30 April 2007

Nightly Talk on God and the World

here's my translation of karl mickel's Nächtliches Gespräch über Gott und die Welt. In English: Nightly Talk on God and the World. The homepage i have linked to is maintained by his children, Carla Lehmann and Paul-Michael Mickel. Here you'll find the audio-version.

Nightly Talk on God and the World

The hand: five fingers and the world's
Five continents, my hand: the world
The world: my lot. In this stonetown
Third floor, the world rises and falls.

That's what she said, and that it was my fault
That it was I who brought it into being, who keeps it alive
That I was such as God: Who, patiently,
(That's what I say) suspects me of intention to defraud

So not I. I am who dwells in our modern world
While I need it, it needs me not
I am not God, I dare not judge
It bears with me and I'm rewarded much

And I (I idiot!) question her love.
What did she want? "Just you, the ordinary stuff."

Nächtliches Gespräch über Gott und die Welt

Die Hand: fünf Finger, und die Erde hat
Fünf Kontinente, meine Hand: die Welt
Die Welt: mein Teil. In dieser Steinestadt
Im dritten Stockwerk steigt die Welt und fällt -

Das sagte sie und sagte, ich sei schuld
Ich sei es, der die Welt erschuf, erhält
Sei gleichsam Gott: der sieht sich mit Geduld
(Das sage ich) um seine Welt geprellt -

Also nicht ich. Ich bin, der sie bewohnt
Ich brauche sie, jedoch braucht sie mich nicht
Ich bin nicht Herr, ich halte kein Gericht
Erträgt sie mich, bin ich genug belohnt -

Und ich (ich Arsch!) stell ihre Lieb in Frage.
Was wollte sie? "Mit Dir normale Tage."

what's with the pics?!

i post them. they disappear. i post them. they disappear. i post them. they... disappear.
even my own ones. NOT FUNNY.

day 40

(picture taken from pictures of walls.)

finally, i'm at the third revision of the flood story. currently i'm on page 3 of 8 and could raise the number of total words from 2736 to 3016 already. that in itself is great, but, more importantly, i feel there's also a gain in atmosphere.

later today i'll post the monday podcast. thinking of uploading one of my own poems but haven't decided just yet.

29 April 2007

a long and interesting post (really!)

i've made notes for this, so that i wouldn't forget anything. basically, this post will be about last night's slam in the zurich schiffbau. i was surprised to see as many young people - not only because the weather was grand, but also because of the rather expensive admission charge of CHF 20,- (approximately € 13,-). the line-up was grand, though, including national champions like lara stoll. the event itself had a much higher budget than the two smaller slams in munich and freiburg i attended previously. of the twelve contestants who performed, only four were women. this is normal, pauline confirmed. interestingly, my mother, who accompanied me last night, noticed that female slammers approach language in a complete different way; all in all, she said, there was a lot more wordplay and creative use of language (as in: technically) among the female slammers. the topics of choice were somewhat more serious, too. my text gewissensbisse, for example, deals with a serious topic (cheating) and raised laughs only in freiburg so far. in zurich it was greeted with demure silence and earned me less applause than the more obviously funny pieces of my fellow contestants. i've been told a couple of times now that this may be due to my rather stern deliverance. i'm sure this is true, yet the irony in gewissenbisse stems from the overstated and hysterical reaction of the female protagonist who goes ballistic and who takes her random speculations all too seriously. i have to say i'm not too willing to alter my performance just so the audience will like me better. while i'm sure winning a slam would feel awesome, winning is not why i partake. i partake because i like to put my words out there and because i like talking to people without being interrupted for up to seven minutes about whatever topic i fancy. listening to harry kienzler from tübingen, who won the slam but doesn't have a blog or homepage, and all the other more experienced excellent slammers, i understood how much work lies before me if i want to pursue this. learning my text by heart alone took me what seemed like forever; those of you who know me personally know what big aversion i have with regard to repetition and learning by rote. speech or voice training, on the other hand, which seem to be common tools, too, appeal to me more. many slammers seem to have their roots in acting - see simon chen, who delivers his texts absolutely professional and extremely listener-friendly. the slam was moderated well by rayl patzak and ko bylanzky who give their version of the evening here. you'll notice that i'm listed there with a stage name, annina van arx. honestly, i'm not sure whether i should stick with it. it's an altered version of my grandmother's maiden name von arx, that i thought of a while ago. following various pieces of advice, i took it on as a stage name for the slam yesterday night. while i got mostly good reactions to the name, i'm skeptical. i've always been concerned about authenticity, so 'hiding' behind a pseudonym feels awkward. perhaps i'll just have to get used to it first?

after an edifying evening, then, my personal highlight of the night waited in my electronic mailbox: joachim sartorius praised my translation of his poem So viele Wörter ich jetzt esse, stating he liked it very much. needless to say i deeply, deeply appreciate his commendation. for the original and my translation, see the post of 19 april 2007 below below or listen to it here.

small slam gallery

28 April 2007

one of my favorite poems of all time...

