And then everything changed

Samstag, 28. November 2015

Weekly Gratitude 2

So Thanksgiving came and went and here in Germany I only noticed it when I was reading American news the day after. Everyone was sharing a list of things they're thankful for. This is a great thing to do but if you've read my blog, you'll now that I'm already doing this on a regular basis. Because let's be honest. To show gratitude only once a year is pretty pathetic.

I have a ritual which is to write down every week what I was thankful for during the previous week. I have written about this habit before here. Now, to be honest, lately my life hasn't been all picture perfect, in a lot of ways it absolutely sucked and I have been a miserable mess more than once. So, yes, there where weeks I haven't written down my Weekly Gratitude. But what matters is that I didn't give up on the habit. And amazingly even in really awful times (or especially then) did I find things to be grateful for.

I can only recommened doing your own Weekly Gratitude ritual. Not only will it help you appreciate your life more, but you will also learn a lot about yourself and the things that matter the most to you.

So, now I'm picking off where I stopped last time, and am sharing with you all my Weekly Gratitude lists:

5/3 2015
my text being reconsidered for an anthology
surviving a hard day + week
seeing the circus and dreaming of volunteering with it
learning about photography
starting a funny book
feeling with the Vampire Diaries
having my great love next to me
saving our festival trip

5/12 2015
awesome sex
intense emotions
taking good photos
being in love
believing in myself
My so called life
being confused

5/19 2015
organizing my first events
falling & getting back up
great sex
letting go of bad shit
great books

5/31 2015
a new real friend
surviving drama and coming out stronger
getting away for a while
so much inspiration
asking myself the important questions
my love

6/14 2015
I survived
it wasn't as bad as I thought
I'm proud because I kept going
my bf
mind-blowing sex
books, movies & TV shows
I finished my text on love
a glorious day in my home town

7/6 2015
an awesome festival!
my revolutionary & polical heart is beating again
a beautiful day with the love of my life
having a strong realtionship
newspapers & politics
my new fabolous manuscript

7/22 2015
having survived 24 years of struggles
a fun night out
morning sex in the shower
being appreciated for my writing skills
great literature
hearing i love you on a daily basis

8/12 2015
getting to know someone & instantly talking non-stop
spending time with my bf
re-reading Harry Potter
One Tree Hill
starting to write a book
feeling beautiful

8/31 2015
my Finland vacation
loving him & having him in my life
writing in my diary
Move Along
people who undestand how I'm feeling

9/21 2015
my bf gets a job promised
getting through the hard stuff
Harry Potter
my imaginary stories
holding his face & kissing his lips
cuddling in the warm

10/20 2015
surviving the book fair
I hadn't go through what my friend went through
good books
being at home with my bf again

11/10 2015
cuddling with him
fantasy books
bonfire in the forest
my diary
my strength
that I don't go crazy despite all the shit
my new friend
movies / TV shows about the apocalypse

11/29 2015
blogs + tea + candles
learning about writing
finding the book I loved most as a teenager
The Magicians 2
black tea

Samstag, 21. November 2015

My Book Soup

I read somewhere that as an aspiring writer you should put together a Book Soup which contains of five books by authors you admire and who inspire your writing. It is no secret that what you read greatly influences what and how you write. There are books which I read for their thrilling story and there are books which I read for their good writing. To find a book which has both qualities is extremely rare. I feel like beautiful writing often gets in the way of a direct and exciting storyline.

My Book Soup contains of 5 books by authors who I admire for their writing. I have to clarify, that I will never write like anyone of them and that I don't even want to, because I feel like I have to go in a slightly different direction (I am currently writing my first book, which is a youth novel, YA literature has its own rules after all). But they are still 5 of the best books I have ever read and though I am not persuing their writing style, those books have on many levels influenced my own writing and my life in general.

So witout furter ado, here my Book Soup:

1. "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I have to admit that I have read this piece of classic literature some months ago for the first time, and only after I saw the sparkling, glamorous movie by Baz Luhrman. But I see now why everyone should read this book at least once in their life.
"The Great Gatsby" is a glorious example of genius storytelling, Fitzgerald truly was a master at that. I admire this novel for its simple, straightforward story, which pulls you in and leaves you amazed by a beautiful story full of love, fame, hope, fear and betrayal (the very things which make the world go round) on less than 200 sites. This is an art I am trying to learn.

2. "On the road" by Jack Kerouac

This book has not only influenced my writing but it shattered my whole world, leaving not one piece where it was. I read this book for the first time when I was 17 shortly before I graduated High School and it captured the promise of life itself so perfectly. It's because of Jack Kerouac that I am planning a roadtrip from the East Cost to the West Cost of the US in 2017. It's because of him that I dream bigger and want to write novels, not only short stories. It's because of him I love to travel and meet new people, being fascinated by the crazy ones instead of judging them. During the las 6 years I have read "On the road" at least 5 times and, though I identify each time with a different character, it leaves me with the feeling that anything is possible every single time.
I think this is what a great book is supposed to do. Though while reading it you experience trauma, loss and desperation at the side of you favorite characters time after time, in the end it should leave the reader somehow empowered so that he or she will live their life differently from now on. To one day write something which will change the way someone lives their life is my biggest dream. I would never write in such long sentences like Jack Kerouac (though they are without question incredibly beautiful) but still "On the road" is the kind of literature which influences my writing more than anything else.

