Writing against Anxiety (a reason for poets and writers)/Gegen den Angstzustand schreiben (ein Grund fuer Dichter und Autoren)

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What do you do when your heart is racing, you shake inside and just want to run screaming? There is no obvious reason for any sort of panic but it just overwhelms you anyway?

Panic attacks are one of the visitors you can get on a regular basis when you are a survivor of abuse and/or you live with Posttraumatic Stress Syndrome.

Mine has been under control for a very long time and I have been proud of being able to feel the fear but also get on with my life and not let it control me. But my defences have gone weak with all that goes on in the world, with Brexit and added stress at work.

And no matter how much I took care of myself and made sure I was in the right mindset it just got too much yesterday. It is like a switch turns and all the fear, anger and panic floods me at once. That is part of being a survivor. Sometimes it just gets the better of you no matter what you do.

So all that’s left for me to do it getting myself up and fear less again.

I’m taking St Johnswort that takes the worst from me, listen to music that calms me, do breathing exercises, scent our house with lavender, ylang ylang and geranium, meditate and see the Wellbeing Service for guidance. But one thing that has always helped me is writing against anxiety, depression and a past that I want to let go.

Journaling and blogging have always helped me to get myself out of that mindset: “It will never end, it is too much, I can’t fight it anymore….” And I suspect it is one reason why I have become a poetess.

Expressing what I feel and telling me and the world that I am stronger than my fears is a powerful way to get myself up again. And that is why this post comes to existence. I have also learned a lot from other bloggers who live with the same or similar conditions. Sharing your experience is powerful and makes sure all of us know that we are not alone.

So if you fight your way through your fears today know that you are not alone and that you are stronger than your fears! Anxiety and depression can’t hold us down!

 

Was machst Du wenn Dein Herz rast, Du innerlich zitterst und Du einfach schreiend davon rennen willst? Es gibt keinen offensichtlichen Grund, irgendeine Art von Panik zu verspueren aber sie ueberfaellt Dich trotzdem?

Panikattacken sind einige der regulaeren Besucher, mit denen Du rechnen musst, wenn Du ein/e Ueberlebende/r von Missbrauch bist und/oder Du an Postraumatischem Stress Syndrom leidest.

ich hatte meines jetzt lange unter Kontrolle und ich war stolz, dass ich meine Angst spueren konnte aber trotzdem mein Leben leben konnte und ich es nicht mich kontrollieren lies. Aber meine Schutzwaelle sind geschwaecht durch alles, was in der Welt los ist, durch Brexit und mehr Stress auf der Arbeit.

Und egal wie sehr ich auf mich selber aufgepasst habe und ich darueber wachte, dass ich die richtige Geisteshaltung hatte, gestern wurde es zuviel.  Es ist als ob ein Schalter geschaltet wird und all die Angst, der Aerger und die Panik ueberflutet mich. Das ein Teil davon ein/e Ueberlebende/r zu sein. Manchmal wird es einfach zu viel egal, was Du machst.

Alles, was mir jetzt bleibt ist mich wieder hochzubringen und mich weniger zu Sorgen.

Ich nehme Johanniskraut, dass das Schlimmste von mir nimmt, hoere Musik die mich beruhigt, benutzte Atemuebungen, Lavendel, Ylang Ylang und Geranium Duft im Haus, meditiere und werde den Wellbeing Service besuchen, um beraten zu werden. Aber eines, das mir immer geholfen hat, gegen Angst, Depression und einer Vergangenheit, die ich gehen lassen moechte, anzugehen ist schreiben.

Tagebuch schreiben und bloggen hat mir immer geholfen, mich aus diesem Geisteszustand herauszubringen: ” es wird nie aufhoeren, es ist zuviel, Ich kann es nicht mehr bekaempfen…”. und ich vermute das ist ein Grund, warum ich Dichterin geworden bin.

Auszudruecken, was ich fuehle und mir und der Welt zu sagen, dass ich staerker als meine Aengste bin, ist ein kraftvoller Weg mich wieder aufzurappeln. Und das ist der Grund fuer diesen Blogbeitrag. Ich habe auch viel von anderen Bloggern gelernt, die mit den gleichen oder Aehnlichen Zustaenden leben. Deine Erfahrung zu teilen, ist ein kraftvoll und macht klar, das wir nicht alleine sind.

Wenn Du Dich also auch gerade durch Deine Aengste durcharbeitest, dann weisst Du jetzt, dass Du nicht alleine bist und dass Du staerker als Deine Aengste bist. Angst und Depression kann uns nincht untenhalten!

I wonder why people become poets and writers/ I wuerde gerne wissen, warum Leute Dichter und Autoren werden

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August 2017

I wondered in 2011 why people started to write and asked for guest posts. I still wonder about it: so if you want to share why you write feel free to contact me and I promise a link to your blog and/or social media!

