I picked up this offer from the man I am corresponding with.
A man I call The Saint.
And he proposed a challenge where I would masturbate daily.
That is the short version, in reality it was a very detailed and well-thought through plan, that the average sex coach could have charged for.
.
Just like Yennefer said Yes to the beautiful man who wanted to be her first lover, without questioning it, I said Yes to The Saint without questioning it.
And the reason we did, is because we knew that regardless of the intentions of the other we had more to win than they did.
And more to lose if we didn’t.
We knew we would get something out of it, that went beyond what they were doing.
.
I took up the masturbation challenge, and went from a meager once a week, which is dangerously low for me – to killer orgasms on repeat.
It took a couple of days of muscling my way through it, but by then I had upleveled my orgasms to a strength that I have not experienced since I stopped the pill in my early thirties.
It was absolutely unbelievable.
.
And my creativity, in terms of writing, also shot through the roof as soon as I had said “Yes, I ll do it”. 
.
So those were already two big benefits, which I could tie directly to saying yes to the masturbation challenge from my anonymous letter writer.
.
Finding the photo of Yennefer and remembering how sexual she is, reminded me that a lot had happened before the moment that gave me insight in my identity as sexual alchemist.
That although the short-cut story:
“Oh I saw my ex and then this-and-this happened, lol, sexual alchemist right, duh?!”
would have made a good story in and of itself, provided it had been penned down in a less Beavis and Butthead way, that was not the whole story.
There was a reason meeting each other had been so great, and the reason was there had been sexual alchemy going on for days before he contacted me.
.
I committed to the challenge one week ago, on a Saturday night.
And next to my daily masturbation plan, which I had gotten from my anonymous friend, I picked up writing for this blog again.
.
I also did something else:

I decided this would be the week I would get over my lover, and start identifying as a single again.
Purge all that needed to be purged.

It had been 11 months since he had broken up with me. Last summer we tried to have sex again, but I paid for that with headaches and there were also other things I could just feel not being right about the whole thing.
Which had to do with something I have not written about, but I will, since I now know how essential it was.
.
He broke up with me in December after having been my lover for 5 years.
The reason for the breakup was something that was going on in his life, which required him to focus.

You could also say that guilt over having a mistress was simply becoming too straining, considering other circumstances.
.
But in the years prior to that, something else had happened and either I have not written anything about it, or it has been very minimal.
There have been opportunities for us to see each other for a longer period of time, one on one, without anybody mingling into our affairs or without any difficulties for him accounting for his time.
And he didn’t take it.
There has even been an opportunity for him to allow for a mistress, and privacy with regard to his sexual whereabouts, and again;
He didn’t take it.
.
So when he broke up with me in December 2019, or at least told me we could no longer have sex, he had already been sidelining our affair on numerous occasions, without me knowing.
Weeks or months afterwards, I could reconstruct that there had been giant opportunities for us to be together, or for him to create more space for us, and that he had not used it.
.
I was only allowed into his life, if seeing me could be contained.
.
And I didn’t write about it, because it was entirely irrelevant at the time.
He never told me, it were things I found out afterwards.

And I didn’t write about it after the break-up because then it was even more obsolete.
Even this summer, when despite Covid we were there together, and our bodies wanted each other more than anything, I didn’t write about it either, because by then I had almost forgotten about it really.
And the Covid stress and the migraines that followed all my indoor interaction, were already plenty to deal with.
.
Except now I see that Covid’s stress headaches didn’t have anything to do with me no longer wanting to be his lover this summer.
It was because he had not created more space for me, for us, all those times he had gotten the proverbial hall card, or the conference with the free days to wander around, or the chance to create space within his marriage.
.
Just like Yennefer who had been raised being told she was worth nothing, I too had started to believe, not so much that I was worth nothing, but that I meant nothing to him.
.
And yet this week, just like Yennefer, I rose.
To a place where I no longer depended on the love of others, and in my case that meant a place where for the first time since the breakup I fully identified as a single.
I could feel the power flow back into my hands, my fingers; As if something that had been shut off was coming back to life.
.
It was a week where I became so aware of all the power I had lost when I had started identifying as “a mistress”.
Not only became it the week I was over my lover, it also became the week where I felt my strength returning.
And I knew that even if we would start sleeping with each other, I would never call myself his mistress, or a mistress, again.
.
And then the unexpected happened.
And yes, I did pay for this by dropping off the wagon of blogging and writing.
I paid for it with headaches but they were far less intense than I expected, and after a day I was fine.
I saw him again.
This week.
In my radiant self-proclaimed so-over-you week.
.
He asked to see me, and the way he did it immediately had me worried.
I could just feel something was up. Something bad. But – like I always do – I “got over it”  before I went. 

