Introducing – AZZZA!

So, I’ve been mentioning about doing something for micro entrepreneurs and small businesses. I have already published this information in Facebook, but for those who are able to avoid the curse of being on that social marketing site, here you go. What I have been doing is AZZZA.

AZZZA is first a web shop where micro entrepreneurs can sell their stuff – and anyone can buy some amazing stuff that they might not known even existed. What makes it exciting for micro entrepreneurs, in my mind at least, is the aspect of CRM plus services to those micro entrepreneurs on the back end side of that shop. Indeed, it’s not mandatory for a micro entrepreneur to sell their products or services publicly on AZZZA front page – they could just use the app to organize their work and processes better.

Unfortunately, the page and articles are in Estonian only right now so unfortunately any non-Estonian speaker will not get enough information there right now. The reason for this is that we are starting on Estonian market only right now and based on how well it goes, we might go forward to other markets as well.

Actually, nothing workable is public yet (we are working on it – more about “we” in another post). If you do know Estonian, you can already go there and read the articles with more specifics what it is. You can also follow us on FB and Instagram as well as subscribe to the e-mail news letter. Not all of those channels work as well as they should be, yet, but we’re doing our best to make them work. It will take a bit. Just like it will take a bit to get the app working.

Keep It Simple, Stupid

How often I have said so to someone… And how often I have actually realized I have not done so myself. Again, I did so when starting with entrepreneurship.

Of course, everybody says that in entrepreneurship, if people are not laughing when you tell them what you’re planning to do, you’re not aiming high enough, so I set pretty high visions for myself and started doing it as if I had 10 developers and some management instead of my own 10 fingers and my humble brain to do it.

I have been in software development as non-programmer for a long time now. Granted, I started as a programmer, but that was more years ago than I’d like to admit. Still, I never went too far from the code, even now, even at my regular job, I have to connect directly to the database most days. I like it that way, keeping me connected to the roots.

Still, I have not done web development for a long time, especially I haven’t been keeping my skills up to date with current way of building the web (although I’ve heard about it enough). Oh, I know, it’s not too difficult to start again, internet is full of tutorials and references and answered questions about exact problems I was having. So I started off pretty naively toward just building the site I had envisioned. It was interesting to learn, and I wrote pretty spaghetti code for start, although it got better and better. Still, with my inexperience in this area I got distracted away from the main purpose.

Sure, I was stripping it down to bare minimum. Minimum viable product, as they call it.

But still, how do you build a website without a working multi-language option? I have seen how bothersome it is to do it afterwards when you have loads of pages, so it was a must-have. And tracking every click. And separate development and production environments (having test separately still seemed overkill). And code versioning. And separation of backend and frontend. And decent usability. And decent design (still the most expensive part of the page, as I ordered it from a friendly designer)…

And once I got to the point where users should be able to change their data – have you thought of everything that needs to be in place for that to happen? Let me count some…

  • User registration
  • A process by which a user can claim ownership of a vendor, and get verified
  • User login
  • Lost password recovery process
  • Accepting terms and conditions of the page
  • Giving permission to contact them on their e-mail
  • Accepting cookie policy
  • Editing user profile information

And that’s without actual editing of the vendor. Of course it was during trying to figure all this out that I realized the data protection laws don’t allow for the model I was going for.

It was just too much learning all at once in so many different areas. So I realized – have big visions, but start small. Tiny, in fact.

Once I found I need to take a step back, I decided to do something small, simple and fun instead. Some days ago I had searched for a random username that wouldn’t be connected to me in any way and I realized the random string generators out there are too random. I know it can be done better – I still remember my randomly generated password from Oracle website as they have made some effort into making it less random, and they say so on their site. I also remembered the way names were generated for people in Disposessed, Ursula Le Guin’s communist scifi novel (just add two random syllables together, check that nobody by exact same name is alive at the same time, and you’re done).

Putting it all together, I created a small website with just this kind of memorable random string generator. I took it as a practice for my skills, practice for the knowledge I had gained from books and practice in actually finishing something. It’s not monetized in any way right now – if there will be any noticeable traffic, I might test what happens with ads; or maybe I’ll think of a  way to offer “enterprise version” with some added value – I hope this is the part where you’ll laugh, so I can still justify that my visions are big enough 😉

As for helping the bright-eyed small entrepreneurs, I still have something coming for them, just having a little break to think it over. I might do some other fun little projects once in a while to complete something sooner. It sure has given me much-needed energy to continue.

