Berlin

Berlin

Freitag, 27. März 2015

I am irritated...


..but you can not write an entire book about your irritation. You’d probably be depressed after 10 pages into it (which I am) I have been irritated ever since I started the book and yet, never could let go. I threw away pages and pages and pages, again and again and again, but I still have the idea and about 500 pages of material. Growing.
The first idea I had was: I want to write a book about women.
Good.
No, rather not good.
It irritated me how many women my age or even 10 years younger were stuck in unhappy situations.
So I knew, this novel might become sort of a feminist book. I was irritated right away, and embarrassed, just thinking about the reactions to it by, say: men. I would lose friends I'd never had, that one was for sure.
By the way: its Gloria Steinems 81st birthday today!
Most women (maybe even all women) I knew had children and were in relationships and they did approximately 85% of the housework (rather more), on top of that fulfilling the perfectionist requirements for motherhood in Germanys 21st century, on top of it all looking pretty fabulous, being extremely intelligent and if all this weren’t enough, they mostly made their own money too, some even made enough money for the entire family. So the question somewhat by itself occurred: is there something wrong with that picture? Should I find other women to know? Women who were ugly, made no money and never did the dishes? Or women who, lets just be daring and say it: have self esteem.
The next question was like: what would happen, if women had selfesteem and used their energy for stuff they really loved instead of laundry dishes vacuuming cooking (o.k. some do like that) remembering all the extended family members birthdays and those of their childrens friends and purchasing all the gifts necessary for the occasions?
What could they do, besides obliging to career standards of a male dominated professional and private universe? I am still just asking, out of irritation. And I am not suggesting, they'd change the world, make it a better place or something. I am not THAT naive.
Okay, the idea for the novel was, and I am still organizing my thoughts, after five years of work on the novel (o.k. of mostly procrastinating work on the novel) which by the way shall be named “Swans love differently” because I read somewhere that swans mate for life, which I think, people don’t, they only stay together, for various reasons, not the least of which might be fear, another one might very well be convenience. Or they don’t stay together for various reasons: not the least of which might also be fear. In very very rare cases there might actually be true love, that lasts a life long. I am not sure. I am mostly irritated.
Why do so many women of the 21st century in Germany have so little self esteem? Just a question.
Because they were brought up by women with very little self esteem? After all: Low self esteem runs in the genes and it might just be a very very long process to get rid of it. (Lets not forget that in most countries worldwide, women still count less than a mule).
Irritation does not help, patience might.
So I decided I am not going to answer my question: s.a.in my novel. I can not answer them. The only thing I feel capable of is gathering material. Overwhelming. The process to get order into my head and the material might take forever. Again: irritation is not helpful, is just a starting point. Patience might help. Also stamina, preserverance, digging into the well on a daily basis if possible. Keep returning to those pages and do not forget to throw away all the darlings. They are the worst.
I will tell stories of three women: daughter, mother, grandmother, stories of three different eras in which women could harbour dreams in Germany, but the degree to which any kind of realization was possible differed highly, tended to zero in many cases. (my mother, just saying, born in 1942, was not allowed to learn the humble profession of a dressmaker, because she was supposed to get married anyways).
The grandmother sews a quilt, over years, she sews one square after the other, she sews them together, she builds her little quilt universe and she hides little notes in each square. The granddaughter, who inherits the quilt after the grandmothers death, finds them after being in an abusive relationship for two years. Notes like: Love is an overrated emotion or His feet stink, I am not sure, I can stand it much longer. The notes revealing a marriage, her grandmothers marriage and its unhappiness, which in real life never occured to the granddaughter. The notes even suggesting, the grandmother might have had an affair. Over years, with the neighbor. 
Those notes help her to untangle herself, and maybe by untangling herself, she even, postmortal, could somewhat liberate her grandmother. In the end I want her to be free, and her grandmothers notes are the path on which she, mentally, climbs into freedom. In the end, she will also be reunited with her mom, a poet (whose poems will also be part of my novel, even though, several people from the publishing business already told me, that you can not put poems in novels, but why? I ask, and am irritated once more), who left her, when she was 12, in order to be free and write.
Does anything make sense? Will I ever put all the pieces together and show my quilt, I mean my novel, to the world?

I am irritated, but I am also patient. I know, even after five years of work (or procrastination) I am still in a state of preparation, but also kind of ready to jump onto the first sentence that makes real sense. Every sentence I wrote so far is mere preparation, circling in. Not many will remain in the end. My story is leading a dialogue with itself, in all directions: me with the characters, the characters with each other, me with myself a lot - I feel, there are streams of consciousness floating around, talking to each other. So another job I have to work on, is again and again, to become so quiet, that the consciousnesses can be heard and ultimately put to paper. to rest, by me.
I am, maybe, a little less irritated. I have to go to work now.
Write my novel.
Patient. With preserverance.
Because even if I know everything and I can stop running around for more material, in my head and in the world, it will still take a while to write everything down, which will then require a lot of preserverance to sit still. The art of sitting still and writing what is already there. Never to be underestimated.
So, you can not write an entire book about your irritation. But you can, maybe, write one about the end of irritation and how you got there and that, at the end of every irritation the next irritation is already waiting to be discovered.


© Susanne Becker

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