A Piece of My Head

22 Nov

The hardest part about being a writer is actually being a WRITER. In order to survive, we take on day jobs and when we return home, we are tired and beat. The typewriter remains silent. The weeks pass.

Many writers have writing routines. Many writers have assistants who manage their emails and day-to-day business so that they may remain enclosed in their silent writing rooms. Where the typewriter rages like the king of an endless empire.

I need a schedule. There are things I promised myself I would accomplished before I leave for Perú in 2 weeks. And we all know the Christmas season brings a great deal of childrens’ theater with it, so time will remain sparse. Once in Lima, however, I will be given my father’s office to write. That will be a blessing.

Being a writer is all about self-definition. No one will chase you, identify you, and you’ll be lucky if they encourage you. I think Mark has the same issue. No one tells him to paint. The award we won recently has encouraged him to work more on puppets – but it’s above all the plans for upcoming films that encourage him the most. A few film projects are being currently planned, which we are both very excited about. We’ve agreed that he’ll take the steering wheel on the film projects because I would like to dedicate my 2012 to my writing.

One of the things I need to do before I leave for Perú is write abstracts for my books “Qayqa” and “The Double Closet”. Those two want to hit the road and explore the world next year! Only when these abstracts are written and on their way to publishers / sponsors, am I truly free to work on the next book. Perhaps I can even write on the plane! I wonder what they’d say if I unpacked my typewriter on board . . .

I don’t know what’s blocking me, but I have a few ideas. Our apartment is my office, so it’s hard to let go of work and relax. Mark is a loud artist who stomps around in my head – he says I stomp around and am really loud in his head.

I think those are the two main factors. The first is about discipline; the second about communication. I can tell Mark I need silence; he respects it and tiptoes around me. That reminds me of a great anecdote: a few months ago, he tiptoed past me to his work room and on the way out somehow managed to get tangled in a bit of string! So there he stood, in the middle of my room, for a good 10 minutes, trying to remain quiet as he swore under his breath, fumbled with the string and only made it worse. He looked like a confused cat, angrily snatching at the loose ends. In the meantime, I was trying not to let his futile antics distract me and write on like a serious person. But I failed. I burst out laughing. How did he manage to get himself tangled in a bit of STRING!

But I digress: With the Christmas theater madness about to begin (and us bracing ourselves for the storm), there is little possibility to demand silence and unconditional privacy. So it’s actually perfect that I’m about to leave for Perú. “Munay” (or whatever she will be called – perhaps I will really call her “Taripay Pacha”, as I have been thinking of doing) is waiting patiently. I have ideas, I have her feeling, but I have no space around me for the flow of words. Perú is the perfect earth to sink her roots into.

Writing the abstracts for the other two books will hopefully be a good way to get back into the writing process. Writing really is like the third form of meditation that my Buddhist friend in Cologne was telling me about: weave it into your everyday life, use it for reflection and cleanse yourself with it. When I leave Germany, perhaps that will inspire me to write about Anahata leaving to join the caravans.

Mark’s applying for an art studio at the moment and the idea appeals to me as well. A solitary room just for writing, apart from the apartment and somewhere in the city. But what I am increasingly beginning to think may be the best idea is actually reserving months for writing. My day job is giving sporadic workshops which disrupt my focus on writing. I think reserving some months for writing would be very productive. Who knows? The idea feels right . . .

I love sharing these thoughts with you while I make my way through the terra incognita of being a writer. So much happened the last 7 days that I cannot write about individually, so here are some photographs of what happened this week…

A Thank You party for the participants of the Berblinger Anniversary Year. This is a beautiful animation projected onto the Zeughaus, where the party was. To the right are Mark and Christian Pfeifer, project manager of the Culture Bureau Ulm, shouting up to the neighbor kids.

Ms Mann, the head of the Culture Bureau, giving a thank you speech while everyone hoped to be mentioned personally – or was that just me? I salute her vintage background.Bumped into Nancy Calero, co-director and actress at the Theater in der Westentasche, who organised our film tour in 2009. That was when Mark and I produced our firstever puppet-documentary “Children of Roots” (the beginning of it all!) and toured through northern Perú. I hope to meet some of our friends when I’m back in Perú. So much has happened since we were there, including the death of the actress Anali Cabrera, who came to meet us despite her cancer treatment. News of her death shocked us profoundly, for she was warm, so sweet and kind, and so full of life. Here’s an article on Anali: http://archive.livinginperu.com/news/15300 You live on in our hearts.

On Tuesday & Friday, we were at the International School of Stuttgart giving our “Children of Roots” film workshop. We’ve been giving this workshop for 3 years now and I’ve written all about it here. This is the scene in which one of the students shows Ochoa all the places he’s lived.And another of our students inventing great places to hide the puppeteer.

On Saturday I went to an acrobatic convention in Kaufbeuren to breathe in the sweet circus air. All around me were jugglers, acrobats, poi and hoola hoop swingers, Chinese pole dancers – all ridiculously talented and the nicest people you could hope to meet.I did a lot of filming while I was there and am toying with the idea of editing a short sequence before I leave for Perú. It was such an inspiring experience and I can’t wait for the next convention!

Sunday was the first Christmas theater performance. I accompanied Mark with his Kasperltheater Schlabbergosch and made this “Theater in Three Easy Steps”:

But I’m allergic to hay. Everyone at the Ferienhof Lecheler had a great chuckle at my Michael Jackson impression. And yes, I once again wrote the above blog post on my typewriter! Here’s proof.That was my week, dear friends. I cannot express how much I enjoy reading your comments, so I wholeheartedly encourage you keep it up. As for all those watching quietly, thank you for watching!


One Response to “A Piece of My Head”

  1. purple Harem January 17, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    oooh! can’t wait to read your books! Congratulations on your beautiful typewriter! what a beauty, I hope Mark isn’t too jealous! 🙂

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