Currently reading

I am currently reading the book pictured above: Kurt by German author Sarah Kuttner. It was released last week.

Whenever I am asked about my favourite writer, I am reluctant to mention one, but this woman is definitely a favourite. Her books always touch me, her writing is flawless.

I am not sure if there are English translations but if you read German, try “Mängelexemplar” or “180° Meer”.

That’s my weekend sorted…

xx

Cathy

Throwback – I’ll never stop giving up

*stream of consciousness*

I sit, and I wait. Sitting and waiting. And I hope that no one will ask what I am waiting for. I would answer “Life”, and they would quote John Lennon “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”. And they wouldn’t even know that it’s not a simple quote but that this sentence is a line of lyrics from a song he wrote for his beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy Julian. And I would bite my tongue because information like that is plenty in my brain. It’s just – no one cares about it. And that’s why I keep sitting and waiting. For life to happen. And to understand it. But that is not entirely true. Because from my place, I have a nice view. I observe and analyse, and I keep to myself. The things I know, are not the things I need to share. But on the other hand, all the half-truths and snippets of misinformation I know, are not the ones others want to hear. It’s a circle. And if I don’t find the right corner to get off, I will stumble, and my clumsy attempt to catch myself will end with me lying face down enduring the spiral, the slipstream that brought this upon me. Upwards or downwards? Which way does it go? Maybe just sideways? Either way, I will end up puking on the floor and emptying what little is inside me. All of it, until the heaving is dry and the acrid smell of bile chases everyone away. Everyone left the building. Including me. I need to pay attention to the little things. Hold on tight to the pillars of this meagre existence, to keep myself from stumbling. And while I am doing just that, all these unfiltered thoughts are rushing down onto the screen.

I put the cigarette to my lips and inhale. No filter. Rolled with my own shaky hands. Because – yes, why? Because it is edgy. Cool people roll their cigarettes themselves. It’s all pretending anyway. Oh yes, I’m a great pretender. Who gives a crap about my cigarettes and my thoughts. But I keep writing. Someday, the romantic voice inside of my head suggests, someone will read the mix of weirdness and eclecticism my brain produces. They will beg me to publish a book – a memoir – a biography of this writer and all will be good. At least, I have dreams. The other possibility, far more probable, is that the words stay unread. I will die in a stuffy room with overflowing ashtrays and too many empty bottles.
Maybe a cat or two. Sheets of papers with the start of the next big novel is strewn across the floor and the bed — music loud and on repeat. And in the centre of it all; me. Picture me like Jimi Hendrix, suffocated on my own vomit. A rock star death. Don’t be alarmed, though. I am not a rock star. I don’t play the guitar well enough and all in all, I am just a coward who never did any drugs. On second thought, aren’t most rock stars ridden with anxiety? Isn’t that why they turn to alcohol and drugs and whatnot? Always on the hunt for the next high? But one day your brain (and your soul too), are just too used to the girls screaming your name and the papers printing your photographs, your name in the headlines. And while you pretend to crave your privacy, the thought of being left alone and forgotten scares you to death. And so you power on, with some chemical help, because you couldn’t do all the shows and interviews and all that other crap that comes with being famous, without it. I don’t envy these people at all — not one bit.

And so I stare out onto the lake. The sky is grey; the water is too. And I wait for the next idea to come up. A real writer wouldn’t wait. They would write. Or am I wrong and a real writer would draw charts and write every idea down? Being organised? Where’s the fun in that? So – no labelling my ideas. Just sitting. Waiting. Staring. Smoking. And while I am doing that, the music plays softly in the background. It’s not loud enough to drown out the voices that keep telling me that I am a waste of talent. I can still hear them judging me and how I spend the days. For them, I am doing nothing. For me, I am savouring the moment. It’s as a friend told me once: We need time to understand who we are before someone else comes along and makes us into the version they want us to be. So maybe – just maybe, my answer to the question “What are you waiting for”, would not be “Life”, but maybe the truer answer would be “To understand”. I guess the reaction would be close to the same. They would urge me to get up and do something.

But, if they don’t see it, does that really mean that I am not doing anything? Because in my mind, eccentric as it may be, I am doing a whole lot. I am not giving up.

