12 minutes ago
To read aloud
For the Drood
BACKGROUND – In Veur de Drood Well-known Achterhoekers answer theses. Today writer, poet and teacher Hanz Mirck (52) from Zutphen.
By André Valkeman
1) My mental mood is:
“Autumn. In summer, the writer in me is not so contemplative. In the fall I think things over. In short: I am in a writing mood.
Other things are a bit chaotic. For me as a teacher, the school year starts, that is building up. The world stage is played by the war that gives an unstable society, with unpleasant images of refugees sleeping outside. If you look at Ter Apel, you wonder whether the Netherlands is still humane. My most recent book Sirius is about the hard life of a refugee. It’s very topical, but I’d rather not have that.
We’ll get that, Merkel said. That simple sentence contained a vision and attitude to life. We do it, we make sacrifices. However, the Dutch government is pragmatic, looking at costs and electoral retention. I lack willingness to really want to solve it.”
2) I am most like ‘mien va/mo’:
“Fifty-fifty. My brain is one hundred percent my father, my outwardly mother. I teach, Dutch. My father also taught at the conservatory. He was intellectual and not very emotional. My father thought ‘how do you feel about it?’ not an interesting question at all. And when I asked: ‘what is the most beautiful piece of music?’, he said: ‘I don’t like superlatives’.
I wanted it to be different, I wanted to describe feelings. I learned it myself and through my mother’s emotions. Cooking in the kitchen, she was the cement of our family.
I often hear that I have characteristic hair and a tight jawline. She is that distinctive in me.”
3) This is my biggest fear:
“I used to have a fear of failure. I wanted to go to the conservatory, messed up the admission and was rejected. The fear of failure came from a father who was on top of it. Who knew everything better.
The rejection was good afterwards. I started writing, doing something my father couldn’t control. You shouldn’t want to wear your father’s suit either. I became free. While writing I let myself be carried away with what came into my mind and I realized that that was good enough. The fear of failure disappeared.”
4) After death there is:
“We can only imagine death as human beings, while at death we are no longer human. We perish. Maybe an energy is going through. But are you sure? Nobody does that! Claiming things with certainty about this has been the source of so many world problems for centuries. Let me not do that…”
5) I can go outside the Back corner living:
“Yes. I used to live in Arnhem and Apeldoorn but now I’m back in Zutphen. I look at it with new eyes and rediscover its splendor. I am becoming more and more Achterhoeker. Normal, the peace, the green… It touches me more than ever before.”
6) This was my last brawl:
“I am a pacifist in striving. However, at my previous school, I had a fight. Not a physical one, a verbal one. Two students accuse me of poor preparation for tests by means of a board letter. They would have failed because of bad lessons, they made me black. Fellow teachers thought the allegations were absurd and supported me. The management declared the complaint unjustified but left the lies unpunished. That felt outlawed. I wanted to be supported, asked for adhesion and said I would resign if it didn’t come. It didn’t happen and I left. What happened next I did not foresee at all. Dozens of fellow teachers followed. They all left because the signal after my event was: you’re a free target here.”
7) Then it was me happiest:
“At the Sirius book launch. The student whose escape story I interpreted felt insulted at first. His character became a dog. To be compared to dogs was a disgrace in his Syrian-Islamic culture. But at the presentation, he understood why. My girlfriend was allowed to design the illustrations. The first copy was received by the director of Amnesty International.”
8) Man is monogamous:
“Man is a thinking animal. So being monogamous is a deal in a relationship. World literature shows that it doesn’t always work. But without trust, a relationship is nothing. We recently celebrated ten years of trust.”
9) People with an accent are:
“Connected to a place. The prejudice is that they would have a limited view. But you need to look beyond an accent. Something else: you often hear radio presenters talking ABN. I mainly hear a lot of Amsterdam. Or is that not an accent?”
10) This is coming on my tombstone:
“I want a cremation. I leave behind a paper tombstone. My job. Do I have a poem about life? Maybe this one: ‘Where we forgot is called paradise’.”