Berlin

Berlin

Freitag, 29. März 2013

The Artist is Present

Marina Abramovic is a perfomance artist. She was born in 1946 in Belgrad, a daughter of partisans in the army of Tito. She was raised to be like a soldier. Her mother never hugged or kissed her in order not to spoil her. Her performances often put her body in the center and are shocking, because they come so close and/or they put the audience in a position to participate, to cross borders. In her performance Rythm 10 she plays with knives and actually hurts herself. In her performance Rythm 0 she gave among others a gun and a bullet to the audience. 6 hours long, the audience could please, torture, ignore her, they were free to use the different objects on her. In the end she was naked and full of blood. Interesting how fast a crowd of people can turn into a mob. For me this is what Abramovic among other things wanted to show with this performance. "She is directly and boldly challenging the audience." In a way she challenges peoples very optimistic view on themselves.

The Artist is Present is a performance she made during her MoMA retrospective with the same title. It was like destiny, she said, that she would have to do this performance. She knew it right away after Klaus Biesenbach told her the name of the retrospective. The Artist is Present was in the beginning just thought as the claiming of the pure fact that a performance artist is present. Without him, no performance. But Marina Abramovic, maybe the most radical artist right now, took this literally and decided to be present for the entire time the exhibition would be open. For three months, for 721 hours she sat in the atrium of the museum on a simple chair, across from her was another chair, and visitors could come and sit across from her, and they indeed did come.When the exhebition came to its end people would just spend all night in front of the MoMA hoping to get a number and thus the chance to sit across from her. Abramovic did rarely move, she just looked every visitor in the eyes. Clear and open. Did you ever try to sit motionless for, say 10 minutes? Did you ever try to sit motionless and have other people sit across from you, looking into your eyes and not look away but let everything pass between you and the other person, complete openness?
I was very impressed by her courage. For many years now I am interested in buddhism, I meditate, I am intrigued by the idea to find stillness, quietude (btw if you watch any piece about the performance you will instantly hear how loud it was inside the MoMA and she was an island of concentration and stillness). Watching Marina Abramovic, she reminded me of great buddhist masters, who become totally empty thus being a perfect blank space for everybody elses projections. She says it at one point in the movie, that it was not about her but that people saw their own projections in her face. I think this is true. "She slows everybodys brain down."
I asked myself: "Could I do this?" and the answer is, I am not even sure I would have had the courage to go and sit across from her at MoMA. I would have loved though to be there, the entire three months, in this charismatic space she created and kept alive despite her exhaustion, despite her pain, (my knees and back start aching when I sit for 15 minutes on my meditation cushion, just the idea of sitting still for 7 hours is unthinkable and yet, of course it holds some magnetic fascination) I would have been one of the girls sitting cross-legged, all day, every day, absorbing the whole situation. Watching the movie I thought: "Would it not  truly be enough to be just still for the rest of my life? Would that not catch everything our human existence could possibly be about?

Just as a funny sidenote: Fox News has a small appearance in the movie, :-) one of my favourites!!!

Dienstag, 26. März 2013

Retracing Happiness - rewritten



I try to retrace happiness -
the smell in my aunts stable
the smell of the cows
my favourite was red and named Mia
I used to spend the summers there
as a girl, driving the tractor over the fields
running across the meadows
free and wild
feeding the little pigs
the calves rubbing their noses against me
I don’t remember much happiness
but never thought I was not happy
I just didn’t know how happiness felt
and took what I had for it

I try to retrace happiness -
the cool water and the hot sun
on my skin
when I went swimming
with another aunt she threw
me into the water so much fun
we sun bathed side by side on a blanket
I told her stories and looked at her painted toenails
she taught me how to swim
I ate french fries at the pool with her
before she had children of her own
she took me and I wanted her to be my mom
I don’t remember much happiness
but never thought I was not happy
I just didn’t know how happiness felt
and took what I had for it

the option to choose happiness
as a life governing attitude
for me it was a gift random
some had it some didn’t.