I trained myself to be completely okay with whatever it was he was going to say.
I sensed it had something to do with another break-up, like a hard Brexit type of thing, where our affair had originally ended friendly.
Maybe he would sell the condo, or maybe there was another mistress.
I had really prepped myself to the point where I was able to take anything he wanted to say, in a neutral but supportive fashion.
.
But that was not at all what it was about.
It was the exact opposite.
The urgency and the seriousness had been because he wanted to know what was up with me.
.
Because all the cafes are closed, we met at his place. He made me coffee, and contrary to last time, no alcohol was involved at any point.
And he wanted to know everything. 
Why I had not wanted to have sex this summer.
What I did want.
How he could help me.
And when we had had the whole “Covid just sucks” headache story, it all came out.
.
For the first time I told him how much it had hurt that every time there had been an opportunity to give me more, and he had given me nothing.
I didn’t even cry or anything, we had a good laugh. And that was because I really was okay with him making his choices.
And then, when I thought we were definitely done talking about it, he asked: 
“Was there anything else last summer, that hurt you?”
And there was…
.
And I m not even going to repeat it here. In fact, I couldn’t even repeat what he had said. I had not remembered the words, just how they made me feel, and what I thought their general gist must have been.
I added: “I’m sorry, I don’t remember the exact words. That must be frustrating especially because I took them so badly.”
And he instructed me to immediately call him out if he ever said something like that again. Without hesitation, without sugar-coating, just blurt out: “Hey! That’s hurtful!”
.
And we had the best afternoon in years.
.
We stayed together for hours.
.
But what was the absolute best, was that I finally saw that what I create with my partners, with the real ones, is something that never dies.
And I say “I create”, but it is always a “we create”.
.
Every man in my life with whom I ever fell in love, is still in my heart.
They can all call me, or walk through the door, and they will always be welcome.
And with way more than half of them I would still have sex, I am still in love with them.
.
Most people, my lovers included, long for normal relationships. Structures that come with a certain set of agreements and predictable interactions that provide safety and stability.
But relationships can fail.
.
I said:
“I think we will always be in each other’s lives. And some of those times we will see each other, and have sex.
And other times when we won’t.”
.
An alchemist is someone who creates something higher, more noble, and more desirable, from materials that are readily available.
So what they can make out of life, with the same materials as the layman, is by definition of a higher quality.
.
But more importantly, and this is what I learned from my lover who was a changed man;
That an alchemist’s true magic, is always created with other seers.
.
Giltine transformed Yennefer, like he had done with all other young witches.
But unlike the other girls, she manipulated him into it because she had no legal right to be transformed.
And she refused sedation, she wanted to be present and in the moment, when it happened.

And by that, by her will of being there and her presence throughout the surgical procedure, she became more than all the others.
More than Giltine, Yennefer had changed herself.
.
To me the anonymous writer, The Saint, gave me a challenge. Which he had written out, in exactly the right tone of voice, and precisely the right mixture of dominant presence, playfulness and backing off leaving the ultimate choice up to me.
But I was the one who decided I would get over my lover this week.
And I was the one who used my creative fire and wrote every day.
More than The Saint, or the challenge he gave me, I transformed myself. 
.
I was there with my lover, for the first time since 2015 no longer seeing myself as a mistress.
My lover has become a new man, but I cannot take credit for that any more than Giltine should take credit for Yennefer.
Or any more than The Saint will take credit for my transformation.
.
In the end we are all responsible for ourselves, but in this lies an extremely heavy responsibility towards others.
Because if we don’t change, if we stick with the ground materials and the ground emotions of jealousy, doubt and pain;
So will others.
.
Yet if we elevate, transmute, rise, and become the immortal alchemist versions of ourselves, who transform everyday elements like relationships, like sexuality, like masturbation and like affairs, into the realm of the eternal;
So can others.
.
True alchemy is started by the alchemist, by the sorcerer, by the mage, by the anonymous writer or by the woman who was once your mistress and who has found back her strength.
You may say we need these special people in our lives for magic.
.
And at the same time they are of no importance;
Because all alchemy comes from within.

..

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

Books 

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Nederlands blog:
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