So I write and I sing. That’s enough of the arts for me. I couldn’t act if my life depended on it (I was in a Shakespeare play at school and I wait for the day that VHS has entirely died out so no one can ever watch the video proof of that horrible embarrassment…), and I my drawing is limited, to say the least. Language and music are sufficient, I do not need to become an all rounder in the arts.
You are all sensing that there is a „but“. And you are right. Writing a blog, I have started to enjoy photography. And while I’m most definitely not all that good at it, I notice I am getting better, which is all one ever can expect from oneself. And because I still like to combine pictures and words, I have taken to making little postcards with quotes on them whenever I felt in a certain mood and found a quote that encouraged or supported me at the time. These little life wisdoms I will share with you now.
I found this in Janusz Korczak’s diary from the Warsaw ghetto. He was a pediatrician and is a Polish national hero, because he accompanied the children from an orphanage (which he ran) into the gas chambers and died there. I find the idea reassuring that living is something that has to be learned. Learning processes are something I enjoy. They promise success in the end. Maybe, with time, I will become more skilled, more able in this subject that we call life. The picture was taken on the ferry from Split, which you see at the shore, to the island Vis, in Croatia. This has been one of my favourite quotes ever since I was a little girl. Beethoven’s music has accompanied me through some difficult times, and its power has never failed to allow me to find my strength. His only opera, Fidelio, is my favourite until this day, and I can sing along to most of the symphonies (the one withe the odd numbers anyway. And the 6th.). As a composer having gone deaf as he grew older, he knew a thing or two about putting up a fight against fate. He may have been the first one to teach me to never give up if you believe in something. The pictures was taken at the Bay of Kotor in Tivat, Montenegro.
Luce Irigaray may not be the easiest theoretician to come across, but she makes a few very interesting points on the cultural theoretical concept of „alterity“, that is, anything connected to things that are different, to „the other“. She says that anything new can only be met once we have come to terms with the self – that is, a conscious, reflected identity is vital for dealing with alterity. I think this goes for any interpersonal relation, and may be especially valid when encountering other cultures. I took the picture in Pocitelj in Bosnia and Hercegovina.
I had to deal with a few gains and a few losses this year – just as it goes in life. I don’t deal well with good byes. They make me very emotional, I think it is because I feel powerless in the face of them. In those moments, I try to hold on to this poem by Hermann Hesse which has accompanied me since I was 15 and set out to live apart from friends and family for an entire year as an exchange student in the US. It is nothing but the truth that „each beginning bears a special magic“, and it is what every farewell will bring us to. The photo is from Porto in Portugal.
I absolutely loved the Flea Market in Brussels at Jeu de Balle where I took this picture. With all the other postcards I showed you here, I had a quote and went through my archives to find a fitting picture. With this one, I was looking for a quote to express the joy I felt at looking at the creative chaos, the infinite diversity I met in this place, and I found one by Palahniuk that said it all. My new beginning (cf the Hesse poem!) may lead me into chaos – but that is where truly magical things can be found.
What’s your favourite quote to help you understand life? Or can you share any travel related quotes that mean something to you?