July 2011

Lately, I was thinking a lot about why I am writing and when I started.

For me, it always seemed to have been a natural thing. As soon as I started writing normal sentences I got a diary and started. A bit later I wrote letters to friends and I was a big fan of all those pen-friend organisations. I was eleven when I started writing my first letters in English. Some years later I had that urge to rhyme and poems emerged. And then in my twenties the idea I need to write a fantasy-novel. There were times when I thought to become a journalist but that kind of writing seems to me to be too restrained.
I am not sure if I do a good job with what I write but I do not exactly care anymore. I enjoy it. That is the main thing.

But what about you out there? Why did you start to write and what is it for you? Natural thing? Urge? Enjoyment? Would you mind to tell me in my comment box? Or would you like to write a guest post?

Please send suggestions for guest posts to my E-mail with the subject “Why I write ~ Guest post” ~ no need for doing it bi-lingual ~ I translate if you want it!

August 2017
Im July 2011 habe ich mich gefragt, warum Menschen anfangen, zu schreiben und fragte nach Gastbeitraegen. Ich frage mich das immernoch: falls Du uns also mitteilen moechtest, warum Du schreibst, dann sende mir Deine Vorschlaege und ich verspreche Dir einen Link zu Deinem Blog und/oder social media.
Juli 2011
Ich habe in letzter Zeit oft darueber nachgedacht, warum ich schreibe und wann ich angefangen habe.
Schreiben schien mir immer natuerlich zu sein.
Sobald ich normale Saetze schreiben konnte bekam ich ein Tagebuch und legte los. Etwas spaeter begann ich, Freunden Briefe zu schreiben und ich liebte all die Brieffreundschafts-Organisationen. Ich war elf als ich meine ersten englischen Briefe schrieb. Ein paar Jahre spaeter spuerte ich dann den Drang zu dichten und die ersten Gedichte entstanden. Und dann in meinen Zwanzigern die Idee, eine Fantasy-Geschichte zu schreiben. Da gab es auch Zeiten, als ich Journalistin werden wollte aber das schien mir zu eingezwaengt zu sein.
Ich weiss nicht, ob ich gut schreibe aber ehrlich gesagt kuemmert mich das nicht mehr so sehr. Ich geniese es und das ist die Hauptsache.
Aber wie ist das mit Euch da draussen? Wann habt Ihr begonnen zu schreiben und wie ist es fuer Euch? Etwas Natuerliches? Drang? Genuss? Mochtet Ihr mir darueber in meiner Commentbox schreiben? Oder vielleicht einen Gaeste Eintrag beim Blog? Danke schon mal im vorraus!
Vorschlaege fuer Gaesteeintraege an E-Mail ~ Du musst nicht zweisprachig dafuer sein ~ ich uebersetze, wenn es gewuenscht ist!

Good Morning Poets and Writers ~ Ingermanson on “Your Weekly Review”

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Good Morning, Afternoon, Night (depending on where you are and when you read 🙂 ) dear Poets and Writers!

I have always aimed at organising myself better not only with writing but with life in general. In March I read an interesting article in Randy Ingermanson’s Newsletter “The Advanced Fiction Writing E-Zine” about a tool he uses: A weekly review. There were times when I did that, however, life got in the way and you know how that one goes :-).

So here are Randy’s thoughts and suggestions on organising your writing:

This article is reprinted by permission of the author.
Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 16,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.

Organization: Your Weekly Review

If you’re serious about getting things done in your life, then you need to have a regular weekly habit of reviewing the previous week and planning the next one.

That sounds fun, doesn’t it? It’s right up there with changing the oil and cleaning the toilet on most people’s list of Things To Avoid Doing Pretty Much Forever.

Why You Need a Weekly Review

Here’s the thing. Your novel is not going to write itself. Big publishers are not going to throw money at you to write your novel. Truth be told, if your novel is never written, nobody will notice or care. (The good news—if your novel does get written, there’s a fighting chance that people will notice and care.)

The brutal reality is that if you want to get a good novel written, you’re going to have to do three things that are highly labor-intensive and that won’t earn you a dime up-front:

  1. Develop the skills to write a good novel.
  2. Write a good novel.
  3. Polish your novel.

I’m not trying to rain on the parade or tell you there’s no parade. There is a parade and it’s a good one. I’m trying to say that it’s a serious, major effort to make the parade happen, and you won’t get paid for it until very late in the game, if you ever get paid. You’ll need to spend hundreds of hours on this thing. Maybe thousands. You need to find a way to squeeze those hundreds of hours out of an already jam-packed life.

That means giving up some things. Saying yes to writing a novel means saying no to a lot of other wonderful things.

This could take you forever, or you could get it done in short order, and get your book out the door, and have it earning you money. The choice is yours, and a big part of that choice is taking control of your life.

