We have arrived at an intellectual chaos

Clearly we have, because that what it says up there right before the .com. And on the intro page. Here is a more detailled version of said intro text, one that gives you more background and details. Also, when I wrote the following, I didn’t have that intro page yet so this is future Julia commenting on past Julia’s post.

I’ve started blogging way back in 2010, when I moved to Birmingham, UK. Almost everyone those days went abroad somewhere and they all started sending out semi-personalized newsletters (which I’m simply not a fan of) or they created a blogspot account – blogspot, the StudiVZ of blog pages, way before tumblr and wordpress won over the German market. I wrote in German, for my friends and family back home in order to keep them informed about the weird and wondrous adventures and encounters I had in the industrial town also called “Venice of the North”. I vividly remember how annoyed I was because I didn’t have a proper laptop, just my tiny little netbook that was a pain in the ass to write with, so I spent my freetime at the university’s library and their computers – not being able to figure out how to change the keyboard settings from English to German, which annoyed me even more but I got used to it except for the even more annoying fact, that y and z are the other way round on each language’s keyboard. So annoying. I did write one very passive agressive article about it though and from then on just didn’t care anzmore.

Soon I adjusted to living in Bham, made some British friends i.e. had adorable British accents all around ♥ and decided to let them in on my outsider’s perspective on their country and culture. My blogspot’s name was subsequently changed to a pun – of course – because I had just learned the phrase “what a sight to behold” from my good Gloucester ginger Friend Ellis and since almost everything I saw was worthy to behold, I tried to do exactly that and thus thought it a very fitting title. And ever since my blog was known as “What a Site to Behold” and marked my entry into the English speaking world of puns and, if I may say, I have acquired some pretty decent skills since then. One of the few site-effects of writing in English, you might say. Hehe.

Back in Germany, I kept blogging, now foremost for my UK friends and as a means to keep up my language skills in general and specifically to practice my writing skills because after all, there are yet so many words or phrases that I don’t know or don’t use correctly and I still suck at prepositions (ugh, those tiny two-letter words, in, of, at. I hate you and your random rules) so I saw it as a fun opportunity to improve, to express myself and to impress others. As it is so often in life, my blogging activity slowly subsided and my blogspot (that had meanwhile been transfered to tumblr) became dormant for quite some time until I did a relaunch and for the first time used The Intellectual Chaos (.tumblr.com) as my online identity. Soon after, tumblr just didn’t do it for me anymore. I love the tumblr community and that whole platform is hilarious and a nerd paradise for all fields and topics. But I wanted something for myself. And so I bought this domain right here. And then nothing happened. Because life. Of course. Yeah, I experienced a little with the templates, I chose photos, I wrote About Me-s and whatnot. But it took me a while to actually publish something worthwhile. I’m more self-conscious than I used to be and I am my own worst critic (and enemy). I’m glad you can’t see how many unfinished drafts are in my Posts-folder just because I’m not content with my writing or insecure about whether I should even write about this or that because there are so much people out there who know so much more about whatever I write about and who is interested in what I write anyway! Funnily enough, most of the stuff I publish in the end has been written within an hour or two, when the muse kissed me and the words just pour out of me onto screen. Like this text, for example. It’s 6.22am right now, I’m all snuggled up on my couch in a pompous blue velvet blanket, nicknamed the Pornodecke, with a mug of coffee beside me. The only sound being the clickediclickclack of my fingers running along the keyboard. (And the crying child upstairs. And the city’s cleaning car outside. And the trams passing by. And a feww early birds chirping.)

We have arrived at an intellectual chaos.

…are actually not my words but those of one of my favourite authors: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The Russian writer and historian, 1918-2008, is most famously known for his literary contribution – both fictional and non-fictional from first-hand experience – on Soviet labour force camps, thus raising international awareness of Gulags and Stalin’s regime of terror. So far I’ve only read The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Denis Ivanovich because Solzhenitsyn is nothing to read on a light summer’s day. It’s intense. Right over there The First Circle is waiting for me and I’m only two books further up on my reading list away from it (sidenote: one of them is a short story by Bulgakov. He, too, is a Soviet literary genius. Just three words: Master(piece) and Margarita). Solzhenitsyn’s views on politics and society in 20th century’s Soviet Union are clinical, cold, and judgmental. Brutally honest and absurdly funny.

Surely one would wonder if it is inappropriate to use an expression that stems from such a gruesome chapter of history. Maybe. But then you see, the quote perfectly sums up the ridiculous atmosphere under Stalin where the intellectual elite was at the mercy of the government’s ever-changing mercy and favour. They were at constant battle with themselves, trying to maintain their artistic aspiration and stay true to themselves while never knowing if what they wrote or painted or composed or in any other way artistically or intellectually produced would be praised and celebrated or despised or deemed “too western” which would have them put under observance, and them and their families in great danger and possibly eventually in Gulags. Or worse.

I have arrived at an intellectual chaos.

Not because I go through the same. But because I know the tiptoeing around what the art wants to and the critic doesn’t want to say. Because I, too, find myself in a constant battle – with myself. About what is going on in my head, what I want to say, all the things I think, all the things I think that want to get out but I’d think too much about the consequences of making them public, what others might think. My mind hardly ever stops. I don’t sleep well, I am constantly restless, my thoughts go from here to there, they jump back and forth, and go on a rollercoaster ride, and if I didn’t have some sort of means to get at this out, it would be literally mind-blowing and not in a good way. I have so many interests and ideas about all and everything. There’s chaos up here in the thought department and it needs channelling. And found it here. It’s one way to cope. Getting the words and thoughts out – and trying to ignore my inner critic when I hit that “publish” button.

I am a living stream of consciousness. I am an intellectual chaos. I am THE Intellectual Chaos.

[The feature image is by Polish artist Alicja Posłuszna: Indoctrination/Indoktrynacja, 2016. Go check out her instagram! And if you feel like buying me an Intellectual Chaos present, I won’t stop you ;)]

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