© Susanne Becker

Sonntag, 24. März 2013

Regenbogenkino

Ich habe ein neues Lieblingskino, es heißt Regenbogenkino und befindet sich in der Lausitzer Straße in Kreuzberg.
Wir waren heute nachmittag dort und haben, in ein gemütliches Ledersofa gelümmelt, gemeinsam mit Lilly den Film "Der Rabe Socke" gesehen.
Aber im Regenbogenkino gibt es auch erwachsenere Filme, zum Beispiel morgen abend "Django unchained" und demnächst, zu Ostern, Pasolinis "Erstes Evangelium Matthäus".
Das Kino befindet sich in einem bunten Hinterhof der Regenbogenfabrik, direkt neben einer Kita und einer Tischlerei im ersten Stock eines Seitengebäudes. Leinwand, Theke, viele gemütliche Sessel und Sofas, tolles Programm, mit OmU wenn möglich und/oder nötig, und unglaublich nette Mitarbeiter. Zum Beginn von Rabe Socke stellte sich die Kartenverkäuferin vor die Leinwand und gab den Kindern eine kleine Einführung, sie stellte Fragen und die Kinder streckten begeistert ihre Zeigefinger in die Luft oder riefen ihre Antworten in den Raum. Also nichts gegen Cinemaxe, klar haben die was, und die einigermaßen alternativen Programmkinos verachte ich schon gar nicht - aber im Regenbogenkino fühlte ich mich plötzlich wie zuhause und ich werde ab jetzt häufiger dorthin gehen. Es ist so eine Oase mitten in der Stadt, genau wie die Prinzessinnengärten oder die Markthalle Neun. Wer mehr solcher Berliner Oasen kennt: bitte sagt mir Bescheid! Ich habe nämlich ein neues Hobby: Oasen sammeln - und wenn ich genug gesammelt habe, mache ich daraus ein riesiges Oasenpuzzle für Träumer und Fantasten.

In der Regenbogenfabrik gibt es übrigens auch eine Holzwerkstatt, eine Fahrradwerkstatt, ein Hostel - schauts Euch an. Im dazugehörigen Café soll es den besten Kuchen Berlins geben. Wir hatten selbst gebacken heute, deshalb werde ich den dann bei meinem nächsten Besuch versuchen.

Freitag, 22. März 2013

Marina Abramovic "What is your purpose in life?"

Today was the day where I dived into inspirational women artists lifes and works, by accident really. Going through posts on Facebook and finding exactly the right counterparts for my mood, for my longing, for my open questions.
This interview with Marina Abramovic is fantastic. She is soooo smart and exceptional. I can not wait to see her movie The Artist is present. I do not know if any of you saw the part, where her former lover and partner Ulay came to the MoMa. She did not know he was coming. Please watch it! It will touch you. She is so amazing, so present, so open and vulnerable. A true artist. A true creator. I understood, that you can only be an artist, a creator in what ever art or field, if you dare being this open and vulnerable. Everything else is a concept.
My day of amazing women! I feel truly inspired and nourished. Thank you Marina Abramovic and Agnes Martin.

Agnes Martin: The best things happen to you when you're alone

The painter Agnes Martin would have been 101 years old today. The interview with her is really inspiring and speaks deeply to everything I believe, to everything I think about.
She lived like a buddhist nun or a mystic in the desert of New Mexico and tried to reduce her live, her art, herself to the essence of life, of being. A mystic and a great artist. In may a new book about her will come out. It was supposed to come out last march, celebrating her 100th birthday. So I hope it will come out in may! I think I might get it.
Another book of writings by her Agnes Martin: Writings/Schriften is unfortunately out of print and if you try to get it second hand, say on Amazon, it will cost  you several hundred euros. Wow! Couldn't they just reprint it? I am sure it is a good book! Hello publishers, I am sure you could make some money with it!
I wanna read it. Does anybody have it and would borrow it to me?