Lesson #1: You Are Blindest Where You Believe You Are Strongest

Repurposing this blog was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing for me. Especially doing so in the middle of the night, right now. But I wanted to share. I don’t even mind too much if nobody ever reads it and I don’t really plan on it getting popular or sharing it with anyone or… really, I don’t have plans at all.

But I decided to go for it and see where I get to (this way you always succeed – in seeing where you get to!). That’s exactly the same thing I did with the topic I decided to restart this blog with. But to get to the topic, I need to do a bit of an introduction into it.

I have been into several things in the past. And when I am into something, I am deeeep into it. I do believe I know more than most people about cats, fitness and nutrition, dog training, psychology, mental health, to name a few things (and these are mostly things I have been into after I stopped being active on the blog). I might even elaborate on these on some other occasion. But lately I have started really confronting my personal financial situation and of ways to improve it. I got past the saving and budgeting – got this under control. No wild loans either, got it. So how to improve the situation even more?

Entrepreneurship.

Me! I had never thought of myself as the entrepreneurial type. I always kept my head down and did how I was told and I was pretty good at it. Actually, I recently did a small survey among people who know me best, about what I am best at – and the only thing that came up universally one way or another was my being good at sacrificing myself for others by taking care of them and putting their needs first (although they used less passive aggressive wording)… But I digress…

I entered the field of software development and then software analysis through luck and circumstance and I was proud of doing my work and keeping out of the contracts, management. marketing, finances, sales. I couldn’t avoid them entirely, but I did my best to remain technical software analyst. And I believed I would always be a good worker bee.

But even so, I always admired those sparkly-eyed entrepreneurial people who had some great idea and made it happen somehow. I was horrified to hear the stats about how small number of them are still in business a year or so later. In fact, they say that there are most businesses created for providing beauty services, and these are the least likely to be successful. I felt sorry for them, I wanted to help them. Just like I always wanted to help all those I have sacrificed for in the past… But I digress…

In my endeavours to teach myself about personal finance I came upon the realisation, and material to support it, that to really get out of the rut, one needs to offer value to others in the form of entrepreneurship. It seemed logical. It opened my eyes – yes, I knew it before, but somehow it never clicked before. Yes, this is what I will do!

And how better to do it than to use my passion to help others to benefit all those entrepreneurial people who couldn’t manage their business, have trouble finding customers etc. How would I do it? Well, I’ve been in software business, I’d do a software for them to help with their work. So how to help them? Create a website where they would find their customers and they could sell their products/services. And also provide some small fee for me, I don’t need much, and if there are many of them, each wouldn’t need to pay too much.

I fantasised so much about it that I couldn’t stop myself from starting when I saw in a FB group people sharing their little businesses before Christmas so we could support each-other by buying presents from each-other. What a great idea, this is so much in the spirit of my idea to build that I took a weekend off all other things (I even skipped my dog’s training class, sorry Musti) and set it up. Very basic at first.

Shared it there… Silence… Shared it in another group where they had the same idea going on… Silence… Manually put all of those shared in those two groups in there… Silence… I had like 50 people visit the site, 5 clicked through to links to providers’ pages.

Well, I understand, there’s nothing much there, no way for the people to edit their own texts or anything… I continued developing on evenings and weekends to get to the point where they could actually do something on the site so it would be a bit more useful, so it could get started.

I am getting carried away with the tale as I was carried away with the just doing it. When I tried to figure out how the legal flow would be to get in contact with the providers that had been shared on my site I found out sharing their information on my site was illegal, as none of them had given their agreement to be there.

I had to take their information down.

I had failed.

And the most embarrassing thing is, I failed where I was strongest. Analysis should be my forte, but I was so focused on the parts of my new undertaking that I knew I would be weak at (sales, marketing, finance) so I did not put much thought into the work I usually do without much problem. The realisation hit me hard.

So, what do I do now? Analyse.

