Saturday 29 October 2011

five words


It’s a fine line between spending time in one’s own company, contentedly, and loneliness. Johan had never understood why some of his neighbours seemed to pity him: Perhaps they were the sort to feel an unbearable sense of forlornness as soon as a day, or a stretch of hours announced themselves free of engagements. Not him. Sometimes he positively looked forward to days that were left entirely to himself. So when he got up that saturday morning in late summer, so late in summer, in fact, you would probably have to consider calling it another season, he left bed with a lightness of spirit and the hint of a smile. The apartment was small, but familiar. He had been living here since 1964, when the blocks had just been built at the edge of a big square. The trains were going past in regular intervals, he could hear their rumbling progress and the occasional screeching of metal on metal when it hit the curve just before the station. It had become a comforting sound. He put his rucksack on the brown and green corderoy sofa to pack it. It was big, just what he needed today. He double-wrapped everything in plastic bags before he carefully stored it, checking every now and again whether he could still lift the bag. It wasn’t too bad, he could walk slowly and take a break if needed. Before he left, he made sure all windows were shut, the fridge was empty of any easily decomposable food and everything had the air of general tidyness. In the narrow corridor to the lifts he ran into his next-door neighbour. No more than a quick „Morning!“ that day. Well, it hardly mattered. He felt alive, he felt up to his mission, up for the train ride and a brisk walk. On the way to the station he saw his own shape reflected in the window of the still-closed supermarket. The rucksack looked bulky. He should have taken greater care packing it. At the station, he barely had to wait three minutes for the train, now it was only a good hour until he would reach his destination. The sun cast odd shapes across the seats opposite, the flickering light made him drowsy. On getting off, he recognised the way immediately, even though it must have been twenty-five years or more. He took the small street leading off the main road at the end of the village, soon the neat little houses with their scrubbed patches of front garden gave way to a dirt track. Some older houses with stable doors ajar, bordering onto the fields, their plaster crumbling in places, swifts flying through a brick hole in the barn gable, then the landscape was open, a line of trees to the right keeping him company. He kept walking for almost an hour, past an abandoned farm. There was an old tree with a halo of walnuts lying on the ground beneath it.

He left the dirt track and went into the woods. His back began to feel sore, his neck and shoulders stiff. Not much longer, he was certain he was close to the spot at last. Another half hour – he had to wipe his forehead with an old handkerchief repeatedly. And then he was there. Yes, it most certainly was here. Just as he remembered.

He put down the rucksack and untied the laces underneath the flap with the old leather buckles. Johan sat down on the stump of a tree. He unpacked the old aluminium pot, a small gas stove burner and a tin of ravioli. Set up and lit the flame.

He felt an utter sense of accomplishment.

narrow // alive // reflected // walnuts // swift
thank you, sylee

p.s.: i'm so sorry for being far behind with blog reading and commenting. i'm trying to catch up. happy weekend, all!



sometimes someone picks you flowers. sometimes a good friend makes them for you with tissue paper and you put them on branches you found on a walk.

i'm ploughing on with work, but were lucky enough to have lunch with this visitor from marseille today. how great to catch up a little!

also thank you so much for your feedback on the wanderer. so many have been visiting already: you are the best! -- oh, and the comment function is now live there, just click on the date of any given post, where you can see and leave comments.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

the wanderer

the wanderer

i have been thinking about this for quite a while. a place to gather the things i see. it's something i already do, in some shape, on pinterest, but i wanted a different format. another blog perhaps. in the end, it turned out to be a tumblr, something i've been very ambivalent about in the past. i felt very uneasy about the fact that many people on tumblr post images without bothering to credit them, and linking them back to a source.

i've decided to use this new place as a mood board, and i will caption whatever i find, so you can see where it comes from, go back to the source and enjoy.

it's called the wanderer.

do come by!

p.s.: should you notice any technical glitches on the wanderer, please do let me know. i've tried installing a comments function (via disqus) - however, it doesn't seem to work just yet. in the meantime, your best bet to let me have your feedback is right here!

