Black Sunshine – through the years

This will be a short one. And full of clichés, so bear with me.

When I was 14, I discovered that, contrary to my classmates’ beliefs, there was more to music than N’Sync and the Backstreet Boys. Thank God.

My hometown’s music scene leaned heavily towards Rock and Metal, no pun intended. So I went to every gig there was, best friend in tow, staring doe-eyed at the guys and girls on stage – one eye always on the clock, lest I broke curfew.

Fast forward 17 years to last night.

My first real night out in… a too embarrassingly long time. I stood there, beer in hand, no curfew in sight and simply enjoyed my first “Black Sunshine” concert in 13 years.


And it was good.

Not just the music, though I immensely enjoyed that. More the certainty that no one would call out “Mama” and I would have to stop anything I was doing at a moment’s notice.

I talked to old friends and aquaintances, met new ones, stood in people’s cigarette smoke and enjoyed the beer on their breath, simply for the novelty of it not being milk…

And then, at one a.m. I called it a night, hugged my friends and drove home to find my husband and daughter knocked out from the exertion of a sleepless evening. And it was good, even though duty called again at 6:30 and I was nowhere near being well-rested. Life is good.


Today, on social media, I haven’t stopped talking about last night’s events. I don’t suppose I will anytime soon.


A small number of “people” have caused millions of people a lot of pain. Presumably all in the name of a god that I can’t believe would condone this.

The attacks that hit closest to home for me ar those on Bataclan. I’ve visited hundreds of rock shows, from small venues to big halls and again and again I think “it could have been me”.  And, in a way, it was. Those more than 120 people were my sisters and brothers at heart. They loved Rock’n’Roll just as much as I do, and they wanted to have a good time.

Those terrorists who brutally took their lives want us all to be afraid now. Afraid to go out and enjoy what we do, cower and fear ” what if?”

I, for one, won’t do it.

I hate that my daughter’s growing up in a world where insanity like this exists.

And I won’t stand for her being afraid.

Tonight, my hometown’s Cow Club celebrates 30 years of supporting young bands. And my friends, shocked and sad as they are, won’t stay home tonight, too afraid to go out. They will grab a drink and stand shoulder to shoulder with their friends and defy last night’s killers by doing what they will always be doing – enjoy their freedom and do whatever the heck they want to.

A man, a book and a ship

Last night I left behind a sleeping baby and tired husband and drove the Autobahn south, to Cologne. I walked along the Rhine until I found the MS RheinEnergie/Literaturschiff at the KD Anleger, refulgent against the dark river.

IMG_20150317_202002In its belly waited a bearded word-smith, quickly signing away at a desk filled with books.


The Literaturschiff was continuously flooded with guests until, shortly after 9 pm., the ship left shore and the excited susurrus swelled. As Patrick Rothfuss, of Kingkiller Chronicles fame, took the stage, one could find grinning faces all around, it was finally happening: the author was in Germany, in Cologne, and about to read excerpts from his latest novella, “the Slow Regard of Silent Things”. Joining him was ChrisTine Urspruch, whose gentle reading of Auri, Rothfuss’ pixie-esque trickster, was truly endearing, enchanting the audience as much as Rothfuss himself.

Joined by Denis Scheck for a question-and-answers session he spoke of growing up around books

“not literature”

his love for language

“I really admire Chaucer”

and especially for the Fantasy genre

“why can’t we do [what Chaucer does], but – with dragons!”

His disbelief was tangible when Rothfuss questioned why only “the tragic movies where people die” get all the Oscars, not the comic ones, referring to the late Terry Pratchett and his humorous genius.

It was a whirlwind of a night for a fan who wouldn’t have dreamed seeing “his wordship” in the flesh was possible. The pleasure was only slightly disturbed by Schecks impressive endeavor of trying to translate as much of Rothfuss’ detailed answers as possible. After the event, Rothfuss stayed until every one who so wished could take home a signed copy of one or several of his books, even if it took him until 1:30 am to do so.


Sadly, the organisers managed to utter two conflictive pieces of information concerning where the actual signing session would take place, leading to much confusion and chaos for the fans – and for this one to suddenly find herself in the last third of the oh-so-long queue of waiting book-carriers.

Still, it was worth it, just for being able to simply say

Thank you for writing

and, though having signed for such a long time, seeing a content twinkle in those tired eyes above the beard, which itself seemed to say

it was worth it

The Slow Regard of Silent Things

This book has been lying around here since late October 2014, and I hadn’t had a chance to read it yet, because you know!

