Obiter Dictum

Notes on the adventure of life.

Archive for the ‘3 – Wild Words’ Category

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taste words

Written by sabineclappaert

February 6, 2013 at 6:50 pm

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On foreign ground

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Morocco atlas mountains

I have become afraid of high mountains. I have forgotten the sound of a breeze jostling among flat palm leaves. The squishy rich ground beneath my feet feels alien in its softness. Embedded in a small, flat country, jostled for an inch of uncultivated space by my fellow country-men, the richness of experience was sucked from me, slowly. Like a fish dropped in a pot of tepid water, the temperature turned up in deceptive increments, until, years later, nothing is left of us but the grey numbness of middle-class living.

– Morocco, January 2013

Written by sabineclappaert

February 3, 2013 at 6:49 pm

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Perfect Gentleman

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Written by sabineclappaert

November 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm

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We live

to raise our young

and bury our dead;

but sometimes

we bury our young,

oh, we bury our young.

– in loving memory of G & P – 07.09.2012  –

Written by sabineclappaert

September 8, 2012 at 6:37 am

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I will fly with you

Photo by Aernout Overbeeke

Written by sabineclappaert

August 26, 2012 at 5:51 pm

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Into the magic forest

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Into the magic forest
I followed his sound,

into the magic forest,
I crept.

Into the magic forest
he lead,

in his hooves I tread

into the magic forest
he lead.

(Kasteel D’Ursel, Hingene, Belgium – August 2012)

Written by sabineclappaert

August 25, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Posted in 3 - Wild Words

The Undeniable Importance of Denial

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Oscar Wilde famously said: “Illusion is the first of all pleasures”. I don’t want to bump chests with the larger-than-life Mr. Wilde, but I think he got it wrong on that one. Denial is the first of all pleasures.  And having just turned 36 (ok, ok, damnit: 37), I know a thing or two about the pleasures, and necessities, of denial.

Let me give an example of unequivocal denial that all those over thirty will relate to. (Those under thirty can skip this paragraph; you won’t know what I’m talking about – yet.).

Those over thirty will know the guilty pleasure of bumping into an old high-school friend you haven’t seen since platform shoes were in fashion (the first time round), and with a pang of glee noticing the first wrinkles fanning their eyes, those extra good-living kilos that pad out their face a little too ruddily. And while your eyes stealthily scan their face the way a thousand-watt searchlight scans a midnight sea for survivors, you quietly think to yourself: “Boy, I’m glad I didn’t age the way they did. At least I still look pretty much the way I did at 25”.

Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is denial in its purest form.

But not all forms of denial are born equal, and not all afford us the same measure of pleasure.

First there’s pragmatic, necessary denial. The accountant of denials, this rational form of denial protects us against the harsh, inescapable realities of life: the cruel ending of love, sky-high taxes and sagging breasts.

Then there’s also a second kind of denial: the impractical, non-essential kind. Now don’t get me wrong: it is not because this denial is non-essential that it is therefore less valuable. Au contraire: non-essential denial can be very essential indeed. This irrepressible dancing harlot of denials is every girl’s best friend.

It’s the kind of denial that assures us our jeans don’t fit any tighter than they did last month, that we’ve just left them in the dryer a tad too long.  It’s the kind of denial that convinces us to break the cardinal fashion rule “no miniskirts after 30” because well… it is summer and we do don’t look a day over 28. It’s the kind of denial that whispers soothingly that just one more cookie won’t make the difference, or with a reassuring shoulder pat reminds us that a glass of red wine a day is good for the heart. It’s also the kind of denial that cheers us on to climb a bar counter at 2am to do the Two-Tequila Boogie with a boy barely out of college, knowing we have an important 8am meeting the next morning.

It’s the kind of denial that keeps our best friends looking as youthful to us at 36 as they did at 22; the denial that keeps our hips slim and our husbands from growing beer bellies. It’s the this denial that keeps our parents from becoming senior citizens and the one that keeps us animatedly crooning  “Like A Virgin” in the presence of our preteen son.