I know some lucky people who are good at taking control of their life. I’m not one of those people. I have a lot of things going on in my life, and they all want to take control of me.

I deal with them by fighting back, and a big part of that fight is my Weekly Review.

The Weekly Review

This is not complicated. Once a week, (almost always on a Saturday afternoon), I sit down with my gigantic To Do List and work through it. I look at how I did last week, but more importantly, I look at what I want to get done in the next week.

There are three key questions to ask:

  1. What things are scheduled in already?
  2. What unscheduled things do I have to get done this week?
  3. What optional things do I most want to get done this week?

Questions #1 and #2 are key. Those are my constraints, because they tell me how many hours are already spoken for in the coming week. Question #3 then lets me pick out the optional things that I could reasonably get done.

Why is this useful? That’s easy.

I mentioned I have a gigantic To Do List. It’s uncontrollably large. But the key point is that every item on the list is tagged. I tag them with the time-frame in which I want to get them done. There are things I want to do “someday maybe.” There are things I want to do “this year.” Others that I want to do “this quarter.” Others that are “this month.” And a few that are “this week.”

The Weekly Review lets me keep the set of “this week” tasks down to a reasonable number. These are the things that matter right now. The other stuff will get done in good time, but just not right now.

What this means is that every day when I decide what I’m going to tackle today, I have a short list of things to choose from. I don’t have to look at the gigantic To Do List. That would be too cruel. All I have to look at is the items tagged “this week.” Every day, I choose a reasonable set to tackle. And it takes me five minutes, maximum, to plan my day.

I don’t have to wonder if there’s something coming up that I’ve forgotten about. During my Weekly Review, I already looked ahead and checked that. If there’s something coming up this week, my Weekly Review tags it as “this week.”

This is how I get stuff done without going crazy.

The gigantic To Do List will never go away. It’ll always be gigantic. It’ll always contain a bunch of pipe dreams that will never happen.

But the Weekly Review ensures that the things that are either urgent or important bubble to the top and get done.

No, the Weekly Review is not sexy. It’s not fun. But I find it absolutely indispensable. It takes about an hour each week, and at the end of it, I have some feeling of control over my life again.

Homework

  1. Are you doing a Weekly Review already? If so, congratulations, and you get a gold star. You might want to think about whether you can do it better. Maybe you can make a template for the Weekly Review so it goes quicker and so you never forget a step in your process. But if it’s working well for you, don’t change it. You’re good.
  2. If you’re not doing a Weekly Review, I’m not here to shame you. I’m here to tell you to do it, because it’s good for you. You’ll get more things done. You’ll be more in control. You’ll feel better. Really, you will. Now what day of the week can you schedule your regular Weekly Reviews? What time of the day should you plan on? How much time do you want to budget?
  3. If you don’t have any idea what to even do in a Weekly Review or how to get started, and you’d really like to punch me right now, that’s OK. Keep your distance, please, and go check out TheSecretWeapon.org,  which has a bunch of free videos on how to take control of your life. In an hour, you’ll know exactly how to do everything. That’s an hour well spent, and you may never need to learn one more thing about organization in your entire life.

This is not a feel-good article today, and my apologies on that. I’m not trying to make you happy. I’m trying to radically boost the chances that you’ll get your novel published someday.

You can thank me when you accept your Pulitzer.

 

Desert times/Wuestenzeiten

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Something about writing from May 2011:

There are times when you just can not write.
It is not just that little “Oh I can’t be bothered today!” and when you sit down it works just as well. It is not one of those small writers blocks that happen practically every day. No, it is those big ones. The ones that you can not just get around with starting to write and it goes.

Julia Cameron calls them “desert-times” and she says that they are important for creativity. As I understood it it means a kind of hibernation of your fantasy that it needs to be back on track. Maybe you can see your creativity as a kind of mental organ. If you do not give it enough rest, food and drink it will die.

As a creative person, I would say you need all those for your body as much as for your creativity. As we are all individuals food and drink and rest for your creativity means something else to every one of us. Food and drink for my creativity are for me: Reading novels, newspapers, blogs, poems, watching interesting programs on tv, meeting up with other creative people of all sorts. We all know that we need that but how aware are we that our creativity does need rest as well?

After a long spell of intensive writing about 10 years ago my creativity needed some rest. I did not realise this and tried to force myself to write and be creative but it really had the opposite effect. I wrote less and less and in the end chose a job that did not give me the chance to write anymore.

