Here you’ll find all English texts together.
She had noticed that the younger woman in the corner of the cramped living room every now and then wriggled a little on the strict hard chair assigned to her, and that during the long dull conversations of the older ladies around her, who fanned themselves in between talking, or wished they had brought something to fan themselves with, she alternately rearranged the straps of her bra inconspicuously and searched hopefully for incoming messages on the screen of the telephone hidden in her palm, all the while keeping the pretense of listening exceptionally well and, nodding and smiling politely, agreeing with whatever it was that the elderly woman who was speaking to her confidentially at the time – sigh – was firmly asserting.
Just outside Quiet Belgian Village, on the Big Road (yes really, that’s what it’s called), is a car wash. Now don’t imagine a fully automatic car wash, but simply a long roof with a row of semi-open sheds beneath it, separated by fences, in which you wash your own car. The Maakster had just hosed down her car and drove it outside to clean the interior with a vacuum cleaner.
A dark blue BMW, model expensive, arrived in the shed next to her. The vehicle looked as if it could have been cleaned at home in less than two minutes with a dust cloth. A couple of twenty-somethings (f/m) got out, who didn’t exactly look like people who were about to wash a car. The Maakster, in an old pair of jeans and with water-resistant old shoes on her feet, looked rather shabby in comparison.
The slender, muscular man wore baggy khaki floor-length trousers, and beneath them large trainers in gleaming white and silver. An almost glowing white shirt stretched around his chest, and his neatly gel-styled hair was held in place by silver-lens sunglasses. The man was clean-shaven and it wouldn’t have surprised The Maakster if…
Every year in the period from the beginning of September to the beginning of December, the ages of me, my brothers and my love form a neat row.
58 – my dear brother P
57 – me, B
56 – brother A
55 – my wonderful husband M
In the tent
Camping in the woods has never been your favorite activity, but you had to come, otherwise they would be short of a man. So to speak. After all, you are not a man. In a tent you cannot pretend that there are walls, and a zipper is never a door. Of course you can’t actually prick up your ears, but you can try really hard to hear the carefully restrained steps of the man who doesn’t sneak through the trees towards your tent. You brace yourself. And then just hope he doesn’t have a preference for men.
During her daily walk through Quiet Belgian Village this morning, The Maakster stopped abruptly when she saw something glistening in the sun in the driveway to a house. Bending down, she saw that it was a bank card. The address on the card matched that of the house she was standing in front of, so she decided to ring the bell. The door didn’t open, but out of the corner of her eye she saw a movement behind the window. She rang the bell a second time and this time looked directly at the window. There she saw someone just ducking behind a curtain. When the front door still didn’t open after ringing a third time, she walked across the neatly mowed lawn and knocked on the window. An elderly woman appeared, hesitantly, cheeks flushed with excitement. The Maakster smiled kindly, held up the bank card with one hand and pointed at it with her other hand. The old woman put her hands over her mouth, got even redder, and finally decided to open the front door just a little bit. She cleared her throat and tried to sound stern:Read More »BG 82 – It’s raining cards, hallelujah
May I ask you something? Can you ride a horse? Did you enjoy going to school as a child? Can you program? Can you knit? How many jeans lay in your wardrobe? Do you think toilet paper should hang loose side forward or backward? Does that really matter? Who is your favorite television host? Do you like to eat bananas?
She blinked in the bright daylight.
The doctor came to tell her that she had survived the accident. She hadn’t broken anything and could go home tomorrow.
A pillow suddenly blocked her view.
She didn’t normally shriek, so the other kids, who stood in a circle around her, had never heard that before; but she thought it was about time that the adults in their goody terraced houses behind their freshly mowed little yards on either side of the street realized that they, the youth of today, were still there, so she braced herself and let out the loudest and longest shriek that could technically be produced with human vocal cords, after which she noted with satisfaction that a deafening silence fell over the dull street.
This is a true story. It actually happened dozens of times before we had our chimney covered with chicken wire.
Imagine: three jackdaws standing on the edge of the chimney. Their black silhouettes stand out against the clear sky.
Kow, kow! Whoppa! There I go!
Oh shit! Kow, kow, kow! It’s so cramped in here.
Kow! I can barely move my wings.
I’m almost stuck between the bricks.
And who the hell turned out the lights? Kow!
Ouch, who’s throwing a branch on my head. Kow, ouch!
Wait a minute now, it’s my turn! My!
