196/2024 – Some Thoughts, Lots of Photos

After I last week finally managed to publish some of my thoughts on Frank Turner’s stunning song “Somewhere Inbetween” I had hoped that I would have cleared up some capacity in my mind to write about other stuff. I’m sorry to say that this isn’t quite the case. I still do have many many thoughts, most of them introspective though – many still brought on by the aforementioned song – and thus of no interest to a wider audience. I also do have ideas for longer posts or comments on various political / social issues. But right though I’m still shying away from putting those down on paper (so to speak), because I’m afraid that I still don’t know enough and haven’t considered all aspects and haven’t read all the information I need to form an opinion.

Often I also think that spending my time reading – weekly newspaper with more indepth analysis, articles on news sites, nonfiction on current issues – is more useful to me than sharing my thoughts online. So I don’t know. 

Stack of newspaper
Lots to read

I don’t have a lot of distinct thoughts yet on what happened at the Trump rally in Butler, Pa last night. I admit I feel a bit detached and void of any empathy for him, which scares me a little. Because yes, Trump is a dangerous and evil man and was and would be a horrible president. But he’s still a human being and I should feel some empathy for someone who survived an assassination attempt, right? This also calls for more introspection.

I’m worried though – of course – what this all will mean for the election campaigns and the future of the USA, but I don’t know enough about it all and thus won’t go into that here either.

Ferris Wheel
Ferris Wheel on the Fun Fair

The fun fair had been in my town recently and it’s a big deal for a lot of folks in my town. It’s part of the town’s tradition and rites and folklore and all that. People who have moved away come back for the weekend to visit the fair. Imagine all the people who ever graduated from highschool coming back together for one big reunion. But also running into and chatting and having a drink with all sorts of acquaintances from all parts of your life in a small town. People are very social and gregarious on that fair and the older I get the more I feel out of place when I’m there. I’ve never been that social or gregarious. And I’ve reached the point where I’m not sure I want to turn into a gregarious person for this occasion, because everybody else does. Stuck somewhere inbetween, eh? 

Some other thing that turns me off from the fair more and more year after year is the consumerism aspect of it all. The super cheap plush toys or other (plastic) prizes at the lottery or the games or merchandise at the stalls: probably imported from Asia, thrown away after one use or a few days, because they fall apart or just quickly aren’t interesting / useful anymore.

I’ve been thinking  / talking about the whole (societal / global) waste problem a bit more recently. The way we – as western society – these days so easily buy and throw away so much. How the round-the-clock availability of internet shops and the often free delivery has killed the high streets. The problems our waste causes in other parts of the world. I don’t have any solution. I try to be mindful of my own behaviour and live and shop more responsibly, but I’m only human and still experience the common human impulse of e.g. wanting to replace a broken gadget right away, because I need it. But do I really? More food for thought, I guess. My current particular “oh let’s replace the broken thing right away” impulse and the shame about acting on that, at least lead me to finally sell the Switch console I had bought during the first lockdown and hardly ever used in 2020 and not ever again after. Tiny steps.

Resetting a Switch
Resetting my Switch for sale

This all sounds a bit bleak, right? There have been happy moments in my past few weeks as well. Yes, I might have had some introspective – “Do I really fit in here? Have I ever?” – Somewhere Inbetween – thoughts during the first one. This song will play a part in my life for a while, deal with it. But it’s been a lovely day regardless.

A muffin topped with a red heart saying Amore next to a cup of coffee
Muffin and Coffee
Wooden Hearts with Mr & Mrs as well as a Just Married sign
Table decoration

There’s also been a trip to the zoo, which is always fun,…

Attentive Meerkat at the zoo
Meerkat waiting for their food

…and I still enjoy winding down by creating colourful random pieces of art? Is it art? What is art? I like doing it so what does it matter?

Colourful Doodle
Colourful Doodle

Another happy moment today: I made myself go for a run for the first time in about 6 weeks? And because I do have a problem with moderation I didn’t just go for the short 3K, but the 5K, which I haven’t done in a while.

Rail track with a bridge passing over, a foot path merging from the left
My regular running track (photo not from today though)

The run went fine. Better than expected and that was marvellous.

And now I’m going to watch England bring “it” home. Fingers crossed at least.

A Few Words on Frank Turner’s “Somewhere Inbetween”

As long as I can remember I have been a person of words. Reading. Writing. Talking. Though the latter needs the addendum that I’ve always been a bit shy around people I don’t know (yet). If I’m on a familiar / friendly terms with you it might happen that I talk a lot, that I talk fast and that I won’t shut up.

A long time ago I tried to explain why many of Frank’s lyrics resonate with me the way they do:

All of a sudden there were these songs – these words to be exact – that touched me on so many levels, because I could relate to so many of the emotions or situations he was singing about. [….] because these words express what I feel or have felt at some point so much better than I ever could.

When I was writing about some of Frank’s words before, I usually was able to express in depth in my own words how and why his words resonate with me. To reference my own experience in my own words. To share my thoughts and emotions in my own words.

