Normally, I’m quite a punctual person. I’m the kind of student who submits a paper a week early because I was in a writing mood anyway so why postpone it? However, I have one recurring deadline that I keep forgetting.
For two years now, I’ve been writing a column for TALIG, a magazine from the Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuur Vereniging (The Afrikaans Association of Language and Culture). I write short pieces for them (around 600 words) about being a Dutch student of Afrikaans, funny linguistic things in both languages, or short book reviews. When I first started this gig I made this whole list of fun things to write about. However, that list is kind of emptied out by now and every two months this deadline keeps popping up in my agenda. Because it’s not really a new gig anymore it started to drift to the back of my mind, and it becomes a bit harder to find things to write about. And it becomes even harder now that life has become more boring due to the lockdowns. Previously I would write about things like a workshop Afrikaans for some students, event like the Week van de Afrikaanse Roman or the Colloquium vir Afrikaans in Gent.
The last year is has been a lot harder to find subjects that fit the idea of this column. I wrote about Dutch neologisms about the pandemic, parliamentary language (because of the Dutch Prinsjesdag), or the fact that I’m struggling with the biography of N.P. Van Wyk Louw. But the fact that columns are both often rooted in recent developments and that the possible subject matter is kind of narrow (light-hearted, with an interested in language and literature, but very accessible), makes it very difficult to keep coming up with ideas in these boring, far-from-light-hearted times.
If I really can’t think of anything, I can always resort to a book review but I don’t want to do that too often: although the column will be about how I experience the book as a Dutch person, it can’t be too interesting for the audience to read about all those out-dated books they already know so much about. I’m looking forward to more events to I can have more to write about. Until then, I’m very open to hear about fun linguistic fact that I can use for my columns!