Tender is the night

I suddenly woke up as if an alarm was going off somewhere. A high-pitched noise drilling holes into the fabric of reality. But there is nothing. The silence is complete, definitive, almost painful.

I dreamt of you. Again. You were looking at me with that look of calm detachment. Not even disappointment. Not even resentment. Just coldness, as if you were looking through me, beyond me, to whatever else was there once I was out of the picture.

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The reality of stories

In my native language, one standard formulation to start a folk tale is “There was, once upon a time, because if it weren’t we wouldn’t tell about it”. There are different versions of this formulation, some of them going on and on about a miraculous past and place where the events took place.

“If it weren’t we wouldn’t tell about it” is about the substance and reality of stories. Obviously, folk tales are not descriptions of historical events (although they may echo such events). But this doesn’t mean that they are not rooted in the real. They are “real” insofar as they condense and distill the lived experience of past generations.

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The past present

I woke up early, too early, like so many times before. There’s a beautiful sunrise out there, for anybody who’d care to witness it. Not me. I am struggling to wake up after I struggled to go back to sleep. Not feeling quite ready to start the day, yet far away from that coziness of being under the blanket and just turning over for another hour of sleep.

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Night flight

This Belgian village counts just a handful of houses, meandering across the hills. In front of the church, there’s a hand-written sign: “big fire on Saturday”. That’s about all the detail. Here, everybody knows everybody. And everybody knows where everything happens.

It’s the communal bonfire at the end of the carnival. The burning of winter in effigy.

As it gets darker, people start gathering on a hill outside the village. Some of them costumed. Kids are running around, high with excitation and fatigue. It’s freezing.

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The stories we live in

I would lie if I said that I started this blog having a detailed plan for going forward. But one thing I knew well: it would be about the spellbinding power of stories.

It would be about how stories take hold of us, enlighten us or push us into submission, make us happy or miserable. How we get to live inside our stories for years or even decades, and what this does to our life and our sense of self.

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Easy Like Sunday Morning

There is fog on the river. It travels downstream as if somehow connected to the water. Vapors are rising, exuding through the pores of the earth.

I’m walking along the riverbank as the sun is slowly rising behind me. From time to time I turn and watch the play of light through the trees and the fog. There’s nobody around.

The rays of sunlight are perfectly drawn in the darkness of this early October morning. Spiders are silently weaving their ethereal webs that will disappear by the end of the morning. Birds are singing from all corners of the forest.

I stand still and all this light, sound, and fog are passing by me and through me.