Tag Archives Editor’s Letter

Look who we have here!

by

First of all, right on the cusp of February: Happy 2020! I hope everybody entered this year with the exact same amount of limbs, pets, and house mates as they had before the fireworks started. And my wish for the coming year is that this will be the one in which The Netherlands gets their shit together when it comes to the laws regarding said fireworks.

I have two pet peeves when it comes to blogging: 1) bloggers that abandon their blogs without any notice, and return months later saying: “Sorry for not blogging”, and 2) the list of excuses/apologies/actual reasons why they haven’t blogged. Because while there are of course exceptions, it’s usually not relevant nor interesting. However, for the first time in my almost 18 years of blogging, I will put my feelings concerning this aside and both apologise and explain:

I’m sorry for abandoning my blog without any announcement or explanation. I am well aware that I haven’t been missed by millions, but I am of the firm opinion that that doesn’t matter: no matter if you have 5 or 500.000 readers, you don’t just ghost on them. Why I ghosted anyway? Because every week I was convinced that “this will be the week in which I catch up”, and every week something new happened which caused me to not finish my blog post. There’s 53 semi-finished blog posts waiting in my drafts folder as we speak. This post will be the first post I managed to finish since April.

Because despite fancying myself ~an artiste~, I completely lack any natural talent. I was literally 35 years old by the time I learned to write sorta kinda decently (let’s not talk about the level of my other artistic skills), and it’s still a difficult process to get there. Contrary to what people seem to think, I’m not somebody to whom writing comes easy. Crafting a text takes up mental space, contemplation, and time to let ideas “marinate” a bit, so to speak. And the little energy I had for that kind of process in 2019, I spent on finally finishing my thesis.

2019 was intense. I constantly felt like I was standing in front of a tennis ball machine set to warp speed, with the added handicaps of not only having extremely mediocre tennis technique, but also having to play with my ancient wooden Dunlop racket. It was just one damn thing after another, and while I do have a lot of experience solving ad hoc problems (it used to be my job at some point), when it comes to solving issues that concern me personally, the mental load in particular is a lot heavier. On top of everything, it was the year that I moved out of the apartment I had lived in for the last 22 years. It was the year that I returned to California for three weeks. And it was also the year in which there finally, finally, FINALLY came an end to the absolute HELL that was my BA degree.

As to be expected, I then fell face forward into post-performance depression, after which I caught the sonic death flu.

It’s January 24 today, in a bit I’ll be putting on my cap and gown and pick up my diploma. For the non-Dutchies: we do not wear cap and gowns at graduation here in The Netherlands. In my case, it’s not even an actual graduation ceremony: I will just be going to student services, where a bored student doing his temp job will shove a piece of paper in my direction that says “BA degree in English, good luck being unemployed!” or whatever it says on there. As this is too depressing of an end to my 8 year struggle, I am going in full regalia, because it’s my party and I’ll be as extra as I can be if I want to. After this, I’m done.

This year, 2020, I don’t have to do “anything”. No studies to finish, no housing coops to convince of the fact that maybe they should fix the roof and not let us live in wet squalor, no moves to plan, no paperwork to organise, no travels to plan, no hospital tours to manage. I don’t have to do anything at all.

While doing “absolutely nothing” is my greatest ambition in life, I know I’m not the type who can keep it up for long: two weeks has been my max. Therefore, I have decided to start with the basics: catch up on my journal writing, catch up on my blog, finish up projects that have been lying around since I don’t know when, weed out 40.000+ pictures, unpacking, sorting and recycling the stuff in the last few boxes that are still in a corner somewhere, finally arrange my new office and move my stuff out of the living room, read the 60 books on my TBR pile.

This is the first time in my life that I am fortunate enough to have the privilege to be able to finish up all my stuff before I (have to) embark on new things. It is also the first time in a long while that I will have the time to figure out what that “new thing” will be. I can’t say much about it at this time. Not because I’m afraid of jinxing anything, but because I literally have no idea. Everything I wanted to do in life, I have either done by now, or are things that are outside of reality. Yes, I have a 3/4 finished blog post about this lying around somewhere, to be posted at some point.

