Music Monday

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This is one of my most favourite songs and a great way to start the week 🙂

video thanks to youtube

The Colonel ~ Mahmoud Dowlatabadi/ Der Colonel ~ Mahmud Doulatabadi

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This post contains an affiliated link with wordery

September 2017

This review was first posted in April 2012:

The ColonelThe Colonel by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi

15/03/12
Awwww am exited to read this book suggested for this months read at the International Fiction Reading Group in Norwich. When I read the back of the book it’s atmosphere reminded me of Isabelle Allende’s “House of Spirits” even though it is not magical realism. I’ll keep you updated what I think about it.
11/04/12
Today we will discuss it and I am glad I read it even though it was really hard work. Will go into more detail later on when I know if I am allowed to publish the review somewhere else as well because we were asked to write reviews by the publisher I think. But one I can say it is similar as well as nothing like the “House of Spirits”.
19/04/12
At last I finished the review:

The colonel get called in the middle of the night to attend to the funeral of his youngest tortured daughter. While going to the police station to get the body, preparing the funeral and getting home again he remembers the history of Iran from the Second World War up the revolution in 1979 as well as how his family is and was involved.

This seems to be the content of Mahmoud Dowlatabadi’s novel “The Colonel” recommended by PEN, published by Haus Publishing in July 2011 and translated by Tom Patterdale. But when you start reading you get sucked into a nightmare of traumatised characters who try to make sense of decades of Iran’s governments which use violence and terror as means ruling.

This “making sense” is mirrored in the reading experience as the book works with changing point of views between the colonel, his oldest son Amir who has been tortured by the secret service of the shah regime and a third person narrator. The reader also has to make sense of characters turning up from the colonel’s and Iran’s past (his wife, The Colonel, a foreign ambassador….) and it is not clear if they are ghosts or “just” in the colonels mind.
Both the colonel’s and his son’s memories are intertwined with what happens in the present and the reader is challenged not only to make sense of another culture but also of the story line.

Many have mentioned how accurate Mahmoud Dowlatabadi describes Iran’s history from the Second World War up to the revolution in 1979 even though the author himself rather wants the novel to be judged by its literary importance. He wants it to be published in Iran but this historic accuracy seems to make it dangerous to the actual government and therefore it is still hold back by the Iranian authorities.

For me this book is a brilliant description of the psychological reactions of citizens living in a society which is ripped apart by revolution. It uses the literary means of different points of view as well as the mixture of past and present to show how your psyche gets confused when there is hidden trauma and violence that you are helplessly confronted with.

The Colonel” has many levels (a historic level, a personal level…) that need exploring which makes it a challenging reading experience but it is worth facing it.

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15/03/12

Ahhhhh ich kanns gar nicht erwarten dieses Buch zu lesen, das fuer diesen Monat bei der International Fiction Reading Group in Norwich vorgeschlagen wurde. Als ich die Beschreibung auf dem Buchdeckel las, fand ich, dass es eine aehnliche Atmosphaere hat wie Isabelle Allende’s “Geisterhaus” obwohl es nicht zum Magischen Realismus gehoert. Ich werde Euch auf dem Laufenden halten, was ich darueber denke.
11/04/12
Heute werden wir das Buch diskutieren und ich bin froh, dass ich es gelesen habe obwohl es wirklich schwer war. Ich werde mehr dazu schreiben, wenn ich weiss, ob ich meine Besprechung auch woanders veroeffentlichen darf, da wir gefragt wurden, welche fuer den Verlag zu schreiben. Ich glaube es war der Verlag. Eines nur: Es war irgendwie wie “Das Geisterhaus” und irgendwie auch gar nicht.
19/04/12 (Diese Besprechung beruht auf der englischen Version, da ich die deutsche noch nicht gelesen habe)
Der colonel wird mitten in der Nacht aus dem Haus gerufen, um sich um das Begraebnis seiner gefolterten juengsten Tochter zu kuemmern. Waehrend er zur Polizeistation geht, den Leichnahm holt, das Begraebnis vorbereitet und wieder nach Hause geht, erinnert er sich an Iran’s Vergangenheit vom 2. Weltkrieg bis zur Revolution 1979 und wie seine Familie dabei involviert war.

