Today, I re-read Virgina Woolf`s famous essay “A room of one’s own” to encourage myself to write. Although the text was published in 1929, Woolf’s main points about women and fiction writing are still valid.
During my time in Prague, I had the chance to visit the Franz Kafka Museum. Kafka’s life demonstrates that multicultural societies are nothing new in Europe. Kafka was a Jew. His mother tongue was German. He was born in the Czech Republic. He died in Austria. Despite the lame rhetoric of racist and populist politicians, Europe was always home to people with fluid identities.
Some days ago, I went to the exhibition “Ossip Mandelstam – Wort und Schicksal (word and destiny)” in Heidelberg’s oldtown. The Jewish Russian poet and essayist was a student at Heidelberg University in 1909/10, and it was here that he started writing. His tragic life shows how much our lives are influenced by policy-makers and that beautiful art always finds a way to come to the surface.
Heidelberg’s castle rests above the old town, from where it commands a spectacular view.
The castle was built and extended over three centuries. During the war of succession (1688-1648), it was twice destroyed by the French and, in 1764, the remains of the castle were struck by lightning – igniting a fire which destroyed it once again. The castle was not reconstructed until today. Its facade became a symbol of the epoch of German Romanticism (Deutsche Romantik).
I admire the German writer Hermann Hesse for a long time. That’s why I decided to visit Maulbronn Monastery (Kloster Maulbronn) where some crucial events of his early life took place. The monastery is one of the best preserved Medieval monastery complexes in Europe. Its construction commenced in 1147.
I studied German and Comparative Literature at the University of Heidelberg. My Bachelor thesis was about the image of Indian women in German literature. A lot of German writers were fascinated by India and thought it would be like a real paradise on Earth. Nevertheless, I found out that writers such as Goethe, Hesse and Mann showed a very one-sided image of Indian women.
When birds get ready to fly to the Southern hemisphere
You stare at them and wish for soft white wings
You want to go away for a little while
To rest your head and breathe some sea salt
But you cannot hide somewhere
Or go into hibernation
So, you stay and you fight your battles
You speak your truth and do not allow anybody to tear you down
You bite your lips and blink with your eyes
You keep your smile
And then you start to learn, you learn to grow
You feel that everything is connected
You stop shivering
You are calm and in control
And you can feel your soft white wings
Because they have always been a part of you