...would have to be My Institutionals by patricia ferrell. this is one of those poems that makes me think i'll never write well. those of you who know my bargains with the self - blog will notice that i've stolen [borrowed] the term from patricia. i've tried to find out more about her a couple of times, but couldn't detect much on the net. all i know is that she's from new york. apparently salon had a text version of My Institutionals, but that seems to be gone, too. however, i still want to translate the poem someday. now, to get her words together, i'll have to use my pre-internet-songtext-sound out-technique. you guys don't happen to have a transcript, do you?

before driving into zurich for the schiffbau slam in a while, i'll have something to eat and get ready. i've forgotten my favorite pair of jeans and my texts in freiburg, so i'll have to think about what to wear and where to print a third copy of my texts. i wonder where the second is. oh well...

27 April 2007

so... how did it go?

just a quick post about yesterday's poetry slam @ cafe atlantik in freiburg:

for me, it went really well. i performed gewissensbisse and to my surprise the jury voted me into the finale. my first poetry slam finale, that was. as competition was tough (pauline füg and tobias heyel as a duo, tommy tesfu, and lars ruppel amongst others), i hadn't expected that to happen at all. indeed, if i had, i had brought along another second text but Die Resignation. i wasn't in the mood for reading it and it proved to be an absolutely wrong text for a poetry slam finale, too. from now on, i'll bring along different stuff. just like on saturday at the kiezmeisterschaft, for a second time i got the impression that the audience clearly prefers funny texts. while i can understand that, i think there's a latent danger (not experienced enough yet to call it trend) to confuse poetry slams with stand up comedy events. good that sebastian 23, who moderated the slam, could keep the audience in good humor. in the end it was tommy tesfu who came first with a piece on madonna and her mad black-baby-adopting-antics.

i brought my camera along and took pictures, some of which i'll post here on sunday.

26 April 2007

german humor

this is a pic my friend N took in stuttgart. it reads something like:
keep drive free (in black) and in grey free all drives.

find that funny? for more on german vs. british humor read this, an article given to me by C. cheers to you both.

good bye munich

just a quick post to say good bye to munich. it's been a great eight weeks here - after all weeks that led to decisions that broadened my horizon considerably. by quitting my job in order to write for a while, i have learned that better things come to you if you let go of insincerity and free yourself from suboptimal situations. this may sound somewhat pathetic, but just as an old friend of mine has quit her law studies in order to work with horses - her biggest love ever - i believe the most important times in life you just have to follow your heart. even if nothing much comes of it. because then, according to my logic, something even better will come along. amen.

25 April 2007

day 35

A poet who reads his verse in public may have other nasty habits. (robert heinlein)


i SO have seen enough of my laptop, i'm starting to think i can't take another five minutes. maybe i've somehow overdone it. as much as i love writing, i'm starting to hate sitting in front of that screen every day, usually more than twelve hours. god knows what i'm doing with all my time, since the word count doesn't go up much (well, you've sure heard that)... but then there's the networking, the research, the email writing, the homepages of interest, the translating, the maintaining of blogs, podcast page and - beware - crappy myspaces. there's arranging of planes and trains and eating and shopping groceries and drinks and there's the phone that rings and rings... and the thinking, of course, of making these last lines that sound like accidental rhymes a slam text. ha! the slam-thing has totally and absolutely unexpectedly gotten hold of me. now that i know that spoken word doesn't only exist, but that i can actually partake in it, creating performances suddenly seems a lot more interesting than writing a book. i write "suddenly" when it's not all that sudden, really. i have always stressed that my poems are to be read out loud or listened to rather than just read quietly and that it's all about the rhythm that my tongue beats when it recites my poems. i just never knew there was an audience interested in listening to what i wrote. writing a book seemed the only logical conclusion as i knew for sure there are people who like to read. well, things have changed, and now writing a book appears to be somewhat futile. i bet this is just 'cause i've seen so much of my laptop lately. i'm looking forward to the next four days that will be mostly traveling and meeting people.

24 April 2007

day 34

i'm a little consumed with def poetry at the moment. for all of you who are not from the states and need an idea of what i'm talking about, play the steve coleman video below. it's just brilliant, i love his poem and how he delivers it. amazing, too, that people in the states can make a very good living of this once they've reached a certain level of fame. i'll have to see whether there's a chance to grab some old episodes of def poetry at ebay sometime. but before that i will have to attend to my word count. [only why do i always read word CUNT?] Not True, or Only in Parts, by the way, became more of a battle rap than anything else - i'll have to work on that some more.

steve coleman @ def poetry

23 April 2007

day 33

after marvelling at rayl's turntabels and the beats they produced to poetry records last night, i just couldn't help but write another slam text. that's why, again, the novel's word count hasn't gone up one single word today. i've given the poetry slam lyrics i am working on at the moment the title Stimmt nicht, oder nur in Teilen, which means Not True, or Only in Parts. i've written two pages already and think i'll pause here for now. after all, i still have to post today's podcast and translation. this time it's a paul boldt poem called In der Welt or In the World. i'm sorry i can't provide you guys with a portrait of mr. boldt (1885 - 1921), but i'm afraid even his german fan-site doesn't have one. the site DOES feature an english version of the page, though. it's a shame the site hasn't been updated since august 2006, really. anyways. ladies and gentleman, annina luzie schmid featuring mr. paul boldt:

In The World

I drop my face on stars
That uncurl as if hit.
The woods move moonward like black seafish drift
Into the bluish ocean, my glances wave from it.

