The story continues

I went to my favorite hairdresser yesterday, one of the small luxuries I allow myself. When I left for Barcelona in February he suggested giving me my next haircut on the beach over there since he would be coming over for the Primavera music festival. I won’t be there though, so I went to see him in Amsterdam and he will be my eyes and ears at the festival.

My hair has never been so short. I hope I didn’t loose all my wild hairs. Or maybe I lost my last tame ones.

One Saturday morning in April when I woke up after one of the great GLOVE parties organised and attended by a wonderful group of people who made me feel at home in Barcelona, I looked in the mirror and noticed that the glitter somebody had sprinkled in my hair during a moment on the dance floor and my grey hairs that have come with walking around on this planet for 42 year were shiny in a similar way.

Being here again in Amsterdam I realize that my happiness comes from a fluidity I achieved in my relations. Relations with things, with the world, but most importantly: with people. I talked about it with somebody who’s name I don’t remember or maybe never asked at an event in the mountains not too far from Barcelona, 250 Burners (basing their life on the principles of Burning Man, sharing, leave no trace, radical inclusiveness a.o.) spending time together, talking, sharing, dancing, connecting. Another family I became part of.

Tomorrow I will continue the journey that started on a bus at night in Spain last Monday. I am on my way to the Nomadic Village, where I also belong. Another tribe, people who wear tails, cook tasty food, think about wandering and wondering, build homes wherever they are, make the world their home.

On my way I will meet two Nomads travelling Europa in 'Mistress Enid Abbott', their converted mini-bus and home since several years . I will reconnect with a seamstress who uses her sewing machine to make music. I will visit a permaculture friend in the middle of a big city. I will cross paths with Jodi Rose who records the sounds of bridges around the world and like me was a BridgeGuard on the Slovak-Hungarian border once. I will see a Walking Artist I only know through Facebook and I will stay with a “DirtyDesigner” in a villa just outside Münich.

I miss my Barcelona friends but I am looking forward to meet old ones and makes new ones. New connections. Fluid relations. Walk. Think. Make art. Write. Set out new lines. Connect.

And again I am thinking of Craigie Horsfield (artist, photographer), like I did many times before, trying to understand what he is saying, having the feeling I'm on my way:

“As we read each of us experiences differently, we are within this, we place ourselves towards others, so that there is the story, here on the page, the story we bring as readers, and that which is between us: this complex of relation. We attend to this between, the story and ourselves, bring our experiences, our stories of our experience, recognise and in our recognising enter into our own lives. This is our engagement as audience, these tenacious, these “sticky” connections, the things we bring with us, understanding, enquiry, compassion perhaps...This is something which happens now between us. In this action is described art, and it could be said of a picture, an event, a gesture, a shadow; but it is in the between, and if this between fails there remains only separating detritus: information, document or witness, unrealised, inert, sterile matter. But this misleading is perhaps misleading as though it were space, distance, and separation, when it is rather place, our present being. This is how the world occurs, and not in parts but entire and presently, the way we happen.”

"Art as conversation, dialogue, and negotiation is, within the generative relation of thinking together, part of an attention to the world. These are the traces of an epic, of individual lives and of a people, ourselves. Taking place in the present, we are, in our acknowledgment of self with others, together in history, realized, becoming, through our conversation, through that very being together. The present, such as it is, is in our relation. In this is the confluence of relation as becoming together and relation as "telling".

(from the Introduction in "Relation")


Old clothes

I was lucky in the bus leaving from Barcelona. The vehicle was packed, all the seats were taken apart from the one next to me. I was looking forward to having some space and silence to be in my leaving. But just after we left a girl walked up from the front, started talking to the two girls sitting in front of me and asked me if I would mind if she would seat herself next to me so she could talk to her friend. My first thought was “yes, I do”. I like being on my own. But who am I to keep three friends apart on a journey home? So I said “yes” and smiled at her and she seated herself next to me and started talking, asking me all the questions she could think of. She chatted with her friends and I felt a bit disappointed about not being able to sink in my memories but I felt far happier about hosting this small encounter. I realized it is the people that shape me just as much as a I shape myself and I can be on my own whenever I want. I like their company more than I ever did. The hermit in me has found its place in the world.

Here I am, in the house I once called home. The birds just woke up and I did as well. I wasn’t sure if my day has just ended or a new one has just begun. I smoked a cigarette and thought about all the people I met in the last 2,5 years since I decided I wanted to change my life and did as told by myself. I thought about the roads I walked, the things I saw, old and new friends, the men and women I kissed, the early mornings wandering silent Barcelona streets, the sea, the sun, the discovery of dancing. I thought of a country where there is one word for hoping and waiting. I thought of Calvino and Basho and Whitman and Perec and Thoreau. I thought of my suits, the one I arrived in and looks so worn out on the last photo of me in Barcelona where coincidentally the word “barcelone” is floating in golden letters over my head like a halo. 

I am embarking on a new adventure. I will return. And the adventure won't be in the time inbetween now and then, in the 10 countries I will visit for five seperate art projects, but the adventure will be in the returning. I will return to stay. I never did that before. So I don't know if I am able to. But I've got an old suit I can wear. I wear it now, while writing.

“I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. If there is not a new man, how can the new clothes be made to fit? If you have any enterprise before you, try it in your old clothes. All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be. Perhaps we should never procure a new suit, however ragged or dirty the old, until we have so conducted, so enterprised or sailed in some way, that we feel like new men in the old, and that to retain it would be like keeping new wine in old bottles.”

- Henry David Thoreaux, Walden


when here is always somewhere else

I came home. 

I didn’t like arriving in Amsterdam. It isn’t my city anymore and it never really was.
I realised I didn’t know where my house keys were. Normally I make sure I’ve got them when I travel back but this time I hadn't thought about it for a second.

The same tram, the same street, the crowds of people. 

I found my house keys and I wondered if everything inside had changed now I “officially” left. When I sent a message earlier today about what time I would be back, I almost wrote “19.30 I’ll be home”. It is what I thought but when I had written “be” I wondered if “home” was the right word. I wrote it down anyway. Twice. The last one with a question mark.

I opened the front door and the first thing I saw were the Buddhist prayer flags I hung in the living room once. They were in the hallway now. Maybe inside all my traces would have been gone.
But they weren’t. It was as if I had never left and it was a good feeling. All my books were there and the collections of odd objects Albert and I collected through the years. I saw the c.d. I had received as a present a few weeks ago and to which I’d been listening all my way back here. We had been listening to the same c.d. in the last weeks.
I walked outside into the little garden. I saw the failed clay objects I made a long time ago lying where they had always been lying. The plants Andrée gave us, because she knew about what lives in the shade, were doing well. The blackbird was singing. I said hello to my four big snails. I imagened they had grown but they couldn’t have after their wintersleep. The chestnut tree had new leaves and the lilac had already bloomed, I had seen the flowers standing inside.
It is a nice little garden, I always liked it but never put a lot of energy in it. And now I thought “So many things I ..... “ but I stopped before the “could”. I don’t want to use those words anymore. Could have and should have. You can’t change the past and I don’t want to change the past. I’ve got a beautiful past and it was a good time in this house. I refused to call it home for a long time but it has been my home. And in a way it still is.
Because I am here. 

I am good at being here. You have to be when you are always leaving and when here is always somewhere else.