about my book “Overripe Fruits”

24 Dec

Overripe Fruits is my first compilation of short stories, which I self-published in Germany in June 2009. The book houses 9 stories, all of whom were written in the years 2006-2009.

I decided to call my first book Overripe Fruits because, in all honesty, I had never planned on publishing these stories. They are all autobiographical and therefore very close to my heart. I was such an over-protective mother and I simply couldn’t bear to let them go. I didn’t think people would want to take them home either. I thought readings would be enough. So in the years 2008/09, I gave readings at art exhibitions, cultural events, a refugee camp, schools . . .

Afterwards, as I sipped my water and ambled among the audience, it was thrilling to experience continued curiousity. It’s always wonderful when people approach you after a reading and say, “I still can’t forget that thing you said…” Some also tried to buy the printed pieces of paper off me. That’s when I discovered what a mother hen I was! Appalled, I clutched the papers to my chest and shook my head madly. No no no, these are mine.

Well, the stories took revenge on me for that . . .

I found, after a while, that my head was fit to burst. I couldn’t think and I certainly couldn’t write. I had literally run out of space in my head. I was well and truly blocked. The stories took the writer captive and were demanding to be released. I had no choice. I had to set them free.

ABOUT “OVERRIPE”: The idea for the title was that every story, every idea, is like a seed. It needs to be nourished by attention and imagination, protected, and dressed in woolly socks. It can grow into a beautiful plant and it can sprout delicious fruits. But you can’t leave these fruits dangling on the branches, growing purple and exploding! They have to be eaten so that they can nourish other souls. So they can climb into other heads and spread their seed there. My stories weren’t seeds anymore; they were full-grown plants now and they wanted a life of their own.

Bursting out of my head, here’s the cover of the book   – with the opening poem beside it:

After years of captivity and solitary confinement, banging their heads against the walls of my imagination, they weren’t about to go out in any old threads. So each story polished him or herself up in their absolute finest, because they wanted to make a good impression on the world. Here is my personal favourite:

This was the first collaboration with the artist Mark Klawikowski, who has now become my official illustrator, and is the illustrator of this blog. I asked him to dress the stories in a 1920s look, because I know they are vintage & wild. Mark immediately knew what I meant and produced a beautiful and unique series of plant-people.

THE STORIES: Some are sweethearts and some are heartaches. Some give hope while others demand more booze. Ridiculous Queen is all about being haunted by “the one that got away”: a ridiculous torture, a royal annoyance, a queen nonetheless. In Tree, I speak about my childhood in Africa, and the tree I gave my heart to. In that tree, I find the child in me. Lamb is the love story. In him, I learnt what it means to be a vessel mighty enough to give & take love.

On a darker note comes Last Night You Raped Me, because rape is a very important issue, a shadow under which we women live under as active sexual beings, because we are unfortunately the physically weaker gender and our bodies are all too often the ground on which wars are fought. Every woman I know has at least once dreamt of being raped. The issue is alive in every one of us and must be confronted.

Isabel Allende once told of a proverb in South America: No one wants a writer in their family. It’s true: we give away too many secrets. Raunchy Sweethearts, for example, was also nicknamed an “R-Rated Family Portrait”, and she’s my deepest chuckle.

I’ll be publishing a few stories from Overripe Fruits in the upcoming weeks. Let me know if you have any requests (see Chapters below)! I appreciated all your comments so far and I look forward to what you’ll have to say about Overripe…

You can buy Overripe Fruits on my Website for €10. We also have all of Mark’s illustrations as postcards for €20. If you’d like more information, or you’d like to order them, please Contact Me here because the postcard shop isn’t up & running yet.


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