This writing-less time was very important for me as I developed new skills, I ventured into new areas of interest and I found new friends. Well, as much as I was frustrated in the beginning about it I am glad now that I found my seasons of writing and am accepting my creativities resting time.

doodle

writing

Achtung: Der Link in diesem Text ist in englischer Sprache

Etwas ueber’s Schreiben von Mai 2011:
Da gibt es Zeiten, in denen Du einfach nicht schreiben kannst.
Das sind nicht diese kleinen “Oh heute habe ich keine Lust!” und wenn Du Dich hinsetzt, dann klappt es doch. Es sind nicht diese kleinen Schreibblockaden, die praktisch jeden Tag passieren. Nein, das sind dies grossen! Das sind die, die Du nicht einfach mit schreiben bekaempfen kannst.
Julia Cameron nennt sie Wuestenzeiten und sie sagt, dass sie wichtig fuer die eigene Kreativitaet sind. So wie ich sie verstanden habe, bedeuten sie eine Art Winterschlaf Deiner Fantasie, die sie braucht um wieder richtig arbeiten zu koennen. Vielleicht kannst Du Deine Kreativitaet als eine Art mentales Organ ansehen. Wenn Du ihm nicht genuegend Schlaf, Essen und Trinken gibts, wird sie sterben.
Als eine kreative Person meine ich, dass Du das sowohl fuer Deinen Koerper als auch fuer Deine Fantasie brauchtst. Da wir alle Individuen sind, bedeutet Essen und Trinken fuer unsere Kreativitaet etwas anderes fuer jeden von uns. Fuer mich bedeuten sie? Geschichten, Zeitungen, Blogs, Gedichte lesen, interessantes im Fernsehen ansehen und andere kreative Menschen treffen. Wir wissen alle, dass wir solche Dinge brauchen aber sind wir uns auch darueber im Klaren, dass unsere Fantasie Ruhezeiten braucht?
Nach einer langen Zeit intensiven Schreibens vor ungefaehr 10 Jahren brauchte meine Kreativitaet eine Pause. Ich habe das damals nicht verstanden und versuchte mich zum schreiben zu zwingen, was aber den gegenteiligen Effekt hatte. Ich schrieb weniger und weniger und am Ende waehlte ich einen Job, der mir eh keine Zeit zum schreiben mehr lies.
Diese “schreib-lose” Zeit war wichtig fuer mich, weil ich neue Faehigkeiten entwickelte, in neue Interessengebiete hineinschaute und neue Freunde fand. So sehr ich am Anfang darueber frustriert war, bin ich doch heute froh, dass ich meine Jahreszeiten des Schreibens gefunden habe und die Ruhezeiten meiner Kreativitaet jetzt respektiere.

Letting go of Zara

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In January I let you know about my intention to make 2017 the year of finishing unfinished projects. One of them is my fantasy story “Zara”, which accompanies my writing efforts since more than 20 years and by the powers that be I haven’t gotten anywhere with it.

Well, I have done at least 3 outlines and started as many efforts to write the story but in the end, I always stopped. A couple of weeks ago I read a blog post or article about letting go of writing ideas that haven’t worked out or are just not good enough to follow through. Unfortunately, I cannot find that article anymore :-(.

However, I have come to the conclusion that to go forward I need to let that fantasy story and the main character that is so close to my heart go.

That article advised several ways of letting ideas go from just binning them to making a short story out of it. Another was to share the idea and let others work with it. I feel that “Zara” is one idea that I need to share with fellow writers.

So here is the latest beginning I have written for “Zara” and I invite you to finish the story in any way you see fit. Please share the story with your readers and have lots and lots of fun with it:

Zara

There was a huge storm in the mountains,” Zara told the Wild Woman. Even though she was the eldest daughter of Aila leader of the travelling peoples and about to become initiated she always asked for advice of the wise woman who could only be found in the deep forests of Tadatschi if she felt it wise to be found.

Wild Woman always looked out for the deep red flame of Zara’s long hair as she knew of her fate and destiny. Zara looked like she towered over Wild Woman as the girl was tall for her age and Wild Woman was short. They said that her muscular form grew smaller with the years of living in the deep woods running with the stag and the wolf. She has become one of them and learned their wisdom which gave her a deeper understanding of human nature and destiny.

Wild Woman gave Zara an encouraging look while they sat in an oak grove half way up on Blue Mountain which rose over the summer camp of the travelling people. Zara went on in her deep melodious voice: “ The rain clashed against my face and arms. I had lost my coat and was grabbing onto the rocks towering beside the thin path I was walking down into a valley. It was pitch dark but every second lighting came down from another side. So I could see where I had to head.” Only Wild Woman,s deep green eyes revealed a faint smile. Her thin face did not give away any of her thoughts or feelings. Zara was staring into the fire lit in the middle of the grove.

Her light blue eyes were wide with the anxiety and excitement the dream had raised in her. She hugged her thin form which was clad in leather pants, a woollen shirt just adorned with a golden pin and green stone. She had laid her colourful woven cape beside her where her left hand rested. The other as elegant as princesses laid in her lap.