I will not give up. I have taken down the information I had on the site illegally, but I still have the site and the wish to benefit those people. I will find a way to make this legally. I will find a way to get them there when it doesn’t appear to be full of vendors. I will figure it out. It is a strange nut to crack, but I’ve had complex problems ahead of me before this, although in different fields, but this actually IS my forte. This is what I do for living. When you think there is no way to do it, there still is some way to do it. This is actually where it really gets interesting, although it unhinged me for a bit to get this answer.

Or if this really is impossible for some reason, I have the design and framework in place and can focus on implementing some other idea. I did have a few others as well.

There’s a lesson in that

I last updated my blog more than two years ago, when I was searching for work (I found it just a few months later).

Just previous to that post, even more into past, I had renewed my enthusiasm for blogging and I was setting out to find the right way to live. I had a vague idea of what I was going to write next on my blog, but I was never happy with what I was able to put down or even just construct in my mind – it was always incomplete or dubious, so I always postponed.

The fact that the front page of my blog says that I am looking for work is terribly unfair towards my current employer.

But to me, it is more than that. Staring right at me from the fact that it is so old, is the conclusion that I had been so unwilling to make.

There is no definite answer, it’s just a journey.

This realization has been one of the most difficult ones to accept for me. That fact might toss me into hopelessness – what reason is there to go on at all, if there is no destination to reach to? But then, it may pull me up into highest hopes – I can continue to enjoy this journey as long as I live, and get ever better, isn’t the next “better” something to look forward to? More specifically, what point is there to write about it if it’s never a final answer and may easily be wrong? But then again, isn’t it better to give at least one answer, be wrong and then, leaning on that, find a better one?

I still struggle with this controversy. Maybe nobody can understand that if they haven’t gone through that journey, haven’t come to realization by themselves? Maybe it can only be felt in mystic moments of enlightenment? Isn’t that what wise men since ages old have been trying to tell us?

And then I sometimes think that I am just a storyteller. I like to write stories about this exciting real life I have actually had.

I remember, once I had clarity, and it came to me in the most unlikely moment of all.

I was in a bus stop with my son, waiting for our ride home. A woman approached me, offering to introduce God into my life. I politely declined a conversation on this issue as I am an atheist who doesn’t enjoy arguing. She wasn’t so easily deterred. 

“I see that you have a son, don’t you want to be with him after you die?”

And then it struck me: “I don’t need any god for that.”

The woman was confused beyond what I have seen others of her kind to be in similar situation, but that didn’t bother me. She left me alone, yet in my mind I experienced something amazing. 

My thoughts connected in a new way. I would be living on in my son in form of DNA that I once gave him, as well as all the experiences I have had with him. And furthermore, I will live on with the world, the universe and whatever else is out there as consequences of my actions, as diluted as they are in the enormous amount of other causes and effects. I will even live on with this woman as this confusing experience in that bus stop. I will always be grateful to her for offering connection with her God, and thus helping me find connection to myself in that moment.

I have written before how I believe everything to be interconnected by cause and effect. I have even written a crude poem about it and named my blog after that. Yet I only experience it fully in rare moments. Yet when I do, it all makes sense and I find a renewed enthusiasm for putting effort into causing the best effects with my life that I possibly could.

There is a lesson in that. I won’t promise to write more frequently in my blog, I’ve seen that I can’t trust such promises given in enthusiastic moments. I really want to, at that moment. I do my best decisions on whim (unless it has something to do with money or men) and I write my best blog posts at 4AM when I have exhausted all my routines of falling asleep without any success. We’ll see if whim and insomnia, or at least one of those, makes me write all those other things I’ve been thinking of writing all that time. I don’t promise anything.

Otsin tööd | I am searching for work

Ma otsin nüüd ametlikult tööd. 

Ma olen sellele kaua mõelnud, kaheldes ja mõeldes, kas see on hea mõte, ja nüüdseks olen ma jõudnud paratamatule arusaamisele, et ma pean seda tegema. Ma olen flirtinud selle mõttega ka eelnevatel aastatel, kuid ma ei ole kunagi jõudnud kaugemale paarist tööintervjuust enne kui mu praegune tööandja on suutnud mind ümber veenda – nende juurde jääma. Seekord on see erinev, ei ole midagi, mida nad saaksid pakkuda, et mu meelt muuta. Ma olen nendega rääkinud ja nad teavad seda. Ma olen jõudnud järeldusele, et mul on nüüdseks piisavalt kogemust spetsiaaltarkvara arenduse mudelis ning mul on vaja teha midagi muud, et mind motiveerituna hoida.

