Brandenburg and her capital: #longing

I dream of the city, as it was, long before Frederick, not the capital of  a respected and feared kingdom, with a formidable army, but the main settlement of a peaceful people, in the midst of lakes and thick forests, surrounded by wilderness.

Soldiers plundering a farm during the thirty years' war Then came the long war, the uninterrupted banditry, the destructions, the killing of women and children by drunk and pitiless soldiers, the burning of churches. All the German lands were ransacked by marauding troops of mercenaries, and the land’s own army was no better. Lawlessness ruled, and finally the whole land laid in ruins. But the people fought back, order was recreated out of chaos… It took thirty years.

The city, Faust’s city, later became the capital of the new kingdom, that was proclaimed, far to the East, in Königsberg, on the shores of the Baltic Sea, the Ostsee. When Frederick, der Philosopher König, inherited the crown from his father, der Soldaten König, Prussia was already a power among the other European powers. His city, Berlin, became the centre of the Enlightenment, and it was befitting that Königsberg was also Immanuel Kant’s birth place.

So, I keep dreaming, of the long history, of Blücher’s victory in Waterloo, for it was Prussia, and the Prussian armies that won that war. Before many others. I see the Siegessaüle column, in the middle of the Tiergarten, and the memorial that dominates Viktoria Park. My thoughts are never very far from there, from the streets of Kreuzberg, from the river, from the Landwehr canal where they threw the martyred body of Rosa Luxemburg in 1919. So much to think about, to write about.

Soon, we will walk those streets again, our minds full of those memories, our eyes capturing the beauty and strangeness of the scenery: us, among  so many others, enthralled, astonished, under the spell of Berlin. And so many ghosts, so many familiar faces that cannot be there, but somehow are, out of films, out of books, out of our own demented imagination, out of a deep past.

DSC_0422

Daily Prompt: Careless Whisper

It happens: sometimes that filter in our head bursts and we say too much of what we’re thinking and someone gets hurt. Tell us about a time you or someone you know said something that they immediately regretted.

La Beauté du Diable We were talking amiably, and my companion – I had met him on the same café terrace in Neukölln where I have breakfast most days – was turning out to be a knowledgable Berliner.

He had a good recollection of his youth in East Berlin, and was telling me lovely stories of his schooldays, and his love of football. He was a charming “raconteur”.

As I looked around at the gracious locals walking to their business, I became conscious that my companion was observing me. I smiled, as we older men do, when we are considering friendship, without yet being committed to anything.

We had not really introduced ourselves. And then he started the sentence: “I must tell you, doctor Faust…”

Immediately the fraudster knew that he had unmasked himself. My name is not Faust, and I am no doctor, but he considers his possible preys, all of us, as the same and one person. I stood up, towering above the little man, well, the creature he had adopted the shape of.

“Out of sight,” I said in a tone that did not expect any reply, “Get out of here, go, now!” And he did.

#FiveSentenceFiction: Misunderstanding

“I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood…”

~ The Animals, Don’t let Me Be Misunderstood

Devil I have met him in many disguises, always the smooth talker, sometime the beautiful female seductress, sometime the innocent child.

I always see through his masks, but to give him credit, he’s trying hard to fool me, as well as everyone else.

That evening, in a remote quarter of the city that is sometimes called “Faust’s metropolis” – as it too often changes its looks – I got almost fooled, and yes, I admit, my guard was down.

He came to me as a young and very handsome beggar, and I listened to his words carefully, as I was intrigued and suspected an assassin.

I did not leave the beautiful eyes one instant, and expected the young man to draw a weapon of some sort, but no, he was offering the city to me – pure and simple: “I know you love this place” he said in the most melodious voice, upon which I replied: “It is not yours for giving, this is not the city of the Angels, nor is it the city of Satan, it is the city of the Archangel”, and I drew my sword.

Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence #writing

There are multiple ways of interacting with silence: purposefully leaving something unsaid, breaking the silence around a topic, or, quite simply, getting tongue-tied. For this week’s challenge, we want you to take the theme of silence and explore it in your own way.

Andreas EmbirikosThe studio is empty, but then it is not: you are everywhere, in the books on the shelves, the records on the low table, near the sofa. You are on the keys of this keyboard, in the scent of you in the bathroom, in our bed, on my clothes. On my lips.

You are not far, you are here. Standing on the balcony, breathing in the icy air of Kreuzberg, there is no sound: snow covers the pavement, the streets. The city is silent, the pregnant pre-dawn silence, before the birds recognise the new day.

I come in, shut the door. I sense the little wave which travels from there, the corner of the desk where our secret lies, murmuring sweet and terrible truths: loving a ghost has its price, and being loved by her – by you – a higher price still.

How I love this city. How I love our silent place, full of you, full of us, overflowing with pleasures that have no names. And memories. I take your wooden face in my hands, its surface feels warm, like a skin. Those deep eyes seize me, as if to confirm your presence, but I know. I know it is your way of reassuring me, of telling me that I have already payed the price, of your love.

This is the start of a new day. Surrounded by you, I take the steps for what must follow: getting showered, getting dressed, making coffee, starting work. All the time, your eyes follow me, and so comes the inspiration: how not to tell the story, of a writer in love with his muse?