But now I’ve finally read it, which didn’t take all that long since it’s a 176-page novella, and I’m so glad I did.



I’ve been a fan of Patrick Rothfuss’ King Killer Chronicle books for a couple of years now. Not only are they deliciously written, the story and its hero is unique. Kvothe is a brilliant arcanist, but he is flawed and down-to-his-bones human. Book one alone warrants a post of its own, which I can’t deliver right now. Let’s leave it at: best fantasy I’ve read in a long while and definitely worth being mentioned in the same sentence as Tolkien.

“The Slow Regard of Silent Things” is not, and Rothfuss will be the first to tell you, the long awaited third part of his trilogy, but rather a short glimpse into the world of one of his characters, Auri.

On his blog – and in the book’s foreword – Rothfuss warns the potential reader that the book might not be for everyone:

You might not want to buy this book.

I know, that’s not the sort of thing an author is supposed to say. The marketing people aren’t going to like this. My editor is going to have a fit. But I’d rather be honest with you right out of the gate.

First, if you haven’t read my other books, you don’t want to start here.

My first two books are The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear. If you’re curious to try my writing, start there. They’re the best introduction to my world. This book deals with Auri, one of the characters from that series. Without the context of those books, you’re probably going to feel pretty lost.

Second, even if you have read my other books, I think it’s only fair to warn you that this is a bit of a strange story. I don’t go in for spoilers, but suffice to say that this one is … different. It doesn’t do a lot of the things a classic story is supposed to do. And if you’re looking for a continuation of Kvothe’s storyline, you’re not going to find it here.

On the other hand, if you’d like to learn more about Auri, this story has a lot to offer. If you love words and mysteries and secrets. If you’re curious about the Underthing and alchemy. If you want to know more about the hidden turnings of my world…

Well, then this book might be for you.

Even though this is certainly a weird book, having only one character, neither storyline nor dialogue, I immensely enjoyed reading it.

When you’re hungry, sometimes you wolf down fast-food. You might even enjoy it, but you’ll be hungry again soon. And it’s not healthy.

Other times, you need a dark piece of chocolate, one you let dissolve in your mouth for minutes, that tastes oh-so-good.

This novella is like said piece of chocolate. Reading it is pure bliss for bibliophiles.

Rothfuss had to take some sh** for it, being blamed that he “only did it for the money” and shouln’t have written it, because “Hell, where is part 3? You OWE me part 3, and you waste your time on this?”. These accusations are rather ridiculous. Aside from no author “owing” their reader more books, accusing Rothfuss of being greedy is just wrong. Anyone who has a mind to can check out his blog and see just how much of his time and effort are directed at “Worldbuilders“, his charity. I don’t think that many other authors “who made it” spend so much of their time working towards helping others. More than once, reading his posts has warmed my heart, sappy as it sounds.

Sure, you could say that as writing is his dayjob, he should be so good at it that he’s believable, but reading posts like this leave me thinking that I could do more, myself:

I don’t want to get all heavy here in the middle of my charity post. But I’ll be honest with y’all. These last couple weeks have been hard for me. Sometimes it just feels like everything in the world is spiraling into shit. Politicians are awful. Corporations are worse. Our justice system seems to be irrevocably fucked. Cash register receipts are giving us cancer and the oceans are poisoned with our plastics.

There’s just so much of it, all the time, and I can’t fix it. All this shit is so wrong and it’s just so fucking *big* and I can’t do anything about it.

There is a word: “Weltschmerz.” I’ve heard it defined as “the despair we feel when the world that is, is not the world we wish it would be.”

I feel this way all the time. I am so endlessly angry and disappointed in the world. If people really understood how constantly, incessantly furious I am, nobody would ever dare come within arm’s reach of me.

That’s why I run Worldbuilders. Because the world isn’t what I want it to be. And I can’t fix it all, but if I don’t do something I’ll either start drinking or simply rage until there’s nothing left of me but ashes.

I can’t fix it all. But I can do this.

Lugazi Dioces Heifer Project (21-0616-01)

(Imagine obviously owned by Patrick Rothfuss and taken from his blog)

There. That’s what I’m about. That little guy is so fucking excited because he has clean water to drink.  That I can do.

At the risk of letting this post get even longer, here’s another snippet from his blog, where you can see that even the little Rothfuss knows what it’s about:

A couple days ago, Sarah made the questionable choice of reading an entire toy catalog to Oot. He showed it to me when I came home, all excited. He had circled about twenty things in it with a red pen, and explained each of them to me. There were two marble mazes. A laser game. A skeleton with removable organs. A fossil kit….