Ärge mõistke mind valesti, ma ei arva oma praegusest tööandjast midagi halba, tegelikult vastupidi. Uptime on väga hea tööandja, kelle heaks töötada. Ma olen töötanud nende heaks juba 9 aastat (novembris 2011 saaks 10). See on suur number. Ma ei oleks siia jäänud, kui see oleks olnud halb firma. Nende aastate jooksul olen ma teinud siin palju erinevaid töid ja ma olen ise palju muutunud. Ma alustasin programmeerijana, kes püüdis vaid peitu pugeda ja käis ainult seinaääri mööda, kuid läbi pideva enesearenduse, mind ümbritsevate inimeste toetuse ja paindliku süsteemi olen ma muutunud usaldusväärseks analüütikuks, kes arutab klientidega keerulisi teemasid ja edastab selle arusaadavalt ka programmeerijatele. Ma olen näinud inimesi tulemas ja minemas; kliendibaasi muutumas; erinevate tehnoloogiate ja organisatsiooni struktuuride läbiproovimist firma poolt ja ma olen kindel, et see on üks parimaid spetsiaaltarkvara arenduse firmasid Eestis.

Samuti armastan ma paljut oma praeguses töös. Mulle meeldib mõista, kuidas asjad töötavad, miks midagi tehakse nii nagu tehakse ja kas annaks teha kuidagi paremini. Mulle meeldib tutvuda keeruliste teemadega, neid oma mõttes igalt küljelt vaadata, need organiseerida ja pakkuda töötavaid lahendusi, et elule kaasa aidata. Ma armastan nende üleskirjutamist ja diagrammide joonistamist keerukamate kohtade selgitamiseks. Mulle meeldib omada üldpilti, kuid samas mõista ka kõiki detaile. Mulle meeldib paindlikult otsida alternatiivseid lahendusi kui mõni pakutud lahendus mingil minule eelnevalt teadmata põhjusel kliendile siiski ei sobi.

Pikka juttu tegemata, olen kokku leppinud, et lahkun Uptime’ist 1. septembril 2011, tahan lõpliku otsuse teha enne suve algust. Niisiis kutsun üles kõiki, kellel on mulle kas hea soovitus, mis võiks mu uus töö olla, või kellel on endal vajadus minu oskuste ja omadustega inimese järele, kontakteeruda minuga.

Minu CV leiad siit või CV Online’ist.

I am now officially searching for work. 

I have been thinking about it for a long time now, hestitating and thinking whether it is a good idea, and now I have reached the inescapable realization that I have to do it. I have flirted with that thought in previous years as well, but I have never got much farther than a few interviews before my current employer has been able to convince me to reconsider – to stay with them. This time it is different, there is nothing they could offer that would make me change my mind. I have talked to them and they know it. I have come to understand that I have had enough experience in special software development model and I need to do something else to keep me motivated.

Don’t get me wrong, I think nothing bad of my current employer, actually the opposite. Uptime is a very good company to work for. I have been working for them  for 9 years now (it would be 10 in November 2011). That is a big number. I wouldn’t have if it had been a bad company.  In these years I have done a lot of different things there, I have changed a lot and the company has also changed. I started out as a programmer that did her best to hide out of sight, walking only at the sides of the walls, but through constant self-improvement, support from people around me and flexible system I have changed into a reliable analyst that can discuss complex subjects with customers and relay that to programmers in understandable way. I have watched people come and go; customer base changing; trying out different technologies and inside structures by the company and I am sure this is one of the best companies in special software development that there are in Estonia.

And I also love much about my current job. I love to understand how things work, why something is done the way it is and if there is a better way. I love to be introduced to complex subjects, look at them from every side in my head, organize them and offer workable solutions to help things along. I love writing them up, and drawing diagrams to illustrate the more complex points. I love to have general picture and still understand all the details. I love to find alternate solutions flexibly when some solution I have offered is not possible for some reason that was still  unknown for me previously.