Freitag, 15. März 2013

Herero


Herero von Gerhard Seyfried ist ein Roman, der sich mit dem Hereroaufstand 1903 in Namibia beschäftigt.
Es geht darin um den frisch verwitweten Kartographen Carl Ettmann, der im Jahre 1903 von Berlin nach Namibia, das damals noch Deutsch-Südwestafrika hieß,  fährt, um dort vor seiner Trauer zu fliehen. In Windhoek soll er eine Stelle antreten. Kaum ist er aber in Swakopmund gelandet, bricht der Hereroaufstand aus und er wird rekrutiert, in eine Uniform der kaiserlichen Armee gesteckt und befindet sich im Zug Richtung Kampfgebiet.
Zur gleichen Zeit wie er erreicht die Fotografin Cecilie Orenstein das Land. Sie soll Fotos in der deutschen Kolonie für einen Bildband machen, um die Besiedlung dort anzuregen, um Deutschen dieses Land schmackhaft zu machen. Die beiden lernen sich kurz in Swakopmund kennen, finden Gefallen aneinander, dann muss Ettmann an die Front. Kurze Zeit danach bricht auch Cecilie ins Kampfgebiet auf, wobei ihr die Gefahr, in die sie sich begibt, nicht wirklich bewusst ist. Später treffen sich die beiden wieder. Wobei es niemals um eine Liebesgeschichte geht. Teil des Buches ist diese Liebesgeschichte, aber sie wird mit viel zu großem Abstand geschildert, um einen als Leser packen zu können. Das ist auch nicht die Absicht des Autors, unterstelle ich, ihm ging es von Anfang an um historische Tatsachen und deren Vermittlung in einem Roman.
Seyfried erzählt die Geschichte dieses Kapitels deutscher Geschichte aber nicht nur aus Ettmanns und Cecilies Perspektive, sondern gibt auch den Hereros eine Stimme. Das sind vielleicht die Abschnitte, die mich am meisten berührt haben. Er schafft es, eine Vergangenheit durch viele verschiedene Stimmen ganz lebendig zu machen. Beim Lesen war es für mich leicht, in die verschiedenen Personen zu schlüpfen. Obwohl Seyfrieds Sprache nicht besonders kunstvoll ist, sondern eher simpel und trocken, zog es mich vom ersten Moment an magnetisch in die Geschichte. Das mag daran liegen, dass die Landschaftsbeschreibungen mich an meine eigene Reise vor zweieinhalb Jahren erinnerten. Die endlosen Märsche durch die trockenen Riviere, das Klima, der Sand, die Hitze - all das konnte ich mir genau vorstellen, weil ich an einigen der Schauplätze gewesen war. Auch Swakopmund, das natürlich mittlerweile eine kleine Stadt geworden ist, liegt aber dennoch immer noch so schutzlos zwischen Wüste und Meer, dass man sich seine Anfänge mitten im Sand genau vorstellen kann.
Ich mochte das Buch auch aus anderen Gründen, denn es regte mich auf vielen Ebenen zum Nachdenken an: Es machte für mich zum einen deutlich, wie ein Krieg entsteht, und dass die meisten Menschen, die dann hinein geraten, im Grunde nichts damit zu tun haben. Das wusste ich auch vorher theoretisch, aber das Buch hat es mir lebendig gemacht durch die Schicksale zum Beispiel der jungen Marinesoldaten, die sich plötzlich in der Wüste wiederfinden , und letztlich keine Ahnung haben, was sie dort sollen, und der Hereromütter, -kinder und -älteren, die am Ende von der deutschen Armee in die Wüste getrieben werden, um zu verdursten.
Es ist Schicksal für viele Menschen, dass ein Krieg, den sie nicht gewollt haben, den sie vielleicht sogar versucht hatten zu verhindern, ihr gesamtes Leben zerstört und die Menschen vernichtet, die sie lieben. Während ich das Buch las, hoffte ich immer wieder gegen jede Vernunft, denn ich weiß ja, wie die Geschichte tatsächlich verlaufen, dass die Deutschen Vernunft annehmen und dieses Land wieder verlassen würden oder zumindest partnerschaftlich (im Grunde unmöglich) mit den Afrikanern leben könnten. Aber natürlich sind sie Eindringlinge in einer Welt, in der sie nichts zu suchen haben, die sie nicht verstehen.
Das Buch zeigt nicht nur, wie ein Krieg entsteht. Es zeigt auch, wie Kolonialismus funktioniert. Als ich in Namibia war, traf ich Menschen, die dort für Hilfsorganisationen arbeiteten, die sich durch diesen Job ein wunderbares Leben mit riesigem Haus und Pool leisten konnten in einem Land, das wie ein Paradies ist und sie redeten über die Schwarzen, als handelte es sich bei ihnen um dumme, unzurechnungsfähige Kinder, die uns Lichtjahre unterlegen sind. Das war im Jahr 2010. Diese Schwarzen lebten zu großen Teilen in Slums und hielten die Häuser und Gärten dieser Angestellten von Hilfsorganisationen für ein niedriges Gehalt in Ordnung. Ich habe auch Menschen dort getroffen, meine Freunde zum Beispiel, die ganz anders waren. Aber ich glaube, es ist für Amerikaner und Europäer immer schwierig, sich in Afrika nicht wie ein Kolonialist aufzuführen.
Einer meiner liebsten Charaktere in dem Buch ist der Herero Petrus, der versucht, einige Hererostämme von der Teilnahme am Aufstand abzuhalten, weil er durch den sterbenden Seher Ezechiel erfahren hat, dass der Aufstand das gesamte Volk der Hereros vernichten wird.
An einer Stelle, mittlerweile ist sein Versuch, die anderen von der Teilnahme abzuhalten, gescheitert, sieht er, wie sich die deutschen Soldaten ihrem Lager durch die Ebene nähern. "Das ist ihr Wind und ihr Morgen in ihrem Land! Und die da unten kommen von weit her und machen sich breit und nehmen sich das Land und ihr Vieh, ihre guten Ozongombe, für Plunder und Schnaps!
Warum bleiben sie nicht dort, wo sie herkommen, dort, wo ihre eigenen Herden weiden? Darüber wird viel nachgedacht..." Ich liebte Petrus' Demut und wenn ich die Wahl gehabt hätte, einen der Charaktere zu treffen für ein langes Gespräch, so wäre er es gewesen.
Das Buch zeigt viele Seiten, die der Hereros, die der einfachen Soldaten, die der Generäle, die der deutschen Siedler. Es entwirft ein komplexes Bild, dass es mir möglich machte, mir die Welt Deutsch-Südwestafrikas vorzustellen. Dabei wertet das Buch nicht, es schlägt sich auf keine Seite, es moralisiert nicht. Seyfried gelingt es für mein Empfinden, die Dinge einfach zu zeigen, kühl und klar, trocken und schnörkellos erzählt er nach jahrelanger Recherche, was geschehen ist. Einen Standpunkt einzunehmen, überlässt er dem Leser selbst. Sind doch auch Cecilie und Carl letztendlich immer ein wenig ratlos, ein wenig überfordert mit der Einschätzung dessen, woran sie dort eigentlich teilnehmen und wie sie dazu stehen. Sie stehen auf der Seite des gesunden Menschenverstands, das hilft ihnen aber nicht dabei, alles richtig zu machen.
So zeigte mir das Buch noch eine dritte spannende Sache: dass Menschen, die in einem historischen Moment verwickelt sind in Geschehnisse, die mit hundert Jahren Abstand eindeutig und einigermaßen klar zu bewerten sind, während sie stattfinden nicht eindeutig zu bewerten sind. Die eigene Position, die Gefühle, die Wünsche beeinflussen, wie man etwas sieht. Auch die Erziehung, die allgemeine Sicht auf die Dinge, die um einen herum herrscht.

