can you read my lips? Deaf but neither dumb nor blind – Let’s Carpe thehell out of Diem

This morning I sent all my facebook friends a private request. Something I never did before and usually do not like myself to receive, worse, sometimes not even bother to read. For a cause or campaign or however you want to call it.

This is what I wrote [copy+pasted] 301times:

On behalf of my Turkish/ Scottish God-daughter Dilara Earle who is deaf and a film maker herself, with CI, but that is not enough, I would love you to sign this petition

As a Dutchy I grew up with subtitles on both TV and movie screen, the most normal thing in the world for me, but not so in English speaking countries. Lots of hearing people find subtitles annoying hence the missing link for the audio impaired.

Thank you,
Carolien Geurtsen

Yesterday that same god-daughter of mine posted her own strong [and for me heart breaking] message on Facebook into the digi-verse, in order to get people involved:

“All I want for Christmas is Subtitles!”
Please sign this! It won’t happen for this Christmas but it would make the rest of my Christmas’s!

All we want for Christmas is subtitles


There have been so many times I have had to:

Leave the cinema because the projector has broken and they can no longer screen the subtitles.
Return the DVD I just rented and that still uses up my Lovefilm quota, even though it wasn’t my fault.
Wasted money on a DVD that I can’t return because it doesn’t have subtitles.
Can’t watch the extras on the DVD because they only put subs on the main show. I mean, why?

I studied film as a degree and because I need subtitles, suddenly I can’t access what I want to learn from the commentaries and behind the scenes shows. ARGHH.

I still remember going to the video store down the street on a Friday night. I’d look for the square speech bubble before genre, actors, pretty covers, titles, or interesting blurbs on the back. That small square determined everything.

There are exciting new advances with glasses (like 3D) that allow you to watch subtitles alongside a hearing person who won’t get annoyed by them. Captiview is also a gadget that let’s you take in an adjustable screen that pops into your cup holder and although it had flaws it did an okay job. I’m used to watching lips, the screen and action and sentences all at once. But it’s still not up to scratch!

I want to finally go to the cinema on the same day as my friends to see the exciting new release and talk about it after.
Not 3 weeks later, after which the entire thing has been talked about on my Facebook news feed….!

I want to rent DVDs without being frustrated, embarrassed and guilty that I can’t watch it with someone and that they feel like they can’t watch it now. Which is a bit rubbish all round!

I’ve cried over this. My deafness is just something I have. But the fact subtitles aren’t on every DVD by now and the cinema isn’t 100% accessible just isn’t fair!

Cringe? Whatever. I don’t give a pig’s shit anymore. Just sign it, for me. I’ll give each and every one of you a big massive sloppy kiss and be eternally grateful for when the day finally comes round!


And there she got me going, remembering when she was a baby and how her mother found out that she was deaf, and all the difficult years, with there own challenges, to follow. And I do not care shit to become even more dramatical: As I have witnessed from so close how dramatical it has been for all involved and therefore for so many more on our ‘civilised’ planet.
I imagined my BF and her mother reading this post sitting at the kitchen table where her laptop is (so I happen to know from our recent Skype sessions), looking at the gorgious picture from her smiling daughter, who is terribly far away right now, somewhere Down Under, so you might magine with me as well:

This mother is weeping. A million likes.
One of the few things we can be grateful for is that this has given you a taste for world movies and taught you more tolerance than the insensitive people who say they can’t concentrate on a film with subtitles. Pah!
The technology’s there – it just needs folk to put it in place and others to be grateful they have all their senses, if not their common sense.

Cringe cringe. As I am reading that one, not that far, but away…
For me as a Dutchy who knew subtitles (from the cinema) before they had TV at home, this really was a revelation yesterday.
That people can be disturbed by subtitles bacause they are not used to, I can vaguely relate to. That’s how it was for me watching English movies with Turkish subtitles in the Open Air Cinema in Kusadasi when we lived there. But that people actualy can oppose it because of this ‘disturbing factor’, beats the H out of me.

To give some more idea, if this is A Far-From-Your-Bed-Time Story, another sensory impaired friend of my D:

Don’t get me started on airlines, I flew all the way back from Mauritius and there was not one single subtitled English speaking film.
Also Sara Cox angered me several years ago when she complained about going to the cinema to watch a film because it was subtitled! RANT!