Score one for rampant consumerism.

Later on, he came into my office, clutching the magazine. He started to explain the items to me again, focusing especially on the little terrarium that is supposed to grow plants that look like brains and eyeballs, as well as carnivorous plants (A pitcher plant, I’m guessing from the illustration) and a plant that moves (A sensitive fern.)

“I remember these,” I said, interrupting him gently. “You showed this to me last night.”

“Oh yeah,” he said. “But I was just thinking that you could order all of these on your computer. Not all at once,” he said quickly. “You could do some e-mail. Then order one. Then do some more e-mail. And then order one.”

It breaks my heart that he knows how busy I am. That he feels like he has to fit himself in between my e-mails. I’ve been neglecting him during the fundraiser. today I kissed a llama more than I kissed him. That’s wrong. I’m going to start making that up to him starting tomorrow.

“Those are pretty cool,” I said to him, then added. “Did you know that some families don’t have very much money? There are some families that are so poor that the parents can’t afford to buy any toys at all for their children for Christmas?”

I was going to lead him down the garden path. Explain the concept of something like “Toys for Tots” to him. Make a plan with him about how we could go out together and buy toys for other families.

But he didn’t even give me the chance. He started chattering on almost as soon as I’d finished. “Oh,” he said. “Well if you could buy this one thing for me,” he pointed to the terrarium. “Then we could give all of those other toys to other kids.”

That was it. There was no hesitation. He didn’t have to think it through. I could see his face when I explained that some kids didn’t have toys. It was confusing to him. His is expression said the five-year-old equivalent of “Some kids have no toys? Seriously? What the Actual Fuck?”

So they should get all these other things. He was fine with just one present.

He’s my sweet boy. He’s good. That’s the moral of the story here. He gets it. It’s just sharing. It’s simple.

That is how you raise your kids, people.

The end.

Turning 30

Tomorrow I’m turning 30 and, as expected, this has me thinking.
Not about wrinkles and growing aches and such, but mostly about expectations.
Growing up, I had a lot of them. Most derived from the lives I saw my parents lead, as is probably the case for most of us.
See, growing up I listened to my parent’s life stories. I knew they were in their early twenties when they married and that they had their kids, my brother and me, almost right away. They had worked all their adult lives.
My mother had already worked a couple of years as a full-time er-nurse when she had my brother.
This led me to assume I’d have kids early on, as well. I simply grew up knowing how this model of living had worked well for my mother, thinking it’d work just as well for me.

When I was the same age my mother was when she had my brother, I married.
I was still going to university, then, and far away from getting my degree. No way was I having a baby back then.
After finally getting my Master’s, and receiving an A no less, there was no way, again, to start having kids right away.
The compatibility of a career and kids had started to sound just as wondrous as the fairytales part of my Master’s thesis was based on. I knew that having a job and kids wasn’t utopian, I simply couldn’t imagine having kids right out of university, without ever having had a “real” job.

[disclaimer: Like my mother, I too have worked all my adult life. But only part-time, being able to finish my studies and finance them at the same time.]

After having worked in a “real” job, doing various things for a publishing house under the name of “product managing”, my contract ran out and I was back on the job market, looking for work.

They always say there’s no perfect time for having kids.
For my husband and I, things were quite clear: we’ve always wanted a family. We were waiting for a good time and starting to wonder if that would ever come, or if we would just have to take a leap of faith.

That we did, and now, on the eve of my 30th birthday, I’m mother to an amazingly bright and beautiful little girl. Just yesterday we had a conversation about me turning 30 and thus being 30 years older than her.
Looking into her big blue eyes I told her:

“When you’re ten, I’ll be forty. When you’re turning twenty, I’ll turn fifty. When you’re thirty, just as I’ll be soon, I’ll be sixty. And when you’re forty, I’ll be seventy.”
“Doesn’t sound like it,” I told her amazed face, “but that’s still young! And when you’re in your fifties, if I’m lucky, I’ll be in my eighties, just as your great-grandparents are now!”

Then I started to get dizzy and we stopped our conversation at the changing station.

This is what kids will do to you – making you dizzy while you’re again building expectations, having learned nothing in your thirty years, as it would seem…

Randnotiz – “Männertag” auf EinsLive

EinsLive hat kürzlich den Kampf der Geschlechter ausgetragen, bei dem die Männer aus dem Sektor knapp gewannen.

