Saturday, 30 October 2010

Kryzys tozsamosci

It's been ages since I wrote anything. So I should write. Since I live in a francophonic country - or at least a francophonic region of a tri(at least)lingual country, it should have distinct existential leanings.

Ever since I left Poland - the first time around - I've been looking for an angle for the blog. It's clearly not about a British expat learning Polish in Poland any more. It's about a British expat, who is (still) learning Polish, but in a different and equally strange country. But should it be about learning Polish? Or about coping with the surreal/endearing/at times utterly frustrating experience that is life in Belgium? Or about being a - more or less most of the time - single woman in her (very) early thirties (Bridget Jones-stylie)?

Someone I spend a lot of time with recently quoted at me: 'I don't want to be a character in a movie of your life'. But that's not why I write. It's not supposed to be a blow-by-blow description of my rather dull existence. I write a blog because I like to write, because I feel that I might be good at it, if I did it enough, and because I do a job which is challenging and interesting but - in theory - not creative and I want to be able to form something which is my own, and writing a blog is a series of exercises preparing for what one day might be an article, or a short story, or even a very modest novel. Maybe. One day.

But maybe it is all just vanity. Maybe this is just one more thing that I'm not good at - except that there's no-one around to tell me to pull my socks up.

It's October, so there is a lot of work, and for this I am grateful. I am living by the skin of my teeth: running to work in the mornings usually almost late (or almost on time), with messy hair and smudged mascara, looking like a cross between a dressed-up schoolgirl and a nervous breakdown waiting to happen. On days when I'm not working, I sprint across Brussels trying to organise appointments and administration and learning of various sorts. My fridge is more or less permanently empty and I need to borrow an electric drill to fix a mirror, a row of coat pegs and a Japanese print to the wall. My flat still looks as though I moved in yesterday and I still haven't bought a bed, or a dining table. Through the bathroom skylight, I can watch the sun rise while I shower in the morning. Occasionally my hormones short-circuit my brain and I spend the whole day thinking about babies, although I'm nowhere near responsible enough to look after one. I've managed to divide all my paperwork into 'in' and 'out', in two big piles on the coffee table. I'm secretly pleased my boyfriend is away at the moment, because I will be able to spend the whole weekend asleep, or being quietly and unashamedly crazy by myself, or out with friends, hoping to forget everything.

I love late autumn and winter for no reason: for the coolness and freshness and crispness of everything, even in the city. I'm happy to change my life for three months and run in the dark and drink mulled wine in the kitchen instead of cold beer on a terrace.

There we go. A whole post of 'I'. Selfish? Indulgent? And wrong for these reasons? You decide.


Michael Dembinski said...

Write. Don't writhe about in introspective inactivity. Write! For us, your readers, for posterity. You have a voice, you have talent!

See A Serious Man. Near the end, the Third Rabbi asks - "Then what?" It's not about the "why?" but the "what".

Indeed. This is what your readers want to know. 65 posts this year - can you write another 30 to hit your 2007 and 2009 output?

student SGH said...

just keep on blogging...

self-centred post? write what you feel you should write, not necessarily what others expect you to

Anonymous said...

Hi Pinolona, I like your blog, I am very happy that you have a boyfriend and a life. You cannot compare yourself to Bridget Jones, I don't see Bridget Jones learning Polish etc. How do you learn Polish now while living in Belgium? Trzymaj cię ciepło.

pinolona said...

damn. stupid blogger deleted my comment. basically I learn Polish by paying a teacher here to go through a rather dull economics textbook with me. And also to chat about her holidays. It's not terribly exciting but it works. I also lived in Krakow for two years so I got a head start...

word verification (it's my damn blog!!) consesc - something I shoudl probably be practicing right now...

Anonymous said...

Thanks Pinolona

pinolona said...

no problem, thanks for dropping by and commenting in spite of all the word verification stuff... (if you're the same anonymous of course)

Anonymous said...

I don't usually comment, but this is going to be a long one.

I read you blog on a regular basis. New entries, that is, and I've also read all the older ones from the very beginning. I've stumbled upon your blog by chance and stayed to read about living in Kraków and your uneven struggle with oddities of Polish grammar. This is the part of the blog I found the most amusing probably because I could just imagine all those joys of braving the Bad Obwarzanki Lady or travelling by PKP.

I admire your sense of humour and self distance which I find rather uncommon for women. Loved those short Polish phrases mixed into otherwise English text ("Proszę Państwa, to jest dramat.") and especially the "young woman's guide..." series. It's a pity that Pinolona's Dad is no longer commenting your posts, but I can see where you got your sense of humour from :)

Please, do write! You don't need a specific angle. You have a talent that makes people return to your blog no matter if you write about new flat, new boyfriend, just another day at work or odmiana rzeczownika (strangely grammar entries proved most popular with the readers, though).

I strongly support Michael on the stats. You've got some 30 more posts to write by the end of the year.


Ryszard Wasilewski said...

I read your posts, because you "touch a cord".Also, I find your pace quite tolerable :) With your zdyscyplinowany-type bloggers (reams and reams every day -- when do I get write my own blog, faced with all that outpouring?), I feel almost guilty, sometimes even driven to read past posts if I missed a whole series through a moment’s inattention.
As a sporadic blogger myself, I’m not addressing any kind of public -- if someone chooses to hang around and have a look once in a while, well, that’s very friendly...(so, quality over quantity?).
In my experience, I found that blogging did trigger writing. Once I started writing short stories, the process acquired a momentum of its own. It was worth plunging in. Now, I feel horrible withdrawal symptoms when I‘m "between stories".
Your last post was a short story, already. Connect it with a narrative which explains and expands and you’re all set.
I look forward to reading more of your writing.

Jeannie said...

I think you're very talented. I hope you write more often.

I am not enamored with diary bloggers ("I folded the laundry then took the dog for a walk after which time I made a cup of tea") and refused to become one, preferring interesting highlights--the kind of thing that you've brought to the table.

You have your own style, too, and that draws us in. I like it very much, because you aren't afraid to tell us of your tragedies and that helps us, because we're all infallible creatures who can then breathe a sigh of relief and let our guard down and be "at one with you and your character" because there's a certain comfort zone within that honesty. I believe I commented on that aspect the first time I read one of your pieces and thanked you for it. It inspired me.

I hope that whatever you decide to write, you will do more of and that we will always be able to access your lovely talent. x