Sunday, January 03, 2010

Sunday on the better side of it...


I've been up for a while, drinking coffee, smoking my cigarettes and answering my emails. I'm also pretty much caught up on my blog reading, although I didn't leave comments everywhere. Sometimes I'm just short of words and sometimes I'm only a lurker. I read other people's comments and wonder where they get the imagination to write such good ones, because I really have to stop and think of something sensible to write and sometimes I give up completely. It's not that I'm not amused or that I don't empathize, it's just that I can't find the right words to express that and I really have to try very hard to come across as a sincerely involved person, which I am, make no mistake about it. I just assume it speaks for itself, but it doesn't, of course, and I know how much I appreciate each comment that I get, so I try very hard to say something relevant if I can.

When I first started reading blogs, long ago in the Dark Ages before I wrote my own blog, I didn't realize it was customary that if you didn't have anything good to say, it was better not to say anything at all, and that you should always try to find something positive to comment about, even if it was just a minuscule detail. I was always putting my foot in my mouth by being to straight forward and calling a spade a spade. I thought I was a criticizer and not just a reader who could put her positive two cents worth in. It was in a time of my life when I was super critical of anything anyway, so it was the imperfect setup. Very unfortunate. Since then I've learned to keep silent if I think something is nonsense, or to at least find something positive to focus on and to bring any criticism as diplomatically as possible and not see it as a matter of life or death.

It's in the national character to be very critical of things to the point of being rude. That's no excuse to act like a clodhopper, of course, but I used to meet many of those Dutch kind of people when I still lived in the States. They were critical of everything and all things were better in their own country. Those are the kind of people you don't want to read your blog, because they will find all sort of faults with it and trip you up on the smallest details and have an argument with you. I think that's another reason why I don't write in Dutch. It's to prevent me from meeting those kinds of people. English speaking people are more polite as a rule. They come better equipped to hand out the niceties of life and isn't that just a much better atmosphere to write in?

You all know that I only read English language blogs and novels. The only Dutch I read is in the TV Guide and in the articles I read in magazines in waiting rooms. My Dutch is good enough now that I can pass for a native, which I am, after all, although for a long time I didn't feel like one, but I don't have the least desire to read Dutch language novels, many of which would be translated out of another language anyway. There are good writers here, there's no doubt about it, but I'm not the least bit curious about them. My interest lies mainly in English language female authors and there are so many good ones to choose from, that it will keep me busy for a long time, and I will even read male authors now and then.

This specific interest was born after reading a big collection of short stories by female authors that I enjoyed very much and I started reading them and subsequently discovered other English language female authors. Our library has a very good collection of English language novels and I was able to extend my list of authors quite a bit. Now, of course, I mooch books through Bookmooch and I have been very successful so far. What I can't get, but really want, I order occasionally at Bol.com at a discount. Every time I hear about a new author, I look into it and add her to my list if she sounds interesting.

So, you could really say that English is my first language and that Dutch is my secondary language. I don't know if I could express myself as well in Dutch as I do here in English, although I am aware that the occasional mistake slips through every once in a while. I make more mistakes in Dutch.

It's snowing outside and there are a couple of centimeters. Only one car had driven on it so far, so it looks very pretty. I have to take the dog for a walk, because he's waiting impatiently. I'll have to dress warmly, because there's a cold wind blowing.

Well, that was all about writing and reading and such. I hope you all have a nice day.

I'll be thinking about you all on this Sunday and wondering how you are doing.

Ciao,
Nora

12 comments:

Babaloo said...

Good morning! It seems like it's a good one indeed. Sunshine here, too, in between the clouds. And frost. No snow. Hope you enjoyed your walk.

You are so right about the English language lending itself better to politeness. A lot easier.

Twain12 said...

I think you are an excellent writer and express yourself very well. I on the other hand have a problem with writing, as soon as my fingers hit the keyboard everything i wanted to say goes puff and it's gone. English is my second language but after living in Canada longer than i lived in Germany i find it easier to express myself in English (at least in person)Would it be forward to ask if you are Dutch or North American ?
I'm Canadian now but it took me until i was 40 to get my citizenship .

Gail said...

I, too, love your writing.

We have our first measurable snow this morning about a month too early for the normal weather.

frazzledsugarplummum said...

