Moi, Gabrielle, historienne #WritersWednesday

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.

Sisyphe sur le Rivage

A la fenêtreJ’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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Vista #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

vista

 

“Soon we will be back, walking those hills, and finding ourselves, again.”

It’s true, she thought, life is an eternal come back.

Simply, we change, not the hills, not the sky. Only us grow old.

Or it feels like it.

So, we will have to rewrite the story, or is it stories?

Will the nights be as silent, the vistas as inspiring?

Will we retrace our steps, or lose our way, as if in a foreign land?

How do we rewind time?

Bells #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

blue

 

“This brings back memories…”

“Do you mean when we were young?”

“O yes, younger in any case, and then so was the world…”

“If I were bue…”

“like Edward Hopper’s afternoon

lift the sash to air the breeze

let my summer flush your cheek

lie supine beneath the soft and gentle season…”

 

The violin

old_violin_and_book-1920x1080 (1)

 

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 there, not all the time, over the years she appears not to have changed much. Is she a spirit? Is she the soul of the orchestra? When did he notice her first?

Lost in a dream, he listens, enthralled, expecting an angel to appear.

She knows

Harvard_Theatre_Collection_-_Brünnhilde,_TS_40.40

 

She knows how much I value her, her role, her character, and she plays hard to get.

“You have to show me, not good enough just to say: ‘she possessed him, he was what her will dictated.’ You have to write it, convincingly, a good two thousand words, at least, showing how much this is true, this is his reality, the truth about my power…”

And, of course, she means her power over me too. I have to admit she’s at the center of this, the lady of the forest, the magician, the witch, she who inspires me. But she wants more. She wants success, fame, she wants to be on the stage. I have to work harder. The plot is too complicated. It’s not, solely, about her. She, is merely interested on how bright she will shine, a heroin for our time.

“And then you have to show what I can do, not fiddling in the bushes, the real me: just look, deep in my eyes!”

She has gorgeous eyes, a deep green, turning grey, when she’s really angry, like now.

So I must reform, understand that this is her book, not mine. That this is her story, not just any story.

Or else.

 

Image: Brünnhilde, By Odilon Redon – Houghton Library, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3721653b

Calling #writephoto #Writerswednesday

Thursday photo prompt

p1060149

 

Through the snow, through the pixelated mist of our lives, I see him. Writing about him – only the antlers prevent me to say “her” – is another story: precisely.

Inspiration is like this vision, looking back at us, shrouded in doubt, shying away from the obvious, a myth. The stag will soon disappear, absorbed by the shadows, by the blank page. Alone, the white flakes of memory will, briefly, lit our darkness.

 

Shitty first drafts

“Very few writers really know what they are doing until they’ve done it.”

Peedeel's Blog

Shitty first drafts. All good writers write them. This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts. People tend to look at successful writers who are getting their books published and maybe even doing well financially and think that they sit down at their desks every morning feeling like a million dollars, feeling great about who they are and how much talent they have and what a great story they have to tell; that they take in a few deep breaths, push back their sleeves, roll their necks a few times to get all the cricks out, and dive in, typing fully formed passages as fast as a court reporter. But this is just the fantasy of the uninitiated. I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits…

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Of a broken box and a small town

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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 (in Gesundbrunnen) to fix it, without loss of anything. So its life was extended by about a year. Ha! the anxiety, those precious manuscripts! I have now bitten the bullet, and got a so-called refurbished recent version of the same, so that I can now, for a while, avoid the usual trap of “too old to be updated etc.” Hence new MacOs and new virus protection. Even an updated version of Scrivener. Sigh… The “migration”, although assisted courtesy Apple™, was an experience… It’s all there as far as I have been able to ascertain, so far. I am now full of enthusiasm, and I am even considering a major reconstruction of my first novel, still languishing on the Cloud (more about this for another post).

In the meantime, on a beautiful and cool Sonntag we have discovered another treasure of Brandenburg, the town of Eberswalde. Treasure because of the location (slightly north-east of the city of Bernau by Berlin, and easily accessible with the regional train, well designed for carrying lots of bicycles), along two beautiful canals, the Finowkanal and the main Oder to Havel canal. Superb riding country, much loved by cycling enthusiasts all year round. The Finowkanal is on its length the site of magnificent industrial buildings in ruins, notably a paper mill dating back to the XVIIth century (and still working in 1991 when the vultures came in), and an electricity generation plant. This inspired me to write about it, and seek its history.

Now let’s go back to work!

Image: old paper mill in Eberswalde, source: Technikdenkmal in Eberswalde

Eberswalde bei Wikipedia.de

New #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

new-day

 

Overwhelmed by sorrow, he called for his guardian angel. She came at once, and took him to the cliff to watch the sunset, just the two of them. All at once calmed, reassured, he looked up to her smiling face: then she said: “I know, you feel lonely, but in truth you are lucky, you had more love than most mortals, and maybe you did not always deserve it…”

“Now is time for you to give grace, for your life, for the children you were given, for this sunrise… And for me to come to you, as I saw your distress.”

He felt on his knees, but she insisted he stood, side by side with her, and he felt her searching his mind, destroying the demons and the false hopes.

“Of course you will die, when your time comes. For now, look at the star rising, feel the warmth, feel my hand on your shoulder, and don’t wallow in self-pity. I will come back when it is your turn…”

He felt her lips on his, her presence, and then she was gone. Alone he watched the dawn of a new day.