“Storm wind nearly blew me down to the right where a deep ravine laid I could not see the bottom of. The rocky path was slippery and in the end, I was just crawling along on the ground. Suddenly the rock at my left stopped and the path ended in something that felt like grass. A loud thunder banged down on me. It took my breath. Then there was this black creature. I could just see its silhouette as the lightning suddenly seems to just come from behind it. It looked like a huge cat.” Wild Woman took a deep breath but said nothing. Zara looked at her briefly but continued: “Its head seemed to point behind it. It turned and walked away.

I was terrified and stayed where I was. But Storm Wind now came from behind me and seemed to push me into the creature’s direction. I tried to stop myself sliding down the grass but could not hold onto anything. I started shivering and the noise was soul destroying. The creature came back. It bent down to me. I could see its emerald green eyes shining and suddenly I knew I had to follow it and it was safe. Storm wind slowed down in that moment and I could get up. I realised the creature was, in fact, a huge black cat which now walked beside me. I took my right hand on its head and it led me to a pine grove in which a cave was hidden. Then I woke!” Zara fell silent but her heart was pounding and her breath went fast.

Wild Woman said nothing. Long years of being the Shaman of the travelling people have taught her who really needed her words and who could find wisdom in silence. Zara was one of the latter.

After a long while where they could only hear Soft Wind singing in the oak leaves around them Zara said:” I am not supposed to find my totem before my initiation. But this cat certainly is my totem. I feel it now!”

Wild Woman got up and walked slowly to the northern realm of the grove. There she hummed a light tune and out of the trees came a huge cat nearly as tall as Wild Woman with emerald green eyes. Zara gasped. She stood up, brought her slender hands together in front of her heart and bend her head deep to honour her totem animal.

The huge cat seemed to smile while she came down the light slope gracefully to lay down in front of the fire which stayed between her and Zara. Wild Woman came in her wake and motioned Zara to sit down as well.

Wild Woman’s furs rubbed on her leathery skin as she went to the west of the grove where a little well was trickling away joyfully. She took out a small bowl made out of clay and decorated with oak fruit. She filled the bowl with the water of the well and turned back to Zara who just sat there looking into the cat’s eyes. Wild Woman sat the bowl down in front of Zara and then vanished into the woods.

The sun sent her first rays over the eastern oaks when the cat got up again and walked over to Zara. She rubbed her head on Zaras left ear and sniffed her hands. Her purr sounded like she approved of what she smelled. She rubbed along Zaras back who did not dare to move. Zara closed her eyes and saw the cave the cat had led her in her dream. There was a fire in the middle, a little pond in the back. A wind chime made out of human bones dangled above her and a bed made out of moss, oak leaves and grass invited her to lay down in front of the fire.

Zara could hear the cats purr and it advised her to lay down which she did. Then she could hear a voice: “ Your time has come but tell no one! Your people are not ready yet for the challenges to come!” “I am not either,” Zara thought.

When she woke the sun had gone down behind her. The fire was out but the bowl of water was still waiting for her. She sat up bowed to give grace to Mother Earth and drank thirstily. She looked around the grove but neither the cat nor Wild Woman was there. So she stood up and left….

Now go, create and have lots of fun!!!!!!

Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen’s “The Rabbit Back Literature Society” at #supporttranslatedbooks

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Last week I introduced you to Mahtem Shifferaw’s poetry book “Fuchsia” which I was reading in connection with my Goodreads reading group “#supporttranslatedbooks”. And this week I want to let you know about our August read “The Rabbit Back Literature Society” by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen.

August author at “#supporttranslatedbooks”: Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen

When I chose the books for #supporttranslatedbooks” I had never heard of Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen. I usually try to find a couple of links about the book we are reading itself and the author too to give the members a little more insight if they feel like it.

However, I found it difficult to find information about him and only posted these two links:

Pasi Ilmaren Jaaskelainen’s Homepage
Pasi Ilmaren Jaaskelainen on “Words Without Borders

Even his Wikipedia page is only in Finnish, Swedish and French.

photo credit: Goodreads

According to most of the pages I was reading he is Finnlands best-kept literature secret, a lover of Vampires and Jeanne Moreau and he has three sons. Other than that he is a writer of sci-fi and fantasy stories and has won several Finnish writing awards.

Now that is certainly an author worth discovering.

The Book we are reading in August at “#supporttranslatedbooks”: The Rabbit Back Literature Society

I have bookmarked several links to lists with translated fiction and try to find authors that are from all over the world as a well as authors who are not so well-known. And another point is to choose books of diverse genres. At the beginning of the year, we read “Sophie’s World” a children’s book about philosophy, last month a poetry book and this month we are into mystery, fantasy and magical realism if we want to believe the Goodreads genres. And next month we are off to Japan.