Leider ist das 2003 zuerst erschienene Buch vergriffen. Man kann es allerdings noch gebraucht kaufen (oder leihen, bei  mir zum Beispiel).
Nachtrag vom 2.10.2016: Leider ist das Buch immer noch vergriffen. Vielleicht könnte der Gedanke, jetzt hat sich Deutschland bei Namibia für den Völkermord entschuldigt, auch dazu führen, in quasi freier Assoziation, das Buch noch einmal neu aufzulegen?
Nur ein Vorschlag! Denn es ist wirklich gut. Ansonsten stehe ich weiterhin bereit, falls es jemand leihen möchte. Mail an mich genügt!

(c) Susanne Becker

Donnerstag, 14. März 2013

Spannende neue Bücher - Liste

Heute fiel mir zufällig die Literaturbeilage der neuen Zeit in die Hände, im Büro, ähem, o.k., sie gehört in die Bibliothek dort und ich habe sie mir angeeignet. Aber ich lege sie einfach am Montag, wenn ich wieder hingehe, zurück. Das merkt kein Mensch. Gerade ist Leipziger Buchmesse. Es wird überall von Literaturbeilagen nur so wimmeln. Ich möchte die anderen eigentlich gar nicht sehen, weil ich dann wieder klar und deutlich sehe, dass ich 100 werden könnte und dennoch dieses eine Leben zu kurz sein wird, um alle Bücher zu lesen, die ich lesen möchte.

