Tag Archives: Writing

Hello again

Yes, back to school it was in October. I did the second level twice, because in winter, first time since I moved to Amman, I caught one bad cold after the other and dropped out at half term. In February, I restarted and now there is only one week left till the final exams. No matter the outcome, it was worth it, but it took more than I had anticipated. Five days a week, three hours – full hours – every morning and a teaching level that is meant to prepare students for entry in university within four semesters. Heavy on grammar, to a point that my arabic family has given up helping me. I enjoy it, although it was often overwhelming and I am all but sure how I will do next week. This morning, I should be studying, but it felt I also should get ready for what comes after that. Not the summer course with the third level, if ever I dare to try that one, I will need a better chance than I would have in the heat and with the month of Ramadan ahead. Maybe in October, or better February again. InshaAllah.

Due to my sickness I spent time cuddling under a blanket on the seat and managed to finish my 2013 NaNo project on time, rewarding me with a paid version of Scrivener. This will be a help to my next big one.

The NaNo project, actually counting close to 80K words, waits for editing during June and July. I chose a more simple story, crime, some interesting background, again in German. With some luck and a lot of work I hope this to be the first one that I will actually be able to publish – or to offer to a publisher, I am still debating with myself about self publishing or not.

August might see me in Europe – which will mean less time and concentration for new writing. But I might do some research for the new one, and maybe for a historical topic I have been playing with recently.

Enough of this talk, I should go back to my grammar. But I hope after this I will make myself blog more – here and on the German sites. Comments and questions are most welcome, I realized that I thrive on feedback.

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Once a summer

This post is part of the July 2013 Blog Chain at Absolute Write. This month’s prompt is “Dog Days of Summer.”

„Dog days“ of summer are literally translated into „Hundstage“ in German. We do not see them there every year, often as not summer in Germany is more a wish than a reality. But still, sometimes they happen.

Like in that summer when I had turned nine and we had moved into a new bought house. This came with a room for each of us two sisters and enough space to accomodate our cousins during the summer holidays. I loved it – having my two big cousins around who would treat me nicely and include me in everything made my day, no matter, what my elder sister and the youngest of the cousins were up to.

We would play crocket in the garden, although we had to fight the balls tendency to roll downhills, as the house is built into a hillside. Or we would search for the badminton set. Evenings would find us on the terrace with two sets of cards, for interminable rounds of canasta, under the sweet smell of the yasmine bushes and roses at the wall.

The weather grew warmer and warmer and saw us searching for a pool. The five of us would hardly fit into the family car, a beetle, because none was old enough to drive and my mother would not risk being caught with all of us on board. So the heat and lack of alternative forced us to use the local swimming pool. The entry fee was minimal, but so was the pool. Much too small, hardly a decent shower, raw stones on the edges. The lack of heating did not count in those hot days, we were happy enough with the temperature the sun had made raise to incredible 18° C. Then, the use of balls and other playthings were not yet forbidden, the water teemed with children, the heavily chlorinated water permeated the air with its acrid smell that we would take home in our wet bathing suits and towels.

Until one day, when in the morning we saw the sky covered with clouds and a cool wind greeted us as soon as we opened the door. But we had decided the evening before that we would go swimming again and I counted on another swimming lesson from my patient cousin. So, I would not hear of not going and the others also agreed that the clouds should not be a reason to deter us from enjoying another swim.

The water felt actually warmer under the leaden sky, as long as I did not leave a limb out to the wind. After one hour though we tried to dry up, my long hair still dripping with water I followed the others on the way home. I shivered, but tried not to show it for fear they would tell me it was my own mistake as I had been the one to insist on going.

I paid for this next morning when I woke up with a terrible headache, fever and a sore throat. The next week I had to spend confined in bed, while the others now could go everywhere as the four of them would fit into the car. To comfort me at least a little my cousins would buy sweets for me and, better, give me their own new books – that they had brought to read during the holidays – to read. They knew I would enjoy them.

The youngest had brought the „Winnetou“-Triology. Very famous in Germany I doubt my englishspeaking reades will ever had heard of their author, Karl May, who wrote a big number of storys from his fictous travels, a part of them set into the Wild West, another in the Middle East and Africa. Three big volumes kept my interest for a while and I cared less about being left alone after the fever abated sufficiently so I could concentrate on reading.

But it was the elder cousins book that I still remember best and that still helds a special place in my heart for the lasting effect it had on me: a German version of Lousia May Alcott’s „Little Women“. Never before I had thought about people who wrote the books I read, and I had started reading with four years of age and found my way through a number of books already. But Jo March did not only read them, she started writing stories and had them published, for others to enjoy them.

It needed years until I wrote my first story and still my first book waits to get published. But I always think of those dog days of summer that not only taught me to swim but also how to use my storytelling.

 

Check out this month’s other bloggers, all of whom have posted or will post their own responses:
Ralph Pines
articshark
Sunwords
Diem_Allen
U2Girl
robynmackenzie
Lady Cat
MsLaylaCakes
pyrosama
Angyl78
SuzanneSeese
Diana_Rajchel
HistorySleuth
AshleyEpidemic
SRHowen

When fiction becomes reality …

One of these days I wrote in my German Writer’s forum: You don’t need to invent much actually if you want to write a thriller – just write about what is happening and everybody will say it is unrealistic.

