Scooterin’ to Pemuteran (Yep I did that, so?)
Collette and I squizzed in on our rusted but trusted Honda 125 to a cheap and cheeky B&B in Pemuteran. It was red hot, dry and unforgiving like my wit on the third day of a session. There was a playful, older, Aussie couple downing Bintang on sun-loungers, they looked like they’d seen a few parties and even more relationship counsellors.
And there was Jesper, bobbing.
Apart from that, it seemed like the place needed more guests, frankly.
I didn’t know Jesper was Jepser at this moment, but that’s not the point of the story. Let’s invade this thinking fella’s space – as is my modus operandi – and find out what his lonely-ass craic is.
Why was a Danish fella on his tod in a pool in this faraway place? He must be hiding after a bank job or planning to come out.
‘Why are you here?’
I asked, because that was the best question to ask. His eyes flickered like his register was overloading and his mouth turned into an upside down horseshoe from a cartoon. He was tentative. Nevertheless, he seemed to dig my nosey nature – I get it from my mother – and we talked.
Jammin’ wi’ J
Over the next 48 hours, me and the J-Man clicked into full brotherhood. His girlfriend Karen had died in a road accident and he’d found himself outside of the normal-ways-of-doing-things-in-Denmark, so here he was all thinky in Northern Bali.
He was a Baconhead alright, but flipped.
J-Wazzle’s Banger of a Novel
J-Town shared the first chapter of his book. And wow. His inner monologue and observations of the natural world worked together like dreams of the perfect boobs, but the context was devastating. Despite the fact that I’d Google-Translated his words from his native Baconhead to English, they still made me full-on cry. It was moving stuff and I asked J-Shape if he wanted come to Writing Retreat Bali.
I usually fucking hate surprises
Six months later – and T-minus three weeks from retreat commencement – J-Shizzle books a ticket out of the blue. A realisation hits and folks joining us on retreat all suddenly become real people with real lives and real problems. The whole event somehow becomes immediately more significant and worthwhile.
In the workshops, J-Fence is quiet, like some kind of chin rest model at a European thought gallery. It’s not clear from his expression if he’s truly getting everything or whether he’s plotting to kill the workshop leader or himself. Cue the upside down horseshoe and the eye-flutter. But he asks acute questions, so maybe this is sinking in to his lofty belfry of salt-cured pork.
During the retreat we’re tasked to write 250 words. Jesper pens an introspective and macro-spectacular poem about a spider’s web. He’s too shy and horseshoed to read it to folks around the fire – of course – so I read it for him. The reading supplies much rapture for the just-glowing and smoked-out faces around the dying flames. The fire does indeed recede, but from the wasted embers a beast doth slowly rise.
Ubud Writers’ Festival, Bitches
A week later and it’s the Ubud Writers’ Festival Poetry Slam. Jesper’s been prepped and he’s gonna grill the stage with his previously smoked 250-worder on what it feels like to be in his headweb. Yes.
And does he fucking smash it?
Of course, he fucking does.
25 poets from all over the world and only one can be the true lord of all.
Well done boss.
There was a moment on stage when the first laugh happened. I was nervous for him. But he looked up from his phone from where he was reading his poem, and he smiled in his Jespery, bacony, upturned horseshoe, uncertain kind of way, and he received the laugh perfectly and let them have a giggle. From then on it was ok to giggle.
Go for it, Ubud.
And his poem is funny and great and small and big and poignant and silly. It deals with the monkey mind, comedy, philosophy, pain, introspection, Bali, a moment, the big picture and everything you want in 250 words and more. He nailed it.
In six months, J-Town has climbed from the pool, he’s taken a leap and he’s flown like a giant, smoked, Northern European, gammon eagle. He’s been rewarded for his endeavour with international recognition. He can do it. He can create something that other people love. He has talent. He can make people think and laugh and cry. He can share and he can be noticed. He is a brilliant human and he can shine when he doesn’t just bob. So there’s the lesson.
Don’t not share.
Don’t let fear be the winning emotion of the day.
Go for it.
Do the thing.
Someone, somewhere, will see your champion-ness.
Arhus Stiftstidende – Jesper Munk Jakobsen