UPDATE: the comments function is now live on the wanderer! click on the date of the post you would like to comment on, et voilà...

five words

car in rain

i'm late, very late with my five words. it's hardly saturday any longer, is it? well, i've just scrambled out of the rabbit hole, where i spent considerable time finishing a translation project. i hope you'll forgive me.


When I woke up this morning, I held the fine end of the thread of my dream in my hand. I had been standing in the grand hall of a museum, talking to some person I can remember neither face nor name of and said: „I so badly wanted to buy a Carsten Höller, but they were all gone. Then I saw those two deer, and I just knew it had to be them.“ – Can I remember whether the deer were live? No, I can’t. And where would I have put them? Are there people running stables for artwork? Surely, there must be. And what does it tell me in the blue light of the morning? Is it the sure sign of an art related inferiority complex? Is it the deep wish to touch the silken ears of a deer? Am I attracted to artists dabbling in biology? All I can clearly remember, is one of the deer turning her slender head towards me, twitching her ears and looking at me with those brown eyes. Then I woke up. It makes me wonder. Wouldn’t you wonder? Later that day my stiff neck makes me sigh, and somehow the fact that the rain has turned the yellow leaves -- rustling on the sidewalk and street just the day before -- into some undefined brownish slush leaves me sad. They are driving around in those big orange trucks again, sucking up the leaves with big flexible snouts. One is driving, one is walking, holding the snout, moving it around so as not to miss the odd pile hiding under a parked car. I can see bits of traffic queuing up behind them, the driver surely drumming their fingers on the steering wheel. I’m riding my bike around them, down to the baker’s for a sourdough and to the Asian grocer’s for some noodle soup, some fresh lime and some sugar snaps. I must not forget to add plums to my shopping list for the next day. A friend is calling, we say to meet up on saturday. I have to finish some work, and I keep thinking about things that don’t seem to lend themselves to easy answers. Are thoughts flying higher in summer? Is autumn the season of rumination, of dark plum compote, of deer and other illicit thoughts finding their way into my dreams? I should imagine so.

 // wonder
 // sigh
 // illicit
 // imagine
thank you, enia

Wednesday 19 October 2011

to the lake

to the lake
to the lake
to the lake
to the lake

we went to the lake, like every year. some things just have to turn into traditions.

more about ferry trips over on my berlin blog, here and here.

(i am really quite touched by your comments on my five words series, they mean a lot!)

Saturday 15 October 2011

five words

the party's always in the kitchen

She didn’t even want to begin to speculate how many tubes of toothpaste she had tried to squeeze the very last, itty bitty minty whiteness out of, having forgotten to buy new supply. She was standing in front of the bathroom mirror, grimacing at her reflection with the faint red line of pillow crease running across her left cheek. It was her birthday at the end of the week, a few friends were coming for dinner, she’d better do the shopping list soon.

In the kitchen a quick cup of tea, some buttered toast, the last uncontaminated slice, the rest had grown mouldy overnight. She left the house; far too late; again. Ran down the street, to the station. “Here we go,” she thought, “Monday morning, how I love thee.” There was a bit of wind, the last few leaves would soon be chased along the pavement, trodden on, drowning in a sad dirty puddle. City leaves had really pulled the short straw, she thought, unless you count the ones in the park. Much better to be a country leaf. Although. Who knows.

The girl on the train pulled off her poppy red beret, pushed it into her bag and took out a book. She had wrapped it into a sleeve made from newspaper. “Must be rubbing ink onto her fingers,” she thought. Were there people who didn’t analyse everything they saw? Who just zoned out? Perhaps she should try doing that.

How she hated the train. Tomorrow she’d take the bus. Or a duvet day. She was washed onto the platform and up the elevator. Thinking about the meeting already. Perhaps she should come out with her idea at the very end. Or perhaps she should just leave. Run a farm. Buy a few chickens, and a goat. She rummaged in her bag for a biro and a post-it. Scribbled “toothpaste”, “bread”. Pushed everything back into the bag. Went through the doors.

“Here we go”, she thought.