And than over to my tube You Tube via mum:

Absolutely, Disgraceful.
Also youtube, particularly when the subject is relevant to sensory impairment and it’s not subtitled.
Anyhow, I put a lot of Dilara’s (and possibly your) good grammar and passion for books down to reading subtitles from an early age (let’s excuse the odd slip whilst ranting).

So, H.I. folks:

1 – Hearing folks who can’t cope with subs: 0 on that score.
Dilara Bien-aimée will enjoy waking up in Oz to our rants!

To sum it up a little more with the last titbit of the personal life of being a BF to a sensory impaired:

I would just like subtitles because after watching so much TV with Dilara, my brain can no longer muster the extra concentration to actually listen to what they are saying in addition to watching the film.

So, I guess we could make this work for the sooo many audio impaired people living on our Planet Earth.  So, yes, as one of my favorite quotes from another dear friend:

Let’ s Carp theHell out of Diem

[and yes I put it on purpose like that, otherwise our Digital Bros will expell my blog from the digi firmament

due use of #swaerwords++

 All I want for Christmas is subtitles

P.E.T.I.T.I.O.N – Love Film



What on earth are you? No label suffices * Inservice Autism 2013 Belgium


I was invited as speaker on a 2 day conference on autism in Belgium. It was a strange combination of factors and ingredients and a lovely combination of uniquely wired people in whose surroundings I felt completely comfortable.

The most personal strange discovery which I noticed for myself was the following: I was completely able to focus and open up to speakers IN the (autistic) spectrum, but had to close down, literally LOOK down and filter a little extra when there were speakers NOT in the (autistic) spectrum (or at least so I presume – I could be totally wrong with this assumption).
So when I was attending meetings of who I figure now as NON-spectrum persons, I either had to look down and listen from that position, close my eyes in order not to get visually over-stimulated to keep focused, or take pictures [look trough a frame] and either right away process them while listening or save them it the proper files on my telephone.

Every once in a while even I was doubting whether I was paying full attention, but it was when I found myself nodding frequently that I started to discover a pattern: I was filtering out the non-necessities in order to be able to cope with all the stimuli of the attending people and visual and audio input at the same time.
Most significant for me was this was not happening at all with people so called in the spectrum like Paul C Siebenthal,
Wendy Lampen and Diederik Weve. Utterly interesting. I only could think of a connection with that they were each talking from their own Book of Life.

In short, I had a great time, with great talks, wonderful silences and many impressions and new contacts to take home.
The location “Provinciaal Vormingscentrum Malle”, is a very basic one with an absolute charm because of that.
I only felt sorry that two of my colleague speakers @Autistagirl and @Aspienaut had a really short and cold night due heating problems. They are two people who I strongly recommend to follow on Twitter and find their various publications and maybe chance to hear them speak yourselves. My own little room was on the contrary much too warm for my comfort, so I closed the heater, opened the window and slept only under a sheet and my huge bath towel which I brought. The blanket was much too warm for me.

So I had a great couple of days.
I only wished there had been simultaneous translation of the various settings, although I totally understand this to be very costly and not feasible, but there was so much value and quality in content and presentation that I would have loved to be able to share this with a wider audience. So yes, I certainly have a wish-list towards next year: More, longer and a true international Inservice on Autism

It was a great joy to be in this cocoon with very special people for 3 days and I went home with fond memories and loads of new contact details and I look very much forward to receiving the sheets of the various meetings and workshops I attended and the ones I couldn’t. Autistagirl and me were programmed at the same time so I had no chance to attend her Workshop.
The I Can’t wait urge is strong and as a matter of fact I feel my good old missionary qualities arising… want to share to the people I now know who are desperate for support in their approach with their pupils for example.
The uniqueness and the special, extremely gifted and talented people who each from their own perspective are so enormously challenged in a 2013 world with so much stimuli, I can only being to imagine how demanding that is and my own sensitivity for sound, light and people seems…trivial I guess is the proper English word.
The first morning home, in order for me to process my own impressions, it was lovely to play with the pictures I made in the early hours, and transform them in a black and white cartoon type of way.

Having said that.