Folgende Bücher habe ich mir vorgemerkt zur bald möglichen Lektüre:

  • Taiye Selasi Diese Dinge geschehen nicht einfach so Die Autorin ist eine ghanaisch-nigerianische Afropolitin, in London geboren, in Massachusetts aufgewachsen und lebt heute in Rom. Den deutschen Perlentaucher-Link zum Buch gibts hier
  • Ulrich Woelk Was Liebe ist Ich bin mir nicht sicher, ob es mir letztlich gefallen wird, aber der Titel hat mich angesprochen. Es macht den Eindruck, als schrieben gerade einige deutsche Autoren über das Thema: was Liebe ist oder "Was wir Liebe nennen" (das neue von Jo Lendle, das im Herbst herauskommt). Da auch ich gerade an einem langen Text zu diesem Thema sitze, Teile davon sind ja im Blog unter dem Label Romanprojekt nachzulesen, interessieren mich diese Bücher naturgemäß. 
  • Eva Menasse Quasikristalle Ich weiß noch nicht genau, ob es mir gefallen wird. Das Thema spricht mich an: Die Zerlegung einer Biografie in viele Einzelteile aus verschiedenen Perspektiven in der Hoffnung, ein Gesamtbild zu erhalten. Ist das überhaupt möglich? Ich sah einen kurzen Ausschnitt aus einer Lesung, da gefiel es mir dann eigentlich gar nicht. Verkopft. Gestelzt. Irgendwie konstruiert. Aber es war nur ein kurzer Ausschnitt und ich möchte dem Buch noch eine Chance geben.
  • Amos Oz Unter Freunden Interessiert mich wegen Autor, wegen der Geschichten, weil sie alle in einem Kibbuz spielen und weil ich davon ausgehe, dass ein Buch von diesem Autor niemals schlecht sein kann. 
  • David Wagner Leben Dieser Link führt noch zu einem spannenden Artikel über Autor und Buch auf der Verlagsseite. Ich möchte das Buch lesen, seitdem ich diese Rezension von lovergermanbooks gelesen habe. Ich stehe außerdem auf abgründige, ernste, existenzielle Themen. Dieses Buch kommt also an mir nicht vorbei, oder umgekehrt. Außerdem wurde heute bekannt gegeben, dass er den Preis der Leipziger Buchmesse in der Kategorie Belletristik gewonnen hat. 
  • Doris Knecht Besser. Auch hier der Link zur Verlagsseitenvertiefung. Aufgefallen ist mir das Buch durch die Rezension der Klappentexterin. Das Thema spricht mich an, auch hier, weil ich das Gefühl habe, es hat mit meinem eigenen Romanprojekt zu tun. Ich werde es also schon aus Recherchegründen lesen. 
  • Harald Welzer, Selbst denken. Eine Anleitung zum Widerstand  ist ein Sachbuch über eine Welt voller Weltverbesserer, in der sich trotzdem nicht viel verändert. Ich habe gestern ein Interview mit dem Autor im Deutschlandfunk gehört. Darin nannte er die Prinzessinnengärten hier in Berlin als Beispiel für Widerstand, der Vorbildfunktion weltweit hat für ein selbst bestimmtes Leben gegen Konsumwahn und Anpassung. Ich muss gestehen, dass ich an dieser Stelle schwach bin: Wer die Prinzessinnengärten lobend als Vorbild erwähnt, hat bei mir sofort einen Stein im Brett. 
  • Otto Dov Kulka Landschaften der Metropole des Todes Vielleicht sagt man das nicht so leichthin, aber die Wahrheit ist, dass ich nicht aufhören kann, Bücher zu lesen, die mit dem Holocaust zu tun haben. Nach meiner Einstiegslektüre Anne Frank vor vielen Jahren habe ich mich immer wieder durch Bücher zu diesem Thema gefressen, auf der verzweifelten Suche nach einer Erklärung für das, was damals hier geschehen konnte, und was für mich immer noch die Atmosphäre, in der ich lebe, mit gestaltet. Das klingt so profan, aber einen besseren Grund kann ich nicht nennen. Ich habe es bis heute nicht kapiert und ich möchte es nicht vergessen. 

Mittwoch, 13. März 2013

Shoe in a tree



In the morning
I saw a shoe in the tree
while the sky was blue
and the sun was shining
freedom to write
anything

Donnerstag, 7. März 2013

Advice to myself - again

This is the english version, not an exact translation, of a former german post called "Advice to myself". (Please excuse my bad english and I am sure, the zillions of punctuation errors. I swear I will try and find a class to take in it!!!)  
I read an interesting post by Rachel Papers, that made me remember the german text and so the strong urge to write about it again and in English overcame me. There is also the great film Lost in Living by Mary Trunk, that is strongly related to the subject matter. I wrote about it here.
Please everybody who is a creative mom, I am very interested in your experiences and thoughts and everything!


