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New Challenges


Opening Quote  

The Epilogue opens with a quote that is sometimes attributed to Nelson Mandela. I found the text on Goodreads. I took the snippet "Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you" from a much longer text by Marianne Williamson, in A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles".

I'm not American, but I've been embedded in American culture for quite a while. When I hear the first notes of the song Don't Stop Believin' by Journey at a party, I know it's the DJ telling us: "This party was fun, but unfortunately, this is the last song of my set. Don't worry: there will be more parties. Keep the faith, and don't stop believing!" What better song could I use for the quote of my epilogue?


I submitted stories for the Weekly Writing Assignment on (Dutch) and the Weekly Writing Prompts on (English) in preparation of writing Gebeten (Dutch) and Entreprenerd (English). I bundled some of my English short stories in the book Reflection Infection. I used this bundle of short stories to test different print-on-demand services.

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This is the place where I wrote this book.
The place where I do all my writing
The place where I do all my writing
The place where I do all my writing
© 2020, personal collection Lowagie-Willaert

Writing contest

The Gorcumse Literatuurprijs was the first literary prize I won since Icarus Falling in 1994. After winning this prize, I was ready to start writing Gebeten.
Winner Literary Prize City of Gorcum (Gorinchem)
Winner Literary Prize City of Gorcum (Gorinchem)
© 2019, personal collection Lowagie-Willaert


This is the first batch of the Dutch version of my story Gebeten .
My book 'Gebeten'
© 2020, personal collection Lowagie-Willaert

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Bible Reference

The sentence "Maybe I do have more than one talent after all" is a reference to Matthew 25:24–30:

Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

I know that many hate these Bible verses because of the "For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath." Many interprete this as being unfair, but that's not how I interpret it. The way I see it, the parable urges people to use their talents, even if they think they don't have many. I was raised into thinking that I would never be successful. I was told that it was a moral duty to be normal. If I had complied I would never have used my talent. Wouldn't that have been a waste? If people don't use their talents, it makes no difference if you allow them to keep their talents, or just take them away.

Freaks and Geeks

After reading my book, readers might argue that I started my journey with more than one talent. It didn't feel that way when I was a child. One of my favorite TV shows is Freaks and Geeks . I wish I had seen it at the age of sixteen. My favorite scene is the seven minutes of heaven scene with Bill and Vicky (season 1; episode 16). Bill looks almost exactly the way I looked when I was that age, and I was as hopeless with girls as Bill. In this scene, Bill and Vicky, one of the most beautiful girls in the school, have to sit in a closet for seven minutes in a Spin the Bottle game (that never happened to me). Vicky warns Bill that she doesn't want to kiss him; Bill tells her how he feels about the way Vicky treats him.

Bill: "You know what, you're a jerk."
Vicky: "Excuse me?"
Bill: "You're a jerk. I was just trying to make small talk. I couldn't be less happy to be in here with you. So quit acting like I'm hoping I can kiss you. It's actually the last thing that I want to do right now."
Vicky: "You know what, Bill? I'm... I'm sorry. Okay? That wasn't nice of me."
Bill: "Don't worry about it. You only have... three minutes and 26 seconds left... in heaven."
Vicky: "..."
Bill: "Can I ask you a question?"
Vicky: "What?"
Bill: "What's it like being pretty?"
Vicky: "I don't know. Like, this is the only way that I've ever looked."
Bill: "I think people treat you nicer when you're pretty."
Vicky: "Why would you say that?"
Bill: "'Cause they're never nice to me."
Vicky: "Well... This is not true, Bill. Every time I look at you, you look like you're having a pretty good time."
Bill: "Really?"
Vicky: "Yeah. Yeah. You're always laughing or something. So what are you laughing about?"
Bill: "I watch movies in my head."

I like this scene because it reflects how I felt as a teenager, watching movies in my head, but also because of the question "What's it like being pretty?" Some people ask me "What's it like being smart?" Well, the answer is that I don't know what it's like. I don't even know if I'm as smart as people think I am. How I am is the only way I've always known myself. I wouldn't know how to be someone or something else. And above all, I don't want to be a jerk.

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Book Quotes  

  • There must be a textbook about M&A that I’m unaware of. In that textbook, there’s probably a rule that states that new owners should always throw the founders out of their office when buying a business.
  • I could have chosen not to go to court. Contrary to what the other parties might believe, it was never about the money. Seen from my perspective, suing was the only honorable response to the dishonorable situation the circumstances had put me in.
  • I started writing my entrepreneurial story for its therapeutic value, but as the book progressed, I thought it might inspire other people. It would be great if this book encourages you to create your own product, develop your own service, create your own company, grow your own business, and by doing so, change the world for the better. That would make me very proud too.

Movie References  

I was a keynote speaker at the ING Innovation Night during the International Film Festival in Ghent in 2018. In my keynote, I told the story of iText using movie quotes.

I binge-watched several seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine to process my removal of the office.

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Soundtrack for this Chapter  

I listen to music, but my taste in music is questionable. I've selected a handful of songs for every chapters. Sometimes, there's a link to the chapter, sometimes I just like the song.

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