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Of Glass & Paper

Sisyphus47's writing blog

Disagree #DailyPost #WritersWednesday

Inspired by today’s prompt

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“It’s me you’re babbling about, isn’t it?” she said, on a tone of voice that betrayed her mounting anger. I kept silent, no point in denying: the computer screen clearly showing the latest entry on her story was there, in front of us. At this point she was arguing with her ex-husband, and a row was boiling.

“I asked you before: let’s talk first before you start writing about my intimate life, wasn’t that made clear to you?” I could not disagree, we had that conversation a year ago, she’d complained about not being consulted on details of her life she wanted to be true and accurate. Then she even went as far as mentioning “abuse”. An author abusing his characters, well, this character, at any rate.

I wanted a way out, but knew she would not give up easily. “I suggest you read the draft, and I’ll do the corrections you want, within reason. How does that sound to you?” Her reply was as icy as her grey eyes:

“The fool doesn’t even know the power of words. Think again: what you write can never be erased, or edited out. You just hurt people with words, as sure as you would with a knife! So take that for a certainty: I DISAGREE with you messing with me, my life, past and future, unless I have knowledge, beforehand, of what you are plotting.”

She knows her strength: characters have their rights, and for a writer, breaching those is a sure road to bad writing. I went to the kitchen to make her a cup of tea, but when I came back she was gone. The screen showed in large characters:

“YOU’D BETTER LISTEN THIS TIME!”

Unfinished #DailyPost

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We have got so far, much is still to be done. We have to go further, down the quiet streets, and the wide avenues, through the small parks, along the canals… There, somewhere, we’ll find ourselves, the meaning of us, the ultimate ecstasy.

Till then, it’s unfinished business, work in progress, the novel unfinished.

Till then, there is only you and me, lovers, haters, fighters, humans.

After us, the déluge…

Image: Maurits Cornelis Escher – Procession in Crypt. 1927 – via drakontomalloi

From the cool guys

Dilemma #DailyPost

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So, this is the deal: you stay, and then, here is your place, or you go, and good luck to you. But, you insist, the deal is reversible: if you want me, you have to convince me to stay, or I go. And so, we go on, late into the night, do you want to, or not, and if you want to, how do I convince you to say you do?

For the city attracts us both like a mantis its prey: how to resist beauty beyond belief, how could we say no to paradise? And we won’t. But then you have to make your choice, stay or go.

We know you won’t go, and neither will I. We are playing a game, with blank cards, as white as your beautiful thighs.

Photo: “Der Verliebte”, Paul Klee, 1923, Lithografie mit roter Tonplatte – Museum Berggruen, Berlin

From the crazy crew

In Praise of Older Streets #BerlinDiary September 11

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We love the cobbled streets, the antique gas lamps. The older city still resists the onslaught of developers and speculators, the “Gentrifizierung” brigade, and it has allies. Yesterday, cycling our way from the Alex to Kollwitzplatz, and the charms of Prenzlauer Berg, we admired the contrasts, the moving groups, the bon-chic-bon-genre façon Berlin. And we enjoyed the ice-cream…

Closer home, back in proletarian Wedding, the new city remains loyal to its history, its heroes, and through the rumble of traffic, its wonderful parks and small lanes, its lakes. This the rough and tumble life of a city that has now grown back to its population of 1944: yes, 1944.

So, we too, remember 2001 and the victims, on the day, and ever since, of the wars that followed. Bless the cities that are reborn from the ruins.

Photo: Petra Flemming, Porträt Käthe Kolwitz, 1985, Stadt Museum, Berlin (“Stadt der Frauen”)

 

Prelude

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I have long suspected that the ancient deities – some more powerful than others, but who is it to judge? – take more than a passing interest in the life of this city, when they awake from their deep slumber, in the depth of the marvellously resurrected temples that the reconstructed museums of the island are. I cannot help imagining the ghosts of the ancient pharos and queens, so beautiful still in their golden garbs, surveying the new Rome, listening, with a knowing smile on their lips, to the ever repeated founding myths of the new Republic: the birth, the fall from grace, the “darkest page” in the history of Germany, the destruction, the starvation, the air lift, the new dictatorship, and then, the new dawn.