A few months ago, I posted a poem by Louise Erdrich on my Facebook page. It was called: Advice to myself 
I exactly recall that morning and the feeling, that it was the perfect poem for me. (By the way it was the poem of the day at Garrisons Keillor's  Writer's Almanac . If you subscribe they will send you a fresh poem every morning. Not every morning they will send the perfect poem, but some mornings they will.)

Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don't patch the cup.
Don't patch anything. Don't mend. Buy safety pins.
Don't even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don't keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll's tiny shoes in pairs, don't worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another.
Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don't even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don't sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we're all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don't answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator.
Accept new forms of life and talk to the dead
who drift in though the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don't read it, don't read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.

~From: "Original Fire: New and Selected Poems",2003, by Louise Erdrich

The day before I found this poem I had been to Munich to attend at a writer's workshop. I went there with a novel I am working on and the other participants' comments really got to me. I had worked hard on my text and I thought, I had a little treasure there. But nobody noticed it.  A friend who attended the workshop with me said, they did notice. Well anyway: for me I heard primarily critique and it hurt me. Actually looking back I can say: it threw me into the deepest crises I ever was in since writing. And I am writing forever. Unsuccessful. 
I am trying to squeeze out time for my writing since I am a mother. Before I could just write when I wanted. But after the birth of my first child I had to take the 10 minute intervals that presented itself throughout day and night, randomly. I could never plan to write. If Holly slept I could write. If a neighbor decided to start hammering while she slept and she woke up after 10 minutes, I had to stop again. This is basically the way I write since I am a mother, since 14 years I write in the little intervals, my family and work life leaves me randomly. During these years I finished a novel, I started a second novel, I wrote about 15 short stories and countless poems in german and english. Without success. Sofar 35 publishers and agents have rejected my first novel. I did not win the only prize I ever made it on the short list of. In fact, the prize does not even exist anymore. I saw a famous author, a famous publisher and a famous literature critique display their boredom in front of us 5 unsuccessless writers on the shortlist. At least 10 publishers didn't even react to my text offer. The reasons of rejecting ranged between: too complicated and too simple. One agent wanted me to write the whole thing anew and delete two third of the former main plot as well as most of the characters. I did that. Just so. Because everything a professional tells me is something I take as a writing prompt. So now I have two versions of the novel. She rejected it again. Because, well, she thought it still wouldnt sell.
All this started me to think about why I am doing this to myself: putting this pressure on myself besides a 25 hours job, two children, household chores, a cat, a garden. I mean hello, I could have a life crowded to the edges without writing. Why do I keep writing and writing? I mean, enough people write. There is no major reason to add to the zillions of words produced daily by people who write. I pump my words into the universe and nobody cares. If I would stop writing today, I would have much less pressure in my life and much more time for my household (which could need some time and effort from my side) and nobody would even notice (my family would notice, because the house might sparkle for a change). But I can't. It's like an inner necessity. An aqucaintance to whom I complained the other day because a publisher had just sent me a rejection letter saying: my novel was too simple for their deep publishing house, laughed and said: well, if you are writing so unsuccessully for so long maybe its time to stop, to realize that you are not good enough. Maybe its time to ackknowledge that your future lies in writing restaurant menues. And he laughed his ass off about his own joke. 
This poem appearing on my computerscreen one early morning was a perfect answer to the question I pondered on the train between Munich and Berlin, devastated: Why do I write? I might as well  have asked: Why do I live? Why do I breathe? If it is not an inner necessity I might as well spend my time sorting paper clips and concentrate on every family member having a healthy breakfast, and that each member of the chaos commune my family has turned into over the years uses the right toothbrush, and not again my towel. I mean it would be easy to fill my entire life, day after day, with these kind of chores. They would eat the rest of my life up. Just like that. I would be 80 before I know it.