Das scheint der Inhalt von Mahmud Doulatabadi’s Roman “Der Colonel” vom PEN empfohlen, beim Unionsverlag Zuerich herausgegeben und von Bahman Nirumand uebersetzt, zu sein. Doch wenn man das Buch zu lesen beginnt, wird man in einen Alptraum traumatisierter Charaktere hineingezogen, die versuchen, mit Jahrzehnten von gewaltaetiger Herrschaft von Iran’s Regierungen klar zu kommen.

Dieses “klarkommen” wird in der Leseerfahrung wieder gespiegelt, da die Erzaehlperspektive zwischen dem Colonel, seinem Sohn Amir, der von der Geheimpolizei des Shah Regimes gefoltert wurde, und einem Erzaehler wechselt. Der Leser muss sich auch mit Charakteren auseinandersetzen, die aus der Vergangenheit des Colonels und Iran’s auftauchen (seine Frau, der alte Colonel, einem auslaendischen Botschafter…)und es ist dabei nicht klar, ob sie Geister sind oder “nur” in der Fantasie des Colonels existieren. Die Erinnerungen des Colonels sind mit denen seines Sohnes und der Gegenwart des Romans verflochten, was den Leser herausfordert, nicht nur eine andere Kultur sondern auch die Handlung zu verstehen.

Viele haben darauf hingewiesen, wie genau Mahmud Doulatabadi die Geschichte Iran’s vom 2. Weltkrieg bis zur Revolution 1979 beschreibt aber der Autor selber moechte den Roman mehr von der literarischen Seite begutachtet haben. Er mochte den Roman im Iran veroeffentlichen und diese geschichtliche Genauigkeit scheint der dortigen Regierung gefaehrlich zu sein und so ist eine Veroeffentlichung im Iran noch nicht erlaubt.

Fuer mich zeigt dieses Buch eine grossartige Beschreibung der psychologischen Reaktionen von Buergern, die in einer Gesellschaft leben, die von Revolution zerstoert wurde. Es benutzt die literarischen Stilmittel unterschiedlicher Erzaehlperspektiven sowie das Wechseln von Vergangenheit und Gegenwart, um zu zeigen, wie die Psyche von Menschen verwirrt wird, wenn sie hilflos mit verstecktem Trauma und Gewalt konfrontiert wird.

Dieses Buch handelt auf vielen Ebenen (eine historische, eine persoenliche…), die es zu entdecken gilt, was das Buch eine herausforderne Leseerfahrung macht, die es aber wert ist.

View all my reviews

Have you ever “window shopped” in a library?/ Hast Du schon mal Schaufenster in einer Buecherei gebummelt?

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September 2017

This post was first published in March 2012:

I visited the Millenium Library in Norwich yesterday. Originally I was looking for books about writing and grammar but could not find anything that inspired my lust for writing.

So I started to wander around the library and enjoy the vast offer on books of all categories. I ventured into the feeling that a library gives me: A feeling of abundance of wisdom, adventure, creativity and just entertainment.

It occurred to me how important books have been all of my life: It started with my Granny reading Grimm’s fairy tales to me. I could not get enough of it and dear me if she let anything out I rioted. She had to read it exactly the same way all the time.

My family loves to read and encouraged both my brother and me to read with presents of good books. There was my mother’s edition of  Astrid Lindgren‘s “The children of Bullerby”  and Else Hueck-Dehio’s “Liebe Renata” a story of a woman’s youth in the east of Europe around the First World War. I loved Michael Ende‘s “Momo” and “The never-ending Story” as well as Saint Exupery’s “The Little Prince”. When school introduced me to the local library I was in heaven. There was no week when I did not go there to get my next fix of books.