No, I am not talking about Prism or the UK-listeners. In Germany there are at least two not so big issues, but still, they teach a lot. I follow the news  from my safe home in Amman and enjoy being at home here.

One of the issues is directly related to me. Given the fact that due to the difficult language German news often are not widely spread internationally, maybe few people out here followed this scandal: from about 2000 to 2007 a group of Neonazis murdered nine people: one german policewoman, eight turkish men and one greek (which, supposedly, they believed to be turkish). All with the same weapon. The german police never thought about a racist angle, but searched through every aspect of the victims‘ lives, making the lives of the families hell.

In 2004, after the first five or six murders had already happened, a bomb exploded in the street where I lived. By the grace of god nobody was killed – the police considered the bomb well able of killing a multitude .

Most of my neighbours were also turkish, down in the street all the shops and small restaurants, too. Also the killed men all had been owners of small businesses. I saw the relationship – but only me. Never the police. There was a picture from a camera that showed the two men who had placed the bomb – short pants, basecaps, bicyle. Same description also fit men seen at one of the murder scenes.

But the police searched for criminal foreigners, clues in the busines of the neighbours. They did not even bother to compare the pictures with the list of wanted people.

Neither of these cases was solved – until late 2011. Two men, believed to have robbed a bank, killed themselves (as far as it is known). Short time later, a women who had been living with them, turned herself in to the police after having set fire to their appartment. CDs were sent to different people from which the police learned that these three who had gone underground about 1998 and had been wanted for criminal deeds related to hate and right-extremist circles had also commited the nine murdes and placed two bombs. The faces of the two man were easily recognizable as those from the camera close to my street.

Since some weeks the case is in court. During the last 18 months there have been several inquiries in the parlaments of thuringen, where this group had lived and hidden, in Berlin – and the results show that a lot of police and secret service staff had either not wanted to turn their sources in or had just looked the other way. The whole thing is sickening and for those Turkish living in Germany and following the news (good for Germany that not very many do that) it shows the neglect with wich their interest have been treated and the blindness of many officials when it comes to racist crimes.

I, myself, am furious, sick – that day, it was a close miss that my husband would have walked into the bomb. It was exactly on his way to our home, and the time when he would come from work every day. Not that day, thanks to God. He, helpful as always, had gone after work to pick up my new dress from the seamstress what made him half an hour late. But I will never forget the half hour when I saw the glass all over the street, destroyed shops and cars, blood everywhere and could not reach him. The helpless fury when the minister of interiour called this a crime that could not have any relation with racism when the street was still covered in glass and blood and nobody could know anything yet – so he directed the police what not to follow up.

And now, since 2011, all the dirty details of neglect, lies, cover up come out one by one. Had I written a thriller containing all this and tried to publish before 2011 – I doubt any German printing house would have wished to publish it. If I do it now, it will just be telling what the newspapers already wrote. Maybe I will, maybe not.

There is more … but not today.

Writing diary – Start

Writing. I started when I was about ten or twelve years old, at least, I tried. I had read Alcott’s “Little Women” and Jo gave me the first idea that it was possible to write down the stories I told myself and – maybe, one day – get them printed.
At that time there was no internet, it was Germany in the seventies. A small town, one small bookshop, a half-decent library where I sometimes helped and was allowed to chose whatever and how many books I wanted. So, reading was good, but I never told anybody about writing. I did not know that there were books that might teach you how to write better. Maybe in Germany at that time they might not even have been available. Creative Writing, as it is taught in the USA since longtime, has only recently found a way into German teachings.
So, I came around another book about a girl who wanted to write. A German book, btw. And, when she told her teacher about it, what was the reaction? More or less, first grow up and get some experience in living, then think about writing. It turned me off for quite some time. But still, I did not stop completely. Sometimes, life got in the way, and for too many years I earned my life with writing stuff for others – meaning, only the words were mine, not the content.
Then, one day, I cleaned out my desk never to return. I spent time here and there, and slowly, not only my stories, but also my taste for giving them a voice crawled out of the retreat where they had hidden.
Things changed, scenes changed, company changed …. I learned quite a lot, starting with internet use, then also writing itself. My view turned to the things I wanted to write about, to let people know what often is not seen.
Since, I have done a lot of blogging – in German. Got feedback, critics, nice words, and some hate, too. I don’t mind.
There are some WIP (works in progress, as my friends at the “Absolute Write” call them) I intend to finish before seriously turning to writing in English for good. I hope I will get somewhere with them. They all are contemporary – I don’t like Fantasy etc. too much, and history, what I love, needs more research than I can manage from here if I want to do it as I think it should be done.
Actually, two of my manuscripts are first drafts, one already with some editing, but both need a fair amount of rewriting. A third has about 10K words, but that might be easier to finish and an easy read, rather a serious love story in some interesting setting.
Two or three more ideas, with some planning done, one itching my imagination. That one, though, might be better in English. InshaAllah, as we say here.

The idea of this writing diary is for me also to commit myself of finishing them, one after the other. I will be happy if anyone cares to talk to me about this or that and will try to put some information here.