What are you writing about?

I was surprised to find that I had written pieces of poetry when I was 16 years old. I wrote a whole lot of poems before I left for New Zealand in 2004. They were for friends and, interestingly, for online friends. On that matter, I was also surprised to be reminded of my time when I was part of an online community, chatting in a forum with strangers who became, at least, people I would write poetry for. But that is a topic for another post.

At the age of around 11 years I wrote a song. In English. I vividly remember my sister and me presenting our songs to each other. We were in the far north of Germany, visiting our uncle, aunt and cousin with our parents. Somehow we had managed to get some alone-time from our cousin. She is six years younger and at that age I felt way too grown-up to still play with little kids. Even after all these years I know the lyrics and melody of the chorus. A couple of months ago, however, I found the original piece of paper. With the lines on it. And oh boy, I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time! It’s way too embarrassing to publish the song online. But let me assure you: my creative, fantasy-loving, dramatic, romantically-influenced-by-Disney 11 years old brain did a fabulous job!

Before the writing, though, there was reading. When I was in elementary school I had difficulties getting to sleep. That’s when my sleeping routine emerged: reading before turning off the light. I would sit in bed, pillow in my back and read; probably from third grade onwards. I loved all things crime, spooky and fantasy. I read a lot of R. L. Stine’s Fear Street books. I loved the series Animorphes. To this day, “Märchenmond” by Wolfgang Hohlbein is one of my favourite books. I remember – now 13 – how the boys in my class started borrowing my books. They were surprised and impressed by my taste as I didn’t fit their “girls like horse stories” cliché.

My interest for the written word, thus, has always been there. My creativity to use words as a gift, to put them together in poetry for people I cared about has been there already. My passion to express my thoughts and feelings in writing and share it with others has accompanied me for quite some time.

Still, I somehow forgot about it; only remembering what I have done for years and years, what I have been trained in for years: writing analysis of books, writing essays on political theory, writing in a way that kills all creativity. Scientific writing aims at putting people, behavior into a specific language: abstract, non-personal, seemingly neutral words – as if that reflects reality more realistically!

Reality – people, behaviours, our lives are colourful, chaotic and they can’t be put in a box. They need an endless waterfall of adjectives to describe their beauty, a never-ending breeze of verbs to express the variety of being, a mountain high of substantives to name every action, thought and feeling.

I wrote my way back.

Starting with private journals that I kept during my travels around the world I began writing this blog in 2013 as a travel blog, now ready to share my experiences with friends and the public. Rather quickly, I was ready to share not only travel encounters, but those stories and emotions that dominated my mind at a specific time. But more than a diary I found my way back to a kind of writing that matters: communicating my self in words. I am much braver and distinct with my feelings when I can put them into words. Talking comes only second.

I am amazed, still and probably forever, by every comment and feedback telling me that my writing gave a language to their thoughts and feelings which beforehand had been a vague idea or name-less. Now they can see and name it. Now they feel understood. I still don’t believe it, but if true, I am grateful for this gift.

I can see it for myself. In poetry I found a way of putting my most vulnerable and shameful, as well as my most loved experiences into words and thus, making them part of my world. I gave myself a language to communicate them.

I write about myself; my thoughts, experiences and feelings.

I write about you; your thoughts, experiences and feelings.

The day you cannot connect to my writing is the day I have lost touch with the world. Every thought, experience and feeling of mine has been thought, experienced and felt before. With a pen in my right hand I tap into the soul of the world and give a language to our shared humanity.

Thank you for inspiration and every encouraging word – spoken or in writing.

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