The Making of A Poet's Life04 December 2010
Since we have added a short video about my work and life to this web site, I am getting a lot of enthusiastic feedback but I am also asked a few questions, for example: why am I happy to admit a camera but don’t like visitors? People who really know me are not surprised. It is the same distinction as that between a novel and real life.
In a video like this, I am the director and I can take a vulnerable stance. I can reveal the real me. The same happens in my novels. The facts are partly fictitious but the underlying theme is the complete truth. It is probably generally the case that writers are real extroverts in their writing but quite introverted when it comes to their private life. This video is part and parcel of my work.
As a matter of fact my flat is my office and I expect that most people would hesitate to bring their relatives and friends to the office. Remember uncle Wim who always put his foot in it!
I have already received several invitations for dinner, this because of my culinary activities on a one ring cocker. Visiting people is just about as uncomfortable as receiving visitors, you invade each others domain.
When I visit people I keep deliberating whether I should offer to clear the table or whether this is not the done thing. My rule for visiting or receiving visitors is, in addition to feeling relaxed about clearing the table, the refrigerator issue. Let me explain: can I give a visitor full access to the fridge without offending anyone?
Therefore I prefer meeting even old friends somewhere else, for example in a pub. In many countries such as Belgium and England, this is customary anyway. Maybe I simply live in the wrong country (The Netherlands).
One reader asked me if I am a genuinely poor poet. The answer is yes. I hope for improvement. One day, my writing will allow me to ditch this flat. You may well spot me driving along in a dinky smart sports car.