And as to stay with Goodreads, here is the book’s blurb:

A highly contagious book virus, a literary society and a Snow Queen-like disappearing author ‘She came to realise that under one reality there’s always another. And another one under that.’ Only very special people are chosen by children’s author Laura White to join ‘The Society’, an elite group of writers in the small town of Rabbit Back. Now a tenth member has been selected: Ella, literature teacher and possessor of beautifully curving lips. But soon Ella discovers that the Society is not what it seems. What is its mysterious ritual, ‘The Game’? What explains the strange disappearance that occurs at Laura’s winter party, in a whirlwind of snow? Why are the words inside books starting to rearrange themselves? Was there once another tenth member, before her? Slowly, disturbing secrets that had been buried come to light… In this chilling, darkly funny novel, the uncanny brushes up against the everyday in the most beguiling and unexpected of ways. 

Now how can you resist a blurb like that? Well, I certainly cannot as I love mystery books that have a good touch of magical realism in it. Plus I am a fan of Scandinavian authors and can’t wait to start “The Rabbit Back Literature Society”. In fact, I have managed to read one page already ;-).

Discovering “Wordery” with #supporttranslatedbooks

When I was looking to find an affordable copy of “Fuchsia” last month I discovered “Wordery” an online book shop that is ” one of the fastest growing online bookshops and our mission is to provide you with an alternative haven to buy the books you love for the lowest prices. We offer over 10 million books and provide free delivery to over 100 countries.” in their own words.

And this month I purchased “The Rabbit Back Literature Society” from them. It is a great alternative to Amazon even though I believe they are somehow working together too. But that is something to explore in another post :-).

If you are interested in “The Rabbit Back Literature Society” on Wordery have a look here.

Next month’s book on #supporttranslatedbooks

The September read on “#supporttranslatedbooks is Banana Yoshimoto’s “Goodbye Tsugumi”. 

More about it and why I chose it in a post next month.

Find out more about “The Rabbit Back Literature Society”

“The Rabbit Back Literature Society”
in “Washington Independent Review of Books

“The Rabbit Back Literature Society” on Tor.com

Resources:

Pasi Ilmaren Jaaskelainen on “Goodreads

Pasi Ilmaren Jaaskelainen on Pushkin Press

“The Rabbit Back Literature Society” on Goodreads

Writer's Quote Wednesday ~ Carpe Diem

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January 2017

Writer’s Quote Wednesday does not exist anymore but I feel I need to be reminded on what I wrote in 2015 so I share it with you again :-).

March 2015

Today I discovered “Writer’s Quote Wednesday” on Colleen’s wonderful blog “Silver Threading“(This link leads to her renamed blog). She encourages us to share the writer’s quote that inspire us.

Instantly “Carpe Diem” usually translated to “seize the day” came to my mind. Apparently, it is taken from Horace’s “Odes” but many of us probably know it from a film called “The Dead Poets Society“. I cannot tell you how many times I watched this film. The late Robin Williams played a teacher trying to get his pupils to think for themselves and to discover poetry. I so wished I would have had a teacher like that.

I was 18 when it came out, and it spoke right to my heart and I can still cry about one of the boy’s suicides. My mother had passed away six years previously, and I think that is one of the lessons I learned not only from that film but her passing:

Don’t wait until you have time to do something you love. There will always be something that gets in the way, and suddenly it will be too late.

The older I get the more I think in the mornings: If I would die today what would I regret not having done? I can honestly say most of the things I really wanted I have gained or achieved. Writing the fantasy novel still stands out but I am working on that one. (We can’t be perfect all the time, can we? 😉 ).

Even if we would get 90 years old, this life is short. Time runs and if you do not do what you love and what your heart really graves for you waste your life. Just go for it! Because you are worth it! 😉

Carpe Diem

World-Building & Social Networks with Randy Ingermanson

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Good Morning Writers,

Good Morning Writers! ~ 6June16 ~ How to Create A Character

How is your writing going? Are you still struggling with Christmas or Hanukkah obligations or are you relaxed enough to get back into your writing?

My writing life has to change and I am not sure I am up for it. It has occurred to me that blogging has stopped me from finishing several of my writing projects (a love story, a fantasy story and a sci-fi story) which actually are for my blog.

So I have used the holidays and the new year coming for overhauling my writing routine. Well, there is not much of a routine as I work flexible shifts but I am determined to develop one somehow.

Yes, I know some say that a routine is pretty much deadly for creativity while others say it is entirely necessary for creativity. I have come to the conclusion that both is true. Looks like I need a combination of both and I am working on it.

Blogging is easy. You can just get your words out and mostly you get instant gratification and feedback. Writing a novel or short story is harder work and lonely work and I try to get that shift from blogging to actually do some proper writing since some years.

