Out with the old!

25 Nov

And for a good cause, at that.

This morning I emptied our linnen closet, which was bursting at the seams. About three quarters of what was inside will be washed, dried and donated for the refugees that are still swarming to Europe. Especially now that it is cold I refuse to discuss refugee politics and legal tricks. These people are here now, and they are cold. So I collected a bunch of blankets, pillows and sheets, together with some of my beloved scarves, to be washed and set aside until one of the official collectors comes our way (or I have the car and time to drop it off somewhere).  We have so much stuff, it is almost embarrassing!

Especially after the attacks in Paris and the fear of future terrorist cromes, people are shouting about how we take in too many refugees and how some of them may be dangerous or have bad character (or suck at maths, who knows). And every now and then cultures clash and there may be fights in refugee camps and of course the media is all over it, especially some papers, and every single time you hear some people say, “See? All those strong, illegal immigrants, male, mostly criminal, and we’re welcoming them and bending over to accommodate their anti-democratic views!”

And maybe they are right.

My point is, that’s beside the point. We cannot let people starve or freeze just because we might not agree with their world view.

Of course I expect everyone who comes here to stick to the rules and not commit any crimes. If they do – and if they are caught – the legal system will deal with it. But I don’t think we can, in good conscience, deny people from war-torn countries refuge, and we surely cannot interrogate them at the borders to decide who is welcome and who must stay outside.

And when they are here, I think we should do our best not to let them die.

Take care of your tribe

19 Nov

In the aftermath of the terrible killings in Paris last week, there have been three bomb threats in two days in my town. No bombs have been found, for which I am incredibly grateful, and I still struggle to understand why people would do such a thing.

A few of my Muslim colleagues would, without a doubt, love to live in a conservative sharia-based state, and in my opinion there is no reason not to PEACEFULLY build a Muslim community based on conservative islamic laws. Why don’t they go and build a community for everyone who wants to stand with them, peacefully, the way Mormons or Amish or Jehova’s witnesses or the Twelve Tribes do? I am sure not much would be said against that.

Forcing people in Syrian towns to live after religious rules you impose on them – not so great.

Beheading people who do not share your religious views because they do not follow your religious laws, which you brought to their hometown without asking them – yeah, no.

Attacking people in secular communities far from your home, with completely different cultural and religious background, because they do not share your religious views – you’ve got to be kidding me!

From what I see, most people are not “enemies of the one true religion”. They may be sceptics, they may be “infidels” (according to your definition), but the modern world has a place for every religion and every belief, and if you are convinced that your path is the only one, why not rejoice in the knowledge that there will be plenty of reward in paradise while everyone else is punished for straying from the One True Path(TM)?

Every so often someone claims that “jihad” means “struggle to support your religion”. Go ahead, feed the poor, build shelters for the homeless, treat the sick. Save as many Muslim lives as you can.

Take care of your tribe.

Because, in the end, this is what we all should be doing. Go out, find the people who are connected to our life – by blood or oath or belief – and take care of them. Make them your tribe.

My tribe is not defined by blood or religion. It consists of those who share similar ethic views and do their best to uphold them. It consists of those who are on the same path, at different milestones maybe. Some of them I have never met, and may never meet in person. Some I may never even know exist.

The people who refuse to hate, but take no shit.Those are my tribe.


Why Lesbian Vampire Killers is not a funny movie. Read at your own risk

11 Nov

I am developing a birthday tradition – we gather friends, eat and drink and watch horror movies. This year it was “Piranha 3DD” and “Lesbian Vampire Killers“, both at the request of friends.

