The Dog and the Boy

8. Oktober 2019 at 18:34 (flash fiction, Posts in English) (, , , , , )

The dog had seen it all. Sticks. And chains. And guns. And sticks again. He had felt them too.

The boy had seen it all. Beatings. And tears. And scars. And beatings again. He had felt them too.

When the dog saw the boy, he could have seen a cruel creature, standing on two legs, ready to strike.

When the boy saw the dog, he could have seen a cruel creature, standing on four legs, ready to strike.

But neither of them did.
They saw another lost being. Another lost soul.

And so the dog and the boy became friends. And they weren’t beaten and they weren’t chained anymore. Because now they were two and two are stronger than one.

Permalink Kommentar verfassen

Chestnut Girl

28. April 2019 at 18:49 (flash fiction, Posts in English)

In March, I attended one of Vienna Storytelling Collective’s open mic nights. The host encouraged us to produce some microfiction (50 words max.) or „a story in a tweet“ on the theme of „When I was young“. And of course I couldn’t resist to share a memory… (I was too young to remember, but my mum told the story to me a few times and well, it sounds very much like me 😉 )

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As a child, I once lost a chestnut in a bus accident. The one who had the accident was the chestnut, not me.
Still, I cried. But the man next to me didn’t understand my sorrow.
I guess he had never lost a beautiful chestnut before.

Permalink Kommentar verfassen

A prize-winning story

22. April 2019 at 18:35 (flash fiction, Posts in English) (, , , , , , )

Last Monday, I got an e-mail with some very exciting news: For the first time ever, one of my stories had won a prize! Throughout my writing career, I have taken part in many competitions, with the unwavering hope of being picked and a judge falling in love with my story… And now my dream has finally come true, in Write NOW’s monthly Postcard Story Contest, as you can read here.

And here’s the story:

Metamorphosis

The last strand of blond hair fell to the ground. Hannah dragged Emma’s chair around, huffing. She lifted the blindfold.

“How d’you like it, Em?” Hannah’s voice quavered as she met Emma’s gaze in the mirror which also reflected the faces of the onlookers at the back of the room. The girls started to snicker as Emma combed the remnants of her hair with her fingers in disbelief, blinking the tears away.

“I thought you were my friend,” she hissed, getting up to face Hannah. She was almost a foot taller than her hairdresser.

“Relax, Em, it’s just a game.” Hannah held up her hands in defence. “They’ll grow back,” she said and looked at the audience for reassurance. They stayed mute, but their grins spoke volumes.

“Just a game, yes?” Emma grabbed the scissors. “Well, then it’s my turn to play now.”

Hannah shrieked when Emma’s hands closed around her ponytail and the taller girl pushed her up against the mirror. Emma yanked Hannah’s head to the side. Pinning it against the cold glass with one hand, she cut the hair right beneath the pink ribbon with the other. Hannah wailed.

It was only when Emma felt the softness of the brown locks gliding through her fingers that she realised she was no better than her own bullies now.

Permalink Kommentar verfassen

BPFFC #03: Dinner Talk

9. Juli 2018 at 21:11 (flash fiction, Posts in English) (, , , , , , )

For March, we drew the word myopic out of our magic pot of words – which proved to be quite the challenge. It doesn’t feature in my story in a literal sense, but the topic should be covered in another sense. And here’s what Sarah did with the word.

Enjoy and stay tuned for April’s attraction!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Oh Liddy… What happened this time?“ I opened my arms wide to embrace my daughter.
“I got hit by a ball again,” Liddy mumbled, pressing her head against my neck.
“But we talked about you staying away from where the older kids play, didn’t we?” I peeled the girl away from my body. “Let me take a look. Does that hurt?” Liddy winced as I prodded the bluish bruise lightly. “Oh baby, I’m sorry!”

I fetched a tiny packet of apple juice from the fridge and watched my daughter stick the straw into it and slurp on it, her pigtails wobbling in agreement.
“What else happened at school today, Liddy?” I went back to the kitchen and began to prepare dinner. There was no ham left and only one slice of cheese. I put the cheese into Liddy’s sandwich and drew a zig-zag line with the mayonnaise before putting the second half of the bread on top of it. For myself, it was just going to be a mayonnaise sandwich today.

“Nothing much,” Liddy replied, taking a break from slurping. “Miss Bramley made me sit in the front row.”
“Why’s that? Did you misbehave?” I put the mayonnaise back into the fridge.
“No, but she said I should look at the blackboard and not at Martha’s exercise book when I copy something.” Liddy opened her sandwich and inspected the cheese.

“Well, and why don’t you look at the blackboard?”
“The letters are too smallish. And they go all fuzzy at the edges.” Liddy wrinkled her nose.
I let out a deep sigh. “Oh Liddy, we need to get you glasses…”
“I can sit closer to the blackboard, Mummy.” Liddy ripped the slice of cheese in half and put one of the pieces on my plate. “I know we’re poor.”