But most importantly it’s the kind of denial that gives us  the courage to backpack across India at forty, climb Mount Kilimanjaro at fifty or sell the house to motor along Route 66 in an open-top Alfa Romeo Spider at sixty-five.

This denial is the racy red lingerie, the little black whip and the fluffy pink handcuffs in our pragmatic underwear drawer of life. It allows us to dream crazy dreams and take courageous decisions, regardless of the realities of our age or circumstances.

It is this priceless denial that keeps us kicking up our skirts to dance on the bar counter of life – at thirty-six, fifty-six and yes, also at seventy-six.

(English original – Dutch version published in De Morgen, 2010)

Written by sabineclappaert

July 12, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Slowly we forget

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Slowly we will forget,

the truth of our fleeting connection

and fall back

into the regularity of our separate lives.


Slowly we will forget,

the future we saw in each other’s eyes

and return to the past of our present lives.


Slowly we will forget that you said: “you don’t know me, but you know me, Sabine.”

(For Cedric – Hossegor, June 2012)

Written by sabineclappaert

June 28, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Posted in 3 - Wild Words

Verbatim: love

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Do not seek the because – in love there is no because, no reason, no explanation, no solution. (Anais Nin)

Written by sabineclappaert

June 8, 2012 at 6:32 pm

The Initiated.

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De intro van het artikel kauwde ons het lauw leugentje mals voor: een klein feestje, vrienden onder elkaar, een inspirerend tafelgesprek over de kunsten, dat was de bedoeling. Maar We zijn bekend, de bezielers van de tentoonstelling Sint-Jan, aan de voet van Het Lam Gods, en dat beloofd een ware parade van de who-is-who van moderne Belgische kunst te worden.

Een “half volksfeest” zo werd het uit de hand gelopen feestje omschreven. “Want de ene gast brengt de volgende mee – enzovoort, enzoverder”.

Het lam was halal, de locatie design, de wijn duur, het volk gedistingeerd. Le tout Gand zou er zijn er, zo melde de krant ons.

En dan de woorden van Jan Hoet Junior: “Niemand is hier toevallig.

“We zijn een mengelmoes van alles door elkaar en dat maakt het juist plezant. We eten vanmiddag het Lam Gods maar dan wel klaargemaakt door een moslim” (u snap het toch, wink-wink, nudge-nudge, de hippe vergelijking – de Islam en het Christendom lijnrecht tegenover elkaar). “Onze Turkse vrienden kunnen dat veel beter dan wij Belgen.”

Het sausje voor het lam is wel zelf gemaakt, door de hand des gastheer, “in een moment van zinsverbijstering. Een risico? Oh, neen hoor. Als ik mijn intuïtie volg, doe ik meestal hele goeie dingen”. Geen woord gelogen, hij is een meester.

Tot slot, en petit comité, drie grijze koppen met een fles Pontoise Cabarrus. Drie neuzen in het glas. “Ik drink nog maar zelden alcohol. Maar als ik iets drink, dan liefst het allerbeste.”

Mijn oog scant de lay-out van het artikel: stijlvolle foto’s van gloeiende kolen onder  het lam aan het spit, een close-up van het pittig huisbereid sausje onder enkele blaadjes koriander, twee hoofden gebogen over borden op de strakke witte tafel.

De manende woorden van de gastheer: “Over dit feestje verschijnt straks een artikel in De Morgen. Met foto’s erbij. Dus wie hier eigenlijk niet mag zijn, of hier met de verkeerde vrouw of de verkeerde man aanwezig is, gelieve dat aan de fotograaf te melden zodat u buiten beeld blijft.”

Er steeg blijkbaar een bulderlach boven de aanwezigen.

The Good Life. Een Elitaire clubje mannen van middelbare leeftijd, keuvelend over minnaressen, wijn en kunst.

Kunst verheven boven zichzelf.

En enkele straten verder, in de stille half schemer van een verlaten kathedraal, hangen hun werken, wachtend op de massa.

Written by sabineclappaert

May 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Posted in 3 - Wild Words