I enjoy your writings Nora. You always have interesting observations and I think it is very brave the way you face your fears and try to work them out. Anxiety is very hard to deal with but that is the way it is sometimes.

Maggie May said...

I am glad that you are not critical of our blogs nowadays, Nora. I think it is better not to criticise.
All the Dutch people I have ever met have been very polite. Guess I must be lucky.

Today I went to Church & it was so icy that I didn't think I would make it. Only about 100 feet from my home but might as well be a hundred miles when it is like that.
I think I am going to end up trapped inside until it thaws.
I am bereft that my lovely daughter is on her way home & my son is in Japan until the weekend.
I seem to be very emotional these days. x

Nuts in May

aims said...

Twain12 said exactly what I was thinking.

You are a very excellent writer and really express yourself so succinctly that I often wish I could write like you do.

I remember when you called a spade a spade and it used to astonish me. But I also thought it was quite alright that you spoke your mind. Everyone should be allowed to.

I know that people often get upset if someone disagrees with them in a comment or says what they really think.

We feel that we 'must' be nice - and why is that? If we are not then the commenter becomes a troll.

Since a blog is a place where we are allowed to say whatever we want - then why is the comment section only a place to leave 'good and proper' comments?

Hmmm...you've got me on a roll now my friend.

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

I used to work for a Dutch man here in NZ. He was always yelling at me, he was arrogant and I could never do anything right. I didn't last long. I feel better after reading your post and observations, perhaps it wasn't just me after all!

See, I do turn up on good days too:)

Debi said...

Being a butcherer of three non-native languages, I can't imagine exactly how it is you've come to write in your second-language so well. Reminds me of Joseph Conrad, considered one of the great English novelists, but was Polish. Such a thing happens, but rarely. You are among the talented elite.

Debi said...

Still thinking about your post. I wonder about the depths of the relationship between culture and language. For example, the words for concepts that are not easily translated to another language, concepts that are distinctly related to that culture. I'm thinking of the Swedish word lagom , which means a just right balance, not too much, not too little, which is an important part of Swedish culture.

Are there any Dutch words for concepts that have no English equivalent, I wonder?

laurie said...

i've never thought any of your blog comments were inappropriate. that's such a lovely snow picture; is that one of yours, or a google pic? it's gorgeous.

Catherine said...

That's funny what you wrote about the national character to be critical to the verge of rudeness - that is very true - Dutch people are very direct - I should know, hubby's one! - but I heard someone at our bookclub saying oh those Dutch they are soooo direct! They really say what they mean and don't mind if they insult or offend you. Irish people will never say no but they will say yes and not do anything! I'm always saying yes to be nice and then forgetting to do whatever it was if I didn't feel very moved to do it in the first place but I wouldn't be so rude as to refuse outright. Hubby also says I often ignore unpleasantness in the hope it'll go away. That's true too - we avoid facing up to reality if it isn't easy to handle. I would go around the block to avoid confrontation with anyone - family, work colleagues, bosses, shopkeepers - no wonder we're a nation of suckers! - we never complain in restaurants and die if anyone we're with would complain - we'll just moan and bitch for days to anyone who'll listen!

So that's a stream of consciousness of an answer. The Irish do that well too - look at Joyce and Ulysses!!!

Happy New Year!!!
Catherine

Catherine said...

That's funny what you wrote about the national character to be critical to the verge of rudeness - that is very true - Dutch people are very direct - I should know, hubby's one! - but I heard someone at our bookclub saying oh those Dutch they are soooo direct! They really say what they mean and don't mind if they insult or offend you. Irish people will never say no but they will say yes and not do anything! I'm always saying yes to be nice and then forgetting to do whatever it was if I didn't feel very moved to do it in the first place but I wouldn't be so rude as to refuse outright. Hubby also says I often ignore unpleasantness in the hope it'll go away. That's true too - we avoid facing up to reality if it isn't easy to handle. I would go around the block to avoid confrontation with anyone - family, work colleagues, bosses, shopkeepers - no wonder we're a nation of suckers! - we never complain in restaurants and die if anyone we're with would complain - we'll just moan and bitch for days to anyone who'll listen!

So that's a stream of consciousness of an answer. The Irish do that well too - look at Joyce and Ulysses!!!

Happy New Year!!!
Catherine