###

Author’s Note:

Written in March 2016.

I haven’t had a cigarette this year… And, I don’t know how you feel about it, but I think that the last paragraph in this piece of writing is the most important thing I have ever written. Whenever I encounter people who are struggling with their mental health, whenever I am struggling myself, I remember these words. I am not giving up, even if people are not seeing that I am fighting.

updated about me

Greetings and salutations,

I am Catherine or Cathy (or micqu as my writing alter ego). A writer. A mom of three. Wife. A part-time educator working at a nursery. Walking and talking contradiction who loves music, clouds, sunrises, and complicating easy things.

I write poetry and short stories and sometimes small novellas too.

In 2018, I published a poetry collection that is available to buy as a paperback from me directly (on mobile version or phone, you need to scroll all the way down to find the link; on desktop version it should be at your right…) Unquiet Minds can also be bought on Amazon. (eBook and paperback)

Listening to music is a huge passion of mine. And I have a vast record collection that is constantly growing. (*cough cough* +/- 1300 physical albums – vinyl and digital downloads not included *bragging*) So… there might be a song here or there or me gushing about this or that band and giving it more meaning than it really has.

Now… I am sure you want to know where else you can find me, right? Right?! Or maybe where to avoid me?

Well… me and my annoying alter ego micqu can be found here (feel free to follow and/or get in touch there too):

https://www.instagram.com/micqu_1/ Instagram… obviously. I post pics and stuff. Duhh!

https://twitter.com/micqu1 Twitter. Where I always wonder why 140 characters are enough to make some people look witty, while I just look like me.

Bandcamp Music. Don’t worry, I am just a listener, but maybe you’ll find something worth your while in my collection.

Wattpad I used to share all my writing there, now, this blog is my primary place to write and share, although I cross post once in a while. It’s where my writing roots are buried.

tablo Another place where I shared some of my writing. Mostly LGBT-themed novellas. I am not active on that site anymore, but the books are still up.

If you want or need to send me an email, try this address: catherine.micqu@gmail.com

Don’t be shy, get in touch. I love to be social. Most of the time.

Hm… let me think… what else?

I’m 36 years young and from Luxembourg/Europe. (Languages spoken and written: Luxembourgish, German, French, English and claiming my bragging rights…). I can be quite passionate and opinionated, but I can be just as brooding and bruised. My own personal mental health struggles became a big part of this blog in recent years.

The words you’ll find on this site are all mine. I wrote them and thought them up in my mind. If some words aren’t mine, the original author is mentioned. Clips shared on this site belong to the respective owners. Same goes for SoundCloud or Bandcamp links.

Once again, nice to meet you… I hope you enjoy my explosions of emotions and my kind of randomness.

Cathy

Disclaimer:

This is a personal blog. Short stories and most poems are fiction and tagged as such. Resemblances with actual places and people (alive or dead) are a coincidence. No post is aimed at anyone in particular if it is not stated in the post itself. Do not copy my words without my consent. Thank you.

Throwback – it’s the little things

  • Crying during a movie
  • A song that turns back time and carries you to one specific moment
  • A book you can’t set down
  • Tea that has the right temperature
  • The sun shining through trees
  • A formation of clouds
  • A rainbow
  • Thunder and lightning
  • A right pressure on the spot where your back hurts most
  • A child saying your name
  • A child giving you a hug
  • Birthday wishes from people you thought had forgotten about you
  • An evening with friends
  • Hugs (but hugs aren’t a little thing)
  • A song on the radio that you like
  • Your child singing along to your favourite song
  • An entire paragraph that was written without a typo
  • Writing the first words after having felt uninspired for a long time
  • Not setting the alarm
  • Empty plates
  • A decent parking spot
  • One last chewing gum when you thought there weren’t any left
  • A smile from a stranger
  • Giving a busker some money and the gratitude in their eyes when you offer to buy them something warm to drink
  • Old pictures
  • New songs
  • The smell of my pillow
  • Clothes that are still warm from the tumble dryer
  • Smooth skin
  • Even numbers (grocery shopping, gas pump)
  • The scent of my favourite perfume
  • When the hurt goes away
  • Being aware of life’s beauty
  • Not forgetting life’s challenges
  • Sleep
  • Lists
  • Realising that many little things make some big things
  • A kiss
  • A good dream
  • Serenity
  • Thinking without succumbing to melancholy
  • An old voice message that still makes you smile
  • A memory
  • Knowing that everything will be alright (even if it doesn’t look that way)
  • Being present (are you there?)
  • The clock that says 23:09 or 08:02
  • Sunrise
  • Not feeling regrets
  • Remembering a friend who has passed away
  • Thinking of people who changed our lives (I am thinking about you daily lately – are you there?)
  • Notifications
  • Stars
  • I am what I am
  • The wind in my hair
  • The soundtrack of my life
  • The perfect shade of your favourite colour (raspberry or aubergine)
  • A picture that touches you
  • A song that pulls at all the right strings
  • Being understood without the need to explain everything in detail
  • A life in pictures that were never taken
  • Everything and more