In the mini workshop Creative Writing and Autism I attended on Day One, I wrote a Sprinter which was cryptic at that moment and hardly translatable, but I give it a try. First you draw your own hand and write 5 qualities, one in each finger and I choose the pleasure one to keep it light and surfacial, or so I thought…


What on earth are you?
but one of my dreams?
you sit down on the floor
and lean against my couch
with hick-ups of pleasure
I don’t get it
because I miss you so much that it hurts
My male best friend C
my female best friend A
my unborn child
my mother
my so beloved death ones

Only upon arriving home I realized that my friend A, who passed away last year November, as  a matter of fact died on that 12th yesterday a year ago. A co-incidence which make my tows curl up.
I did not write this to make anyone sad, certainly not  Biba, Paul, Carl, Wendy or Diederik, but to share how much I appreciated to have met you and sharing some of me with you, where you shared so much of you with me.
As well as the ones whose names I forgot, the ones I did not meet and the ones who took the effort to come to my workshops, to me, this crazy wired forgetful species, apparently not IN the spectrum according to some tests, possibly with some left over minor brain-damage or maybe just born this way, definitely in a different kind of spectrum than the ‘mediocre’ ones we all trip around in.

And Wendy, no words are enough to express how happy I am that you are able to cope with this emo-bomb on legs who is all over the place on moments that you can least use it 😉
Ilonka, I immensely love to know you as a dear friend, a wise and humorous earth mother incarnated, helping me to keep my wits whatsapping day or night-time. I have so much respect for all you managed to manage the last couple of months.

Love you all


my dear friends birthday


Music uploaded Nov 1 2011

Inner Bells
from Album Kirvani Revisited (Challenge Records)
by Marion von Tilzer
Rani Heymann – clarinet,
Caroline Leeuw Wagner, Lisanne Soeterbroek – violin,
Wouter Huizinga-viola,
Sanne van der Horst – cello,
Heiko Dijker – tabla,
Lenneke v Staalen – indian violin, Marion von Tilzer – piano,
(Inner Bells was commissioned by Auke Bijlsma)

Pleasure and pain – no empty words – Istanbul

Pleasure and Pain, at the moment it is the translation of the title of my Dutch blog, and this morning it became once more perfectly clear why I choose it. Pleasure and pain, for me the two together define the essence of life as I see it, at least of my life and maybe so in general.

At 6 AM I read an email from best friend U who’s husband is fighting pancreas cancer.
She writes in In German, her mother tongue, so I right away know she must be devastated, as her English is as fluent as mine and we speak mostly either Turkish or English together, hardly ever German.
It reminds me of how I decided all those years ago that I wanted to give birth in my home country, no matter how much at home I felt in Turkey, because I was sure that I would not be able to communicate in anything else than my mother tongue, if at all, when in this painful roller-coaster called giving birth.

It was an extremely short message, full with desperation and fear.
‘ This Thursday he will be operated once more and like last time it is extremely risky. ‘ They found another tumor and I am soo scared. I do not dare to tell it to our [6 year old] son as I am afraid I will be so much in tears that it scares him too much’.
Ending with: Ich drucke dich fest…

When I write this, again my own tears are there in a heartbeat and for the first time in weeks I want to be somewhere else than in beautiful Istanbul. Catch the first plane to Hamburg comes to mind.
I respond to her with a quick e-mail and the offer to Skype whenever she wants.

I hear sounds from the kitchen and all those lovely smells of both coffee and toasted bread make me want to jump out of bed.
I realize the sun is shining and how incredibly lucky I am to be here and I decide to get up as quickly as possible to have a chance to see her, my host, before she goes to work. She being the wife of a friend, and we only just met 3 days ago.

The friend I mainly know from Facebook, although we were more or less in the same peer group when we were young.
Both his brother and the brother from my lover in those days connected us enough to start asking online questions like:
‘Are you who I think you are?’
Him living in Istanbul and our mutual interest in Turkey was enough to keep contact every once in a while online and to make a dinner appointments as soon as was clear that I would come and visit.
And this was only 4 days ago.

IRL [In Real Life – as still supposedly opposite to Online life] I have animated talks both with him and his wife although not with the three of us together as he is seriously ill and stays most of the time in bed.
I love the chances and possibilities life is offering me, in spite of all the challenges coming with it.

No pleasure without pain they say, and how much I wished it wasn’t so, but yes it seems the reality of life, at least as I know it to be.
So much more reason to enjoy the Pleasure part tremendously.

So off into this beautiful sunshine now. Although indeed, my heart cries for my friends at the same time.

Ich drucke euch fest, meine Freunde

lovely breakfast
and yes Thursday I will pray like I have nothing else to do.

