Dutch Skies I

The Dutch sky has fascinated inspired painters for centuries. It fascinates me too. This is what it looked like from my balcony this morning.  



Office Jobs For writers

i just lernend the other day that many Dutch writers apparently kept working in regular office jobs all their life. There was kafkaesk suffering from the time taken away from writing by mondane tasks overy day life. 

Ferdinand Bordewijk apparently wrote his books on the train from The Hague to Rotterdam on his way to work. 

So, future writer: fear not to keep your day job. Something may still come of it.

writing habit

I have been trying to establish a writing habit this year. After a quite successful NaNoWriMo in November 2014, I was confident that I had found a way to start incorprating writing into my daily life. Making it a habit. Like brushing my teeth. Not that I reached the writing goal in Novmeber or anything, but I pretty much all month long sat down in the morning for half an hour and wrote. If neccessary I got up a bit earlier. It was pretty satisfying to see my work develop. 30 minutes is not very long and you’d think you can always spare 30 minutes. However, this year, I am really struggling to get back into my writing habit. Maybe I don’t want it enough? There are so many things distracting me. But are those things really the source of the problem? Are they really that important or do I just give priority over wrting? Am I in the way of my own writing?

I think, we all know the answers to these questions.

Writers Series: Cornelia Funke

Source: Wikipedia © Cruccone

  • born in 1958 in Germany
  • Education: studied pedagogy and illustration
  • first publication: children’s book Die große Drachensuche (The great dragon search) in 1988 (aged 30)

Funke says, she wrote her first story, when she was “ancient”. Before she studied pedagogy and worked on an activity playground in Hamburg. Something that had come up in the late 60s, when children develop skills and play in nature. Something of that sort, I think. Simultaneously, she studied to become an illustrator of children’s books. When she finally worked as an illustrator, however, she claims to not have liked to stories she was given to illustrate – she started writing her own. She published her first story with her own illustrations in 1988, when she was 30.

On her website she says that she realized that one couldn’t live against their talents or skills, during the time that she was working at the activity playground.


2015-01-28 09.41.50To me, Cornelia Funke was always one of those authors, who became popular and famous in the aftermath of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and the popularity of these kinds of fantasy stories of witches and wizards. Suddenly everybody seemed to be reading children’s books, even teenagers and students like me and my friends. I always thought, however, that the original was the best without ever bothering to look at other authors like Funke or Pratchett.

It was only a year ago or so that I saw Funke on TV. They showed a portrait of her a one of the most famous German writers. Turns out she now lives in the US and has sold the film rights to many of her books to Hollywood producers. She was shown in her huge and beautiful house with a dog and an amazing view of LA and palm trees and the ocean. I was rather impressed, I have to admit. I had no idea.

Today I am using many of her children’s books in my German classes with primary age students. At the end of class, I always read a chapter from one of her books. Right now, we are reading Gespensterjäger (Ghosthunters).