Creative Writing

Beyond Blue – Peter Schimke (extract)

Enjoy exclusively an extract of the novel “Beyond Blue” by Peter Schimke

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Chapter One – The First Day

 

I

Finally he managed to find a job. It had been almost two months since he arrived in Japan. Every day since he had lost the money, he had asked in several bars, restaurants, small casinos, and cinemas if there was a job for him. Every day he got rejected. He grew extremely frustrated and would have taken almost anything at that point. Most people didn’t even ask him for references or experience. Not that he would have had any, but most people only looked at him and said with a shy but cheeky smile that they weren’t looking for anyone. In most cases that was most likely a lie. They probably didn’t want him because he was a foreigner. His patience was slowly fading, as he was about to run out of money. He was lucky enough that this girl didn’t take all of it. She probably would have, if she had seen it. Maybe she just didn’t look properly. What would he have done without it? But soon he would come to that point. Then what? He would be stuck in Japan without money and no place to go. It was expensive to live in Shinjuku. After all, it was one of the biggest entertainment districts in Tokyo. He had wondered how people live here permanently, between bars, prostitutes, gambling, and the Yakuza. Temptations of every kind were always waiting just around the corner. It must have been difficult to not get caught up in it. He did as well, and suddenly his money was gone. Even without realising. He had considered moving somewhere else, but the best chance of finding a job was in Shinjuku. Anyway, he didn’t have the money to move somewhere else. He didn’t have the money to do actually anything. (more…)

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Call for Poems – Poetry competition for publication

Call for Poems

We are looking for some creative poets who want some exposure for their work. If you are passionate about poetry and you would like to see your poems published in a poetry collection next to other young inspiring poets from London and Amsterdam, then send us your work.
The best poems will be selected by us and by vote on our blog (see link below). The winning poems will get a place in the book. (This will be an official publication).

About us:
We are a still small independent creative project that aims to extend its creative undertakings with a poetry publication. 1030 started with as a simple idea more than two years ago. We imagined a platform that supports all kind of creative projects. Video, animation, photography, music, painting, writing, . . . the limit is one’s creativity. We wanted to create such a platform for friends, people around us, or anyone else who might be interested.

https://1030films.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/1030productions

We are looking forward to your submissions.

Send your poems to p.schimke@yahoo.co.uk

Obsession – Part II

My boss asked me if everything is prepared, as the guests were already arriving. “Sure”, I said. During that afternoon we worked well together, we got to know each other bit by bit. She was actually very nice. Almost as nice as those details I filled in earlier. My guess with the States was correct as well. It was a long opening and until everybody had gone, and because we were in such a good mood, we must have had almost a bottle of wine each during the course of the show. In the end our boss had invited us both to dinner, but we both rejected the offer somehow simultaneously and made up an excuse. A nervous tone in her voice told me that her excuse was not a real one, so was mine. As my boss had left, we walked off. She said that she was (more…)

Obsession – Part I

Why should I feel guilty?

I just finished my cigarette outside before I entered the gallery. That was the moment I saw her. She was dressed all in black, matching her very dark and slightly curly hair. Her dress suited her figure well I thought; it was not wavy, but not too tight either, it gave her enough space to move elegantly and freely, so it seemed. It finished just about half way on her upper leg, and gently emphasised her profile from the side. As I stood in the room and looked at her, she had turned around and stared for two or three seconds right into my eyes. It seemed a lot longer though. She must have seen me smoking outside through the window, because I entered very quietly, nevertheless she had noticed me straight away. “You must be Quinn, how are you doing?” she said. My Boss must have told her about me, told her that I was coming to help today. What else could she know about me? What does my boss know about me? My first thought was that my boss knows about my girlfriend. (more…)

Moving across the continent – A recreated process of thought – Part II

Like so many cities, Madrid as well seems to be a victim of the financial crisis. Jobs are scarce and there are no euphoric openings of new galleries and bars at every other corner. Saying it more directly, I moved to a place where everybody is trying to move away from. Even before my arrival I was told about the amount of language schools and the demand for English as well as German teachers. Guess where everybody was heading? – Germany. Of course there are always people that want to go to England, and London especially, but somehow Germany is popular. Many don’t really mind whether it is Berlin, Cologne, Munich or a small town in between somewhere. It doesn’t matter as long as it is in good old Germany. My world started to crumble.