Lately, I have started to take a closer look at books that have been advertised on the bookshelves of the libraries I go to. It feels exciting to take a chance of reading a book I have never heard of but which sounds interesting. That way I discovered the Dollanganger series from V.C. Andrews and “The particular sadness of lemon cake” by Aimee Bender.

I call this way of getting a book to read “window shopping in the library” and I encourage you to do the same as it gives you the chance to get out of your trodden path of reading habits and lets you discover new and exciting authors.

September 2017

Dieser Beitrag wurde zum erstenmal im Maerz 2012 veroeffentlicht:

Gestern habe ich die Millenium Bibliothek in Norwich besucht. Eigentlich wollte ich Buecher ueber Kreatives Schreiben und Rechtschreibung holen aber irgendwie habe ich nichts gefunden, das meine Lust am Schreiben inspiriert haette.

So bin ich einfach in der Bibliothek umher gewandert und habe das riesige Angebot an Buechern aller Kategorien genossen. Ich bin in das Gefuehl vorgedrungen, das Bibliotheken in mir hervorrufen: Ein Gefuehl von Reichtum an Weisheit, Abenteuer, Kreativitaet und einfach nur Unterhaltung.

Es wurde mir klar, wie wichtig Buecher immer schon in meinem Leben waren: Es begann mit meiner Grossmutter, die mir die Grimm’schen Maerchen vorgelesen hat. Ich konnte nicht genug davon bekommen und wenn sie etwas auslies, lief ich Ammok. Sie musste sie immer genau gleich lesen.

Meine Familie liebt es zu lesen und hat meinen Bruder und mich mit guten Buechern, die sie uns schenkten, zum Lesen angeregt. Da war zum Beispiel die Edition von Astrid Lindgren’s “Wir Kinder von Bullerbue”, die meiner Mutter gehoert hatte oder  Else Hueck-Dehio‘s “Liebe Renata” die Geschichte einer jungen Frau im Osten Europa’s um den Ersten Weltkrieg herum. Ich liebte  Michael Ende’s “Momo” und “Die unendliche Geschichte” wie auch  Saint Exupery’s ” Der kleine Prinz”. Und als die Schule uns zur Dorbuecherei brachte war ich im Himmel. Es verging keine Woche, in der ich nicht hinging, um mir meine naechste Ladung Buecher zu holen.

In letzter Zeit habe ich angefangen, mir die Buecher, die die Bibliothek austellt, naeher anzusehen. Es ist aufregend, ein Buch zu lesen, von dem ich noch nie gehoert habe, das sich aber interessant anhoert. Auf diese Weise bin ich auf die Foxworth Serie von  V.C. Andrews und “Die besondere Traurigkeit von Zitronenkuchen” von Aimee Bender gestossen.

Ich nenne das ” einen Schaufensterbummel in der Bibliothekt machen” und ich rege Euch an, das Gleiche zu tun, da es Euch die Chance gibt, aus dem “Alltagstrott” Eures Lesens herauszukommen und neue aufregende Autoren zu entdecken.

The girl on the stairs/ Das Maedchen auf der Treppe

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The girl on the stairs

eyes on the door

bottom cold

on stairs

shy hand

touches handle

locked

coy question

answered with

angry groan

better go

back to bed

 

crying

Das Maedchen auf der Treppe

 

Augen auf der Tuer

der Hintern kalt

auf der Stiege

schuechterne Hand

beruehrt den Tuergriff

verschlossen

verschaemte Frage

mit aergerlichem Grunzen

beantwortet

besser wieder

ins Bett zurueck

 

weinend

A different version of the Proust Questionaire/ Eine andere Version des Proust Fragebogens

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September 2017

In 2011/12 I had a series called “The Proust Questionaire” where I asked fellow bloggers/Writers to answer questions that were asked of party guests in the olden days. Proust supposedly answered it twice and that is why it is connected with him.

In March 2012 I had no time to post one of my questionnaires so I posted two videos with VIP’s answering the questions. And I thought that’s brilliant to introduce you to my old series.

