Leuven Writes

Part 1: In Leuven
I attempted to show a few friends around Leuven once. It rained! This is not an un-common occurrence. In truth it is the nature of the rain that I have an issue with. It is not that the water cascades from the sky, but that it is, in its deepest molecules, contrary! I had made the bold claim to my friends that Leuven is a beautiful city. And indeed it is! The actor Ralph Fiennes was right to claim, in the movie ‘In Bruges,’ that Bruges is: “A fucking fairytale city.” However, it would have been more appropriate, in my opinion, to give this honorary to Leuven. Leuven is a ‘fucking fairytale city,’ something quietly compact and yet vibrantly alive. I have seen maps of Leuven brag, animatedly, that anyone can reach anywhere in Leuven in 10 minutes. It is a small city, compact and easy to traverse. Cities within ‘The Brothers Grimm’ can share a similar boast. It is possible for a main character to traverse the scope of the Royal Kingdom without breaking a sweat. Small though Leuven is, it is also undeniably alive. I have walked through the city on a Thursday night and noted the following oddities and excitements: a blaring jazz concert; a group of individuals dressed as fluffy dogs; a mobile bar propelled by the pedaling power of drunken students; ancient Gothic architecture older than my country’s independence (though I am from Australia, so this is not much of a boast) and an endless assortment of gorgeous women. Truly, this is a city for kings! Yes, this is a fucking fairytale city! Something infinitely surprising and delightful, alight with the fires of a hundred lives churning through studies, work or a sea of alcohol. Yet despite this it is a humble city, even Hobbiton would dwarf its child-like dimensions. I have no quarrel with this city; it is only the weather that I find contrary in the extreme. I boast of her beauty to my friends, and Leuven hides her assets under a conservative gown of fog and rain. At last I understand why the locals insist that Belgium is a rainy country. It is a kind of incantation; a spell intended to halt the rain. If the rain knows we expect it, perhaps it will blow over and hound another unsuspecting individual who insists that Europeans know only the sunny side of life. Murphy’s Law reigns in Leuven, as it does in any Grimm Fairytale.

Part 2: An Introduction to Leuven Writes

Proper Writes is a writing cooperative in Leuven, our goal is simply to encourage and pay attention to good writes. This year, as a group, we intend to contribute a collaborative series of stories, poetry, and prose to The Voice under the pseudonym Leuven Writes. We don’t consider this to be merely a collection of separate, isolated pieces, but rather view it as a coherent production. Our goal is to freely characterize the life here by incorporating each writer’s particular perspective, style, and mode of writing. The setting is life in Leuven and this is Leuven Writes: The traveller thought, “what stories rest in the ground we walk upon, and how many have come without writing a word?” People come and people go - movement. Varying emotions come and go, excitement triggered by hopeful exploring of the unknown. Thoughts they come and thoughts they go, impressions sweeping daily through the minds of intersecting lives. To the traveller, the inquirer, the temporary local, we are here to say that much has been written here, much is being written here. Leuven Writes, indeed, giving voice to numerous of unshared stories and impressions that take place on the ground we walk upon. A crossroads, though it may be, a place to pass through, though it may be, Leuven is a place of affections, of experiences permanently affecting the depth of our souls. Being a place where destinies meet, embrace, undergo life-changing experiences together, the separate paths taken in the end are not unchanged; characters and life goals are affected by time spent here. All come and all go with a story of their own, even if only enduring in the mind, unshared. Indeed, each of us has memories attached to this city: memories of various places that gained peculiar value in one’s mind, memories of normal adventures that happened from day to day, memories of people one met and might never see again. All affect, and all are affected. To that most passionate traveler, who’s forgotten his travel journal and thereby left unwritten perhaps a rather thrilling and captivating book, let it be known that life in Leuven is not unwritten, Leuven writes. Write your part.

Part 3: Representing the Performance
In Leuven, a sordid afternoon meant to be a good morning gave way to a lecture in an open-windowed place of learning. The prevailing sound of a finely articulated fine point met my clearly scattered thoughts and affected my running vision. Though not thinking in terms of academic publications, I wrote while interpreting: Texts as everything not reality presenting what is to all standpoints and domains coming by way of accents without clear identity and certainly not sameness around cheap pens and the orange sweatshirt here a few blocks from that fly and all those other realities

between the banks; and Homeless Philosophy is a vessel checking out all the domains on the way to the grave of Ultimate Standpoint while sad and mourning morning news of Unified Science’s recent passing with a white flag all the while hoping to survive after death threats and name calling but fielding how-do-I-have-to-construct-reality-if-I-wantto-account for-this-and-that questions and having to say “don’t you know the perfect mirror of reality was shattered by a couple of smart adults years ago” around the time window displays show the new price of abstractions which only most pay for with their life without knowing it and when some adults can be so right on at times. In Leuven, busses to elsewhere carried on with the duty known as their purpose. Meanwhile, rain forgot puddles in the street after its brief visit, the busses didn’t mind the weather. The Stationers all read the same scene but with different eyes and from different angles, and most of what was read there won’t ever be seen as words on paper, but I for one, with Shaolin in mind and listening to Modest Mouse, painted the scenes I saw: A scene: Empty handicapped spots near flowers and trash cans call into question what should be, presenting the foreground of unfocused dreams to stationary students in the wind who are everyone else crawling on two feet around cats sitting on silver cars next to every color we see and can’t during the time nothing happened. A scene: Bags swinging by some force or another, the wind maybe, when it’s full of things for a picnic where deals are made near discs in trees and a construction site is the background for knuckle push-ups while stories are told with eye pointing hand gestures by the one smoking in black standing with birds, motor cars, and others in the choir heard here when the specificity of that concealed question is not betrayed and never is. A scene: Smiles speaking louder than books near library lawns without grass but paved and cleared of the big fly seen only when looking up to mystifying skies that have been explained more than twice over. The movement of the people in a post-globalized village where 21st century talk dominates the characterizing, and one is heard thinking, “why wouldn’t it and why shouldn’t you and I join, take our place, make it and call it loudly like the way smiles speak here.” In Leuven, I’m watching life like someone normal posing as a theater nerd at play. The performance has more characters than can be counted and more scenes than can be seen. Daily, myself and about a hundred thousand others read, interpret, decide, act, and affect the show. I find the scenes interesting enough to try to interpret. My interpretations are only some of the millions, and this is just another representation. I can only paint part of the picture.