Germany is the country I grew up in – somewhere east and small. I often didn’t understand why people would move to Germany voluntarily. Had they forgotten about the strictness, bureaucracy and narrow-mindedness? That is not inspiring at all. Perhaps I was missing out on the economic point of the affair. Was it all a matter of desperation? Is the German economy so much better off that people would sacrifice their choice of where to live? I couldn’t believe it. However, that seems to be the case. It is not only that no one wants to move here or stay, but also on top of that people want to go to where I am from – Germany.

I have moved to different continents, countries and cities over the years. And normally I have a less blurred vision of what I am doing, but somehow it was different this time. Without thinking twice about moving to Madrid, I simply moved. Found a house, did all the usual things when one moves to another country and city – and that was it. Now I am here. It was an interesting experience. As much as my vision might have been blurred before, the less it is now. Moving to a place where everybody wants to move away from, my vision was cleared steadily. The streets are not filled with euphoric youngsters on their fixed-gear bikes, but with old people wearing sunglasses all day and night.

It isn’t all charming, enlightening and inspiring at every single corner as some might idealise Berlin or such. Madrid has its charms and can be inspiring, if one is in the mood for it. Inspiration does not appear like that and in most cases it does not really depend on the place either. Berlin is not an inspiring city all throughout – try to look for inspiration in Marzahn.

What have I learned? Sometimes the major decisions themselves seem irrational and vague to me. The process of getting there is more relevant, more inspiring and more telling than everything else. Going further away, you simply learn about the things that are closer. Moving from Amsterdam to Madrid is not the important step. It could have been the other way around or somewhere completely else. The important part lies in between Amsterdam and Madrid – the process of thoughts that got me here, and these thoughts I took with me.

You and I

You always reminded me of someone who I wanted to be. You seemed always far away, and I was not even close to myself. You always showed me my limitations, while you extended yourself. You always found the energy to what I not even dreamt of. You always showed me the way to go, although I rather would have sat and rested. You were always there to help, when I actually needed to learn things my way.

I remember the first time you entered my life; in a time when I was not even looking for someone like you. It was almost as if I was waiting for a bus and looking through the window of a shop, as the clouds would have moved away from a warm spring sun. Then suddenly I would have seen you appear as a reflection in the window next to me. As if time had been frozen, I had observed you, seized you up, and imprinted your image into my mind. Although this never happened, it would have been just like that. Getting to know you was just as exciting as growing up. I learned from you just as you were my teacher; I copied your behaviour, and didn’t even find it odd. You were just as I imagined you to be. I had never met someone who was so conscious of the world around, who knew what to get in life, and who knew when to get it. All your actions seemed as they were manufactured for your goals; your goal which soon became mine.

Soon we got close, I admired, you shinned, I believed, you knew, I wanted, and you had.

As time went on, I grew on your side. I felt that we almost became friends. Although none of us ever questioned our status, it was difficult to say what the relationship between us was. Nothing seemed to be able to disturb what we planned, to disturb what had started to grow more and more realistically. You gave me plenty of unthought-of confidence, so that I no longer doubted anything. For long we would remain side on side on the same track, but…

At the time when almost everything seemed unshakable for me, only then I started to see what remained invisible between us for a long time. Even now looking back, I still cannot pinpoint exactly what it was that started to shift. However, I realise that it had been there, accompanying us all along. Five years was a long time. Five years of decision made and followed. Five years of increasingly unsatisfying compromises. It was not always painful to be strict to ourselves; we often enjoyed becoming it together. I had thought that a small quantity of suffering was always needed to get anywhere, but it was like climbing a mountain – heading for one peak is never the one you actually want to get to. Our journey up our mountain would end soon that I knew by then. Half way up to the summit of our self-invented mountain we had lost track of where we actually were going. Looking at you now, this is maybe not entirely true. I believe it was me who had lost track or at least I was not sure whether I wanted to continue at all. Your journey might continue to the dream we drew in our minds together, we once set together. But concerning me, I could not go with you any longer.

Despite all the sudden doubts in me, I still knew I would find my way – a way that might not cross yours again. No more ideals, no more compromises, no more us. Only me.

Now that I see you again, I see that you have changed not a bit. You got there where you wanted to be, there where I wanted to be once as well. I decided that this would be the last time we see each other. Of course we could keep in tough, but I don’t want contact with you anymore. I am healthy now, you are still healthy, but you are unhealthy for me. We split ourselves, we are too similar and we will not stand each other anymore.

I really wanted to be like you. I almost was like you. I never want to be like you again. But it will be difficult, because you are simply me.

Jazz and Fiction

They are just like life itself. They are symbiotic and connect different parts of your life. They can connect you with everything. That’s what life does. That’s what jazz and fiction do too.