I want the words to suit what I would call the authentic experience of my life. I am willing to dive pretty deep under the surface of life. Sometimes I dive so deep that it is too much water I swallow and I have a hard time resurfacing to the dishes, the laundry, the child who needs to be picked up from a friends house. When I am diving after the right word, trying to overcome every barrier between me and my experience, it might as well happen, that I forget who I am, but not why I am. I write because I want to give the words I find, to others as my gift, so they might just like me, see the barriers that are put between them and their existence. When they read my words, they can swallow a little water and accompany me diving. First of all, I write for myself, because I love it to dive deep, and secondly, I always write for the others, because I hope they will have cartons and cartons of pink mold in their refrigerators, as they prefer to talk to the dead and love new forms of life, instead of cleaning the kitchen. I hope they will touch, what is authentic for them and they follow it with all their heart as soon as they have found it. I mean this heart, that probably gets cleaned out less then the floor beneath their couch.
This is a beautiful poem, a wonderful poem and keeps me company since I first read it. 

© Susanne Becker



Mittwoch, 6. März 2013

Apples



We never before had so many apples,
the trees hardly could carry them all.
Thousands of apples, and
what to do with them?
We harvested as many as we could.
We gave them away;
friends and neighbors drowned in our apples,
grateful only in the
beginning, then: no thanks,

we already have enough. How many can
one eat? Get real, I mean: we need
a barn, a basement, some
place to store apples.
We harvested many, but there were more
always more. The tree
up front was the worst. Laden, I mean
packed. They were the best, so
delicious, red and green,

the perfect apples for snow whites stepmother.
I produced apple sauce and cake and
pancakes with apples, juice,
you name it. I left
some in the little garden house to see:
would they give us a
taste of harvest upon our return
at the beginning of
spring, of another life?

(March 5th, 2013)

Montag, 4. März 2013

30 Movies one should see before one dies/30 Filme die man gesehen haben sollte!!

This is a list of all the movies (well almost all the movies) I have seen in my life meaning something to me. I still believe they are all among the best movies ever made! So go, get, watch and enjoy them!!!
I do not give any guarantee for this list being complete. I might add the one or other movie from time to time since I am still watching a lot whenever I get a chance and also, my memory might give me back some I have forgotten right now.
I am always interested in good movies, so tell me what you like to watch!

  • Whats eating Gilbert Grape One of the best perfomances of Leonardo di Caprio and Jonny Depp I have ever seen. Not to forget the absolutely brilliant Juliette Lewis. She was also in:
  • Kalifornia which is one of my favourite thrillers (and I hate thrillers ususally) but this one is wonderful. Brad Pitt as, well, psycho. Very convincing!
  • Thelma & Louise Talking about Brad Pitt, but even better Harvey Keitel, Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, who was in another favourite film of mine:
  • The accidental tourist with also William Hurt, just like in
  • Smoke that got also Harvey Keitel in it again. And here comes one of the very best movies ever with him:
  • The Piano that also got one of my favourite actresses in it: Holly Hunter! She won an Oscar for this and I think her dress was just smashing.
  • Miss Firecracker also with Holly Hunter will always remind me of all the times I went to see movies with my friend Anne-Marie in Richmond/Virginia. We would go every weekend and we sometimes saw three movies in a row. Fabulous!
  • Dead Man Walking with some of my favourite actors: Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon and one of the most moving movies I've seen so far.
  • Just like: The Deer Hunter with Robert de Niro, Meryl Streep, Christopher Walken. Just so you all know why I love Robert de Niro listen to this speech by Meryl Streep about him. I could put all of his movies in here. And all of Mery Streeps as well. This one is brilliant, I always loved it:
  • Casino Robert de Niro is fabulous in it! 
  • Heat with also Al Pacino staring. Just the duell between those wonderful actors is worth watching it several times, which I did.
  • Another very good, very male movie Shawshank Redemption. I loved its humour, the lightness with which it finally found its resolution. A real redemption!
  • My most recent favourite movie Die Frau die singt. It is set in the Lebanon and a very touching and deep story. I actually wrote a poem about it.
  • My favourite movie from last year, 2012, was  Barbara a story about a woman who wanted to leave the german democratic republic and was therefore punished. Very deep and beautiful acting by Nina Hoss, one of my favourite actresses. She definitely should win an Oscar :-) 
  • Another one from last year Cheyenne This must be the place  I have not understood why it was completely ignored by the Academy.
  • I can not have this list without a Woody Allen movie Annie Hall
  • and also Manhattan has to be on it. Those two might be my favourites by him. 
  • Pulp Fiction I mean I dont think I have to say anything about this movie, right? It is one of my alltime favourites, it got Bruce Willis in it, whom I only like because of Tilman Rammstedt, but also Harvey Keitel, Uma Thurman!!!, Christopher Walken and it is by Quentin Tarantino, whom I really like! And do not forget the soundtrack! and the dancescenes! and the brain scattered around the car!
  • Die fabelhafte Welt der Amelie is a fabulous french movie about love and magic with a beautiful soundtrack to which Lilly and I have been dancing forever, whenever we are in the kitchen.
  • As good as it gets I think I saw this movie at least five times. The last time was in the air between London and Johannesburg and it helped me immensely to forget my fear of flying. It is a movie about love and acceptance and craziness and the acting is superb. Helen Hunt!! Jack Nicholson!!
  • And if we are at Jack Nicholson, we have to mention this one as well. Something's gotta give. It has Diane Keaton in it who is a favourite of mine as well, ever since Annie Hall.
  • The Hours is a masterpiece for me with masteractresses: Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore. I already loved the book and this is one rare case where I love both, book and movie alike.
  • Fargo is a really good movie with a masteractress again: Frances McDormand who was also in Cheyenne This must be the Place. She won the Oscar for Fargo. Her acceptance speech was beautiful.
  • Nader und Simin was a wonderful iranian movie which was shown at the Berlin Film Festival two years ago. It is such a deep psychological and political tale. It teaches us a lot about life in Iran. The two actors won the silver bear for their acting. It was one of the very best movies I saw in 2011.
  • Lost in Translation I am not sure I mentioned how much I like Bill Murray. But I do! He is among the greatest!
  • Pride and Prejudice Oooooooh, Mr. Darcy!!! What a romantic movie!
  • Fried Green Tomatoes its a beautiful movie about women and friendship! I could watch it every month!
  • And then of course there are three movies without which one can not go on living, you have to see them at least once in your life! Mary PoppinsVom Winde verweht and of course Breakfast at Tiffany's
Missing are my favourite movies from 2013, which I will mention in my soon to be expected post about all the favourite things I saw, did and read in 2013. If you are bored until then, you might wanna check out my list of favourites from 2012. Movies are mentioned there I have not mentioned here!

