SPOTLIGHT ON…

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Translated article from the INTERVIEWS page on www.schrijverspunt.nl

 

“A can of peas and some lettuce marched on the grass.”
‘It is the first line of a story in my notebook that I had finished at school at the age of ten.
“Just for in case something comes to mind,” I told my teacher.

The teacher is still alive. The notebook, which he has kept since that time, no longer exists. It would have been lost during a move. Another notebook serves me now, lying on my bedside table, “Just for when something comes to mind.” It is now indispensable and is full of strange characters that only I know the meaning of. ‘

These words come from the mouth of the passionate Dutch author Ben Midland (pseudonym) who has been living in Portugal since 2013, writer of short stories, poems, collection of stories, novels and since 2007 also of English-language thrillers.
“I do not remember what I wanted to express with that first line,” he says. “It may say something about my sense of language, but it shows a lot more about fantasy and to a large extent, and that is still the case as it is the beginning of a large stream of stories and after that also books I can now call myself a writer with peace of mind, a popular writer, according to friends and acquaintances. This is because I considered it a personal calling a few years ago to make a contribution to filling up the great void that years ago. genre of the short story has arisen, but fortunately now there seems to have been a turning point. ‘

With his weekly column on his website www.kronkelingen.com it seems that he has succeeded. Many readers are already finding their way to the site. With his attentiveness, flawless sense of humor and relativizing ability to continue to consider the things and sayings of people he meets and describes in their own environment and context, he manages to hit the sensitive chord time after time. And that for nearly two years. To the question why under the name of “Kronkelingen” he says:

‘Pure in honor of SC (Simon Carmiggelt, a Dutch writer of short stories, BM). Don’t look for something else behind that. Like me, I am a citizen of The Hague, born at a stone’s throw from his parental home. I asked his offspring for permission and there was no objection. It tells the reader who is looking for the genre in which SC wrote that he / she is on the right path. ‘

When asked if he can tell something about his other projects, Midland is sitting on the edge of his chair.

‘One of the nicest projects to do was to write the collection “Koplopers”, a series of absurdist stories in which I could let my imagination run free. I had been thinking about it for a long time, until I had gathered enough material to give it shape, and I succeeded. A friend has provided each story with an appropriate illustration that perfectly reproduces every slightly different character or insane situation that occurs in it. Personally, I think “De Winkel van Sinkel” and “De Snelwandelkampioen” are among the best, but that is personal. I also work on collecting material for the third part of a trilogy. They are thrillers based on factual material. Something else that I work on is a collection of stories and a novel in Russia at the time of the October Revolution. A historical non-fiction book is also in the pipeline to be written. ‘

Do you have time for other things?

Midland nods. “I’ll make time if it’s neccessary. As a dad I am at the head of a complex family whose members require some extra attention. With three dogs and a huge garden it is sometimes a madhouse of here. Recently I have been seriously ill for the duration of four months. That has been an extra heavy burden for all of us. Fortunately, I survived. Keep writing so much in between provided the necessary distraction. It has prompted me to think about things that I can do something with. That way the knife cuts on both sides. ”

Are there still things you hope to achieve with writing?

‘To give as many people as possible a pleasant moment of distraction with my writing. Preferably, if possible to make them laugh. I deliberately do not write about politics or religious matters. There is enough to do about that and it must above all be fun. Before I used to hope to be able to earn something with my writing, but I soon abandoned that idea. The Dutch book market is far too small for that and the competition abroad is murderous. As a self-published author, your manpower, budget and resources are insufficient to swim against that flow. Putting a smile on the faces of my loyal readers, I am satisfied with that. ‘

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