5 September 2008

First Steps

These rhapsodic entries aim to reflect an abiding interest in literature and writing plus observations on life in Berlin from the perspective of a non-German resident. Two disparate domains but both have touched upon my life and shaped it in significant ways. It is not inconceivable that other miscellaneous items will creep into the agenda but such is life; you make a plan and then change it (but at least you have a plan).

Regarding my literary interests, it is not my intention to initiate some kind of bluestocking group. But I have been struck by what women authors have had to say, as well as the conditions in which they executed their art. Those of you familiar with the life of Jane Austen will immediately recognise the allusion in my title to this blog. Today’s writers need not fear discovery of their true identity or hide behind a different gender. Not for them the tribulations that the Brontës, George Eliot or even Woolf faced in trying to bring their work out into the public sphere. How different things could have been for them if they had access to a computer: even locked up in their drawing rooms no one could stop them. (Incidentally, why did J.K. Rowlings and P.D. James decide it was better to use initials instead of their full names?)

Regarding the second (incongruous) thread, I have been living in Berlin for nigh on a year now. With no knowledge of the place, nor friends or contacts here, I have struggled to get along and establish myself, discovering pitfalls as I go along. A pitiful command of the German language only enabled progress at a snail’s pace. Some of my experiences may prove useful for those who follow in my footsteps. For an outsider, the city is redolent with images of its past history, imbued with an atmosphere of an era long gone. People who come to the city, either as tourists or with the intention of staying longer, do so because of the ‘idea’ of Berlin they carry in their heads, as opposed to Berlin per se, as a real, tangible city. This was certainly true in my case. The reality of living in this city bears no connection with the images that are popular outside – whether this disparity is good or bad, I cannot say. I merely record my experiences and leave it for you to decide.

1 comment:

Παν said...

Πολύ ωραίο,


προσπαθησε να γράφεις και στη γερμανική γλώσσα εμπειρίες καθημερινές και παρατηρήσεις.

Και πάλι συγχαρητήρια.


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Squeaky Door by Elizabeth Chairopoulou is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.