For the past few days I have tried to find out why I did not like LVK. British horror comedy, what is not to like? Most dialogues are beer-witty, the images nicely composed … and yet something sat wrong with me. Until I got it. And now allow me to spoil the fun (and the movie) for you:

Basically this is a story of two guys accidentally stumbling into an ancient curse that turns every woman of a certain village into a lesbian vampire by the age of 18. The curse stems from Vampire Queen Carmilla, who fell in love with the wife of some knight, who, quoting from memory, was the only man brave enough to penetrate her. The movie goes on, showing how those two British blokes try to get a few German mythology(??) students drunk in order to get laid. Of course all women are turned into vampires before the guys get lucky. Which basically forces them to lift the curse. A bit of blood (or in this case, slime) shedding, a bit of cursing, some very mild erotic scenes later everything is fine – except for the fact that the women may not be vampires anymore, but they are still lesbians. The Horror!!!

So what rankled me? You guessed it – the cultural depiction of the German students was totally wrong. (Just kidding.)

My real problem – so first this Carmilla is raped, and then she is the evil one for cursing a village? And what is wrong about being a lesbian? I know, I know, they meant no harm, and why do I always have to take everything so serious? But I honestly preferred ageing David Hasselhoff singing and failing at lifeguarding over LVK. Sorry, not sorry.

(Just so you know that not all is lost – I am watching “Penny Dreadful” on Netflix at the moment, and I really enjoy the depiction of the evil witches. Honestly, who of us hasn’t thought about sewing the heart of a child into a doll to curse someone annoying?)

(That was not sarcasm.)

(For the records, no children have gone missing anywhere near me.)

Not feeling it

28 Oct

This year I am not feeling Halloween. Haven’t even dragged our decoration out of the basement. Maybe this is because to all the things I am trying to accomplish at the moment (writing two books, planning a third, dreaming of a fourth, figuring out when to squeeze translating yet another one into my schedule; taking care of sick cats; preparing for a few more weeks with an absent partner as he has to travel for work yet once more; taking his mother clothes-shopping; …). I still hope to watch a bunch of wonderful horror movies next weekend – any suggestions?

Last year I loved Trick’r’Treat – it has a wonderful comic book style and is dark and kind of funny and twisted and gory and all over the place. It came out in 2007, but if you are like me and always trying to catch up with the world, you may not yet have seen it. In that case give it a try! I may even watch it again, and again, and again.

A bit all over the place

14 Oct


That’s me, posing as a responsible adult before I have had my second coffee. I have fallen in love with bright lipstick colors, although I mostly wear (and apply) makeup at the office. Think of it as war paint, if you like.

Have you gotten your copy of “Skinned” already? No? Then hurry, it is really worth a read! Of course I have to say that, I wrote it after all.

Skinned Front Cover

In the meantime I have been busy and have all but completed the next installment in German. It’s called “Whispering woods”. I hope to get that one to you sooner, but there are so many projects on my plate! First of all there is “Lusty Andrea and the hilarious tentacles of death” (working title) which has alien comedians, mysterious rituals and an invasion that can only be stopped by people wearing capes. You know what I mean. It is also the project I am trying to finish for a writing class. Writing classes are quite exotic in Germany. Since we have geniuses such as Goethe, many people believe that writing cannot be taught, but that you have to emerge from your secret (torture) chamber as accomplished author with a masterpiece tucked under your arm. And since I have no free time whatsoever, I found a wonderful online class taught by a lovely German woman living in Portugal who is also a writer and offers week-long writer retreats (which I cannot afford … yet), and she is really forcing me to improve my writing. I love every minute of it, more than I love the sleep I might get otherwise.  Oh, and while I was walking through the woods I stumbled over a lovely new story that is just perfect for the pre-winter holiday time, complete with mysteries and magic and monsters and love. This excitement for additional projects is pathological, I tell you.

I have also been thinking about publishing a collection of thoughts on witching, beauty and health. Which I have not written yet, except in my mind. Because if there is one more thing I need in this life, it is additional work. I think it might be fun!

So now you know. I am still not dead, and picking up speed for the cold months. My father sent me the first picture of snow this morning, and I think I will spend plenty of time at my desk till spring. Ready? Ready!