One thing I feel I am not good at yet for my sci-fi and fantasy novel is world-building so Randy Ingermanson’s article about it came just in time.

I want to share it with you and hope it can give you some new ideas too:

This article is reprinted by permission of the author.

Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 15,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.

Craft: World-Building and Social Networks

There are three categories of fiction where world-building is very important:

  • Science fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Historical fiction

I haven’t written much on world-building, for one simple reason.

Most categories of fiction don’t require elaborate world-building. I like to write about things that apply to most novelists. So I’ve avoided writing about the topic, even though world-building has been a big part of my own writing life.

I’ve been thinking about world-building lately, and one aspect of it in particular: social networks.

We’ve all become intensely aware of social networks in the last few years because of social media. If you’ve been on Facebook long, you’ll notice that they’re pretty good at guessing who you might want to friend. They do that by looking at who are friends of your existing friends, and they apply a branch of math called network theory.

Network theory has developed massively in the last twenty years, thanks to the growth of the internet, which makes it possible to study in real-time the growth and structure of various real-world networks. Network theory is now widely used in biology and chemistry and physics and political science and economics and computer science and neuroscience and materials science … and, and, and. The list is long.

Social Networks in a Story World

The core idea I’ll talk about today is the importance of social networks in creating a large story world. Mathematicians recently mapped out the social network in Game of Thrones, trying to identify the main character of the series by using various ideas from network theory. You can see the large graph they created on this page.

Most novels don’t have anywhere near the complexity of this social network. But historical novelists routinely deal with social networks that are much larger. I’ve written three novels so far in my City of God series, set in first-century Jerusalem shortly before the Jewish Revolt. I’ll continue to write more books in that series, but I’m also working on a series set in Judea and Galilee a few decades earlier. Social networks have played a key role in working out the history of both series.

I started researching my novels back in the early 1980s, and I quickly felt overwhelmed by the enormous number of people we know about from the various historical sources—Josephus, the New Testament, the Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius, the Mishnah, the Talmud, various apocryphal and pseudepigraphical writings, numerous other minor sources, and the archaeological record.

To help me keep track of everyone, I began mapping out the social network of first-century Judea. I started by making lists of the numerous social groups. I found three main groups of aristocrats, two main groups of priests, and three main religious sects within Judaism. These groups had subgroups. I learned that there were five kinds of zealots. There were two main schools of thought among the Pharisees, and each played a critical role in first-century history. There were four families of chief priests who dominated Jerusalem for decades, and one of the four families bullied the other three.

For each of these groups and subgroups, I made a list of every character I could find, along with key information about each—when he lived, where he lived, important things he did or was alleged to have done. In a patriarchal society, most of these were men, but I dug up information on as many women as I could find. Historical information is often fragmentary, but it was not uncommon for a single character to be named in multiple sources, which gave me a more 3-D picture. (You can often learn as much from someone’s enemies as you can from their friends.)

My lists grew to include 151 historical persons, and could easily have been two or three times as large, but I left out many minor characters and most characters born in the first century BC or outside of Judea and Galilee.

Benefits of Building a Social Network

This was a lot of work, but two main benefits emerged:

  1. By combining information about each character from all the available historical sources, I built up a broad picture of who these people were and what they were trying to do. There were often disagreements between sources, but there was plenty of agreement, and any conflicting data gave me room to get creative.
  2. By clumping together similar characters into the social groups they belonged to, I was able to guess at who knew who. Even if no source ever said explicitly that Mr. A and Mr. B knew each other, I could infer that they did if they lived in the same place at the same time and knew the same people. Because (as Facebook knows), a friend of your friend is likely to be either a friend or an acquaintance or at least somebody you’ve heard of.

Can you guess who was the most connected person in this story world, according to the sources?

No, it wasn’t Jesus of Nazareth. It wasn’t Julius Caesar. It wasn’t the historian Josephus. All of these were very influential. They all had many connections. But they weren’t the most connected person in the sources.

The most connected person in the sources was King Herod the Great. Herod was an immensely energetic man, a powerful soldier, a visionary architect and builder, a shrewd politician, and a paranoid family man. He married ten women and sired a number of sons eager to inherit his throne. He executed his favorite wife and three of his sons out of misplaced fears of their disloyalty. Herod was close friends with Marc Antony and Cleopatra and later switched his loyalty to their enemy Caesar Augustus. (When he did, he encouraged Augustus to ignore whose friend he had been and to instead consider what an excellent friend he had been. Herod was nothing if not an opportunist.)

Herod and his sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons were close friends of the emperors of Rome for more than a century. One of his grandsons, Agrippa, brokered the deal to crown Claudius as emperor after the assassination of Caligula. Several of Herod’s descendants are mentioned in the New Testament, and his great-grandson, Agrippa Junior, was a close friend of the historian Josephus. His great-granddaughter Berenike was a mistress to the emperor Titus, who was eleven years younger than her. She must have been amazing. Titus almost married Berenike, which means that a 51-year-old hot Jewish grandmother very nearly became empress of Rome. There’s a story there, no?