March 2012

Dear Reader and Fellow-Bloggers,

I still have some Proust Questionnaires to post but unfortunately, I had to work today and have to work tomorrow as well and I will allow myself a bit of a break from the translating business ;-). I hope you forgive me and enjoy this version of the Proust Questionaire:

It is the painter Max-Carlos Martinez from New York answered it in Switzerland in 2010:

Video thanks to  via http://www.youtube.com

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September 2017

In 2011/12 hatte ich seine serie, die “Der Proust Fragebogen” hiess, in der ich andere Blogger/Autoren bat, Fragen zu beantworten, die in den alten Tagen bei Parties gefragt wurden. Proust hat es wohl zweimal beantwortet und deshalb ist es mit ihm verbunden.

Im Maerz 2012 hatte ich keine Zeit einen meiner Frageboegen, zu posten und so hatte ich zwei Video’s statt dessen benutzt. Und ich dachte, das ist ein prima Post, um die alte Serie vorzustellen.

March 2012

Liebe Leser und Mitblogger,

Ich habe immer noch Proust Frageboegen, die beantwortet wurden aber ungluecklicherweise musste ich heute arbeiten und Morgen auch und so goenne ich mir eine kleine Pause vom Uebersetzungs Business ;-). Ich hoffe Ihr vergebt mir und geniest diese Version des Proust Fragebogens:

Juergen Tarrach beantwortet einige Fragen des Proust Fragebogens

Dank fuer das Video an  via http://www.youtube.com

“The Fat Years” by Chan Koonchung/ “Die fetten Jahre” von Chan Koonchung

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This entry was first posted in December 2011. However, as it is or was a banned book I make it part of the 2017 banned book week:

The Fat YearsThe Fat Years by Chan Koonchung

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Old Chen one of the main characters in the story is meeting some old friends one by one. He is happy with the state of China in a fictional 2013 after a world financial crises has left the United States less powerful. Apparently China has reached a “Golden Age of Ascendancy” and everyone is very very happy. Besides a few who are not. Interestingly many of these can remember that that “Age of Ascendancy” did not start exactly when the rest of the world fell apart. There were 28 days in between but no one seems to be able to remember them. Well Old Chen’s friends do remember and want to know! So they kidnap a high Chinese official and make him talk but what will they find out?

This story is written from the different viewpoints of the characters and strangely many of them have met before in more or less strange incidences. They are all very interesting characters and you certainly learn a lot about China. But the story drags a bit on until they get to kidnap that official. The reality of that story often does not feel so fictional and I have actually started wondering if there is more truth to it than it wants to reveal. There must be a reason why it is banned in China! Well the best is to read the book and have a look for yourself!

View all my reviews

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Dieser Beitrag wurde zum erstenmal im Dezember 2011 veroeffentlicht aber da das Buch verboten ist/war veroeffentliche ich ihn nochmals fuer die “Woche der Verbotenen Buecher”:

Master Chen einer der Hauptcharaktere in dieser Geschichte trift mehrer alte Freunde nacheinander. Er is glucklich mit der Situation in China im fiktionalen Jahr 2013 nachdem eine Weltwirtschaftskrise die USA machtloser gelassen hat. Offensichtlich hat China ein “Goldenes Zeitalter des Aufstieges” erreicht und jeder dort ist sehr sehr gluecklich. Ausser den paar wenigen, die es nicht sind. Komischerweise koennen diese wenigen sich daran erinnern, dass das “Zeitalter des Aufstieges” nicht zur exakt gleichen Zeit begonnen hat wie der Abstieg des Rests der Welt. Da waren 28 Tage dazwischen aber niemand scheint sich daran zu erinnern. Aber die Freunde von Master Chen koennen sich daran erinnern und wollen wissen, was passiert ist. Und so kidnappen sie einen hohen Chinesischen Beamten und bringen ihn zum reden. Aber was werden sie herausfinden?