Forgotten Hopes

Once, a long time ago, I wrote a poor version of this and put it up on my Wattpad account with this as a cover. I still like it somehow; that’s me, by the way.

She was fifteen when she first heard the song that changed her life and became path and direction of her journey. Music had been a distraction and a companion for most of her isolated childhood and youth. Being subject to emotional abuse, she had found somewhere safe to hide in her mind when music was playing. When silence reigned in her bedroom, thoughts threatened to destroy her fragile mind. Once in a while, her older sister took her to the city. They browsed stores for clothes and, her favourite part, for music. Their shopping spree always ended with an obligatory trip to the newsstand. Her sister bought the latest teen magazine, and she invested the last of her money in music magazines that came with free CDs.

On the bus home, both girls looked out of the window, trying to find ways to ignore what was awaiting them at home. The older one retreated to her own bedroom as soon as they walked through the door; the younger one was greeted with new chores that were added to her list and verbal abuse when she was not able to do the things she was commanded to do. She was not innocent though, she replied to every insult thrown at her with another insult. Inside, she broke apart, but she refused to show it to the outside. They would love to see her cry, and she was not willing to grant them this victory. Once done with everything, she too found her way to her sanctuary, where the first thing she did was putting on some music. But the music she listened to made her angry. Angrier than she already was. Her friends had suggested those bands, and for once, she had wanted to fit in, and something was appealing too, but she was beginning to see that those friends were morons who weren’t able to see past shallow lyrics and worshipped ugly minds and ideas. This was not her. She was too open-minded and free-spirited for this hate and ugliness. She had enough of those at home already, and she wanted more; needed more. Somehow she always knew that she deserved more.

She unpacked what she had bought, new CDs to put in the stand next to her stereo and listen to one after the other; a new black top with a large white and silvery bird, and the magazines from the newsstand. She wanted to give the new music on the free sampler attached to the magazine a listen first. Awaiting rejection, she knocked on her sister’s door to ask for the laptop they were sharing. With relief she saw that the older girl was not using it and with a warning to bring it back within an hour, she could take it. Once everything was plugged in and mounted, she was in for a surprise.

4 minutes and 42 seconds were about to change her life. The CD started on its own accord, and the first sounds she heard was an acoustic song by a band that was unknown to her. She didn’t know much about music, but she knew when she was touched by something good. She looked at the screen in front of her and was intrigued by the two men she saw with their guitars. One was sitting on a chair, strumming and singing; head slightly bowed. The other lay on the bed cradling his guitar like a lover; eyes closed. A myriad of emotions ran through her mind and body, too many emotions to place them and all she was capable of doing was sigh and smile. Wow! The song ended. The screen faded to black and she, she released another long breath. She was mesmerised by what she had heard and seen. Before the next song came on, she had to play this one again. The repeat button was the only option there was. This time, the smile was there from the beginning. As soon as the song had ended a second time, she knew she needed more; more of this beautiful and sad music. She was greedy, but this music, these lyrics, and the men somehow too, they had touched something deep inside her. Something was born and awoken in those few minutes of having listened to the song. In a frantic nearly obsessed way she browsed the internet to find out who this band was. They were brothers and part of a band. The clip of them in the hotel room was made to advertise their newest release. This British band had been around for a while, and she made a point to purchase as much of their back catalogue the next time she would go to her preferred record store. It was 1998; she was fifteen and deep inside, she knew that this band had just changed her entire life and thoughts.