Flapflapperflap. Kow, kow!
Whoops, I slide further down.
My wings rub against the sides.
And even further. Oops, ai, kow, kow, kow! Flap, flap.
Pff, bah, all that soot, pff!
Say, who’s tossing that walnut on my head? Kow!
This is the dialogue I wrote for the Belgian outdoor theater project ‘Het Bankje 2021‘.
Listen to the performance by voice actors here (in Dutch).
– Nice weather today, right?
– I said nice weather today.
– Yes. I heard that.
– And what?
– Is it nice weather today?
– I just heard so.
– And do you agree?
– No, I don’t agree.
– Why what?
– Why don’t you agree?
– Agree with what?
– That the weather is nice today.
– I think it’s cold.
– But it surely isn’t that cold today?
– Yes it is.
– Yesterday was colder.
– A little, yes.
– Today the weather is nice.
– I don’t think so.
– It’s too cold for me.
– It’s too cold, you say?
Even though that isn’t true
You have said that – oh yes – you would like to camp in a tent in the garden. That you like that, almost under the open sky, with your almost naked body, when it is as warm as it is now. You have said that you – yes of course – want to continue, even though your girlfriend has canceled. You have said that you have no problems with itchy and buzzing bugs and that you can sleep well on such a thin mattress on the uneven ground.
And that you fortunately never have to pee at night.
Bang! The door unintentionally slammed shut behind them as he released it. From out of the strong wind she had stooped in, under his arm, and before she even had a chance to do it herself, he helped her out of her coat and hung it on the coat rack together with his. With a protective hand against her lower back – his hand felt surprisingly warm through the thin fabric of her T-shirt – he led her inside. She decided that later when they left, she would hold the door open for hím.
A friendly employee guided them to a table for two in a quiet corner at the back of the bistro, where they had a good overview, but also some privacy. They arrived just in time: by now rain was clattering against the nearest window. She laughed when both of them ran their hands through their windswept hair at the same time.
As a matter of course,
Makes herself bigger and wider than she actually is, steps so close to the offender that he forgets what personal space means again, finally accepts the glass of beer that she had refused time after time until then, pulls the young man’s half open white shirt under his black leather jacket forward, and pours the contents gracefully over his almost hairless chest, with a most friendly smile followed by a definite ‘I said NO.’
They pretended to be smugglers
That they were smugglers, she had said, that that was ‘ooh’ exciting! That they had to watch out for customs. He didn’t know who that was, customs. Luckily, she had said that she would come back later to get him. He had believed her. That she had had to take his coat of course, as proof. It was cold. That he could find the way by looking at which side of the tree trunks the moss grew. But it was dark. She would come back to get him. He wasn’t sure he still believed her.
On her daily walks through Quiet Belgian Village, The Maakster of course also meets other residents on foot. She wishes them a ‘good morning!’ or ‘have a nice day!’, because that makes the world a little prettier. Some of the residents greet back friendly, but others pretend not to have heard her, or quickly turn their head away. That doesn’t stop The Maakster.
Quiet Belgian Village is a bit of a closed village and many of its residents are used to only associate with people they have known from birth. They feel uncomfortable with newcomers, even the ones that have already lived there for quite some time. Older people sometimes react confused: ‘But … er … I don’t knów you?’,
May I ask you something? What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Do you sleep on one pillow or on several? Do you install your software yourself, or have someone else do it for you? What would you rather get: a bunch of flowers or a bottle of wine? How much is one plus one? Always? How many hammers do you own? Do you prefer to wear gold or silver? Have you ever lost something valuable?
Hurray, I am one of the 20 winners of the writing competition ‘The Bench’!
‘With ‘The Bench’ Creatief Schrijven vzw, OPENDOEK and Kunstwerkt were looking for original dialogues that took place between two people on a bench. We received no fewer than 242 entries. After careful consideration, jury members Pascale Platel and Daan Pleumeekers selected 20 laureates. Their texts will be played by actors and canned as podcasts. Visual artists will make an ‘image’ to accompany it. In the summer they can be heard via a QR code on benches in more than 100 towns [in Belgium].’
On Fridays Marc usually fetches food for them from a Chinese restaurant. On Sundays they eat the leftovers. Because it is only a short time ago on Wednesdays, and is not going to take long either, it sometimes seems like they eat chinese all week long. That is of course not the case. Marc cooks often and delicious!
As a child, building her own tree house seemed like the pinnacle of bliss to her.