Diese Geschichte zeigt sich in den verschiedenen Standpunkten der Hauptpersonen, deren Wege sich komischerweise schon vorher in mehr oder weniger komischen Begebenheiten gekreuzt haben. Sie sind alle interessante Personen und man lernt in diesem Roman sicherlich viel ueber China. Aber die Geschichte zieht sich ein bischen lange hin bis sie den Beamten kidnappen. Die Realitaet in diesem Roman fuehlt sich nicht so fiktional an und ich habe begonnen, mich zu wundern, ob da nicht mehr Wahrheit enthalten ist, als der Roman wirklich enthuellen will. Es muss ja einen Grund geben, warum er in China verboten ist. Aber es ist wohl das Beste fuer Euch, den Roman zu lesen und Euch Euer eigenes Bild zu machen.

If you do NOT want war…./Wenn Du KEINEN Krieg willst…..

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September 2017

I can only repeat and repeat and repeat this poem in all its different versions.

April 2012

If you do NOT want war…

Dedicated to Wolfgang Borchert & Dietrich Bonhoeffer

If you do NOT want war ~ don’t think war

If you do NOT want war ~ don’t talk war

If you do NOT want war ~ don’t teach war

If you do NOT want war ~ don’t allow war games

If you do NOT want war ~ don’t allow war toys

If you do NOT want war ~ don’t produce war games

if you do NOT want war ~ don’t produce war toys

If you do NOT want war ~ don’t produce weapons

If you do NOT want war ~ don’t train soldiers

If you do NOT want war ~ don’t solve conflicts with war

If you do NOT want war ~ do not do war!

But do you really not want WAR?

September 2017

Ich kann dieses Gedicht nur wiederholen, wiederholen, wiederholen in all seinen Formen:

April 2012

Wenn Du KEINEN Krieg willst…..

Wolfgang Borchert und Dietrich Bonhoeffer gewidmet

Wenn Du KEINEN Krieg willst ~ denke keinen Krieg

Wenn Du KEINEN Krieg willst ~ rede keinen Krieg

Wenn Du KEINEN Krieg willst ~ lehre keinen Krieg

Wenn Du KEINEN Krieg willst ~ erlaube keine Kriegsspiele

Wenn Du KEINEN Krieg willst ~ erlaube keine Kriegspielzeuge

Wenn Du KEINEN Krieg willst ~ produziere keine Kriegsspiele

Wenn Du KEINEN Krieg willst ~ produziere keine Kriegsspielzeuge

Wenn Du KEINEN Krieg willst ~ produziere keine Waffen

Wenn Du KEINEN Krieg willst ~ bilde keine Soldaten aus

Wenn Du KEINEN Krieg willst ~ loese keine Konflikte mit Krieg

Wenn Du KEINEN Krieg willst ~ mache keinen Krieg!

Aber willst wirklich keinen KRIEG?

Wolfgang Borchert “Dann gibt es nur eins”

The Bee Writes… #amwriting diary 23.9.17

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Last week I was all into “rewriting my story“. This week I don’t feel it at all. You know, that motivation to consider myself a blogger, writer and reader who does her posts to her fullest potential and to read enough to do some more book reviews.

I have just finished my #mentalhealth diary post for yesterday afternoon where I tried out a couple of new things like doing my headlines with pictures via Buffer’s Pablo and using CoSchedule’s “Click to Tweet”. I have also written a post for Colleen’s Poetry Challenge and one to help men get help for their mental health.

I am a bit tired now. I feel like I did nothing even though I produced three nice posts but I remembered that I haven’t even started to write that story of the woman who gets over her past. How can I ever finish any unfinished projects this year?

Yea, I know, life happened. Stress at work, at home and my #mentalhealth going up and down doesn’t help. And that is exactly the point where I have given up previously. That is when that “story” kicks in that I am not good enough, that I do not have enough time and that it all is for nothing anyway.

Since last week I am telling myself: I am not giving in to those stories! Life, home and mental health will not stop me from blogging and writing those stories, posts and poems anymore. There must be a reason why I come back to my blog time and time again. It probably means that I actually have something to say.and that somewhere out there are people who need to hear what I have to say. I better stop moaning and get a grip on myself!