Long story short, I have agreed to leave Uptime at September 1st, 2011, I want to be able to make the final decision before the start of summer. So I invite anybody who has a good suggestion as to what would be a good job for me, or has a need for a person of my qualifications and attributes, to contact me.

You’ll find my CV here or CV Online .

Keep the reins strong and steady in your own hands

(Warning! The argumentation does not apply in case of religious person.)

It always frustrates me if somebody gives away their initiative in life, but it actually puzzles me when they do it because they think that everything is predetermined anyway. I think that the fact is true that everything is predetermined – and this is precisely the reason we have to do our best to create a better future. I guess that sentence puzzles people just as much as giving up initiative because of a belief in an ascertained fate puzzles me, so I’ll explain a bit on this.

I have a programmer’s understanding of fate – the future is defined by initial data and all the rules (the program or the natural laws) that are applied to it by that time. As a scientific-minded person I believe that there is no true random – behind chaos, behind random events there are rules we haven’t discovered yet or data we didn’t consider; even the “acceptable measuring error” is actually implication that the experiment cannot be entirely separated from the environment (other data and other natural laws are being applied outside the experiment and they are influencing it). So if you knew all the initial data and all the rules; and you could apply them faster than they happen naturally, you could predict what the result will be at any moment.

Of course this can only be theoretical because the amount of data and the rules is enormous, unimaginable even. You’d have to include data of each electron and atom existing anywhere, all the forces influencing them and all the laws of all the sciences and more (I believe we have only scratched the surface of all there is to know about the rules by which the universe/multiverse works). No person has brain big enough to hold all that data inside; no computer system comes even close to the computing power needed. There is only one thing that can know it all and apply all the laws – and that is the nature(/universe/multiverse/…) itself. And nature applies the rules just in time for them to happen, it doesn’t care for knowing ahead of time what will happen, everything happens as it happens and whenever it is supposed to happen.

And as fate is preset in grand scale, it is also set to the tiniest of atoms and to the decisions we make in life. Yes, also the decision to give up initiative, also called “free will”. The best explanation I have seen of how much free will there is in this predetermined world (as understood by me), is written by Schoppenhauer (On The Freedom Of Will – though I found it in Wikipedia):

You can do what you will, but in any given moment of your life you can will only one definite thing and absolutely nothing other than that one thing.

So, in a way you have free will, but then again this free will is predetermined. If you give up doing anything because you are convinced that everything is predetermined anyway, this is also predetermined; and it is also predetermined that due to the neglect of any action on your part your life will now go the way others make it go. It is predetermined, whether I can convince anyone to readjust the reins, grip them with a steady hand, or not (thus giving up their fate into the hands of others).

I try, as I do my best for my life and my future, because it is a causal fate that I believe in. I am actively causing the future (to be better, I hope), but it is a collaboration with everyone out there – both active and inactive; and also with all the forces of nature. It is already predetermined if I will succeed or not, but nobody knows what that will be, nobody can know this. So it is better to work actively towards a possible better future than give in to the complacency and neglect that will surely bring about ruin and decay. That way the causal nature of predetermination is also the reason for actively pursuing a fate instead of letting it happen and everybody should do their best to create a future as they consider to be best.

A new and fresh start, here again

liriel.org, I have come back to you. It has been some time, it has been different sites – but it doesn’t matter now. Now I am back here with you.

Remember all the good times we were having the first time around? Oh, it was so long ago! Ten years, am I not right? I was really enjoying having my site at your address previously. I was constantly updating, I was constantly coming back and reading the comments – oh the comments! – and replying to them…

But these are not those simple times any more. I have matured – at least a little – since those times. I have understood that what I really wanted all along was a blog plus some static pages. Then I didn’t even know what the word “blog” might mean. I had a vague idea, that I want a site, where I could publish my thoughts and have conversation with anyone who would be interested enough to answer. In the previous address, I understood, that it is a blog I want.

I started the blog with immature content and hazy starts at thoughts, but as the time went past I started writing more and more of the types of articles that might interest more people than my immediate relatives and friends. At least I hope so. I felt some value in them at least, I hope others did as well – and the site was transformed, a singularity reached, when the schizophrenic situation – blog and a neglected static site under the same domain – couldn’t be continued any more.