My I is gone. It makes a stellar journey.
From where the fabrics shine, it is not I.
The days, white doters, die.
I-less nerves are tremulous and cry.

In der Welt

Ich lasse mein Gesicht auf Sterne fallen,
Die wie getroffen auseinander hinken.
Die Wälder wandern mondwärts, schwarze Quallen,
Ins Blaumeer, daraus meine Blicke winken.

Mein Ich ist fort. Es macht die Sternenreise.
Das ist nicht Ich, wovon die Kleider scheinen.
Die Tage sterben weg, die weißen Greise.
Ichlose Nerven sind voll Furcht und weinen.

22 April 2007

been there, done that, got the button

check rayl's blog for a summary of the kiezmeisterschaft evening.

or see comment of sacha @ day 31 below.

when a wicked migraine hit me around 4.30 pm yesterday afternoon, i briefly feared for my performance in the evening. as many times before, though, two thomapyrin tablets saved my presence. after a warm welcome by rayl, i got on stage around ... not sure what time it was. must have been around 10 pm. together with a couple of previous kiez-champions, i was reciting in the second set. instead of Die Resignation, i opted for my text Gewissensbisse, which i believe was a good choice. J filmed my performance with her digital camera and will send the clip to me in the next couple of weeks. depending on how well i come across, i might even post it at youtube or so. we'll see.

including myself, 12 poets lined up. as the winner of the first jury-judged round received 27 points and i received 23, i'm content. i didn't reach the finale, but for a first performance, i think the rating i received is pretty good. also, me and marius were the only non-locals participating - everybody else knew the venue and its crew. all in all, it was a great evening and i thank my entourage of friends (aaaaw, how nice sounds that??) for coming along a zillion times!

21 April 2007

day 31

my friend J will arrive from frankfurt in two hours time. i keep forgetting i'll actually be on stage tonight. i'm not (yet?) nervous about it, for at the moment i feel comfortable with both texts. it feels like professional distance jumped in the formerly very narrow space between my text and myself. i assume that's due to the high number of times i read, heard and practiced the texts. they feel almost completely detached from me now. the one thing left to do is to find the quickest way to the venue of the kiezmeisterschaft.

i'm thinking about re-writing the complete flood-story. or, more carefully worded, about producing a second version. doing so is on top of my to-do-list for monday and going to come out either great or terrible. i want to make it sound a little more ... poetic ... maybe. since ten winning texts are supposed to become a radio/ audio book, too, i'm not sure about deranging my paragraphs all too much. i guess i'll just see how things go on monday and what comes out of it. in case re-writing won't work, i'll just hand in a third draft of the first version.

(picture taken from kiezmeisterschaft.)

20 April 2007

day 30

so far, so good. while the plan to get up early today didn't quite work out, i have still managed to get the word count up a bit. i started a progress list on which i jot down the number of words written each day. i have to admit i do worry about my sleeping habits. while i like being up at night, productivity definitely decreases after 1.30 am at the latest. i was considerably more prolific during the weeks i went to bed around 11 pm and got up around 9 am - at least that's what i like to believe. perhaps the staying up late has to do with the street noise coming through the window during the day. at night i just have more peace and quiet.

19 April 2007

mea culpa!

ken just brought to my attention that as yet only people who possess a gmail account could leave comments. i'm really sorry for that and have immediately altered the settings accordingly. from now on, everybody will be able to leave their opinion. uncensored.

day 29

i'll have to give myself a break. recording every single new version of gewissensbisse takes a toll on my voice. no point in straining it to hoarseness. besides getting the print version of the text ready, complete with marks for intonation, i continued to work on the manuscript today. slowly still, but that doesn't matter.

(picture taken from pictures of walls.)

5:03 am

thinking of staying awake. asked mr. sartorius for his permission to use his work. re-reading the translation yet again, i wonder whether i should have put "i enter" instead of "i go there". i come to the conclusion that "going there" implies more overcoming and therefore is stronger than enter. the birds twitter. will try and sleep now.

4:29 am aka i know it ain't monday

i can't sleep.

i've recorded my english version of joachim sartorius' poem So viele Wörter ich jetzt esse. my voice sounds like i'm half asleep, chances are the poem's words will be a little difficult to understand. but since i haven't really written much of the novel today and in order to prove i DID work nevertheless, here are my translation and the corresponding recording. below, as usual, the german original.

