Love in Time of Corona

… between Amsterdam, New York and Milford, PA

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the synopsis

barbi does cosmo

Why, after writing three hundred pages and 65,000 words of a complete novel is it impossible to say what its about in a few hundred words? The synopsis is due and I am procrastinating. My bio too. Also hard. Like who am I? Who do I want to be? Which part is appealing, which picture, which part of my life will draw editors and readers to me instead of evoke who-does-she-think-she-is disgust?


Don’t people hate ex-models? Aren’t models supposed to be seen and not heard? Apparently Tyra Banks’ agent said, when Tyra first pitched Americas Next Top Model, let face it models are just not very sympathetic characters thats why people don’t want to know about them. Well wasn’t he wrong. Turns out people love to see pretty wannabe models be humiliated, cry and then bitch about it. But thats beside my point. Actually it isn’t. I’m fascinated by the whole beauty culture. I was submerged in it for ages, so deep that I had no perspective.

Now that I’m older and live on the fashion periphery I see.

mama barbi

More clearly.

For instance I see the whole anti-aging mania. I had lunch with a woman last Friday, an ex-model,  who said that she represented the anti-aging institute here in Miami.  How cool, I tought, an institute that supports aging in a positive way. WRONG! It was a botox, lift, nip and tuck center, and might as well be called the How To Hide That You’re Aging Institute. See thats my point. Our culture is not as much about being young as it’s about apppearing young when you’re not anymore. I was right smack in the middle of it this. Yet I never  grasped ( I was a stupid model)  the reasoning and consequences  of each youthful, laughing, leaping with happyness at the sheer pretty-ness of my existence photograph I took, to sell products by pretending that I was onto something that other women were not but might be if they bought into what I was wearing, drinking, smoking etc. Not a clue. I just smiled and leapt and took the fat check home. As for being sexy in those pictures, well you may be happy to hear that it never got me any sex. I’ll debunk this while I’m at it. Men were terrified of the Cosmo cover girl. I could stand alone at parties with hundreds of hot guys and the only ones trying to pick me up were greasy midgets with Greek shipping magnate names like Spiros. But I’m not getting to the synopsis. Not at all. In fact I’m still effectively procrastinating.

Although the novel is about all of the above, its also not. Its about sex and beauty and fashion and Calvin Klein and Kate Moss and Paris and fifty looming and losing weight and adultery and French mistresses and family and a BlackBerry and falling apart. Its more than that and its different than that. Less of a rant, more of a story. Like is it a love story? Kinda. Is it a story of self discovery? (yawn) Kinda. Is it about me? Yes and no.

So now you’re thinking, then what the fuck is it Barbi? Like if you dont know then how are we supposed to know?

You will. I promise. I’m just kicking up dust and see what settles. Using you and this blog-thing to get my head from the story to  an advertising-copy sized essence of what took me 65,000 casual self-effacing words into something  that now needs to read like the self-important blurb at the supermarket check out.

Suggestions are most welcome and also see poll below…

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writing and plastic…

photo: iona gordon

There’s definitely too much to read.

Oh for the predicament of writers, as per Facebook, where 99.9 % of my friends seem to be professional authors. Writers get a bum rap. We all agree. Publishers are dying while writers are multiplying. Nobody gets paid. No one who’s not somewhat famous gets published into a real hardcover book. And surely there are more words on the internet than have been written in the history of mankind.


I like to write. Its like giving those voices in my head a clothes line where they can flap about in the sun rather than be cooped up in my dark and dank head all day long. I never have writer’s block, unless you call what the fuck is the point of being a writer a block. Like those voices, even if I give them plenty of sun and air, still want better. They want to be heard, they want to be read, they want to be seen, they want to make an impact, they have big ego’s, and they always want more more more.

Writing is lonely, but blogging is not entirely. Lonely. Well, at least I get to see my daily stats (the chart that shows how many people have been on my blog). My daily stats are my ego mood meter. When it goes up my voices are pleased, but when it goes down they are pissed. My agent is lucky that I have stats. If I didn’t have stats, which tell me two hundred people read my latest blog within the first hour, I’d be on the phone with my agent all the time. Love me, love me, tell me you love me. Tell me I’m good. Tell me that my last novel is funny, will be published, will make me famous. Oh shut up already. Go work with the homeless. Go save the oceans. Those are my other voices. My who the fuck do you think you are? voices. Do you have those? I think they’re Dutch. The Dutch are not supposed to desire much. I’m Dutch. But I left Holland. I think I left because occasionally I take myself seriously. I have ambition, a really dirty word in Holland when I grew up, in the sixties, those I’m gonna be a social worker and save humanity sixties. That’s why, apart from writing, I also need to save the world from plastic pollution.


I collect old plastic trash from the beach, bring it home to my garage, where I forge jewelry from this trash. I sell the jewelry and I’m just adding bikinis with ocean trash plastic embellishment to the collection, just so the plastic can get back to the beach and lie in the sand, only now on the sexy tan bottom of some Miami babe who paid (a lot) for the trash that she left behind a year ago.

That’s just the kind of thing I like. It makes me laugh and gives me something to write about, because even though I do take my creative ambition seriously, it makes me feel like I actually do not take myself quite so seriously.

Thus the conflict inside my head, my murky voices, my modus operandus, my reasons for writing.

the collection at Las Tias, the Miami store

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the muse is not amused

a desk, a chair

a desk, a chair

its hot here. in case anyone is wondering. its 93, 96, thunderstorms and ohso muggy, no hurricane so far (just read Zeitoun, freakin’ myself out). this is not the month to move to miami for the weather. its the month to move to miami for school.
i have another child you know. my muse. and she’s pissed. i haven’t paid her attention in weeks. packing, driving, school issues, TB scare, not having a chair or desk. excuses, excuses she wails in my ear. my inner ear. i tell her i have a blog you know. its getting 200 hits a day you know. i’m not your fucking blogging muse and if you think i’m a mere blogging muse then i’m fuckin’ outta here she screams. thats the thing with muses, they can threaten to leave. kids dont. at least not yet. so i tell her. tomorrow. we’ll work on the novel tomorrow (i’m sneaking the next blog in now). she’s huffy. doesn’t believe me. arms crossed tight against her chest. not looking me in the eye. we’ll see she says. you have that principal at 11. i don’t see how you’re gonna fit me in. how we’re ever gonna finish those extra 10,000 words debbie (my agent) wants. its all forming in my mind i tell her. bullshit. a book doesn’t write itself, she says. thats my line i say. and i’m very very excited about it and debbie understands. you wish, she mumbles. i appreciate you. i sweet talk. she likes flattery. goodnight, i say. she doesn’t answer. i hope she hasn’t left.