Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Outings for the Soul

photo: Britta 

I bought this charming diary (or do you call it an appointment book?) in another life - before Corona.

We were visiting Erlangen in Bavaria - and in a fabulous bookstore I saw it - well, it was already March and of course I had already a "real" day planner - but this was so different, so lovely: inside were many sketches in Fifties style (you can guess that by the polka-dots) - and the price was reduced.

If you want something, you'll find a reason why you need it. 

Or maybe I should say: if I want something I'll find a reason why I NEED it.

Ratio says: "My, my, my - you are reading books about how to throw away all the clutter, how to become a minimalist - really: you are mad!" 
Body says: "Hey, you already have a lot of luggage, think of your back!" 
But Soul pleads: "It is soooo lovely! Inside that shade of very pale pink, just a hue of pink - and those sketches, and wise sayings... I will use it as a diary for "Outings for my Soul".

If you wonder what I'm speaking of:
I had noticed (before I saw this diary!) that I have a tendency to make long To-Do-Lists and work most points off diligently - but as the list is often very long I seldom reach those points that are "merely amusing". Like drawing, reading that profound article in the Sunday paper - pleasant things which I call "Outings for the Soul" which often have to wait a long time because there are those more important adult things like ironing.   :-)

So it was crystal clear that I needed that diary to put down - for every day - which morsels of fun would nourish my soul: a beautiful picture in a gallery, the glittering water of the Spree in front of the colossal Bode-Museum or a little French tartlet with glistening red strawberries.

Well, Leela laughed (the concept of Leela I will explain another time).
Because when I came back to Berlin and started to fill - with my beautiful pen that you see in the header of my blog - and in lilac ink - all those ravishing little things I wanted to do next week -

                                                        Corona struck the whole world.

                                                    Agendas closed. Nothing. Nada.

Well, I am exaggerating, but that what writers do - of course now I had lots of time to draw, (but strangely no time to read that serious article, how come?    :-)  so: I do not complain.
I picked up other morsels to feed my soul - the flowers on my balcony, the birds that come to it to drink water, and so on.

                       But you might agree: I didn't need a polka-dot diary for that. 


  1. I think you should change it to 'Corona struck' in case anyone thinks that (combined with the 'thump on your head') that you have had a stroke caused by Corona...

  2. Thank you, Tom - I changed it from "stroke" to "struck" ! And then I typed into the blog-text: "Corona struck. Thank you, Tom" but after pulling that soft pink veil from my eyes I saw that it looked even more strange than "Corona stroke". Hahaha - language isn't easy...

  3. I am not a list person, lists are a burden and sit there just to tease you and tell you all the things you haven't done. When corona struck it freed you from this particular burden.

    1. Well, Rachel - I am - a list person, not all of the time, but often. And sometimes with ridiculously long lists.
      But for me it is not only a tool to remember what to do - but also to structure (for example I think about how to run my errands now in a time where I do not use the U-bahn - I am happy to walk a lot, but to carry all those items too, that is not so funny).
      And, though it might sound silly: I do a lot more if it shouts to me from my list (at least the next day or the day after :-) xxx

  4. I am a list person, but then I loose it and have to start again. However, there is nothing better than ticking everything off and actually reaching the bottom of it. Your very tasteful polka dot with gold 2020 will be a memorable token of the dark time in our history.

    1. Dear Rosemary, I sometimes loose those lists too - because I like to write on used envelopes or little slips of paper (especially annoying when I write down a new password - - honestly , I train myself to write it then - quick!! - into my diary -- all those millions of passwords...)

      The idea to keep the diary as a contemporary witness is great - it has some Zen quality - the void paper leaves lots of room for imagination...

  5. Hi Britta, English this time (perhaps Tom can find some more errors, ha,ha). Next time Dutch and maybe maybe the time after that German (laugh out loud). I like your diary and also your antique calender and lamp.
    Travelling with my daughter to Germany next month (hurrah). Booked 1 night in Hamburg and 3 nights at Rügen.

    1. Hi Guusje, thank you - and I admire your attention: the antique calendar is a joy for me, and the lamp too.
      So good to hear you go to Hamburg (I lived there for 8 years, and love it dearly) and then to Rügen! Enjoy your daughter and your holiday - I think these times now showed us that we can enjoy things even better when we take them not as granted but as a gift - what they are.

  6. You always needed a pale pink, polka dot diary. So good you picked it up last March.

    1. True, Joanne - and you know me so well - I create (if necessary) my own pale pink surroundings (though very seldom with polka dots :-)

  7. I am a "saver". I hold tightly to what things I have.

    1. Yes, Emma - I think that is a very fine quality - and though I read those books about getting rid of "clutter", I keep a lot of things - and smile when a friend says: "Wow - a new robe?" I am not that kind of women who answers: "That? Oh - that I had for years!" - no, I smile and say "Thank you!"

  8. Hello, Britta! I like the refined touch of the simple monochrome polka dot notebook you have. Recently I often find myself using “memo” of my iPhone but still I prefer the paper notebook I have as a calendar and diary.

    “Sapphire” used to be one of my best blog friends to me, too. I’m not so wise and well versed in Japanese things as Sapphire, but I’m glad you stopped by my blog.


  9. Hello Yoko, I am so happy to see you here!
    As you I use both, computer and paper, and enjoy fountain pens and lovely ink.
    "Sapphire" I miss dearly - having learned a lot from her about the culture and history of Japan (I also read a lot about your philosophy).
    I will visit your blog often!