So many words I now chow

Thoughts at times are bones in the snow
white barely distinguishable from the soft world
until it melts love too
pays off when it melts when
light slides into nonentity and traces of glow
remain in our cells

it melts supine
i feel its words one word like light
strokes me how one woman might
until it's worn out all of love's crystals
then waves about crutchbones
points at blankness deep foolsland

i go there inane and so many
words i now chow light as snow

So viele Wörter ich jetzt esse

Gedanken sind manchmal Knochen im Schnee
weiß von der weichen Welt kaum zu unterscheiden
bis das sie schmilzt Auch Liebe
zahlt sich aus wenn sie schmilzt wenn
Licht zischend ins Nichts geht nur Leuchtspur
bleibt im Innern unserer Zellen

Sie schmilzt sie liegt auf dem Rücken
Ich fühle ihre Wörter ab Ein Wort wie Licht
streichelt mich wie eine Frau es täte
bis alle Kristalle der Liebe verbraucht sind
Dann fuchtelt sie mit Krückenknochen
Leere zu zeigen tiefes Narrland

in das ich hineingehe selbst leer und so viele
Wörter ich jetzt esse leicht wie Schnee

18 April 2007

day 28

after yet another good talk with an old friend i was up until 3 am this morning editing and recording gewissensbisse. M, who's a musician, has considerably more experience with stage performances than i do. his point was that no band enters a stage playing their most depressing song. accordingly, his advice was to choose the text of the performance dependent on the mood of the audience, what they'll have heard so far and the specific point of time of my turn. thus, in order to have a choice at all, i needed to extend gewissensbisse and i think it's become pretty good and entertaining. at the moment, gewissensbisse is my favorite. i have this tendency to always like my newer work better than my older stuff, so i'm not sure about which text is actually better... probably still Die Resignation, but i've decided to leave the final decision about which text to perform open until saturday.

as you might have noticed, i will attend a second poetry slam in freiburg/ germany next week. it takes place at the café atlantik, a quirky venue that offers huge plates of spaghetti for 3,50€, if i remember correctly. pauline füg will perform there, too.

besides improving gewissensbisse, i have cultivated the market of american publications a little. hopefully some of them will check WORDS ON A WATCH out and like what they see. as of now, i guess i'll go to sleep for a while. i'm still tired from all the staying up late lately. later tonight i intend to get the novel word count up some more. [did anyone notice the late lately later row? help!]

17 April 2007

day 27

in a sudden fit of insecurity, i thought i needed an alternative to Die Resignation, the text i plan on performing at the kiezmeisterschaft and wrote Gewissensbisse, remorse. Gewissensbisse is less than half Die Resignation's length, but considerably more funny. still, when i read it to my friends N and G, both urged my to stick to Die Resignation. albeit both of them liked it, they understood it was less personal and thus appraised it less deep. i suppose they're right and that Gewissensbisse makes a good text for somewhere else, some other time.

while performing Die Resignation will downright kill me, i hope by doing so i will learn to transcend whatever opinion other people have of me. it doesn't matter who they think i should be, what exactly i should express or rather keep to myself and what i'm supposed to refrain from. really, i should just stop to care.

the novel is coming along ok. as you can see to the right, the word count has gone up a little. indeed slower than i would like it to, but i like Gewissensbisse and think it was worth spending an afternoon's time on it.

with regard to the flood story, i suppose i'll have to re-write parts of it. while it's not bad, i feel especially the second part is missing atmosphere. my friend F, whom i consult with regards to my writing every now and then, thought the same. it was him who urged me to try and re-write it and just see what comes of that. i know he's right and will start doing so first thing tomorrow morning. i'll have to keep in view the contest's deadline, 11 may. while editing is important, it'd be a shame to miss the deadline just because of pottering about details.

also, i'll have to start thinking about upcoming writing competitions i want to partake in. i have pre-selected three whose entry deadlines are mid-june, mid-july and mid-august respectively. what is more, i really enjoyed writing Gewissensbisse and thus am thinking of writing a couple of more pieces suitable for stage performances - i guess i'll just have to see how comfortable i'll feel being on stage this saturday.

(picture taken from postsecret.)


turns out ken read, listened to and liked my interpretation of his poem. i'm delighted!

finally, i have also found a way to make use of the fresh pile of index cards i told you about: i use them as memos, instead of post-it's. for that they come in very handy. they don't coil up or stick to places and are usable from both sides. for example, i started a list of neat words i want to use sometime soon. like zementiert, cemented, or waffenbruder, brother in arms... great, huh?

what i have also wanted to post for a while, but always neglected, is the link to switch - the mac OS X freeware that enables me to convert the .amr audio files my phone produces into more podcasting-friendly .mp3 files. another useful OS X freeware i can recommend would be typetrainer. (note to self: practice the touch system more often!)

16 April 2007

day 26

i've recorded a couple of poems with my mobile phone's recorder. i never even knew it had that feature until about two weeks ago. now i make good use of it, though, despite the crappy sound quality it produces. i've been thinking hard about which translation to po(dca)st next, but i have opted for ken yamamotos (pictured) Notizen bei Tagesanbruch Nr. 10 or, in english, Notes at Daybreak No. 10. i chose that one mainly because i like the original and believe the translation turned out to be good. below my translation, you'll find ken's german original. listen to me reciting it here.