She was twenty-six when an unexpected bout of depression hit her. It was the first time she felt helpless, hopeless, obsolete. Friends had long gone; only a couple had survived and morphed into adult friendships. Life had changed; she had moved on with a family of her own. She had a house, a husband, and two kids. Her mind had changed too; of course, it had, she was not a child anymore but an educated and intelligent woman. The music she listened to had changed, as well as the meaning it had in her life now. The band that had changed her life in her youth was still there and had stayed the same; more or less, releasing new music regularly.

It was 2009, and everything looked good on the outside; to some her life was perfect. But inside; inside everything was different; she had lost hope. She had forgotten how to have hope for a better future. She had no dreams, no goals, no future. She was existing, but not living. No one had ever promised anything to her. No one had ever punished her for dreaming. And yet, she was bruised by the daily struggles. Hurt by her own high expectations and standards; and yet she couldn’t change. She was powerless. Hope was lost.

She sat in front of the computer. It was silent in her room. Just she and her tormenting thoughts that became louder and more vicious with every passing sleepless night. She clicked YouTube links by the dozen to distract herself from the noise in her brain, but the music didn’t bring her peace anymore. The songs were filled with melancholy, and they all made her want to cry and hide from the world even more. Until seemingly out of nowhere, the song came on that had changed her life a decade ago appeared in a random playlist. The exact same version. With both men in a hotel room and the camera focusing on the guitarist who lay flat on his back playing the intro to the song. Forgotten Hopes.

The song that had changed so much such a long time ago was doing it again. She didn’t smile once when it played. She just watched. Frozen. Her mind was empty, devoid of thoughts. This hadn’t happened in a very long time. And when the screen faded to black to begin playing a new song, she paused the playlist and buried her face in her hands. She finally cried. She cried the tears she had kept in for years, and when she was all cried out, she felt freer than she had ever felt. Snot was running down her nose, and dark dots that used to be warm tears adorned her shirt, but it was okay. Her head hurt from the sudden release of those locked up emotions. But that too was okay. And once again, this song, this band that was ever-present in her life, had changed her train of thoughts. It was okay. It was okay, and everything would be okay. Music was healing her mind.

She was thirty-two in 2015, and after supporting one of the musicians of the band that had been her longtime companion in a crowd-funding campaign, she received a personalised song. It was the most unique gift she could ever receive. Forgotten Hopes, and it was sung just for her. It took her a couple of tries and a lot of headshaking and worrying, but in the end, she dared to send an email to the man whose lyrics had guided her through her life and whose words were inspiring her own creative mind. She thanked him and told him briefly how much she owed to him, his lyrics and his passion. He had touched her in all the right places, and now she wanted to touch him too. Give back a little. And by doing so, her life changed again. And maybe, his did too. For her, it was Important that he knew and understood that his presence on this earth had saved her, that it mattered. In her mind, every artist deserved to know that their light gave hope.

Forgotten Hopes. A vivid reminder to her to never lose hope.

Anathema – Forgotten Hopes

(partly autobiographical)

Thank you

The year draws to a close, and we tend to look back on what was and try to imagine what will be.

I wanted to share the above picture with you. Those are my stats on this blog since its creation. As you can see 2013 and 2014 had many views and not many visitors. During those years Jamie and I shared a lot of music, and I often sent links to my blog here. So… He is to blame for the views. He passed away in 2015. Up until the end of 2016, I did not tag my posts. And when I did, everything went up. I also wrote a lot more. As you can see 2018 is by far the best year when it comes to my writing. Ironically, I have not sold a book through the button on this site. I am not even sure if it works. But that’s okay.

I owe you a big THANK YOU.

People from 62 different countries have visited me – Catherine Micqu. You know who you are. And I know some of you too.

By the way… The top three posts were demons, heatwave, and madness is sadness.