#FWF: Gratitude

Gratitude Long Summer evenings

In the City of our love, tree-lined streets

Girls on black bicycles,

No fear: notes on posts

Voluptuous lips

Silken Thighs  ~

Ecstasy without end:

Forever

Image: Chemise de Nuit, by Mina 1983

 

Hectic weeks in perspective… #amediting

Photographed by Frode & Marcus for Smug Magazine #6 Spring/Summer 2013. Well, my friend Tara is soon starting work on The Page book 1… In the meantime I am getting ready to rewrite, at the same time as making a start on book 2. There is already a lot of material there which needs editing – of course – and sorting. The tale continues in Berlin where the four protagonists have to chose their side of the fence. It is timely that book 1 was completed – well, first draft – as the German elections got on their way. In the Summer we admired the little posters in each town or city we travelled through from the Baltic coast to Weimar and Hessen where regional elections took place on Sunday. Mrs Merkel is an expert politician, a real head of government… But there is a drama in the background: that of a successful and powerful European country attempting to develop more democracy in the midst of a serious crisis…

What comes next on this saga of mine? The plot is beginning to make sense – after 35k! for this first draft before serious editing – and the second part will see the story spiralling into a conflict between absolute love and survival. Long evenings are in front of this writer in learning!… Most of the action in book 2 is in Paris, and of course, Berlin.

Still interested to hear from beta readers! Just sayin’…

In Berlin (in five sentences…)

Viktoria ParkI drove carefully along your highways, approaching your centre as one approaches a very beautiful woman, a little tensed, perhaps apprehensive at the thought of your contemptuous stare…

How quiet were your tree-lined streets, how beautiful Viktoria park in the late Summer light, and how radiant your smile when you open your door, my adored lover, my soul, my mistress.

It was so quiet, everywhere, as if the leaves of the trees were silencing the far-away murmur of traffic; but this is not London nor Paris: this is the city of a hard-won peace. Oh Berlin, city of our love, where so long ago, you said we would meet again, here, on the banks of the Spree, unter den Linden.

Memorial to the Berlin Airlift, 1948, TempelhofFor I adore your city, as I adore you, knowing that history never totally disappears, knowing the Topography of the Terror, the martyred bodies on the Wall, the long way back to life after the fall… Eastside Gallery, die Alte National Gallery… Dem Deutschen Volke…

In Tempelhof we ran, my eyes never leaving the golden hair and your sun-tanned legs, the goddess’s steps. And in the evening we walked the calm streets of Kreuzberg, and then you taught me that Aphrodite herself lives here.

The Young Dancer, Alte Nationalgallery

#Writer’s diary: Thursday musing

Yesterday Well, the past month has been interesting, with plenty of events and changes to keep us on our toes. Since I got locked out of my WP account for the best part of the last two weeks I did not share much of it! It was perhaps better that way. From June 21 the weather changed dramatically here in London and it got seriously hot. Running was only possible early morning or at the gym, we couldn’t sensibly run later in the day by temperatures approaching 30 deg. (Cent.)

I had a chance – two chances – for photo-shoots, and then the opportunity went, which incidentally left me short of someone to work for the photo-book I planned earlier. You can see the pics here, and there is – somewhere –  a post about the book.

The novel progressed a bit, but not as much as I would have hoped, being freed for a while of “flash-distractions”! Travel planning took the bulk of the leisure time Gorgeous and I had in the past three weeks. In two weeks time we will be off, to Holland, the Baltic shores, Eastern Germany and finally Berlin. I invite you to follow me on Instagram for snapshots. Otherwise watch this space when we are back. There is work to do, although I’ll give The Page a break. The synopsis for the photo-book has to be rewritten (new ideas, and most probably a different face…), and of course there will be plenty of pictures.

I won’t do many posts during August. Normal work will resume at the end of the month…

By the way, Nina sent me this (King Crimson):

“Dinosaur”

Long ago and far away in a different age

when I was a dumb young guy

fossilized photos of my life then

illustrate what an easy prey I must have been

standing in the sun, idiot savant

something like a monument

I’m a dinosaur, somebody is digging my bones

ignorance has alway been something I excel in
followed by naivete and pride
doesn’t take a scientist to see how
any clever predator could have a piece of me
standing in the sun, idiot savant
something like a monument
I’m a dinosaur, somebody is digging my bones

when I look back on the past
it’s a wonder I’m not yet extinct
all the mistakes and bad judgements I made
nearly pushed me to the brink
it doesn’t pay to be too nice
it’s the one thing I have learned
still, I made my fossil bed
now I toss and turn

I’m a dinosaur, somebody is digging my bones

Daily Prompt: Earworm ~ #WritersWednesday ~

Write whatever you normally write about, and weave in a book quote, film quote, or song lyric that’s been sticking with you this week.

My chair
Ma chair on chair ©K.rine Burckel

As Gorgeous and I finalise our summer plan, the lyrics of the Bravest Man and the voice of Bobby Womack are following my steps through the day…

“In the universe
Is the one who has forgiven first
he bravest man in the universe
I got a story I want to tell
Gather round me
Gather round me boys and girls

I once was lost
But now I’m found
Whe I beer uṗ so high
I always know how to come down

The bravest man in the Universe
Is the one who has forgiven first
Yeah
Shame on me, shame on you
It’s up to us
What we say and what we do

Would you stay in the sun
Would you stay in the sun much too long
You try to find the shade
Shade that makes you feel at home

The bravest man in the Universe
Is the one who can forgiven first
The bravest man in the Universe
Oh ah
The bravest man in the Universe”

I find the words inspiring, his voice enthralling. So, how about the plan? Well, soon we are free. Just one more week and she’s free to go… Cool evenings and endless nights will be ours. We attend our son’s graduation first week in August, one birthday party, and then we are off to Northern Germany, and endless photo shoots. No, dear readers, not all the pics will be made public!! But you’ll see some. Then Berlin, our city, with Sarah, and later, Elsa, who I hope will be my model for the Melissa book. What a prospect! In the meantime, more work on the synopsis for Elsa, more writing on the novel, and some pics!

Let’s enjoy this late summer…

And still the bravest man in the Universe…