3. "The catcher in the rye" by J.D.Salinger

This book is another American classic which lives from its straightforward way of telling a story. I read this book in a night and it moved me so much. In cotrast to "The Great Gatsby" where a whole life story is told, "A catcher in the rye" tells nothing more than the story of a teenage boy who spends a couple of days in New York and who's fed up with the world. But at the same time it tells the story of the whole world.
In this one character there is so much to learn about society, about history and about growing up. It broke my heart to see the hopelessness of human nature reflected in this one boy. "The catcher in the rye" influenced how I create characters and how I tell their stories through certain characteristics they have rather than by simply writing down the plot.

4. "The beach" by Alex Garland

A friend told me some months ago that if I like "On the road" I should also read "The beach". I spent two months looking for it in bookstores here in Germany but I couldn't find it anywhere. Then on my vacation to Helsinki this summer I found it on a fleemarket. And my friend was right. "The beach" is a beautiful book on so many levels.
Firstly it's written beautifully with wonderful sentences, choosing the perfect words to create a piece of art. I underlined so many sentences while reading this book. Secondly the main character Richard has the rare quality to be a person the reader would never want to be friends with in real life, someone who can't be trusted, who's escentric, even a bit crazy, but still the reader hopes for him to survive and to find his way, he roots for him, simply because the way he is written is so convinving. There's nothing wrong with a likable protagonist but creating a protagonist who the reader dislikes but still roots for is the best it can get in literature. Thridly "The beach" simply has an amazing plot, full of action and suprises and suspense. When I read it I felt like I was on the best trip of my life for three quarter of the book, just to find myself in a nightmare in the last quarter of the book. A story which suprises always wins.

5. "A million little pieces" by James Frey

Besides Jack Kerouac, James Frey is probably my second favorite author and it's solely because of this book. "A million little pieces" is the story of Frey's time in a rehab clinic after being a heavy drug user and alcoholic. It was greatly critzised because apparently it's not a true memoir because Frey excagerate some thing but this doesn't mean that its any less of a genius book.
"A million little pieces" truely lives from the writing which completely pulls in the reader. While reading it I cried and laughed and I even physically felt the pain the main character has to go through. "A million little pieces" is an absolutely brutal book. It will hurt you, shatter you emotionally and it will not, in any way, leave you with a good feeling. But it will make you feel so intensely as if you lived through the story yourself. This is what a great book is made of.

What's in your book soup?

Samstag, 14. November 2015

Awesome texts I got published lately

As you may know, I am working for a publishing house. My job, though stressful and frustrating at times, has many perks, first of all meeting tons of inspiring people, authors, dancers, photographers, musicians and so on. Through some of these encounters, I got some great oppurtunities which led to me writing texts for several publications which came out in October.

"Liebe" is an anthology about love. (I am sorry but most of the books I published articles in are only available in German - except "Skin to Skin", see the 3rd picture -, so if you know German, check them out!) The book cointains scientific articles about love from different disciples f.e. psycology, sociology, literature, politics etc. 
I have an article in this book which looks at individualism in relationships. I analyse how in today's world everyone is individualistic and pursuits his or her own dreams but then when you fall in love and you're in a realtionship with someone, you have to make sacrifices, you have to compromise and give up parts of your personal lifestyle, give up some dreams even. You're not that flexible and free anymore because you are emotionally bound to another person. I write about studies which show that in my generation many relationships actually fail because of the conflict between independence and companionship. Love costs something and you have to decide wether it's worth the price. (Hint: When you find real love, you will find that it's worth it. Believe me. I am huge fan of love but I also see the struggles of relationships.)
By the way, to publish this article was one of my manifestations for 2015 and it almost failed because the editor of the book said that she already had enough text out of the area of sociology. I had already given up on this by April but then in May, just like that, my text was back in, and now here it is in black and white.
You can buy "Liebe" here.

"Mein heimliches Auge XXX" is this year's yearbook of erotic literature and photography. I published a short story in this book about how I lost my hate of the colour green (yes, the reason has something to do with a guy and with mind-blowing sex but you'll have to read it, to know more). I have published a text in this yearbook before but under an alias. This time it's the first time that I published under my real name. I'm sick of hiding.
You can buy it here.

"Skin to Skin" is a photography book of nude pictures taken by the insanely talented photographer Thomas Karsten. He is one of the most successful erotic photographers in Europe and he definitely knows what he's doing. I know him through work and when he called one day and asked me to write an introduction to his new book, I didn't hesitate. My text was also translated into English so you'll all be able to understand it, and the pictures of course speak a universal language. It's a beautiful book.
You can buy it here.

For christmas there will be another book released which contains interviews with long term couples and I am one of the two editors of it. I have put a lot of work into this book and my name will be written on the front cover, which is a first for me. I can't wait to hold it in my hands!

Also, in more exciting news (!), I am writing a book. It is a novel and I am really convinced by the idea. I am taking a writing class where we discuss our work in progress and it helps a lot. I have only 30 pages yet but I am determined to keep writing and editing and re-writing until one day, maybe in two years, it will be published. But more on the experience to write my first book another time.