  • Missing is also Moonstruck, which definitely has to be in a list like this. So from now on its 31 movies
  • here is another one I am watching right now Blue Sky which I totally forgot and should definitely be on every liste, with Tommy Lee Jones and Jessica Lange in it, so it is 32 and still counting...
  • I have to put some movies on here now and then: I saw Amour, it's a movie, that makes you cry and still: its one of the best movies I ever saw about love and death
  • I also saw Hannah Arendt, a wonderful movie about the life of one of last century's greatest thinkers. I had to see it, because the actress Barbara Sukowa is in my opinion one of the best actresses we have in Germany, and the director Margarethe von Trotta has always been one of my favourites. I saw her Die bleierne Zeit about the female RAF-terrorists really impressed me, when I was 17, 18 years old
  • August:Osage County wonderful film with great actors, telling a story, that is grand! Loved it!

Freitag, 1. März 2013

I don't know




I don’t know this woman
who was called my mother
once in a world so far away
from me, my body does not remember
anything anymore. No longer can
I walk into the unknown

there is nothing. The “I don’t know” is unknown
to me. No secret left. How to be a woman
was nothing she taught of course. I can
no longer draw her name: Mother
into a circle of burning colours, away,
the ocean near, somewhere I remember

I was before. I don’t know what I remember
from all those years in an universe unknown
not familiar at all. Run away
stranger, swim to another island, woman
of water, woman of tears. Be a mother
at last to the stones. I don’t know, if you can

hide in the bushes any longer. If you ever can
know who you are, truly, remember
the depth of a truth, your name, I don’t know, my mother,
the urge to find you is gone. May you remain unknown
to me, less pain. For sure. I don’t know! Any woman
could be her, even me, and she could be far away

standing in front of me. A land of no meaning, away
away from every touch, ever so slightly can
I feel the brush of her soul on my skin. I remember
her, a wounded walled in woman
always withdrawing from everything. Unknown
remains this world to her, hiding in the middle, my mother

could be, for all I can say, a mermaid really, a woman
living under water, far away, in a world unknown even to
herself: mother, tell me, is what I remember really you?



(Sestina February 19th, 2013)