Notes at Daybreak No. 10

Rasping and rapping sounds a disquieting gut feel
Awareness still mute ducking down
Unfolds sluggishly on the warm sheet

I dare not open my clotted eyes
For i fear my lids rip
From the open window coolish yet kind

Morning arrives perhaps the curtain
Flutters on purpose between in- and outside
Nobody besides me you didn't come home

Last night betrayed by the unslept-in
Half of the bed I conserved
Carefully shunned so that no one but you

Would come and rest I aroused
Seeing to nothing but you and your breath
Aspirates onto me prior to thinking

Will and intentness accrue
I gain momentum and count up to three
The next move waged definitely

Notizen bei Tagesanbruch Nr. 10

Kratz und Klopfgeräusche ein unruhiges Gefühl
Das Bewusstsein noch stumm zusammengekauert
Entfaltet sich träge auf den warmen Laken

Ich wage nicht die verklebten Augen zu öffnen
In der Befürchtung die Lider könnten zerreißen
Durch das offene Fenster angenehm kühl

Dringt der Morgen hinein vielleicht flattert
Der Vorhang zwischen Drinnen und Draußen
Neben mir niemand du bist nicht heimgekehrt

Gestern verraten durch die noch unberührte
Hälfte des Bettes die ich aufgespart habe
Sorgsam gemieden dass dort außer dir

Niemand sich hinlege und ich erwachend
Nur dich sehe nichts anderes und deinen Atem
Im Gesicht spüre noch vor den Gedanken

Findet sich in mir Wille und Entschlossenheit
Falle ich Schwung holend zurück zähle bis drei
Die nächste Bewegung ist endgültig

15 April 2007


in an attempt to cover my lack of ideas for the story today, i registered with junge literatur. it's a forum that aims at promoting and providing a meeting place for young authors by letting them upload their own texts and poetry. to my immediate pleasure, i was greeted with a number of very good valuations for two english poems of mine. people especially seemed to like escort, which is one of my favorites, too. i wrote it back in 2005 in malaysia and didn't like it at all at first. at the time i wasn't sleeping in days and felt i was truly bordering insanity. quite simply, i felt i needed an escort. people who have read it have told me it had a very erotic tone to it, which i absolutely wasn't aware of when i wrote it. these days i know what they mean, though, and am happy with the poem's plentitude.


of all things being
let me stroke your hair
on meadowy hills
let me ride your ponial fur
until silent night breaks
and growling valleys gulp bawling lakes
let me reach for your thick, flowing mane
whilst we scud through shambles
of all things sane.

day 25

writing is going rather slowly today. i try not to mind.

it's funny how not re-reading older passages may lead to logical errors in the text. unaware that one of my protagonists drank beer in one scene, i put ice cubes in his mouth in the next. clearly, that didn't work. instead now, he chews his food with his mouth wide open. i think i'll incorporate the ice cube munching somewhere later in the story.

just now a huge black fly flew through the window. yuck, how i hate these.

yesterday evening, before going out, i spoke to my friend N, who frequents poetry slams in her current hometown, the city of hamburg. i read Die Resignation to her over the phone. she liked it a lot, too, and appraised it very good for a performance on stage. that's great. pauline füg (pictured) recommended i learn it by heart, but chances are i'll just be too nervous and make too many mistakes if i won't read it out. together with my flatmate and her boyfriend, J from frankfurt will accompany me to the venue. it'll be good not having to go there by myself. i've been thinking about what to wear, too, but i guess i'll simply go with my usual black top. should the performance still go awry, i'll just remind myself of the fact that before long, i'll be off to berlin. my flight's booked, my accommodation's arranged and my curiosity roused.

14 April 2007

day 24

has anyone actually noticed i work weekends, too?

while the novel word count to the right hasn't gone up just yet today, i've spent my forenoon translating german poetry. for the first time in years, i have also written a german poem myself. sometimes a poem just comes to me and all i need to do is to write it down. it's called nichtssagend. i haven't translated it yet, but i guess i'd call it 'notsaying' in english.

i can't wait to post another podcast. there's a couple of translations and own poems i want to get out there asap, yet since i fear a lack of material in several weeks time i don't want to use up all my recent work just now.

on a sidenote: kristin from write now is good (now linked in the english list to the right) has discovered google books' map function, which lets you find each and every location mentioned in a vast number of books. there's a german version, of it, too, but i am unaware about how many or which books are featured.

13 April 2007

(taken from pictures of walls)

i think i'm one mon cherie short of an overdose.

what i forgot to mention before is that i plan on releasing one podcast a week, every monday. this will be english poetry, either - more or less loosely - translated or written by myself. this i want to do simply in order to promote german speaking poets and their poetry or prose. should you have good german work and want it translated, please feel free to send it in, too. as you all know, i'm neither much of an actress nor much of a singer, so the focus will definitely lie on the texts.

with regard to podOmatic: i have been looking for other, prettier ways to spread the word, but services such as odeo won't let me upload audio files of my own. this is total pants and i don't really see why they shouldn't.

day 23

outside is the most beautiful weather. i've been inside, typing along on my keyboard. 1000 words a day, it suddenly seems, are achievable. i'm a little surprised, for writing the flood story that consists of 2'743 words took me a little over a week. however, i have vowed not to re-read any parts of the manuscript written until it is finished UNLESS i have to add something in benefit of the story at a later point. currently i'm in the lower section of my fifth page. if i keep writing at that pace, you already guessed it, i will have my 40'000 words by the end of may. that would be awesome. as i have written 10 out of 79 beats already, i'm not sure 79 will suffice. then again, most of them differ considerably in content and length, with the shortest one making 1 line and the longest one 31 lines so far. we'll see, i just don't want to stress myself out about this.

the index cards i bought a couple of weeks ago, by the way, lie unused. i wonder what made me think i would adopt a style of working that has never ever appealed to me before.