Life demands a state of mind. Everyone is praised with life, but understanding its qualities and knowing how to use them, is a totally different matter. Understanding life, living your life the way you want it to be lived, for that you have to be in a state of mind. Life – for life you have to be in a state of mind.

There are different ways to express a state of mind. Art is one of these expressions. Through art we live life and express ourselves creatively and find a release. We express forms of life, whether it is with colours, sounds, words, or anything else. Although there are many different ways to express creativity, they all have life in them as the driving force. Life is a state of mind and you can express it.

Jazz and fiction are different forms to express life. Although they seem very different, they bare many similarities within them. The one is made of sounds, and the other is made of words. The one is music and the other is writing – jazz and fiction. Both are undeniably creative expressions of life.

Fiction is more than a mere reflection of life. Without knowing life, without living life, there wouldn’t be any stories, nothing to write about. Life generates stories. But jazz too. Where does jazz come from? From black America? It comes from life. Jazz is an expression of life just like any other creative outlet. It simply uses sounds instead of paint or words. But jazz can tell its own story. The sound of Miles Davis’ trumpet can cry in our ears just like a Shakespearean sonnet we read in a book.

Both generate and express emotions within us. They tell stories simply by different means. But exactly that makes it interesting. The question though is: how do they relate to each other?

Jazz and fiction don’t seem to be combinable immediately. But there are some striking similarities between them. The combination is appealing, but not in the sense of adapting them from one format to another, but rather in the sense of creating a symbiosis, just like in life. Jazz can tell stories. Fiction can be musical.

Fiction is often constructed, well thought through, revisited, edited, and so on. That’s how the desired sound of words is created. Jazz on the other hand works differently. It is spontaneous and unreliable, just like a narrator can be unreliable. Just imagine a story can be unreliable, which is not too hard to imagine, is it?

Fiction can also incorporate jazz. Not only as a theme in the background, not just as a colouring of the text. But also during the writing process itself. 

A jazz novel – Toni Morrison’s Jazz comes to mind. She created a jazz composition in her writing, as instruments become characters and perform an improvised solo. The book itself becomes the musical composition that consists of individual and unreliable performances forming the whole piece.

But jazz can be more. 

Just imagine you want to describe a writer’s style and someone says “jazzy”. How can a writing style be jazzy? What does “jazzy” really mean? An unreliable quality? An improvisation of words? The dictionary would suggest adjectives like bright, colourful, eye-catching, strong, brilliant, striking, exciting and stimulating. Those are adjectives that one can attribute easier to authors. Have you never read a book that took you by surprise, a narrative that gripped you instantly with its vivid imagery, a story that stroke you as smart but also exhilarating? That’s jazzy.

I believe that jazz and fiction are combinable in many different aspects. A writer can incorporate jazz on the story level, as it simply could be a story about jazz itself. Perhaps it might be a story about a jazz singer, a musician or a jazz club. In that case jazz would be the colouring of the narrative. It would continuously linger on the background. But that is not the only way jazz can be become a substantial part in writing. Jazz can be also a theme in the narrative. Through various techniques and stylistic elements jazz can be melted into the writing. Jazz musicians often experiment with solos, mixing up different styles and express empathy. Notes can be translated into words, metaphorically speaking, and one might catch the jazz.

Jazz, just as writing, is all about practice. However, there is another option, another possibility of how jazz can be an integral part of the whole of the writing. Jazz more than writing is about the now; about being in the moment. Instead of a highly constructed text, an author could write an improvised text. Not really like in creative writing classes, in which one is assigned a topic to write about. It is rather the initiation of a fluid form of writing. Imagine one catches the jazz, just like flu. As for example, one is possessed by jazz, literally taken by the spirit of the music. That is another form of jazz writing, in which jazz stands at the beginning rather than in the end of the process.

The combination of jazz and writing might seem strange at first, but once contemplated, one can see the similarities between them. There are already a few existing examples in which jazz and fiction were combined. I already mentioned Toni Morrison’s Jazz, but there are others. Michael Ondaatje’s Coming through Slaughter is a fictionalisation of Buddy Bolden’s life. The novel uses the style of jazz in the writing, as the author combines often unrelated and unpredictable scene into the main narrative. Other novels simply connect jazz to the story itself, like Roddy Doyle’s Oh, Play that Thing, but they are nonetheless interesting explorations of jazz and fiction.

The combination of jazz and fiction really is an exploration. It opens up possibilities between different genres and provides the opportunity to combine different media into one. It is not a matter of adaptation, but rather a symbiosis between music and writing, between jazz and fiction.