This song makes the tears break through like the sun now as well is doing


Zülfü Livaneli on Human Rights Day – Turkey

Livaneli has composed some three hundred songs, a rhapsody –recorded by London Symphony Orchestra –, and a ballet. His collaborations with Mikis Theodorakis of Greece have been noted as a gesture of bringing together the two countries.  Livaneli has been a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador since 1996.

A girls got to do what a girls got to do – daily blogging is one of them – and while at the same time Baby Einstein is playing Christmas songs and I have to run to the City Council in half an hour, I decided to get this post of my chest. The first doubt being because its take-off is mainly so, if not all, a  Wikipedia quote, and that is because the missing link and connecting post are probably only arriving much later.
This is too bad, and too far away, but mainly my own mistake. Before I start talking in riddles again I just take off and maybe will compensate the length of the quote with the length of my own doing.

About Zülfü Livanely and me

He is for me the personification of politic engagement, and as singer/songwriter I know him already for a long time, over twenty years I guess. During my stay in Turkey he and his work were like a red thread through my life, next to many others like Baris Manco en Sezen Aksu, who came in and went out of my attention and CD player time and again. But it was only this summer in Istanbul that I got his Album Efsane Konserler and since then I managed to forget to play it for just about one week, for the rest it is on, either on Spotify or in my old-fashioned CD Player.  And yes, it is, like the most Turkish music I know, rather melancholic and therefore sometimes I compensate with either Anouk, Anny Lennox, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen or Adele.
But you can see maybe, like I do, that even there are mutual matches in types of their music and their characters. Strong individuals with strong opinions and strong voices. Livaneli ’s is not that strong as most of the others mentioned above, but his passion and even so devotion and engagement make up for that, in my eyes at least. But that might be because the language also makes sense to me, that i don’t know.
For a non-Turkish speaker or understander (no proper English but you know what I mean) it might be too boring too soon.
But his music and texts are always hitting home in my heart full blast and have this effect like balm, balm for my soul. I would love to hear from a music connoisseur, and yes, maybe preferably one who does not understand the meaning of the words, what he or she can say about this effect, this melancholy. Is it in minor mostly? I have no clue about the technical aspects. Is it really in the music or in me?
Yes, the issues often are about longing, and missing, and waiting, but that is in the words. I think it is in the music as well and know for instance that some people get irritated when I play it for more than lets say, half an hour. Headphones are ready and waiting.

But now I have to go…

This post is for all my friends from Turkey and abroad in other places, now spread all over the world.
For all the good times we had and the hard times we had and the challenges still there. Turkey - Cappadocie Underground City With love. Size seviyorum!

Ömer Zülfü Livanelioğlu (born 1946) is a popular Turkish folk musician (singer and composer), a novelist, newspaper columnist and a film director who has been highly popular for decades. He is also a prominent left-wing and social-democrat politician and was a member of the Turkish parliament for one term.

He is most known for his fusion of Turkish folk music with contemporary music, in much the same way as Bob Dylan and his contemporaries in the United States. His 1997 Ankara concert was attended by no less than 500 thousand people.
His collaborations with Mikis Theodorakis of Greece have been noted as a gesture of bringing together the two countries.
Livaneli has been a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador since 1996.
Livaneli has composed some three hundred songs, a rhapsody –recorded by London Symphony Orchestra–, and a ballet.
His compositions have reached cult status nationwide and have been performed by internationally renowned artists such as Joan Baez, Maria Farantouri, María del Mar Bonet, Udo Lindenberg, Haris Alexiou, Jocelyn B. Smith and Kate Westbrook.
He has also written five plays and thirty film soundtracks. Among these soundtracks are the soundtrack for “Yol” (The Path), directed by Yilmaz Güney and winner of the Golden Palm in Cannes Film Festival, “The Herd”, directed by Yılmaz Güney and Zeki Ökten, and “Shirin’s Wedding” by German director Helma Sanders-Brahms.
His recordings have been published in the USA, Sweden, Germany, Holland and France, and he has given dozens of concerts throughout the world. He has produced albums and performed with Mikis Theodorakis and Maria Farantouri, and he has also collaborated with Manos Hatzidakis, Giora Feidman, Inti-Illimani and Ángel Parra.
In 2010, he sang ‘Mothers of The Disappeared’ with Bono at U2′s concert in Istanbul, Turkey, which was U2′s first-ever concert in Istanbul. Livaneli has been distinguished with the awards Best Album of the Year (Greece), the Edison Award (Holland), and Best Album of the Year (Music Critics Guild of Germany), and the “Premio Luigi Tenco” Best Songwriter Award, San Remo, Italy, in 1999, among others.More