Deshalb wurde letzten Freitag der “Männertag” gefeiert. Dabei wurden besonders “männliche” Hymnen gespielt, unter anderem von Pearl Jam, AC/DC und den Queens of the Stone Age – alles Bands, die man sonst nicht gerade täglich im Radio spielt – und über die ich mich riesig gefreut habe.

Schon einen Tag später ging es dann wieder gewohnt “unmännlich” zu in der Playlist. Jason Derulo bot den girls an, den 1. Klasse Sitzplatz auf seinem Schoß zu nehmen. So wie sonst 50 Cent großzügig anbietet, seinen “Lutscher” zu teilen. Etc., etc.

Leicht ironisch, dass ich mir da wünsche, es gäbe öfters einen offiziellen Männertag im Radio – der wäre zu den sonstigen inoffiziellen während des restlichen Jahres eine nette Abwechslung.


Soundtrack of 2013

This is so 2013! Aren’t you supposed to post something like this in December? Well yes, you are.

I didn’t, though. I almost decided not to post it all, since it’s so late – but here we go:

My musical 2013 – biographically sorted, including guilty pleasures…

The Smiths – Asleep


Biffy Clyro – Black Chandelier

Layout 1

Imagine Dragons – Radioactive

imagine dragons

Battleme – Hey Hey, My My


Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Thrift Shop


Listener – Wooden Heart


Brand New – Sowing Season


Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Can’t Hold us


Miriam Bryant – Finders Keepers


Audra Mae – Forever Young


Regina Spektor – All the Rowboats


Florence and the Machine – the dog days are over


Milky Chance – Stunner


KRS – One – Sound of da Police


Daughter – Get lucky


Jimmy Fallon, the Roots & Miley Cyrus – We can’t stop


Lorde – Royals


Hofgarten Center und Solingen Bashing

Manchmal habe ich das Gefühl, dass des Solingers liebstes Hobby das Solingen Bashing ist.

[bashing = criticizing or defaming]

Gibt es irgend etwas Neues in der Stadt, muss es sofort zerrissen werden. Aber woran liegt das?

Tendieren wir zu einer vorsichtigen Grundhaltung, mit der wir alles Neue erst einmal in Frage stellen? Gehen wir damit einfach nur auf Nummer sicher? Natürlich fühlen wir uns prima, wenn ein Projekt den Bach runter geht und wir danach selbstgefällig sagen können “Ich habe es schon immer gewusst!”

Natürlich ist es leicht, Neuem vorerst kritisch gegenüber zu treten. Es macht uns weniger verletzlich, als wenn wir unvoreingenommen und, *gasp*, vielleicht sogar positiv darauf zu gehen.

Warum ist dieser Zynismus so chic? Macht er uns zu etwas besonderem, macht er uns anderen überlegen? Ich glaube nicht. Ich glaube, dass er uns auf Dauer verbittert macht.

Schließlich können wir nicht alle wie Statler und Waldorf sein, die trotz ihres nun schon über 30-jährigen Bashing-Marathons immer noch sympathisch sind.


Ein super Beispiel für das beschriebene Phänomen ist Solingens neues Hofgarten Center.

Dass viele Solinger dem neuen Shopping Center skeptisch gegenüber stehen, ist verständlich. Schließlich konnten wir alle beobachten, welche Schwierigkeiten die Clemens Galerien am Mühlenplatz haben, ihre Geschäftsflächen zu füllen – und gefüllt zu halten. Die Tatsache, dass nun sogar einige der großen Mieter aus den “CleGas” weg- und in das Hofgarten Center eingezogen sind, ist definitiv besorgniserregend.

Jedoch kann das neue Einkaufscenter auch eine Chance für Solingen sein.

So wie tausende andere Solinger habe ich mich letzten Donnerstag in die Innenstadt aufgemacht, um das neue Center zu bestaunen. Und gestaunt habe ich!

Denn das Hofgarten Center ist größer und geräumiger, als ich es erwartet hatte.


Es ist modern und hell gestaltet, wirkt luftig und bietet einen, wie ich finde, guten Mix an Geschäften.


Diese beiden Fotos habe ich gegen acht Uhr geschossen, als es noch verhältnismäßig leer war – hatten doch bisher nur der Saturn Markt, dm und Edeka geöffnet. Die Bilder entkräften eine der häufigsten Beschwerden, die ich bis jetzt über das Center gehört habe: “Die paar Rolltreppen und Aufzüge sind viel zu wenig!”

Das glaube ich nicht. Wenn der erste Ansturm der Neugierigen abgeklungen ist und ein normales Besucheraufkommen herrscht, werden die Rolltreppen völlig ausreichen. Dass es am Eröffnungstag zu üblen Engpässen gekommen ist und die Security Leute einzeln auf die Rolltreppen schleusen musste, ist nicht verwunderlich – aber wie gesagt, das war eine Ausnahmesituation.