PS: Maybe I should add … you can find “Skinned” either here or here. And if for some weird reason you are not into Kindle ebooks, drop me a note and we will figure something out. I am sure you will love Helena and Falk. (And if only you knew what they are up to next … only two books till Beltane!)


SKINNED Cover preview

23 Sep

Skinned Front Cover

I should be writing

22 Sep

I should not be blogging. Deadlines are rushing by, and writing time is scarce. I should be writing.

I am trying to sort through my life. Again.

Last Friday we went to our favorite pub – three ladies out after a long day. As we drank cocktail after cocktail, we were talking and having fun.

What is the worst thing you ever did?

The Muslim doctor, “When I was little, my brothers and I would throw mud at the people coming to the mosque in their white robes on Friday.”

Me, “As a kid I scratched our landlord’s car because he was an asshole.”

My friend and colleague, “I slept with your ex. Before he became your ex.”

I laughed, too surprised to be angry. She seemed contrite. Said it was the thing she regretted most in the world. I told her that I could not promise I would not get angry later.

The next day, when I was supposed to go grocery shopping, I took our car for a highway tour. Driving is one of the most comforting things in the world for me. I was one hour later for everything the rest of the day, but I felt better.

I messaged my ex, with whom I was still friends, and told him he was an asshole. Then I blocked him on all chanels. We are not friends any longer.

Everyone of my friends has three strikes, so to speak. I don’t think I hold my surroundings to high standards (some people claim that is not true), and I know that everyone messes up sometimes. As long as we all do our best, it’s okay.

My friend says it was soon after he and I started dating, and she did not think the thing we had going was serious.

It was serious for me. You don’t get a say in other people’s relationships, even though you are entitled to your opinion.

I don’t believe in “sisters unite” – the idea that random women have to hold together against all men –  and I would not hold it against any of my friends if she started dating an ex. One of Richard’s ex girlfriends works with me, and we get along well. After that guy and I split up, I never minded when said friend told me about their sheenanigans, or when he talked about other women he was dating. Exes are entitled to lives, and friends are entitled to fun.

During her graduation party, her then-boyfriend made a pass at me. Everyone was drunk. I kept him at a distance and told her later.

She said that back then we had not known each other for long, only about a year, and it seemed like a good opportunity. Just a casual encounter. Nothing special.

Last March we celebrated our ten-year friendship anniversary. Had she told me right after it happened, the past nine years would not have taken place.

If said ex dropped in front of me, bleeding, I would step over him carefully as to not get his blood on my shoes. I want to hit someone. I want to yell. I want to wrap everything up and move far away so I won’t have to try and remain polite during office hours. We share a room with two other women, so there are no secrets. I am vindictive by nature and not beyond petty revenge, but I try to be better than that.

When her boyfriend attacked her in their home, she stayed at our place for a weekend. And when, a few weeks later, he kicked in her apartment door, I stepped between them to help avoid the worst. We called the police. Richard came over to talk to the guy and calm him down.

Faced with an unexpected situation, I always need some time to find out how I feel about it. Those who are close to me know that. I always try to find out whether anger etc. are just quick-tempered overreactions or whether they are valid. Occasionally with some time and reason I find out I was wrong at first. It happens to the best of us. I am also not sure whether maybe I am writing this as part of a subconscious revenge plot. So far I have not told anyone but Richard because I don’t want others to look at her. We share too many friends for me to talk about the whole thing comfortably.

A few months back she complained that I would value the opinion of random men higher than hers. We fought. I told her that I trusted men even less because I had been abused as a child. The next day, she tried to manipulate me with that knowledge. That was the closest I ever came to hitting someone in the face. It took me months to sort through everything and come out the other side.

RIchard has never made it a secret that he does not trust this friend. In the past I kept defending her. I trust my friends. When I told him this story, he did not say anything negative about her.

Every one of my friends has three strikes.

And now I’ll grab my stuff and head to the office, to try and wrap everything up before a long weekend.


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