The avenues are deserted on this clear evening of May. Furtive passers-by appear to avoid each other, all is silent. Inside the spacious auditorium the small orchestra is waiting. The soft light illuminates the stage, the delicate wooden surface of the violins and celli. Soon, rapid steps are heard. The conductor enters, and the musicians … Continue reading Fratres
I wrote this back in 2014 as I was working on the beginning of the novel still titled “The Page”. This work carried on over the following five years, and should have been completed here in Berlin, but was not. Some 40,000 words later, it lays still, unfinished and unedited. Should I take another look? There are so many inconsistencies, and plenty of confusion about characters. In this post, one of them, the historian Gabrielle, who, at the time, was central to the story, accuses the author, and other character, Julian, of being an amiable fool, and a fraud. Indeed it felt like a personal accusation.
I then moved on to write “Viktoria Park”, inspired by Berlin, and events further East that are still unravelling today. “Francis’ story” should have followed but was abandoned quickly, as I found myself under increasing pressure from a variety of sources of inspiration. The bulk of my production has been, from then on, short stories, and even flash fiction. I am pondering now what my writing priorities should be.
J’ai donc choisi ces colonnes pour m’exprimer, plutôt que le blogue de notre auteur. Ce n’est pas que je me méfie de cet homme charmant, mais, ici, je me sens plus libre. Mais, d’abord, permettez-moi de me présenter.
Je m’appelle Gabrielle, qui est le nom qui, je crois, autant qu’on puisse s’assurer d’une ressemblance à telles distances, est le plus proche de mon vrai nom, dans une langue encore peu parlée dans votre monde. Je suis historienne, enfin, l’une de plusieurs spécialistes, dans cette partie de votre galaxie. Mon secteur particulier, ou, comme il est peut-être plus précis, mon intérêt propre, c’est l’histoire du vingtième siècle. À ce titre je suis restée dans votre voisinage, disons, pendant quelques années. Mais, me direz-vous, pourquoi ne pas nous dire les faits tels quels sont? Eh bien voilà: je suis arrivée chez vous un peu avant la guerre de 1870 entre la France…
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A walk in a park, and a reading of Vasily Grossman inspired those lines. There is the city by the wide river, beyond it there is only the immense steppe, to the sea. There was a turning point, they say, a combat of titans. Here, the river is slow and narrow, feeling its way … Continue reading A tale of two cities
She appears suddenly, soon swept away by the camera, behind the violoncellists. Even at a live concert, he has difficulties in seeing her more than fleetingly. Yet he knows her face, a medieval beauty, inspired, aloof, as if out of a distant past. He basked in the symphonic beauty, Tchaikovsky, Alban Berg, Mahler... She's … Continue reading The violin
I remember the first months in the city, I was puzzled by people wearing black, as if in mourning. Months and years passed. Slowly, I wore darker clothes, without knowing why. Not only during the grey season, all the time. Did I forget Spring would come, clearer skies? Did I ignore the cheerful chorus … Continue reading Untouchable
Still remnants of the past Sylvester and dead Christmas trees litter the streets, grey the walls, sad the dogs, only the crows find cause to rejoice. Sparrows sing, in the cold bushes. The city, lost in a dream, lets the clowns speak, ignores the lies: she's heard many others. Yet Spring will come, and … Continue reading On the streets #Berlin #January
I stood waiting at the traffic lights with a few other humans, and I noticed her immediately: her posture, the recognisable signs of strength and gentleness. There are some very beautiful beings in this city, but this was enough for me to keep my eyes on her, as the traffic roared past us. She … Continue reading Encounter with an Angel, a pre-Christmas tale
It's a time for soft compromise in the dim light, as diffused clouds attempt to swallow the world: even the crows fly skeptical, nothing to see here, bar the blank page. Image: Rabenkräheschwarm, von Frank Liebig - Archiv Frank Liebig, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=75539705
The little daemons I used to see, at the crossroads, or standing high up on roofs, pretending to be busy, have gone. Or, perhaps, I have stopped noticing them, or they have stopped inviting me to see them. What does it mean? Is it because the city is now used to me, no longer … Continue reading Hidden
In the past two weeks my writing output (I did not want to say "literary") was badly affected by the collapse of my old Mac, bought in 2009. This was the tool for my writing before and after a first (disk) failure, back in 2018. I was then lucky enough to find a local expert … Continue reading Of a broken box and a small town