Victor had too often in his life said No. Or rather No when he actually wanted to say Yes! and Yes when deep inside it was calling No!
In order to simplify his life, he replaced all Yesses with Nos.
It had taken him years of painstaking work to build his fortress to keep everyone out and himself in. Victor started to believe it was because of all the Nos which should have been, might have been, could have been Yesses.
And therefore, starting from today, no, from this very second, he would say YES! to everything.
This emerged from a prompt by Jutta Reichelt’s Story Generator. Jutta is a German author and fabulous human being who runs a genius blog on writing and storytelling.
Hedda Hoffman was an underpaid extra starlet, hanging around the Paramount Studio lot waiting for her big time. There were so many hopefuls just like her but she not only had resources, she was also resourceful and no one would ever be able to claim she’d slept her way to the top.
Her wedding ring was a prop and if that wasn’t enough for the groping talent scouts’ hands, Hedda would whisper gently and conspiratorially in their ear that she was suffering from a not-so-rare sexually transmittable disease. That usually cut short any kind of amorous fervour and bodily exploration, but was also risky because she didn’t want to end up as gossip fodder in Louella’s HollywoodReporter.
So, one step at a time. Yep, it was a men’s business but she wanted to make it on her own terms, not for nothing was her favourite smoking place underneath the big Klieg light, even if the emanating heat liquefied her carefully applied make-up.
7.30 am. There came Mr. Grant, on the dot as usual. She had skillfully re-arranged the cables so that he had to trip.
And who would catch his fall if not Hedda?
This story emerged from a prompt by Hausauspapier using today’s date (21st Feb in my case). If you want to join in, take the book you are reading or the one closest to you. Open it on page 21 (day), copy the second sentence (month) and add your own sentence or write a whole story.
Mine was David Niven’s autobiography Bring On The Empty Horses about the Golden Age in Hollywood and the sentence was ‘Kick her up the ass!’ Sure enough Hedda went into action again.
I’m carrying this clever prompt forward and you are invited to participate with a link in the comments section or by leaving a comment.
Lisa del Giocondo was fed up with keeping that phony smile on her lips. These fools didn’t know that the only reason she smiled so awkwardly was to hide the wooden braces which had been fitted to correct her crooked teeth.
Dio mio, she wasn’t amused at all. Not by these gaping visitors, not by being trapped inside a frame or hanging by a thread… the corners of her mouth seemed to be pulled upwards by ever-tightening hooks.
Then this god-damn CCTV and guards everywhere… nowhere was she able to spend some time in peaceful solitude.
The lights in the Louvre went off. Lisa had been meticulously plotting her escape for 502 years, 13 days and 8 hours.
Take a bowl of strawberries
put it into the freezer
wait one hour
take it out
Gently place one strawberry
in your mouth
for three seconds
roll it in sugar
Put it back in your mouth
the luscious moment.
My best friend Katrin Denkwitz and I had a ritual. Every time I would sleep over at hers, we’d patiently wait under our blankets until her parents were asleep, then sneak to the freezer and take out a bag of strawberries.
Katrin taught me the important lesson of how to gently defrost each strawberry in the mouth before coating them in sugar. Then we would look at each other from opposite armchairs and grin lopsidedly through numb mouths.
Later in my twenties and already living in London, I came across a line in Leonard Cohen’s book The Favourite Game, ‘She had a treat for him, frozen strawberries.’ I thought to myself, I know exactly what you mean, and in that moment divergent lines from the past and present connected in consoling ways.
Winter carries the whiff of VapoRub, running noses, parkas, Disney-inspired, tinsel-heavy wonderlands (making you wonder a lot), not wanting to leave the house, man leggings, simmering family feuds surfacing over under-cooked Brussels sprouts, recycled Christmas gifts, optimistic diets and even more optimistic New Year plans, frostbite, reindeer jumpers, pretending Christmas is not happening by loudly singing Heatwave over schmaltzy Santa songs and always remembering that most things can be solved with a glass of mulled wine and chocolate coated gingerbread. Continue reading →
Or A German In London *Warning: clichés and stereotypes abound
I first came to Britain on a class trip in 1992 and nothing prepared me for the melting pot that was and is London. Walking down the street, I couldn’t believe the sheer diversity of faces, nationalities, religions and cultures. This was G. E. Lessing’s dream of (religious) tolerance put into practice in everyday Britain in the late 20th century. Coming from a country where there was hardly any non-German soul living/working/studying/on benefits – this was extraordinary. Continue reading →
I’ve borrowed the title from an unfinished novel by Thomas Mann, who in turn was inspired by the 19th century Romanian con artist Georges Manolescu. The novel is about a charming man unhampered by moral precepts and so skilled in the art of subterfuge that he manages to gain access to the highest reaches of European society. Continue reading →
Ha! I’ve just used click bait. In order to lure you onto this page I cunningly posed a question you are dying to find the answer to. Now I got you here but in order to find out which Muppet you are, you will have to read the whole post. No claim, no pain, no gain.
I could have also used a statement which gets you witlessly worried, such as: You Won’t Believe the Effect the Internet’s Having On Your Brain. Actually, that’s quite a scary subject matter and I will deal with this in another post.
But back to the essential bits of life. The other week a friend complained about not being able to go online for 2! hours, sending her into a spiral of Weltschmerz and meaninglessness. Not a stranger to smug replies, I suggested, try reading a book, wink wink.
That’s when karma got me by the derriere. Only when it happened to me, it wasn’t just 2 hours but a whole week of being sans internet. And no, I couldn’t use my phone because my data-allowance lasts a whole day these days because:
1. I didn’t listen to my friend Rubi when I got my contract.
2. Instagram used to be something other people did who didn’t have a life.
No. Internet. For. One. Week.
I wish I could say my sense of smell returned, or that I perceived colours more colourfully, or that suddenly there was a spring in my step and the sun shone brighter. But nay. I felt bereft. Somewhere I knew that there was still purpose to my life, I just had to find it. Quickly.
In order to maintain an air of dignified calm I kept telling myself, I don’t really need internet. Even people who think they really really need internet, don’t really need internet. They think they do, which is different. I think I do, which is not. To make sure, I looked up Maslow’s pyramid of life’s necessities, starting with the basic ones and going up to more unbasic ones. My fears were confirmed, the Internet was nowhere on it.
Internet isn’t food. It isn’t housing. It isn’t friends. It isn’t air to breathe. It isn’t a life-partner, even though for some of us it might seem that way. To find out just how important the Internet is for you, answer this simple question (no, it’s not the Muppet one): Would you die without Internet?
If your answer is a firm YES than there is nothing else to do but get unlimited data allowance, grab your recharger, stay close to a plug, smile at your phone lovingly, inhale deeply and hug it very very tightly.
If your answer is NO, then really I don’t know what to say. You obviously have a life. You must have found meaning elsewhere. Maybe even in the real world. Maybe in paper-bound books. Maybe in mixed tapes you rewind by turning your finger inside the serrated hole. Maybe you found it by wiping printer’s ink off your face. Maybe you are talking to real people in the real world. You might even be hugging trees instead of looking at a picture of one.
On a whole, you are wholly superior to the rest of us phone huggers. But remember, we are in a parallel universe, so don’t get bothered by us needing to be constantly online, because, after all, we are only trying to find out which Muppet we truly are.