Freiheit, wir sind das Volk, the fall of the wall, unification. Indeed the achievements are amazing. The city that faced annihilation, misery, death by strangulation, is alive again, and strives. The reconstruction, the revival of the historical monuments, the trees: do the gods look on with appreciation, perhaps with some envy, even, that they are no longer those that the people worship?

The rain interrupted, briefly, the eternal summer. For a while the asparagus disappeared behind a thin veil of clouds and water drops. Subdued and slower, the traffic, the cyclists in waterproof gear… Nefertiti looked on.

How not to be in love with such patronage?

Berlin, Stadt der Frauen #stadtderfrauen

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Until 28 August the Stadt Museum exhibition, “Stadt der Frauen“, offers in sound and pictures twenty biographies of talented, heroic, sometimes outrageous, human beings, who lived in Berlin, all women.

As is the case almost everywhere in the world, it is mostly men who have written Berlin’s history. In politics, culture and architecture, they have shaped our perception of the city’s evolution. But this is not the whole story.

Even 150 years ago, Berlin was a place where many things could be done that seemed impossible elsewhere – particularly for women. This exhibition presents the life stories of 20 women, showing how they cast off the corset of societal constraints, what they experienced and how they helped to shape the city’s history.

Don’t miss it is you are in the city. From the socialists of the pioneering period preceding World War 1, to the Trümmerfrauen of 1945, go and have a look at courage and grit.

Photo: Trümmerfrau, inspired by Anni Mittelstädt, chairwoman of the Klub der Berliner Trümmerfrauen (Berlin Women’s Rubble-Clearers Club)

Longing #exit #City

Deutscher Dom, Gendarmen Markt
Deutscher Dom, Gendarmen Markt

 

Maybe one day we will miss the fog, the infernal traffic, the idiotic media, the inept politics… Of course, you might say it’s the same over there. I smile. It can’t be, and even if it were I long for the new, not the old.

We want to ride through the tree-lined streets, in a city where riding is the way to see, to go places. We want to visit the angels, the memorials to heroes, all the history of centuries past, to hear their tales, their longing too. We want to buy our meals at the corner of busy lanes, on markets overflowing with the richness of the South, sit in small cafés listening to jazz, building in our minds a limitless future.

Maybe we want even more, who knows, this is Faust’s city…

Liminal #writephoto

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We love the valley, the grey rocks arising from the ancient land, and the forest. Here they lived, a life of danger, of icy winters, of suffocating summers, but also of intimacy and joy. Where did they come from, and where did they go? We shall never know, their tradition was oral, only their dwellings and graves remain, empty, as a testimony to a past and a people distant from us, but in some way so close.

Thursday Photo Prompt – Liminal – #writephoto

 

The City knows #WritersWednesday

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She never forgets: the humble swamps of the beginnings, the far away sounds of war, the medieval cruelties, the triumphs, the parades, the Enemy at the gates…

Then there was the long war – thirty years of destruction, rape, pestilence and ruins. Out of this came a stronger state, and she was the capital. The Soldiers” King – Soldaten König – made her powerful, perhaps a little agressive too. She knows what the fate of his son was, the sweet Friedrich, and Russia: a predicament for the next two centuries.

She remembers the Corsican invader, who would have feared Friedrich, and would lose his pride, and an empire, in the snows and fires of Moscow. And she loved Schinkel, the master architect, he who gave her the cross – on the hill: Kreuzberg, and what followed, the victories, the invincible army, the birth of the Reich, the Iron Cross.

Of the First World War she only remembers the trains full of enthusiastic soldiers, and then the revolution, machine guns in the street, Spartakus, the bloodbath, the corpses thrown into the canal.

Of the long night that started not so much later, she speaks often, soberly. So many sad memories, all those little brass stones on her pavements – so many human beings taken away, old and young, and burnt. The memorials, the thousands buried in her parks. Yes, the trees, fallen soldiers, reborn to adorn her streets.

Of the wall of division, yesterday really, a few seconds ago in her life, she knows all, and now she sees the builders, the speculators, the newcomers.

She sees us, my love, and is willing to tell us her stories. We will listen to her, in awe.

 

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