Ich glaube, dass die Auswahl der Läden recht geschickt war – immerhin sind nun einige neue Labels vertreten, die bestimmt viele der Leute in Solingen hält, die sonst zum Shoppen in den Umkreis geflüchtet sind – und Luft nach oben ist immer.


Stichwort Shopmix – natürlich bin auch ich fähig zur negativen Kritik: ein Manko für mich ist der Foodcourt des Hofgartens, innerhalb dessen gefühlt jedes zweite Lokal ein Asiate ist. Ich liebe asiatisches Essen und könnte es dauernd verputzen – aber etwas mehr Auswahl wäre schon schön gewesen. Ganz abgesehen von meinem persönlichen Wermutstropfen, dem fehlenden frozen yoghurt Stand 😉


Ich persönlich würde mich freuen, wenn demnächst einige Leute sich ihre Unkenrufe vorerst sparen würden – und erst einmal abwarteten, was passiert.

Vielleicht wird das neue Center von Solingern und Shoppern aus dem Umfeld ja gut angenommen. Vielleicht läuft es sogar so gut, dass sich weitere, neue Geschäfte in die Clemens Galerien wagen und die dort entstandenen Lücken füllen.

Und ganz vielleicht geht sogar mein heimlicher Traum in Erfüllung: dass sich die Clemens Galerien in eine Kultur- und Lifestyle Oase verwandeln, die das gesellschaftliche Leben in Solingen in neuen Schwung bringen.

Obwohl auch da in den letzten paar Jahren tolles passiert ist – denken wir nur an die Bemühungen rund um den Südpark, das Waldmeister und den Cowclub (um nur drei Stichworte zu nennen), die alle großartige Sachen auf die Beine gestellt haben…

Bergisch’ Land Beauty – Sengbachtalsperre

Am Samstag hat es mich mit Freunden nach draußen gezogen, in den Wald, ans Wasser, an die Luft – weg aus unseren Wohnzimmern, die uns in den nächsten Wochen noch genug zu sehen bekommen. Weg von Bildschirmen jeglicher Art, weg vom Haushalt mit seinen kleinlichen Aufgaben, so nervig wie notwendig…

Einfach nur raus, raus, raus aus dem Haus, zu fünft rein in das Auto, lachend und durcheinander redend in Richtung Glüder, dahin, wo früher das Getaway zu finden war.

Das übliche Gefummel mit Smartphones und Runkeeper, parallele Dehnübungen und kopfüber ins Gebüsch – beinahe.

Was folgte war eine Achterbahn von “Wow, hast du den Pilz gesehen?”

1382170708860über “Klar, und du den Feen-Baumstumpf da?”

Camera 360

bis zu “Oh Gott, bitte nein, da kommt ja schon wieder ein Berg…”

Das ist der Fluch und der Segen im Bergischen Land: Wenn man darin unterwegs ist, muss man mit voller Kraft so einige Hügel hoch. Doch schafft man das, Schnappatmung hin oder her, wird man belohnt.

Und zwar grandios.

Camera 360

Camera 360

Und wenn man auf seiner Runde zum zweiten (!) Mal vom gleichen Jogger überholt wird, lässt auch das Selbstmitleid ob der drohenden Seitenstiche schlagartig nach…

Sieht man dann am Ende die ganz beachtliche Runde auf seinem Smartphone, bleibt doch ein wenig Stolz. Und ja, auch etwas Muskelkater in den Beinen – aber der ist schließlich das sportliche Äquivalent von “picture or it didn’t happen”, right?


Nana-nana-nana-nana… Batcat!

I love Batman. I love him from his “nana-nana” to his butler, who made me cry during the last cinematic release on this epic superhero.

I love him for his dead parents – poor, lonely Bruce! – and for his attitude. He is no Tony Stark, arrogant and attention seeking.

He visits charity events because he has to, even if he stayed out late the night before, defending Gotham City, and would rather retire to bed early – and he does all that, not because it is easy, but because it is right.

Endure, Master Wayne. Take it. They’ll hate you for it, but that’s the point of Batman, he can be the outcast. He can make the choice that no one else can make, the right choice. (Alfred Pennyworth)

Besides being tall, dark and handsome, which never hurts, he is kind and clever.

It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.

To me, he’s everything a superhero should be – and this Batcat does a remarkable impression of him!


Doesn’t he look heroic?