I want to give special thanks to a handful of fellow bloggers. Nate, because you reached out when I needed it most. Your message came at the right time. Paul, because you always make me smile and I like your thoughts. Jeff, your love and dedication to music are amazing, your thoughts are deep, I appreciate that a lot. River Dixon because you are always the first to vote on whatever I share, and last but not least, Robert, because without you I wouldn’t write at all. Thank you.

No women? you ask. Well, apparently not. I just noticed this too. I went to look at my reader, and I saw that I don’t follow any blogs written by women and that are still active.

Either way, thank you all for your support and encouragement, silent or outspoken. See you on the other side. ❤

Cathy

Christmas tag

Thank you to Paul for nominating me for this festive tag, and I would also like to hear your answers to my questions.

a) Rules:

1. Thank the blogger that tagged you and link their blog to your post.

2. List the rules in the post.

3. Answer all the questions asked by the blogger.

4. Nominate some other bloggers and provide them with 12 new questions!

b) Paul’s questions

1. What do you eat on Christmas?

On the 24th, we have Fondue Bourguignonne. (Fondue with meat cooked in red wine). On 25th, we are invited with my husband’s family, and I don’t know what we’ll have.

2. Do you like wrapping presents?

Yes, I do. And I am quite good at it.

3. Do the other reindeer feel slighted that they haven’t been asked to lead Santa’s sleigh yet?

I don’t know. Santa doesn’t exist here in Luxembourg. We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

4. What’s your favourite tree ornament?

A purple glass ornament.

5. What makes a good mall Santa?

I couldn’t say. There are St. Nicola’s here around the 6th of December. A good one is not drunk and loves talking to the kids, keeping the magic alive.

6. Favourite Christmas movie?

I am very girlie here… I like the Family Stone, and I also like Home for the Holidays. And Miracle on 34th Street.

7. Have you ever snooped around the house for your presents?

*Shaking my head No, whispering yes*

8. Is an inflatable snowman on the front lawn really necessary?

Nope

9. Do you like when your gifts come in bags?

No. It takes the fun of unwrapping them

10. If it doesn’t snow on Christmas, is it still Christmas?

Yes! There is no white Christmas around here… With few exceptions.

11. Have you ever returned a present?

No. Every present is chosen with care, even if I don’t like it.

12. Alvin and the Chipmunks have a made a lot of money off of their Christmas album. If you were to make a Christmas Album, what would your hit single be called?

Last Christmas I dreamed of dancing in a winter wonderland.

c) Nominations:

I nominate River Dixon, fauxcroft, Jeff, and everyone of you who has visited more than once. You are welcome to leave your answers in the comments too.

Here are my 12 Christmas questions:

1. What is your earliest memory about Christmas?

2. How do you spend December 25th?

3. For me, the Christmas season starts when I first hear Last Christmas on the radio; when does the festive season begin for you?

4. Which traditions don’t you like?

5. Do you even celebrate this day?

6. Do you like giving presents?

7. How many kilos will you gain this year?

8. I wrote a post about not liking the festive season for various reasons, do you like or dread December?

9. Do you decorate your home and house?

10. Do you sing Christmas carols around the tree?

11. What is the worst that could happen during a Christmas party at work?

12. What would you get me if money wasn’t an issue?

Enjoy… Looking forward to your answers.

