3 Days Until the Road

18 Jul

somewhere between Freiburg and Berlin

this weekend, somewhere between Freiburg and Berlin

This was a beautiful weekend. I spent one night in Freiburg, visiting a very good friend’s graduating art exhibition. Then I spent three nights in Berlin, visiting my backpacker friend Erick from Colombia, who is currently in Berlin with his band Milmarias, recording their second studio album. Shortly before leaving Bogotá, they gave this fun concert á la Bicycle Sessions:

Until their second studio album is released, you can follow them around on SoundCloud here.

Erick & Kike giving an interview to a radio station in Bogotá, Colombia, over Skype

Erick & Kike giving an interview to a radio station in Bogotá, Colombia, over Skype

When I arrived in Berlin on Saturday night, they were opening for a London-Colombian band called Bitch ‘N Monk. Behaving strangely stalker-y, I bought several copies of their demo, followed them on Twitter and found this beautiful band-trailer:

I don’t really have any other way of putting this:  strangely, their music felt like a consolation. I was relieved to know this kind of music was still being made – innovatively. Not re-mixed or re-dreamt from the 60s, but genuine in our days. The lyrics had me closing my eyes, smiling in shame / surprise at being caught: admitting that I had had the very thoughts she was singing of. She revealed me to myself – and that’s not something that happens often. So when it does, the reaction is to behave strangely stalker-ish. Caught in the act of being a fan! Feeling understood by an artist is a wonderful wonderful thing.

Of all the songs they performed that night, one really stuck out to me, which I want to share with you now.



Artists going their way.

Making things happen.

Listening to a gut –

a gut feeling telling them: this might be the right way to do it. 

I’m in that kind of a knot: How to go about Qayqa? The crowdfunding is done, and everything now is about The Next Step. Everyone is looking to me to direct – and I’m trying to slow everyone down because I want the next step to be a very careful & thought-out enterprise. I ran into the crowdfunding with one fist in the air and my other hand balancing a lot of other things on a shaky plate. Miraculously, it worked. Now I need my steps to be less fisty, less shaky, and slow.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the cover for Qayqa. Mark has some brilliant ideas for making the cover seem magical. We recently walked around a bookstore pulling books off shelves and comparing their coversMark is considering something like this:

"The Neverending Story" by Michael Ende

“The Neverending Story” by Michael Ende

But I recently saw something I think I may like more: an insinuation.

Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein"

Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”

Qayqa‘s insinuation is quite clearly knots. Yes, there are flying people in it, but – trust me – they are not as present in Qayqa as they are in the sequel Munay. Thinking about knots, I immediately remembered an album I adored when I was growing up: Alanis Morisette’s Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. In the CD booklet were beautiful images of her long hair, and I poured over these images marveling at the simplicity behind the idea.

alanis morissette - supposed former infatuation junkie (inside 03)

alanis morissette - supposed former infatuation junkie (inside 02)

Mark will come up with some sketches to show me what’s in his head; and I think I might take some pictures of knots and play around with my ideas.

Now… I have 3 days at home, and I am using them mostly to be in bed. I’m doing what I always dream of when I have little time: I watch films.

On Friday, I’m giving a reading at the Kulturnacht der Universität Konstanz, and on Saturday I’m back in Neu-Ulm reading at the Neu-Ulmer Stadtlesen. 

On Sunday, I head back to the JOJO Circus School to complete the one module I missed out on last year, when I was backpacking through Latin America: the juggling module. I’ll be going back as an “external student”, training with the class that began one year after we did. A parallel class will be there at the same time, and I am friends with this group, so it won’t be too alienating I think. It will simply be … interesting … to go back to the Rappenhof after such an intense 10 days with my group. To train without them, will be very strange.

I’ll be there for 1 week, then I head off with a friend to the Toulouse, France, for the European Juggling Convention, which goes on for a little over 7 days. Here, I will have the opportunity to meet & train with amazing circus people and live among circus tents again.After this I will roadtrip with my friend to Brighton, England, to the European Aerial Dance Festival. More lessons in trapeze and silks. It’s going to be an intense 3 weeks.


Then I’ll come back to Ulm.

That’s my circus summer.

You’ll be getting a lot of pictures (probably mostly on my Tumblr).

I’m looking forward to it all – but I’m also a bit nervous. There will be a lot of hopping from one world to the next. At least it will all be the circus world, but it involves so much Packing Up & Leaving Again – and I think I’m almost done with that. I’m finally starting to look forward to settling down again somewhere. Yet: the many hours in the car will give me great time to think; time to stare at changing landscapes and ponder in my journal. I’m looking forward to the latter the most.

I’ll be blogging from the road. I’m still in the midst of planning possible dates for Qayqa‘s publication. I’ve also written quite a bit for Munay since the crowdfunding ended. A dam seemed to burst open in my head, and I could write with such clarity. It was a great feeling. I hope it stays.

I have so much to digest at the moment, but above all: I feel calm again. I’m practising walking slowly and I’m trying to digest things whenever I can. I’m writing again. Can you believe this life: in order to be a writer, you need to put the pen down and do everything but writing?! It’s a luxury when I can write. I intend to use those many hours on the road, doing just that.


You’ll be hearing from me.

If you’re wondering what direction the writing is going in, I’ve made a new thing for you to follow: my Writing Music playlist on Spotify! I just wrote something terribly dark for Munay, which is why there is so much from the World War Z soundtrack. Now that we’re moving in a more magical direction, I added Lindsey Stirling. (Thanks Ben) If YOU have any Writing Music suggestions: HIT ME! Instrumental music is very good for writing…

You know what I love blogging about the most? Extracts from my work: telling you what inspired me, giving you behind-the-scenes peeks at metaphors, explaining what personal anecdote led to a certain image… I like showing you how my mind works.

So I will leave you with an extract from Munay; I wrote this just after the crowdfunding project ended. This was my mood for the following piece:



One day we awoke at dawn; tangled in our bedsheets, our hair tangled together. We opened our eyes and I saw reflected in his the desperation I felt every morning when I awoke: thankfully, you are still here. The panic subdued. We smiled carefully. After so many months together, we were still afraid to be boisterous.

Laying in my bed, soaked still from the flight of the night before, our careful fingers tried to untangle our heads. Stubborn strands had a steadfast grip. I didn’t own scissors. I held the stubborn strands of hair tightly and pulled. They ripped from my head but kept their steadfast grip onto Mat. Parts of me would not be separated from him. He smiled.

Stretching our legs in bed, the sun came out from behind the heavy grey clouds. Its rays fell onto my feet and Mat said: “Let’s go for a walk.”


You’ll be hearing from me very soon, ayllu.

Love, Ritti


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