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.
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
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.
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..
An unexamined life is not worth living
Appetite | 1995-1996 diary
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