Until “Somewhere Inbetween”.

Lyrics Somewhere Inbetween
Lyrics to “Somewhere Inbetween”

This song and these words are something I feel deep down in my bones and in every fibre of my being. I can’t find the (right) words to tell you why. And trust me, I tried. In so many words and so many different ways. The song has been released two months ago and I spent quite a bit of that time to think so many thoughts about it. To start draft after draft of this post. For now though I’ve decided to abandon the idea to explain in depth and in my own words why these lyrics resonate with me so incredibly much.

“All my fucking life” I’ve been struggling with lack of self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, tons of self-doubt and everything that comes with it. To some extent I still struggle with it and just slowly with help of therapy I did in 2022/2023 and with work I need to keep doing on myself, I’ve managed to understand some of the causes and to start finding ways to overcome some of it.

My self-doubt and lack of self-esteem have been telling me for so long to “put on a show” of being an accomplished and trouble-free child / teenager / adult. They only rarely allow(ed) me to share my doubts and fears and struggles and often also not allowed me to share my ideas, my wishes or my needs with others, because self-doubt and a lack of self-esteem tell me I don’t deserve to do that. Self-doubt and lack of self-esteem still also question many of the positive things that are said or happen to me. Even with the positive things I facilitate for myself or others, I still doubt that I can own that accomplishment or that I deserve it.

Knowing the concept of imposter-syndrome in theory doesn’t magically erase the doubts and struggles, let me tell you.

“Putting on a show” can be so isolating. Battling imposter-syndrome is so exhausting. And this song describes all these struggles so perfectly. There is nothing left for me to add. Except to thank Frank from the bottom of my heart for putting this deeply personal experience into a beautiful song and for releasing this song into the world. To thank Frank for sharing his vulnerability with us and for finding the perfect words to capture these difficult emotions. And by doing so help me to articulate (to myself at least) more of my own emotions as well.

I have no idea how visceral I’ll react to see and hear this song at my next gig! I might turn into a weepy mess at the barrier. Be that as it may, I can’t wait to hear and experience it live in October.

Books I’ve Read in June 2024

The books I read in June 2024
June 2024 Books

Here are a few thoughts on the books I read in form of the often short and possibly not very substantial reviews on Storygraph. Even if I don’t rate book as such anymore, I’ll here share them in order of how much I enjoyed reading them. Favourite first, obviously.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin, 2014
If I still rated books, this would have gotten 5 stars. Such a lovely story about real people and their lives, misfortunes and mistakes but also their joys and achievements. It’s also about books and why we love and need them. Sooooo good. This has been the 3rd book I read from Zevin and I enjoyed all of them. They’ve all been unique in their plot, which I also liked a lot because it shows how good a writer she is. I’ll definitely try to read more of her.

No Time Like The Past (The Chronicles of St Mary’s #05), Jodi Taylor, 2015
Another entertaining story from St. Mary’s. There is always so much going and again they are a whirl-wind through history, that I sometimes wish they’d slow down a bit. I mean they do in the plot, but it’s not noticeable in the storytelling as such. I just sometimes feel like I’m loosing track of who’s where/when and what’s happening to whom and all. But maybe that’s just me. (30 June 2024)

The Edge of Lost, Kristina McMorris, 2015
The summary mentioned “skillfully weaving these two stories” and I found that misleading, because it wasn’t really two stories, was it? I don’t know. I kind of enjoyed the story, but it was such a slow burn and sadly enough I didn’t manage to care about neither the main nor some of the side characters all that much. The end comes with a few surprises at least, but by that time I had already almost lost interest.

The Lighthouse Library, Rachael Lucas, 2024
I enjoyed most of the previous Applemore books, but didn’t know this would be a standalone in the series. It was nice enough, but to me it tried to hard to be educational about environment and poverty and all that stuff. It would have needed more substance for me to have any impact, to me this felt a bit performative.

The Wake-Up Call, Beth O’Leary, 2023
I enjoyed previous works from Beth O’Leary, but this just didn’t quite land with me. The writing was fine and the plot idea as such okay for me. I liked the competition angle and miscommunication as a trope often enough works for me, but at least halfway through the story I wanted to knock some sense into the female lead and force her to address what upset her last Christmas. Ugh! The actual reason for the not / wrongly delivered reason was so lame IMHO. All in all… just no cup of tea sadly.

The Guncle Abroad, Steven Rowley, 2024
I guess after how much I enjoyed “The Guncle” a sequel had a lot to live up to. For me this story sadly didn’t deliver as much as I had hoped. Parts of it felt too much like a travel advert for Europe, parts were just a bit silly. I didn’t understand either why Greg and Livia had to marry right now and neither why Patrick had ended things with Emory. I tore through it on a weekend, but if I’m honest a lot of that had to do with me wanting to get it over with.

American Panda, Gloria Chao, 2018
For some reason this book wasn’t for me. I found the writing a bit boring, didn’t find it in me to care all that much about the main character and all in all neither the plot.