When writing my novels, whenever I’ve needed a new character to play some role in the story, the first thing I’ve done was to flip through my list of actual historical characters. More often than not, I’ve found a real person with a real name and a real history that I could pull into my story. Then I could skim through all the known facts about that person to suggest ways to connect that same character at other points in the story.

Homework

Historical novelists are notorious for doing way too much research and building far too intricate story worlds. Being a historical novelist is a disease, and there isn’t any cure.

Most novelists don’t need to map out their social networks in so much detail. Even so, it can make sense to ask a few questions about the social networks in your story world:

  1. What are the main groups in your story world? (These might be religious, political, professional, or some other sort of group. Each one might have subgroups.)
  2. What are the conflicts between the various groups and how did these arise?
  3. Which characters belong to each group and subgroup?
  4. What are the conflicts and rivalries between characters within each group?
  5. What are the conflicts between characters belonging to different groups?

Start a file to keep track of your growing social network. Work on it until you get tired of it. Come back to it when you need it. See what happens.

Starting Creatively ~ Food ~ 28Nov16

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food porn

food porn (Photo credit: lamentables)

I have posted a few poetry prompts over the years and I want to post some more prompts.

However, I know that there are so many poetry prompts out there that one certainly doesn’t need mine on top of that. However, I believe that we often hit a wall with blogging because we do not have another idea what to blog about. Or we hit a wall with any of our creative endeavours because the ideas run out. Therefore I am going to start another one. It might not be totally regular. And it might be a little “open minded” or a little “Stream of Consciousness”. But it will be fun and thought-provoking and creative🙂

My new “Starting Creatively” prompt isn’t restricted to one art. I give you the prompt and you choose how you want to put it into practice: Take a photo, write a poem, write a blog post or essay, draw a picture, create a dance routine, make music with it. You choose!

It is mainly meant for those times when your ideas run out and you need a little push. For this week I choose the first prompt I’ve ever created with a little editing of course :-).

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Well, this prompt might not be very creative but alas I love food and right now I can not indulge as I have trouble with my stomach.

Therefore I channel my frustration and write some poems :-).

So please join me in my venture for this week’s “Starting Creatively” prompt

“FOOD”

Write, verse, dance, paint, sing, get creative in any way you feel like and

have fun!

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Creatively Starting taking part suggestions

  • read this week’s prompt
  • remember it when you run out of ideas
  • use it in any way you like (song, photo, story, dance, drawing….)
  • put a pingback to this post so I can share it with as many followers as possible
  • Have fun

Now go, create and have lots of fun!

English #frapalymo prompt ~ 18nov16

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Brrrrr it’s gotten cold here. Just 4C this morning and the wind so close to the sea doesn’t help either. But we will get some sun and I can see the sea and what do you need more? Oh, a cup of tea which is a cup of spiced coffee this morning :-). But now over to @FrauPaulchen’s prompt for #frapalymo on November 18th, 2016.

thank you for being open with yesterday’s prompt. i liked your thoughts on memory a lot. 

the prompt for tomorrow (@FrauPaulchen posted this prompt yesterday) is from birgit (German page), who has versed here many times but has no chance this time which is a shame. however, she is with us anyway in the form of a prompt ~ which feels already pretty like winter. we are pretty close to it anyway. 

and that is why the #frapalymo -prompt no 18 is:– „fascination look through the window: frost pattern*”  – I thank you, birgit, that you are with us from afar, that you read with us, give us prompts and with that are part of it!

*please bear in mind that you do not need to use the exact words of the prompt for your poems. the prompt is supposed to make you think and verse. if you use the exact words please make sure you give credit to the author. thank you very much. 

…and the small print: please let me know via email or twitter if you take part. then I can post the link to your blog/poem on Twitter. or post the link in the comments under the daily prompt post on my blog. the hashtag for Twitter is #frapalymo, and I am @FrauPaulchen.”

Of course, my fellow English speaking poets and poetesses rather let me @Morgaine620 know or post the link here in the comments.

You can find the original German post here

English frapalymo

Suggestions for taking part in English #frapalymo

  1. read the translation of @FrauPaulchen’s prompt
    2. write your English (German if you can/want to) poem on your blog and tag it with “English #frapalymo.”
    3. use the “English #frapalymo” picture if you want to
    4. set a link to the translated prompt here on Bee’s blog
    5. visit other links posted here and if you want to/can those posted with the hashtag #fapalymo on Twitter
    6. The Bee will post your link to the German #frapalymo and translate for you if you want to. Now go, create and have lots of fun!