91 things I like or make me happy

  • My kids (hearing them laughing, being silly with them, but also having deep and meaningful discussions with them)
  • Sunrises
  • Music
  • Movies (comedies, dramas, thrillers, 80s movies)
  • Books
  • My job (educator at a nursery)
  • The colour purple
  • Spinach
  • White wine
  • Hot baths
  • Chats with my favourite person on messenger 💜
  • Writing
  • Poetry
  • The wind in my hair
  • Jean-Paul Gaultier Classic pour femme
  • Languages
  • Dark humour
  • Sunsets
  • Clouds
  • Pictures (taking them and looking at them)
  • Sleep
  • Kindness
  • Gratitude
  • Converse All Stars (I own a few pairs – blue, purple, green, red, yellow, grey, rainbow…)
  • Driving fast (when I am the driver)
  • Laughing
  • Loud music
  • Men
  • Thunderstorms
  • Soapbubbles
  • Receiving letters, mail, or postcards
  • Lists
  • Smooth skin
  • Hairy men
  • Raspberries
  • Green eyes
  • Special jewelry (like the bracelets from MyIntent, or the pentacle I wear daily)
  • Black coffee
  • Black clothes
  • My yellow g-shock (solar…)
  • Candles
  • Incense sticks (preferably sandalwood)
  • My bed and my pillow (which has a distinct smell that helps me fall asleep)
  • Biographies
  • Opinions and discussing them
  • Vegetables (I don’t like fruit)
  • Feeling needed
  • Feeling loved
  • Stars
  • The moon
  • Twitter
  • Reading blogs
  • Live music
  • Boiled eggs
  • Reading horoscopes (I am an Aquarius)
  • Intelligence and intellect
  • Massages (receiving them)
  • Chosen silence and alone-time
  • Chinese food and sushi
  • Limited editions
  • Signed or personalised books or CDs
  • Salted caramel
  • Going to the movies
  • My country (the sole remaining Grand-Duchy in the world)
  • That there are people from all around the world reading my words (it humbles me – thank you)
  • Little things and gestures done without any need or wish to be repaid
  • Assembling IKEA furniture
  • Singing
  • Dancing
  • My eyes (brown and expressive)
  • My voice
  • Sleeping in
  • Waves
  • Supporting people who deserve it (in my own opinion)
  • Having my facts straight
  • Oversharing
  • Selfies on a good day
  • Sitting outside on a summer night
  • Game night with the kids
  • My published poetry book
  • Crying while watching movies
  • My hair colour
  • My unquiet mind
  • The days when I feel beautiful
  • Birthdays
  • Having a drink and a smoke with my friends on a night out
  • Rain
  • Serenity
  • Realising that there are many things that make me happy
  • Offering presents
  • You!

Thank you for reading this far. 💜

Currently reading…

I am thinking about making this a thing. There are times when I read a lot and times when I don’t read at all.

The last books (novels) I read were in German. “Gut Gegen Nordwind” and “Alle Sieben Wellen” by Daniel Glattauer (who is an Austrian author, I believe). It’s a series. Are two books a series? Or is it just a sequel? Semantics. The first book was a recommendation. My friend said that he liked the book a lot and that it has a sequel. If I had the chance, I should read them both. He talked about them Friday over dinner, and I was done with both books Sunday in the afternoon. I loved them that much. And I have to admit, thank god for Kindle. I think I would have lost my interest if I had had to wait for the paperbacks.

Since then, I did not read any novels. I began a few but couldn’t get through them. Here I should mention “Vurt” by Jeff Noon, and “Straight Boy” by Jay Bell. Both books are on my nightstand. But they didn’t grip me enough for now.

Currently, I am reading this:

“It’s Kind of a Funny Story” by Ned Vizzini. I admit I watched the movie right before I ordered the book. And I haven’t read the entire book yet – hence, currently reading. Reading about Ned Vizzini and his struggles that resulted in suicide, I became curious to see how he wrote this novel. I wanted to hear his voice. I wanted to read how he wrote about depression and mental health…

I am a demanding reader. If I am not gripped by the story or the narrative of it after reading 3 or 4 pages, the book will find a place on the shelf. Sometimes, books stay there for years until I give them a second chance, sometimes they stay there forever, unread, unloved. But sheltered and safe. I could never give away any of my books (and I couldn’t sell them either.)

I am a weird person with weird opinions. But I believe that every book is something magical. Someone sat at their desk and designed an entire universe. They got frustrated with their characters and were proud of them. They shared their mind and every waking (and sleeping) hour with those people. Writing a novel is satisfying, but it is draining too, and one a writer lets go of their baby, a void opens up in them. What was theirs becomes someone else. The visions and imageries they had when they wrote will be different for every reader (based on their mindset, upbringing, experience, past and present life…). Reading is subjective. Writing is too.

When I look at a book, I don’t only see a story and pages filled with words; I see weeks and months of hard work.

Every writer always leaves a bit of themselves in every book. 💜

What are you reading right now?

Cathy