12 April 2007

new to the right: the word meter

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
463 / 40,000

watching this fill up over time will be great fun, guys!

40'000 is a rather random number i came up with after i multiplied the 463 words i have written so far with 80 (the number of A4 pages i intend to write at least in 12pt Arial and using 1.5 lines line spacing), and rounded the result (37'040) up a bit.

day 22

G drove off a few minutes ago, so i guess i'll be starting the novel around 11 am.

remember the early ninties, when tetris cubes fell from the ceiling at night and kept you from sleeping ? at times i even dreamt of the damn things! i played tetris for hours and hours every day when the first edition of the gameboy was released. nowadays, i dream of words. they come in all shapes and colours and just fly by, right through the scenes of my dream. not only single words, but also whole phrases and parts of paragraphs i have written. it's really weird.

11 April 2007

2nd draft of the flood story finished

since G has gone to visit some family friends in a small town outside munich, i finished the second draft of the flood story. i'm at 16'961 characters including spaces now and think i could better it notably. i plan on recording it soon, for i have realized doing so helps a lot. both roughness and repetitions become more evident than by simply reading the story over and over again. additionally, recording myself reading my text over and over again forces me to remain concentrated and thus aids my mental abilities: who wants to restart reading a seven pages text when you have gotten to page six without making any mistakes already?

another thing that occurred to me today was the name of my novel's female protagonist. a girl registered in the multilingual studivz, the german facebook equivalent, bears it and it's beautiful. i had a look around these sites in search of names before, but hadn't found anything. this afternoon, however, seemingly out of the blue, this name jumped at me. fabulous!

10 April 2007

good night post

in little more than twelve hours, G and i will drive back up to munich, where she'll stay with me until thursday. as soon as she's left, i'll start writing the novel. tomorrow morning, before packing, i intend to finish editing the first draft of the flood story. if not on screen already, then at least on paper. depending on how soon and well i'll sleep, i could be able and fit enough to get up around 8.30 am and manage both.

09 April 2007

audio stuff

at the moment, i'm losing my nerve over the attempt to post an audio file for all of you to hear. the seemingly quickest (read: FIRST) way i found to do so, was by creating a podcast account. i did so at podomatic. the only file posted so far is a recitation of nameless condition, as featured below. when i tried to put a player on the blog directly a few times, it didn't work, so i'm giving up on that now. i'll try again later/ tomorrow/ some other time. for now, i'll settle with the podomatic solution. sorry for the hassle, people - i know the podomatic page is ugly and intricate. yet i should hope you'll forgive the inconvenience caused and listen to me reading the nameless condition nevertheless.

08 April 2007

i'll do it

last night, after three glasses of deep red wine, i read Die Resignation (The Resignation), the text i intend to read at the Kiezmeisterschaft to my friends G and K. as it contains some very personal passages, i was extra nervous about presenting the three pages. fortunately, they both liked the text, its rhymes and rhythm a lot. they thought it is definitely worth being performed on stage. they assumed people will be able to relate well. as i had never before read more than a couple of sentences of my writing to them - or anyone else, for that matter - reading to them was a true acid test. i'm glad i seized the chance to perform in front of that very small audience. i hope with every time i verbalize my written words, the situation will feel more comfortable and less crook. it really felt strange and silly at first. but after they reassured me that no, people won't think i wasted their time and concentration with my recital, i'll bite the bullet and give it a go.

as yet, i haven't worked at the novel anymore. i was so consumed with this poetry slam thing, i spent all my alone time editing Die Resignation. also, i'm somewhat taken aback by the fact that i will actually have to start WRITING the novel very soon. there's no more planning that needs to be done in advance anymore. the story must get under way.

07 April 2007

a bold venture: the kiezmeisterschaft

(taken from pictures of walls)

while browsing the sites of german poetry slammers nora gomringer and ken yamamoto i came across westend ist kiez, a munich based community who holds a monthly poetry slam competition. the next one will take place on april 21st and i think i might partake. you're supposed to perform a short poetry or prose text no longer than five minutes. there's a five person jury who judges your performance and awards the winner € 50. i expect quite a few "pros" to compete, so there's probably no chance of winning. but as i've never done anything like it before (i've never even thought of myself as a stage performer), i suppose the event will afford an opportunity to meet likeminded people. obviously, i'll have to practice quite a bit beforehand, for as i don't mind giving a businesslike speech or presentation in front of people, the sole thought of reading word art to a discerning audience sends shivers down my spine. then again: this is my new business, isn't it? it shall be interesting to get immediate reactions on one of my texts from a wider public, though. i have a feeling this could really be fun!

in case you'd like to come, hear and watch: the cover charge amounts to 4 €. in case you'd like to get on stage and read yourself, entrance is free.

as a treat, here's a sample of fine american slamming.