I just picked one of his songs from the beautiful double album Efsane Konserler

Saat Dört yoksun
on YouTube 

and on Spotify 

Four a clock and you are not here
four o’clock, you are not here
it’s five, not here
six, seven o’clock, the next day,
the days after
and who knows when…

reading a book
in there I find you
listening to a song,
I hear you
sitting down to eat
opposite me you sit

while working I see you in front of me

the most beautiful sea
is the one you haven’t been
the most beautiful child
did not grow up yet
our best days
are the ones we have not lived yet
and the most beautiful word
I want to tell you
is the one i haven’t said yet

what is she doing now?
now, right this moment, right now, now, now
Evde mi, sokakta mı? /is she at home, is she somewhere outside, in the streets?
is she working, lying or standing?
she might have raised her arms, my rose
how naked makes this movement of her white thick wrist
what is she doing right now
now, at this very moment, right mow
maybe she is caressing a kitten, laying on her knee
maybe she is walking, about to step
always on my darkest day
they come to me, my darling’s
sweethearts feet
and what does she think now? is it about me?
otherwise, how can i know
why the beans
are not getting cooked somehow
or why most of the people are like that
what is she thinking now?
at this moment, right now, now

Saat dört, yoksun
Saat beş, yok.
Altı, yedi, ertesi gün, daha ertesi ve belki kimbilir…

Grace to Kybele/Sybil for helping to translate

Related: My heart aches for Turkey | In Friendship we do real |  More English posts |Efsani Konserler on Spotify | Official Livaneli website | video clips  | Livaneli on Wiki The Director, Composer and Novelist

Two hours later now and back from the City Council, I realize again that it is Human Rights Day, for what it is worth and whatever its effects may be, in Turkey as well as in the Netherlands and all over the world there is plenty eksik/missing with that, so in my opinion  there is no better day than today to post this column.

Happy as a Kite this girl.

In Love and Friendship we do real – NL

In friendship  the same values count Friends / Vriend

Upstairs my son is talking Turkish with his grandparents, English with his father and in Dutch with my sister, all within 5 minutes. It reminds me of his carousel talking when he was 4 years old, turning to his grandparents and speak in Turkish , to me in Dutch and run to his friends and continue in English.
Yes, just like he did until we left Turkey for Holland, when he was 4 years old…
Only now not In Real Life, but with Skype, a great way to stay connected.

It is his birthday, and 19 years ago that I was jinxed into the ER after 26 hours of labor.
Pavaroti was playing out loud, and doctors and nurses were scrubbing their hands and getting ready to deliver my son, our son.

The A-Team = friends as family and vice versa

His father couldn’t be there, had to leave  two days earlier to open a Hotel in Turkey.
My sister and brother were there to support me, jokingly calling themselves my ‘A-Team’, and they would also accompany me on my/our journey back home, to Turkey, 5 weeks later.
During the whole labor we had a hot line, no Skype unfortunately, but ordinary 1.0 telephone landline, with my husband.

Although separated, we are still the best of friends, so in honor of this friendship and for the love I feel for my family and friends in Turkey and abroad, today’s blogpost is in English.

Write on Thursday

Today’s theme word of #WOT is ‘Friend’ (Vriend). I guess the ‘official’ theme is ment to be written in Dutch, according to a bond I have with Karin Ramaker and other bloggers.
Every Thursday she chooses a * Dutch* word and all of us write a blogpost with this word as the anchor. But as the title is in English, [ I choose it to be like that] I take the liberty to further bend the rules a little bit.

The moment I saw this picture one month ago, I planned to paint the text on a door or a wall  in our house as well.
I simply love it, and it covers about everything in relationships which is important to me.

Time-wise it didn’t work out so well, as it was not ready before my son arrived home from Turkey two weeks ago, but there is always something good in something chaotic, so early this morning, his birthday, I finally started.
It needs one more coating, and probably will be ready when the first guests arrive this afternoon.

After I read today’s #WOT theme, I looked at the text once more and I realised that if you replace ‘This House’  for ‘Friendship’, and read it again, it totally matches my understanding and definition of friendship.

Alles is Liefde| Not my typical Sunday | From Turkey with love (Dutch)  | Another Sound (English)