TL;DR: sorry for ghosting y’all, I am back, how you doin’?

2019!

by

First of all: happy 2019! Hopefully nobody reading this lost any limbs, pets and/or housemates during the end of year celebrations. Everybody who now thinks “Isn’t that a tad exaggerated?” obviously doesn’t live in the Netherlands: this is our fireworks policy. Yes, there’s a petition you can sign to put an end to this batshittery.

Since you should never fix what ain’t broken, things will not change much around here on Featured Mag. I’m keeping the same categories, and will again be updating once a week – on Thursday this year. This mostly because it meant that I didn’t have to change all the dates on my editorial calendar. Similar to last year, each month I will be interviewing a person who wants to be interviewed. I still have a couple of interviews lined up, but if you’re reading this and decide that you want to be interviewed, hit me up: you can leave a comment on this post, DM me on Instagram or send me an email at info [at] featuredmag.nl and I’ll get to work on the questions.

Next week, you can expect a post about New Year’s resolutions, FOMO and bucket lists. I still have to write this post, so I too am very curious what my conclusion on the matters will be.

Let me close this post off with some excellent advice from Bill and Ted:

See you next week!

Four months of blogging again – a lookback

by

Funny how that works: after postponing the start of this blog for about 1 ½ years, I have now been blogging again for four months. It took a couple of weeks for me to get the hang of the whole blogging thing again, because while my previous blogs also had a designated posting day, the topics I blogged about were way more random. In case of “emergency” I just put up an update post about my life. During the brainstorm for this blog however, I decided that I didn’t want to work like that anymore: I wanted categories, themes and a real editorial calendar, like a real magazine.

I of course hadn’t taken into consideration that “having a detailed schedule of what type of post on which topic” is not the same thing as having actually written, let alone translated the post. And I also conveniently forgot that both the writing and the translating always takes 1 ½ times more time than I think (read: wish) it would take. Learning to work with WordPress.org also proved to have a steeper learning curve than I expected, especially seeing I had already worked with WordPress.com for years. The fact that you can change anything in your template to your liking is both an advantage and a disadvantage: it took me a while to get my blog to look exactly like I wanted it to.

What did turn out to be exactly as great as I hoped it would be, was the editorial calendar. Already knowing which article in what category will be posted on which date in August, makes my heart smile. Of course I’m flexible enough to switch things up if needed, but the fact that I have this schedule guiding me, helps me enormously. Because, probably like many other people, I have realised that if I don’t have a kind of deadline, not much writing happens. Not even because I don’t have anything to say, or because I don’t care, but because daily life tends to take up as much space as it can get. “Not now, I have a deadline” is a way better motivator than “I’ll write when I have the time”.

Other reasons for starting this blog were having a place to post interviews again, and to practice writing styles I’m not as good as. Because, and again probably like many other people, I have a tendency to only do things I find easy/easier. Writing is hard enough for me as it is, especially considering both how long and how much I have written throughout my life. Writing reviews however was a disproportionally big chore. I always felt like mine were too much of the “and then this happened/and then that happened”-variety, mixed with a sense of “you had to be there”, so on my previous blog I hardly ever wrote one. So as a challenge to myself I created the “Get out of the house!” category, in which I write about experiences (shows, workshops, exhibitions, and so on) in the outside world. That this also forces me to leave the house on a regular basis, and on top of that avoids situations in which I suddenly realised that I missed that one exhibit I REALLY wanted to go to, is a plus.

So all in all my new blogger life is a good one, and therefore I will continue (at least till the end of this year) to post posts every Wednesday in the categories that basically speak for themselves: in “An opinion” I will give you an opinion, “Interview” is an interview (still looking for two people who want to be interviewed!), in “Get out of the house!” I leave my house and at the end of the month I post a round up of all the things I’ve read/seen/listened to that month that I want to share.

Next Wednesday there will be a post about interpersonal relationships and social media. See you then!