06 April 2007


below, please find a translation of friederike mayröcker's poem unnennbarer Zustand i made just now. i found it in an anthology called Nichts ist versprochen published by reclam. she wrote it for oskar pastior, a fellow german poet. as usual, the german original is published here and translated without any kind of permission by suhrkamp, so let's hope they won't mind. (for some reason, the pictures i post here keep disappearing...)

nameless condition

i think of you but i am appalled for
i have forgotten your face i made your face
i think i would like thinking of you but
the looks of your face are forgotten it
fell from me how can that be
how looks your face i see
your face your look not feeling my
eye to eye as i think i find
not your face nor your eyes
what's gotten into my thoughts that
i haven't a visage of your face your
i think of you a pale-grey dove
scoops past my window
i think of you a plum-shaded wind
through the head through the season yet
your face i can't think
in the curative drift your voice i can hear
yeah your voice reads your hand holds
a sheet or book reads i can
think your voice i can hear your voice
it reads off a sheet of a book
that you wrote -
perchance a profile a moment
just now the hunch of your leant head

unnennbarer Zustand

ich denke an dich aber ich bin sehr erschrocken denn
ich habe dein Gesicht vergessen ich habe auf dein Gesicht
ich denke ich möchte denken an dich aber
ich habe den Anblick deines Gesichts vergessen es ist
aus meiner Erinnerung herausgefallen wie ist das möglich
wie sieht dein Gesicht ich sehe
nicht dein Gesicht deinen Blick mich berührend
von Aug zu Aug also ich denke ich finde

nicht dein Gesicht deine Augen
was ist mit meiner Erinnerung geschehen daß

ich keine Vorstellung habe von deinem Gesicht deinen
ich denke an dich eine lichtgraue Taube
schaufelt an meinem Fenster vorüber
ich denke an dich ein pflaumenfarbener Wind
durch den Kopf durch die Jahreszeit aber ich kann
dein Gesicht nicht denken
im Heilsgestöber ich kann deine Stimme hören
ja deine Stimme sie liest etwas vor deine Hand hält
ein Blatt oder Buch liest etwas ab ich kann
deine Stimme denken ich kann deine Stimme hören
sie liest etwas von einem Blatt aus einem Buch
das du geschrieben hast -
vielleicht im Profil einen Augenblick lang
jetzt die Ahnung deines geneigten Kopfes

05 April 2007

day 15

today was a half-day for me. nevertheless i managed to finish the first rough story draft of my novel. altogether, i have outlined 1 main plot, 3 sub-plots, 8 acts, 16 scenes, and 79 beats. especially the number of beats, however, will increase during the process of writing. i have absolutely no experience with this so far, but i suppose that all the numbers i have given here (apart from the main plot, obviously) will be subject to fluctuations.

even though i am quite proud of myself that i got to this point rather quickly, that very fact makes me suspicious. then again: i have been thinking about this since february now, which means it took me eight weeks to get from the original idea to a first story draft. needless to mention that there's nothing much left of the original idea - which i used to imagine as a disney picture. how warped my mind must have been at the time! (no offense here, i bet these are damn hard to write!)

well, anyways, i'm happy and exhausted and can't wait to see how things will further develop... other than in the beginning, i like all my characters now - even the less congenial and more difficult ones. keep your fingers crossed, please!

04 April 2007


excluding breaks, i've been working at the novel's storyboard for seven hours now. things are going well. i have been assembling it on excel, which i have gotten to like. i'm at scene #8 right now and have a rough imagery of 35 beats. (beats, as defined by robert mcKee, are smallish actions that bring forward the story, if i remember correctly. for example: X watches a movie when the doorbell rings. X gets up and opens the door.) a movie would require around 60 scenes, but as i'm writing a book and not a film i will definitely write less. as yet, i'm thinking of 9 acts altogether, of which i have very roughly outlined four today.

as i'm a very visual person, imagining my story as a movie helps to get it right, i believe.... plus: it's fun! but as much as i'd like to keep working, my eyes burn and i'm getting nervous for no reason - i assume it's time for a break.

day 14

since many of my friends keep asking me whether i'm getting ahead, i have decided to post proof. what you see above is my work of the last two weeks. to the left lies the first draft of the flood-story - 7 pages of text. the pile on top of my laptop are character sheets and plot drafts for the novel, 18 pages. it feels good to know the plot and subplots intertwine and to experience how my characters' lives overlap and clash.

also, i have been added to the writing life's super long link list. thanks for that, nienke, you're linked now, too. ;)

03 April 2007

(not so F)AQ's

to finish off a satisfying working day, i will answer a few very interesting questions my friend c (check out his german blog here) has posed today. here we go...