Oh, I procrastinated over the move, I did. I did everything but this. I even managed to organize some stuff around my house, which is probably one of the lowest-priority things in my life. Only Kersti, my dear friend and an excellent people photographer, made me do a bit of this and that at times for my site. How was she able to? Well, as she needed me to set up a home page for her, urgently, more urgently ever than my own homepage needed to be moved, urgently, because she is a starting photographer and needs all the wind in her wings that can be blown to get her up in the air, and I really want her to do well. While doing this for her I used my negligible skills as webmaster again after a while – and it wasn’t that difficult. So when at times I couldn’t do anything for her – waiting for an answer about how she wanted it perhaps or just having done all she wanted me to do at that time – then when I still had time left over, I would work on these posts – one to say good-bye to my long companion liriel.pri.ee (this post will stay with it while the site fades into /dev/null/, never to be posted in the new space) and another to welcome back my long-lost and yet newly found address under a new and better slogan.

Yes, the slogan has changed and this is important. This is one thing I was choosing so carefully. And then, a moment came, when I knew with utmost clarity what it must be. A drop in the time-sea. It’s from a poem I once wrote – see it in full in Author page. It tells how we are all a part of a whole, how we are all important and how each of us determines what the whole actually is. It is not a very beautiful poem, I admit, but I like the premise a lot. So much that I remember the poem by heart, only one of my poems.  Because this is what I aspire to be – a drop in the time-sea, that changes the whole, even if it is just a little change in the corner.

I aspire to write better posts now. Inspiring, changing, important. I have imported the previous blog here in its full and I will take offline the posts I don’t think should be public under this slogan. And I will write and write and … oh how I will write!

Khm. Riiight.

Which reminds me, I have been postponing an update about the 300 words a day challenge. I couldn’t do it for more than some weeks. It’s not me. I always felt the pieces I wrote were too short and immature for publishing, some just a pretense. I did publish to posterous 2 posts about honesty (first, second), but even though they might be kind of complete in themselves, they really are parts of a whole that is not yet complete in my head as well. This challenge made me realize more about my writing style.

In some book Vonnegut wrote about two kinds of writing styles he knew – one was that whatever is on paper is there and will not be removed – you plan everything in your head and then you write the sentence and then you’ll write another and that’s it. He said it was how he wrote. I think this is essential to his unique style of books. The other was to keep constantly rewriting the piece until it is ready (or the deadline comes). I think I am the latter.

But I am also someone who needs to gather certain momentum in the head, certain strong feelings about it, before writing it down. It is not writing block if I am not writing, I don’t need to be constantly writing to further the story.

It’s like programming – who knows about it, understands. The best programmers spend 90 per cent of their time in thinking, refining, designing the program and might write just a few lines each day. Yet these few lines are worth gold – they work faster and more reliably than the lines of code from someone who just jumped right into it and did it without thinking (of course, there are different ways of designing, some do it while writing code, but it mustn’t be confused with average programmers just jumping into writing). I am the first kind of programmer. When I hit a difficult spot in programming, I might open some news site, I might even do a game of solitaire, but my head is wrapping itself around the problem all that time. I keep thinking about it at some level until I am ready – and I might continue writing code from mid-news-article or mid-game.

And it’s also like drawing, where you don’t start from upper-left corner, fill the space line by line and then when you’ve reached the end of paper in bottom right corner, then you have the picture completed. Well, I suppose there might be some genius out there who does that, but as far as I know, even geniuses like Leonardo Da Vinci refined their drawing over and over again until it was absolutely perfect.

In writing stories it is similar, but the “designing” phase has to be more spread out for me over time. It wouldn’t do me no good to be full-time-writer either, I would need to let the ideas mature just the same. You can’t rush it. I am just slow at it.

But once the critical point has been reached, once I am full of it, I feel I am saturated with it, then I need to find a time to unload this and if I don’t, I’ll be frustrated at all times. If I am very busy at this time, I have to forget about the thoughts, suppress them, and it will be lost. But if I do find a free time in this stage, then I am writing and writing until I am satisfied; or I fall down, broken. Then and only then can the real passion, the real energy flow into the writing and only then do the results feel “real”.