It never happened. In the garden of her parental terraced house there was no room for a tree house. And in the trees in ‘The Woods’, a piece of nature with walking paths, a deer camp and a duck pond, around an old country house that they optimistically called ‘the Castle’, she was not allowed to indulge herself with hammer, nails and saw.
But in her mind, she built the most beautiful tree houses, with secret defenses against intruders. Her dream cabin would, even then, be a creative studio with a wonderful view of the ‘wild’ nature, in which she would experience many exciting adventures. She grew up in a time when as a child you could wander around on foot or on your bike wherever you wanted, as long as you were back home in time for dinner.
Today she and her husband live in a house with many rooms, including her study, her crafting materials warehouse and her creative studio. The ideal tree house! Too bad it doesn’t fit in a tree.
Our gray-striped cats, we have two of them, are of course sweet, but they can also be quite annoying, especially when the weather is bad.
They then meow dozens of times a day: ‘hey, will you open the back door for me?’, which makes it difficult for me to concentrate on anything. If I try to ignore their meowing, it gets louder and more compelling: ‘hey human, will you finally open that door for me?’.
When they are indoors, I can temporarily distract them by playing with them. It usually goes like this: I play with a cat toy and they look bored at it. Sometimes they give it a slow tap to end the hassle.
They do this meowing, that starts friendly, but gets more and more demanding, alternately indoors and outdoors. When they are indoors, they want to go out, and when they are outdoors, they want to go in.
When it rains, or the ground is covered in snow, they scream bloody murder to be let indoors. They are only allowed to when I have cleaned their paws with an old towel.
Five minutes later they have already forgotten that it was wet and cold outside and the hassle starts all over again: ‘Will you open the door? Meow? Meeoow? Meeeeeeeoooow!’
Did I mention we have two of them? They take turns.
Fortunately, the footsteps behind her in the dark had stopped. She exhaled with relief. Two more blocks before she was home. Suddenly strong hands closed around her neck. She saw a stockinged foot.
During her daily walk through Quiet Belgian Village, the residents today seem to fall spontaneously as soon as they see The Maakster. That could of course be coincidental. It hasn’t frozen, on the contrary, it is actually quite warm for this time of year, but last night’s rain has made the remaining rotting leaves on the street slippery.
Halfway through her route, between the sports fields on one side and the mountain bike terrain on the other, The Maakster sees an elderly man with his dog in the distance. The man suddenly swings both his arms through the air and then falls slap on his behind. The dog, a blond labrador, looks at him in surprise. When she passes him a moment later and asks how he is doing – the man, not his dog –
She’s got a math dent. In fact, she’s got a dent for all science subjects. This is why. She has a brother who is a year and a half older and who has a math bump, or rather a bump for all science subjects. He studied physics with a specialization in astronomy. So, when she was born, there was nothing left, just that dent.
(A math bump, or wiskundeknobbel, is an actual word in Dutch. I made up the math dent.)
May I ask you something? What was the year 2020 like for you (the year with the Covid19 pandemic)? What was the worst moment for you? And what the best? What did you find less important in the past year? And what has become more important to you? Do you think you will do things differently in the future? If yes, what? What are your wishes for 2021? And what are your plans?
At the end of the year, you often sit together with the people that are dear to you (in the same room, or via an online connection).
Make your get-together this year and the coming years special by starting a new tradition: the end-of-year Turning Point Tradition.
How does that work?
Everyone takes three turns to speak.
1. In the first round, you share those things that were the most negative for you personally in the past year.
2. In the second round, you leave the negative behind and share those things that have been the most positive for you personally in the past year.
3. Finally, in the third round, you share your wishes and plans for the coming year.
Of course you don’t have to share everything if you prefer not to.
The Turning Point Tradition is not an obligation, but a loving invitation.
Internet Shop here. Thank you for having placed an order with us a minute ago.
If you suffer from forgetfulness: this is what you just ordered.
Thank you for your order. We will deliver it as soon as possible (even though you have said that you are not in a hurry and that, from an environmental point of view, you would prefer us to take a little longer).
If you suffer from forgetfulness: this is what you just ordered.
Our life is very different from that of our ancestors.
Long live progress!
But since the introduction of automation, we have been exaggerating.
We confuse progress with consuming ever more and ever faster, and have lost sight of the limits of our physical and mental health, of the resilience of our environment and the exhaustion of our natural resources.
We are living faster than ever before