All posts by Judith

5 tracks for October

1. Spring / Sun / Winter / Dread by Everything Everything [silly grown-up-melancholy indie]

Spring, sun, winter, dread
I don’t want to get older
(No way, no way)

2. Plein Soleil by World’s End Girlfriend [cinematic post rock]

Sounds like: Japanese post rock somewhere between Pan’s Labyrinth and Final Fantasy X

3. Amused by Hunger

I keep listening to the excellent soundtrack of netflix’s “13 Reasons Why”. The series really touched me and I love the way the soundtrack transports me back to all the intense emotions of being a teen.

4. Caves by Haux [indie/electronic duet on waves of forlorn melancholia]

Take your last supply
To leave this home behind
(Leave it all behind)

5. Kodama by Alcest [post-black / shoegaze metal]

I absolutely love this piece (the chorus around 4:10! I can hardly believe it!). After Alcest’s last album, the absolutely ethereal dreamy Shelter, I really appreciate their return to a more post-black metal sound; especially the alternation between singer Neige’s mellow floating voice and his harsher vocals, for instance on Eclosion. Especially during the past few weeks of preparing a presentation on my master’s thesis project, Alcest’s music has helped me through some intense negative feelings, turning rather undirected anger into energy.

What do you do with poetry?

I love poems but sometimes I do not know what to do with them.

When a poem speaks to me, it is a super intense feeling, like I glow and rain at the same time. I leave words. I leave time, I reread the poem a few times, trying each time to read it again for the first time. And then – such intense emotion, a pressure, a wanting to engage with the poem and the person behind it and my feelings they evoked more deeply. From that rises a sort of helplessness, and of being lost. What do you do with a poem that speaks to you? Sometimes I copy a poem into my planner or print it and hang it up in my room.

But then what? What do you do with poems?

With a book or a story, it is so much easier. You can revel in all that you just read and lived through. There is so much more material. You can go back and relive favourite moments either by rereading them on paper, or by letting them unfold again in your head. You can look for sentences that were especially neat or profound or whatever. Remember the characters, let them come alive in your head. Come up with different outcomes in situations. Look up discussions of the book on the internet or talk to friends about them. Think about the stringency of the story line. Look for stories by the side, read between the lines. There is so much more to do. And most stories are less controversial and more shareable.

Maybe I am missing out on something and my understanding of poetry is still defective. But maybe I am onto something.

Maybe books and stories are closer to our everyday experience of our lives. We know how to interact with characters and stories we have met with. We do so all the time. In fact, we do hardly anything but move around situations in our heads, thinking about other people, events to come, events past, connecting ideas, things to be done, yadda yadda. We do it every day, almost every waking minute not focused on some other task (and this is probably what mindfulness and meditation is supposed to get us out of for a while).

But poems, they are more transcendent. The heaviness, the pressure I feel radiating from a poem that speaks to me is, perhaps, of the same kind as the deep glow of my magic moments, les instants radieux. They are profound, but they escape direct interaction. They are more momentary, and perhaps best unexplained, quite unlike everything else. They bestow a sort of shimmer, a meaning outside words, to us quite straightforwardly and that makes them feel momentous and in need of further interaction. But maybe they work in a way that escapes abstraction.

And so all we can adequately do in answer to art that touches us is try to share it with others, and make more art.

But that does not really solve the problem, it just tries to explain it. It’s all I got so far.


So what do you do with poetry that speaks to you?

My Why-Statements

“Why do you want to succeed?”

This is the central question of lesson 2 in Little Coffee Fox’s course Fast-Paced Productivity. The goal is to “dig deep and find motivation for your productivity” in the form of a “short explanation of your core motivation”.

I was advised to sit down and try to formulate what it is that keeps me going, and what has the potential to motivate and re-align me in moments of stress. So I went and scribbled down a whole page of would-be Why-Statements, but nothing felt quite right. It was over the course of a few days where my thoughts kept returning to Why-Statements that I finally came up with my three Why-Statements, and in the right order. I will spare you all the ruminations and get right to them:

  1. I want to make myself proud.
  2. I want to be conscious and open towards it all, good and bad.
  3. Les Instants Radieux.

1. I want to make myself proud.

… for me is the motivation I get from the prospect of having acted and decided in a way that makes me proud of myself. This combines two aspects:

First, I am proud of myself when I do my best, no matter the outcome. This refers to days where nothing goes right, but I do not let myself be side-tracked, I do not procrastinate, I just keep trying diligently and calmly. At the end of the day, even if nothing went right, I can be proud of myself. This is a reason for pride intrinsic to my work the activity.

Secondly, I am proud of myself when the product or outcome of what I did is good. This is a reason for pride intrinsic to my work the product. This has long, perhaps since I started primary school, been my primary motivation, and this is problematic for a number of reasons – suffice it to say I believe it to be the root of all perfectionism, and therefore anxiety, self-doubt, and procrastination. But I believe it is still a fair and useful motivation to have alongside the balancing factor of doing my best no matter the outcome.

2. I want to be conscious and open towards it all, good and bad.

… for me is a reminder that there is value for me in my experiences, my being alive and consciously perceiving both what I do and what happens to and around me. It goes in the direction of neutral acceptance; perhaps it is a form of grace, of transcendence without religion. It is about losing the self with its problems to a somewhat stoic, non-judgemental sense, however temporary, of being a conscious part of existence, of the world, of my life as a story. “Less of me, less of me, concede and believe.”

This is a curious and open perspective which I wish to take up more often and which gives me a perspective within which to detach myself from the intense emotional nature of being me in my everyday life, if that makes sense.

3. Les Instants Radieux.

… are about a deep sense of joy; the moments that make life worth living. This joy is not simple hedonistic pleasure, but a more profound, shimmering joy of moments that feel just right, meaningful and authentic. There is a sense of the transcendent here, too; but it is less stoic and instead more connected to what I like, what I think is beautiful, to whom and what I personally love in the world. “Magic moments” might be a more accessible formulation, but I personally love the beauty in this expression taken from Alcest – La Nuit Marche Avec Moi (who have given me so many of these moments with their music).


A Literal Instant Radieux cycling home on the “Promenade” in Münster

Last Sunrise in the Wasteland

Last Sunrise in the Wasteland

I got myself a trio of the fabulous Pentel Aquash brushes I saw on Little Coffee Fox’s blog and vowed to not let perfectionism stop me ever again. So here it is: my first watercolour painting since secondary school!

Oh Joy!

In fact, this painting even has its root in a lucky mishap:

A copper paint marker I meant to write with emitted huge splotches of copper ink. I drew those away from the original splotches to suggest hanging copper bridges between tall mast buildings. This inspired me to try painting an abandoned urban wastelandscape. The idea was further cemented by watching The Divergent trilogy – I have to say I’m quite infatuated with the idea of post-apocalyptic scenarios at the moment.

Of course this painting turned out wildly different from the original idea once I’d started. I will have to revisit the copper, possibly combined with grey tones and on a smaller canvas.


Evocative title adopted from the song “Last Sunrise in the Wasteland” by “At the End of Times, Nothing”