While I was trying the challenge, I felt imprisoned, forced, and the results were not good. There were good moments, when I felt really hopeful that this would help me fulfill at least some of my dreams of getting out those books I have been wanting to write, but then at other times it seemed just as unrealistic as ever. Only once or twice there was a real energy high for me during this time and then I wrote longer pieces. I like to write longer. It wasn’t restricted, but the exact daily quota of 300 somehow took the energy to go further. You had already filled the obligation and you didn’t need to continue at this time. The quota came the main reason instead of the real reason behind the writing…

So, its a difficult dilemma – when I am writing daily some constant amount, I cannot work up that energy, but if I am not writing at all, the ideas will stay in my head, because I don’t talk about them, I don’t like to, I am much better at expressing myself in writing. That’s why I had to do something about it in the first place. I didn’t have that time to unload this stuff, to let the energy, that had formed the ideas, the stories in my head, flow. This seemed like a good idea, but while doing it I understood that this challenge was not it. I am glad I did something about it, even though it didn’t reach to the conclusion I wished for when I started. But it did lead me to understand that my writing style needed some other kind of commitment. I concluded I needed to make a regular unloading time for me – just a regular time, when I would be free of other obligations and if I had something to unload, I could do it. Or if I didn’t, I could do something else entirely. I wouldn’t have anybody else than myself to control me. That I organized for myself – just a free day a week. I hope it works better than the daily quota project did.

But at first don’t expect me to write here more often than before. I have so much to do still – salvage the static parts from the previous site and put them into a new form; and also the design here is awful still.

But here I am and here I’ll stay. I invite you to join me here by subscribing to my RSS or just bookmarking the site.

Discover who you are

Zombieing around I see them, running in the mill I see them, drowning their misery in distractions I see them… I wonder if they even know they have more in them than this pointless existence. I think they have no idea. Oh yes, I know some of them believe they have found it – in family, in religion, in work… But then I understand they are just forcing themselves to believe it, repeating the words over and over in hope it will stick to them, it will make them happy like the ads promise, as the anecdotes show. But this salvation really never comes. So they struggle on, through pain, through depression, through misery.

“This fleeting feeling, I think I saw somebody having it! I’ll do whatever they did and then the Grail will bless me as well!” But to no good end. This is just the same drudgery all over again, harnessing yourself before a load you don’t want to pull. Struggling to stumble forward, teeth pressed together ’till they bleed, just in the hope of finding it…

And then giving up. “This is folly! No such thing can exist! The only happiness can be found in pretension! Life is never as good as the fantasy that is so readily conjured up for you! Live through the screens, be somebody else for a moment! Forget who you are! That is the happiness you can have! Easy to obtain, ever wilder, louder and more extreme!” They try, but still it keeps haunting them. You see it in the moments between the pretensions of a heartfelt laugh, between the adrenalin highs. You see that they don’t believe it themselves. That can’t be right, this can’t be as good as it gets.

It is not. They are right, it can be better. Yet they keep on waving off this alarm bell that keeps on ringing, they rather plunge into yet another new thing, more, wilder, bigger, louder – either a distraction from their goal or a false one – maybe this time it will work as they promised…

I am sorry for them. I think they have never known that they have potential for greatness, they have potential for this happiness they seek, more readily available and more intense than they have ever imagined. They just have to stop. For once stop! Shut off the distractions, shut off the mirages. Listen to the alarm bell. It has a voice and this voice is yours. It tells you – maybe in a child’s voice, if you stopped listening to it that early, maybe a bit older and more developed – where you should go to find this happiness you seek. You yourself can be the only one to tell You what You want.

Oh, it won’t be easy to get it. You have to struggle, you have to show strength, cunning and bravery. But this time this is the real prize, the only possible prize for you. This is custom design, designed by You for You. This prize doesn’t make anyone else happy, yet you’ll see others grabbing for it, hindering you, struggling to get it from you. But this time You have more power they have – you have the passion, you have the knowledge of what exactly it is and the feeling that this is for You, this is what is right and this is what you will obtain.

Once you shut off the distraction, forget about the false goals and go where the alarm bells guide you to. Please, discover, and then remember who you are.

 

liriel

blog.liriel.pri.ee

My thanks to Hugh for reminding me every day of who I am.