But I tried so many times before and I always gave up and went somewhere else. So what might be different now?

First of all, I have made my blogging home at the self-hosted “The Bee Writes…” blog. That’s where I stay, that’s where I put most of my previous content together and that is where I revisit my old posts and integrate them into a lovely place.

Secondly, I have signed up with Mailchimp many moons ago to create a newsletter and at last, have started the very same. The second one went out yesterday afternoon and you can find out more here. Or even sign up on the left where it says: The Bee Writes… Newsletter not only for Poets and Writers. I have planned to do updates on my blog and writing once a month so don’t worry about being spammed.

Thirdly I have developed something like a social media schedule. But more about that in another post later on. For now just this: I have discovered Crowdfire which is not only rather trendy but brilliant if you want to post your blog posts not only to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and G+ but the image-loving Instagram and Pinterest too. Have a look at Crowdfire here.

And last but not least: My dreams have always come true! May it be to live in the UK, find my soul mate (yes, husband that’s you!!!!!) or publish a book. It has come true so this blog adventure will become a success in its own right too.

So, are there any writing plans for the coming week? Yes, I keep blogging, get at least the first of three parts of my love story written and write a couple of poems. Stay tuned to find out if I have managed :-).

And what about you? Are you troubled by self-doubt and how to do get over it?

 

The Opinionated Immigrant (1)

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Disclaimer: the characters and opinions in this post are only fictional. Any similarities to real people or opinions are entirely by accident.

I may or may not have heard the following conversation at work:

Two customers met in front of the bakery department in the supermarket I work in.

A rather tall man in his forties with short cropped blond hair. He had an accent which I could not properly place. I was thinking something Eastern European. The woman, however, was clearly German, tall too but not as tall as the man. Her dark blond hair was plaited and both hugged like they haven’t seen each other in ages.

The only reason I became aware of them was that she was talking rather loudly and her voice did grate a little on me. I hate broad German accents.

“Ah, Oleg, they haven’t sent you away yet?” She giggled and he answered laughing: “ No, dear Susi, apparently those letters were sent by accident!”
“Yea, right, the Foreign Office is trying it on, don’t you think? If they’d sent one to me I would have directly complained to the German embassy and would have written to any newspaper available. Their behaviour is a disgrace!”

“Don’t be so harsh. Mistakes happen. They are just human too!”
“You really think so? Once Britain is out of the European Union they can do what they want. Why do you think they don’t want the European court of justice to be responsible for us?”
“I don’t know! They want their power back maybe?”

“Oh please, don’t start with that! I know your country is into all that patriotic crap too but when will you see that it’s not immigrants or the European Union who cause the problems but international companies which don’t pay their taxes and greedy people in power who only want money? They are sitting in their golden towers rubbing their hands in glee as all of us small people rip each other’s throats out. As long as we concentrate on foreigners we are not getting to know the real culprits! Wake up man!”

“Oh come on, give me a break. Powerful people ain’t that bad! It’s not that easy to lead an international company and they have charities. They also do some good!”
“Ja, to safe taxes it certainly isn’t out of humanity! If they would pay their taxes most of the problems their charities supposedly try to solve would not exist! We live in pure capitalist times. Marx and Engels would have a heydey and you most of all should see through this! You learned it all from such a young age!”

“Da! Communism isn’t heaven. You haven’t lived in it!” “No I haven’t but that’s the same process: the powerful kept you glaring at the capitalist West and again fight the foreigners while the greedy top did their money making deals and deprived you even more of a fair life than the governments do now!”
“And you wonder why I am fairly OK with what is going on?”
“ Well, seeing it from that perspective…..”

I could not hear the rest as they were there walking away now.

The Bee Writes… a #haiku for Colleen’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge No. 51

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My try on the lovely Colleen’s poetry challenge no 51. Feel free to head over and have a try too!