Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fear of Sharing - Stow it Away

We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Self Reliance Project I've embarked on requires me to respond to prompts given once a day for 30 days in a row
Today's prompt by Gwen Bell
You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.

1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.

Fifteen minutes to live? 

My first urge is to pack all my folders, all printed materials in a box, to schlep all the files and folders on the three Macs I work on to the shared Drop-box and dump. Dump everything in the file I share with my husband (is there enough space?). And then what? I'll be dead. Will he care enough, will he have the gumption to do what needs to be done to get the story out that needs to be written?

Needs to be written? Get out of here! It's all been written. I've been writing since 1980 when IDTV director Harry de Winter lend me one of the Brother typewriters that was used in his office on the Kloveniersburgwal in Amsterdam. I'd pick up the machine and a cassette at 5 p.m. on Friday and return it on Monday morning.

At the time I was working on an opera by Milhaud and Cocteau. Juri Voogd, the director introduced me to Harry in Café Frascati. Harry was curious, where did I come from, a Jewish girl in Amsterdam he had never met, that seemed impossible. So I told him I had lived in Amsterdam until age seven, when my parents and I moved out of town, back to nature.

In 1963 "up north" to Allardsoog could be likened to emigrating to Australia. Raised in isolation, in the middle of the fields, without relatives or friends, I thought we, my father and I, were the last Jews. Not unlike The Last of the Mohicans. My father's mother, after whom I was named was gassed in Auschwitz, so was my father's sister Beppie, her husband Simon, and their children. Whether these cousins were boys or girls, and how many there were, I never heard from him.

My father's brother Jacques was killed at sea, he was the cook on a Merchant Marine ship. My dad never talked about Jacques' wife and children, I gathered there were none. The times that Papa called his surviving sibling Marie on the phone, making contact just for me, he'd hang up after a few minutes. They didn't get along. My father wasn't on speaking terms with Maupie (short for Maurits) either. Maupie was my half-brother, my father's son from his first marriage to aunt Poldi. One of my dolls was a gift from her. I only knew handsome Maupie from a photograph.

The alarm just went off, I'm dead and I haven't told the story I need to write, no, that I need to share. Even the threat of death can't make me come to the point. How pathetic is that? 
For me, writing or creating something is not the problem. I've got loads of material that's already written, and believe me I did get to the point. 

Come back you hear! I'm not finished yet!

This work by by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.