Staircase

I was in a hurry to get there on time – I had registered to a course in painting and drawing a few weeks ago, but it turned out to be a busy week and I had had to stop working without completing the task I was currently working on. I just had to get going quickly to get there. I had never been to that house or that room, I had to take into account some time to find the right place. I found the house some 10 minutes before the course was to start. I went in to the door and found myself in a small old entrance room with two further doors. One had sign for another company on it, the other had the sign of the Art Academy I was enlisted to.

That door was locked.

Locked..? There had to be a course starting in ten minutes!

Upon close inspection I found a doorbell with a speaker amongst motley of partially torn ads and announcements. I pressed it. Someone answered on the speaker, asked about where I wanted to go – and right at that moment someone came out the door and I could go in. I hesitated for a moment – I still was not that sure, whether it was the right place – but I went in nonetheless after saying everything was OK to the speaker.

The moment I got in I felt there was something wrong still. I found myself in an empty staircase. After the first afternoon  warmth of summer the staircase was chilly and gloomy. I went up to first floor, found the door with Art Academy sign – but that door, too, was locked. Now I found the doorbell more easily, but this time there was no answer. I waited for a while and pressed the button again. No luck.

Giving up, I looked around at where I was. The staircase continued up for a few more floors. I thought maybe they had a room upstairs somewhere for that course and started up. There were several doors with no signs on them. My steps echoed in the stone, walls had random drawings on them. The bleak stairwell reminded me of 3D shooter games, where you have grey-grey rooms and nobody anywhere to be seen and you have to figure out how to get out of this room – on to the other levels – with the items you have gathered previously. I was hard pressed not to start searching for hidden doors or kicking open any door that seemed to be hiding some room I could continue my quest in. And I have not played such games for years. Vigilant, careful, I sneaked up to the upmost level, where the staircase started to be dangerous, with no railing. I had found nothing useful up here. I was getting desperate.

I looked at the clock – five minutes until the course was supposed to start. Was I really in the wrong place? I remembered the course description – there was no room specified, just the address and Art Academy. I had not printed the description, could it be, that I didn’t notice some specification for the location? Maybe they had official location here but the course was to be held in some other rooms?

I went back to the door with their sign, pressed the doorbell again – with no luck. In addition to my agitation about my course, not being in the right place, the staircase with its floors upon floors started to frighten me as well. I felt haunted and strange, I rather went outside. In the sunlight it seemed strange that such a desolate place could be hiding right beyond that cosy-looking historical house. I used the wonders of our technical age there to get the phone number for the course organisator, to call her (she didn’t answer) and just then, as before, someone stepped out of that door and into the sunlight with a sign “Drawing and painting course” and started pasting it to the door. Happily I stepped in again. Through that door, that was locked before, but now had a carpet stopping it from falling closed; through still bleak corridor and up the staircase to the door, that had seemed the likeliest before. That, too had the sign for my course on it.

Later, after our teacher had spoken to us about how to use skechbooks and sent us out to try it out, draw in it some things we felt strongly about, I went and I couldn’t do anything else, I just had to keep drawing that staircase and nothing else but that.

300 words a day – can I do it?

I just joined a writers club – 300 words a day. I’ll paste what I wrote them:


I don’t know what you expect from this first mail. I’ll write something I feel has to be written right now.

I am not a writer. Yet? I hope so. I wish I was one day. I have been wanting to get off from procrastinatination and daydreaming. When I was a child I dreamt about being an author for some books one day. I knew

they had to be eliticist, the kind that literature critics adore – but as an adult I have been terrified of doing that first step and being no good as all beginners must be at first.

I have a blog. Many who have read it, have said I write well and I have good English (not my primary language). Not many have read it though and I haven’t fed the ones that have. There have been months and months I haven’t written anything there. Yet I have ideas. Ideas I know I have to get out of me, out into the open. Ideas for fun, ideas for serious texts, ideas that might grow into full books…

It’s the same about drawing and painting. As a child I wanted to be an artist as well. Ideas are here, in my head, wanting to get out…

I think I’ll try. It’s time.
Maybe some days I’ll tell about a painting that isn’t ready yet. For me, that counts for something as well.

I hope you’ll accept me amongst you.

liriel

PS: Not really 300 words this time, though. I’ll try to do better tomorrow.


I’m terrified. I hope I can do it. I hope it is good news for you, who will receive at least some of those 300-word essays…