// love
// poppy red
// bread
// tea
thank you, maria

Wednesday 12 October 2011




last week, my niece's mornings started with hot cocoa in aunty k's kitchen. which isn't a bad start to a day. the small bol i brought back from france this summer, of course.

p.s.: normally, a cold isn't really worth mentioning, but this time it seems to be a nasty bug, which hasn't just floored my niece last week, but also a friend of mine, and now me. the kind with fevers and not being able to stay awake for too long. the latter seemed to be key: sleeping it off. it's uphill now, i can feel it.

Tuesday 11 October 2011


breakfast at le corbu
breakfast at le corbu

please bear with me while i'm taking it a bit slow, the first cold of the season has floored me. unfortunately one of the lie-down-in-bed varieties. till soon.

Saturday 8 October 2011

five words


feels a bit like i made myself jump in at the deep end here, you know. while writing the first story - stories, which by the way might turn out to be miniature three-liners, rather short or longer ones - i realised how many details do bug me intensely. i'm posting this anyway, hoping it will give me that little push which hopefully makes up for the embarrassment, which is more or less inevitable whenever you go out on a limb. so really, this is very much work in progress, a way to make me write regularly, because i'm the greatest procrastinator when it comes to that.

oh, and one more thing: i will take my pick from the five words you have given me in no particular order and credit them at the end of the story. thanks for being part of this!


Going back in my mind, I can see it quite clearly. We had gotten up in the wee hours, when a bird pecked on the window. The unexpectedness of that sound had startled me, I am used to the tram going past or the faint sound of the shopping trolleys of the supermarket next door clanking. There was a breeze when we stepped out, quietly, so as not to wake the others. There was a faint rain of pine needles. Where the bird had gone, I don’t know. After the hundredth tree we took a left, then a right after the next twenty-three. We came to a lake. No crystal clear waters here, greenish-brown instead, with a hint of golden specks, where the light fell through the trees. I sat on a small rock, trying to make out how long it might take me to swim to the far end of the lake. Ten minutes, fifteen? It was too cold though. We shared an apple, which i had brought in my pocket. I wondered why we had come to spend this weekend together. For some of us the need to step back from questions that seem unanswerable, for others some vague notion about going back to nature. As if we knew what that meant. For me it was the need of holding on to the familiar before the big unknown. I had initiated the change myself, but it still scared me. 'Make a move?', I whispered. We walked for another good hour, past a clearing of young birches, now almost bare. The slenderest tips of their pitch-black branches swayed. We saw some deer in the distance, heard them first, by the rustling of leaves and the crackling of small twigs underfoot. We crossed a small stream, stepping on rocks. A light drizzle had set in. We kept on walking for a good thirty-minutes. He had been looking on the ground mostly, now lifted his head a little and said ‚Call it a day?’ And it meant all kinds of things.

// golden
// whisper
// crystal
// sway
thank you, emily vanessa

Thursday 6 October 2011

where to go

where to go

‎"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life." Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

-- Steve Jobs, address at Stanford University (2005)

Wednesday 5 October 2011

a special day

kolor berlin
kolor berlin
kolor berlin

i'm sharing my birthday with one of my nieces, so early october, for the past few years, has always brought visits from them and a joint little celebration. i remember the year when she turned one, and we had japanese green tea and patisserie at a little place near my house, she was holding on to the benches, trying to make her first steps. this year, she turned six. and started off her birthday with a night at the emergency room, coming down with pneumonia. she found it very exciting, and while the adults were seriously worried, she chatted away. in the morning, after medication was bought at the pharmacy, we had breakfast with a cake with pink icing (a dash of cherry juice will do that, magic effect!). phew.

so here's to a new year full of goodness.

p.s.: wow, you threw me - in the best possible way - with all your comments on my last post. seems like you like the idea. i seriously hope i'll manage to live up to the expectation! i've got my work cut out... looking forward to it!

images are a little sneak preview for a post coming up on my berlin blog shortly.

Saturday 1 October 2011

five words


will you give me five words?

i'll wrap them into a little story and post an image along with it. if possible, every saturday.

so leave me your five words in the comments, and i'll tackle them by and by. let's see how it goes! first story up next saturday.

happy weekend, everyone!