how do you stay motivated when there is no deadline?
my instant reply to this was that, as a writer, i want to produce finished, presentable texts.
i compared the process of writing to the process of getting a tattoo: you can't just stop in the middle, when it hurts too badly. c replied that, if it's 'just' the finished product that matters, nobody should ever have motivational problems. i agree. indeed, the finished product has to really matter. here, i guess, you'd have to distinguish between writing that's done voluntarily and writing that somebody expects you to do. intrinsic and extrinsic factors, just as with any other motivational problem. also, you would clearly have to distinguish a lack of motivation from a phenomenon called writer's block. writer's block is an ugly, nasty thing i have experienced myself. if you suffer from it, try unstuck by jane anne staw. it helped me a lot last year, when i was going through a 'mute' phase. she basically suggests that you should start with writing one to five minutes only a day for a couple of weeks. sounds like no task, but when you really suffer from writer's block, it relieves you of the pressure to just produce all that text you haven't produced in years in one day. she mentions a lot of other helpful ideas, too, so without wanting to make too much of a fuss about the book: i can really recommend it.

with regard to my manuscript: as i do have a deadline there, too (end of august 2007), there is no such thing as no deadline. there was, before i committed to the writing life as a main occupation, but now there's really no excuse to keep me from writing/ working over a longer period of time. even the coming week that i will spend in switzerland, i will make sure i'll have enough time to myself to keep on going. there's nothing i hate more than an involuntarily interrupted work flow. even though i'm looking forward to going home right now, i'd rather stay here and think about my structure, my protagonists and my wording. no joke.

what keeps you from surfing the internet all the time?
nothing but turning it off, i'm afraid.

how much of what will be in the final story do you know before you even start to write?
as much as possible! with the flood story i knew where i was heading 80%. interestingly enough, much of the imagery i planned to use developed further during the process of writing. it kind of linked itself to the story and a climax -of which i only knew where and when it should be coming- emerged naturally. (this sounds like bad tantra advice, i know, sorry.) so anyways: when it comes to the manuscript, for example, i don't expect to be starting to write before the end of april. there's so much drafting to do, so many scenes to make up and arrange, so many locations to imagine, so many character traits to mix and match.

when i was younger i tried to write spontaneously and wondered why i never produced something brilliant. it is, because writing requires thinking in the first place. you wouldn't want to start filming a movie before you know what it's about, either, would you?

how much time do you spend on details like the slowness question (see related post below)?
once the structure is set, i spend ALL my time getting the words right. there is a difference between annina is sitting on a chair and is trying to concentrate and annina is sitting on a chair. she is trying to concentrate. and annina, sitting on a chair, is trying to concentrate. words are NOT details. a good text is, and forever will be, all about the words!

the slowness example from below, by the way, didn't even make it into the first draft.

how do you know you're talented enough?
i don't. i mean, people have told me they like what i wrote and that there's a fair chance they'd like and possibly even buy the stuff even if they wouldn't have known it was me who has written it. but really, i don't. and if i think i am talented enough only for an instant, my inner critic pipes up in no time and shouts: BULLSHIT!

yet when i see all the rubbish that is getting published these days, i might as well try. keep in mind that my time frame for the professional writing life (if there shall be no overly successful outcomes produced by me) is set to five and a half months. of course, i will keep on writing if nothing comes of it, too, but i want to see how i can do until then.

basically, if you've been here before and came back for more, i guess i could have a shot at being published.

don't you need a message?
to me, you don't. i don't. writing is about observation. your point of view is your message. people like to know what's going on in other people's minds. if observed well enough, the message will creep in between the lines.

how do you learn to write?
here, let me quote william zinsser again: you do NOT learn to write BY READING. you learn how to write by writing. that's why i don't mind 'wasting' an hour of my 'writing time' on compiling and answering these questions.

can i read what you write?
sure you can read what i write once it's finished and submitted. all 'proper' recent texts i produce in german, though. i will keep on posting older and newer english poetry of mine every now and then, plus a couple of translations either way around.

02 April 2007

1st draft finished

16'169 characters including spaces. that makes for seven pages A4 in 12pt Times New Roman, 1.5 lines line spacing. awesome. i'll print it out next weekend only, just to make sure i won't look at it too early from now.

i'm really tired now and guess i'll go for a quick nap. later on, before and/ or after packing, i want to start the character analysis-sheets for the manuscript.

day 12

15'457 - the first draft of the flood-story is almost finished. i think it will be by tonight.

as to the maunuscript: i have huge difficulties deciding on a name for my male protagonist. this has been a problem for weeks now, but as i really want to move the story forward, i will need to know who i'm working with. AGAIN i have been going through hundreds of names this morning and haven't really found anything i feel comfortable with. i'm considering using a "working name" (like a working title), but then i'm not sure about whether a working name will give me all information about that guy that i need. isn't a name crucial for a person's character? i'm sure you've heard all that stuff about kids given a name starting with an A are more self-confident because they get called first in kindergarten, class and all... at least i already DO have names for my female protagonist, her friend, my protagonist's flatmate and one more character. oops, now i've told you quite a bit about my story, huh?!

01 April 2007

day 11

i've been wanting to finish that story for a while now. well, i got closer to finishing it today. i'm at 14'488 characters including spaces, it's the second to last scene. i was tired all day and was amazed i wrote anything at all.

i'll have to run some errands tomorrow, but chances are i will get around to finishing it nevertheless.

the longest link list of blogs that in one way or another relate to someone's writing life i have found here, by the way.