Permalink 2 Kommentare

BPFFC #02: One thing to look forward to

13. Mai 2018 at 00:02 (flash fiction, Posts in English) (, , , , , , )

With a little bit (a lot) of delay, here’s my February flash fiction for the Baked Potatoes Flash Fiction Challenge (BPFFC). I actually wrote it in February, I really did 😉 (Unlike the March and April flash fiction, where I sadly didn’t meet the deadline… But they’ll still be published here soon. )
The word for the month of February was fedoraJack already posted his story here in March, because he’s way more organised than I am 😉 And recently, Sarah has published her piece too. Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I don’t want to do this anymore!” He ripped the fedora off his gel-slicked hair and tossed it onto the floor of the living room.
“Now, now.” His mother stooped to pick up the hat and flicked some invisible specks of dust away. “This is surely no way to thank the Lord for the wonderful opportunity he has given you, is it, George?”
“No, mum. I’m sorry, mum.” He bowed his head a little so she could place the fedora on it.
“There, there. That’s my boy.” She patted his cheek and used her plump body to manoeuvre her son out into the hallway. “Now off you go. And don’t forget to tell Reverend Marshall that we’d be glad to have him over for dinner this Sunday!”
“Yes, mum.” He stepped away from his mother’s ample bosom and opened the door to step out into the bright winter day.
“Oh, wait a second!” His mother fumbled in her purse and grinned as she threw some coins into the metal box in her son’s hands. “They’ll be more generous when they see that their brothers and sisters have already contributed. We’ll soon have that new bell tower erected, with the help of you and your friends and our Holy Father.”
The coins rattled as George trembled. It was so cold and he’d rather be anywhere else than fulfilling his God-given duties. But at least, there was one thing to look forward to.
Warming up his hands in the hands of his best friend Jim and letting him breathe warm air onto his frozen fingertips before counting the coins.

Permalink Kommentar verfassen

Taking stock

29. April 2018 at 23:22 (Blog) (, , , , )

Starting with the 1st of May, I won’t be enrolled as a student at the University of Vienna anymore. I haven’t been actively studying for the past two years, but I still had a valid student ID – at first, I continued to use the library services, but during the last year, I didn’t need them anymore. So in March I decided to stop paying the small fee I had been paying out of nostalgia and to let bygones be bygones.

Today, I downloaded all of my documents before my account is shut down for real. Scrolling through the list of passed seminars and exams, I realised how much I have achieved in those 8 years I was enrolled at the university:

  • I completed two bachelor degree courses with 180 ECTS each and one master degree course with 120 ECTS. 1 ECTS equals 25 hours of work. So that was 12,000 hours of work.
  • On top of that, I worked at a radio station for four years, 12 hours a week times 47 (without the 5 weeks of paid vacation), equalling 2,256 hours of work.
  • Another 1,058 hours of work accumulated during the 2.5 years I worked at a press agency during my studies.
  • And as a freelance journalist, I wrote 42 texts, amounting to about 8 hours of work each, totalling 336 hours.

All in all, that’s 15,650 hours of work over the course of 8 years. 1,956.25 hours of work per year. 37.62 hours of work per week. I always knew that I had accomplished quite a lot during those 8 years, but I never worked full time and I always knew that there were other people who worked more or finished their studies faster than I did.

But taking stock now, I realise that I really almost did work full time during those 8 years – and managed to squeeze in some other writing too; I don’t even know how many hours I spent writing and revising my novel and all of these short stories that are collected on my blog. And of course, I had a social life too, friends and family and sports… 😉

So that’s something to be proud of at the end of my life as a student at the University of Vienna 🙂

Permalink Kommentar verfassen

BPFFC #01: Taking back what’s mine

25. Februar 2018 at 16:40 (flash fiction, Posts in English) (, , , , , , )

As this blog (and the lack of new posts on it) demonstrates, writing regularly is hard. Things that make it less hard?

  1. Having a group of wonderful people who write and read and critique the texts with you (famously known as The Baked Potatoes).
  2. Having challenges and deadlines.

So we, The Baked Potatoes, set out to do the latter and created a challenge I like to call the BPFFC (Baked Potatoes Flash Fiction Challenge). Every month we pick a word/topic and write a story about it of a maximum of 300 words, with the last day of the month as our deadline. Our topic for January was jealousyyou can find Jack’s story about jealousy on his blog, here’s Sarah’s flash fiction and here’s mine:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I lit a match. The small flame licked at the darkness.
„Don’t you think that’s kind of a drastic move?“ he asked.
I shrugged my shoulders. „Don’t you think his move was kind of drastic?“
I held the flame up to my cigarette and inhaled that first glorious waft of nicotine.
„He’s a dick and you knew that up front. I warned you.“ He motioned me to hand him the cigarette and took a deep drag himself.
„Great. So it’s my own fault now.“
I didn’t say that. But well, now that you said it… I just think that you shouldn’t show him how much you care. Just let it go and get your own thing going instead…“
I lit another match and held it up right in front of his eyes while he went on smoking my cigarette. „He shall burn like this. He deserves it.“
„Fiiine. But let’s get you a lawyer first. You can’t just take it from him because he betrayed you.“
I blew out the flame. “I think I can. It was my idea after all.”
“Yeah, but it was his money. And that also shows, kind of.” When he turned to face the shop window, I wrested my cigarette from his mouth. I needed it more than he did.
Then I gazed up at the sign in front of what was soon to be my shop. I should never have let him pick the name.
Pete’s Pet Parlour.
He knew I had a thing for alliterations.
And Pete apparently took pleasure in partying with prostitutes.
What a wanker.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Stay tuned for February’s flash fiction featuring the word fedora!

Permalink 1 Kommentar

Goodbye, Meidling

22. Oktober 2017 at 17:24 (Blog) (, , , , , , , , )

This is not a short story. Actually, it’s the ending of quite a long story – a love story, of course. After more than four years, I have left the 12th district of Vienna, Meidling, for good. It was the first district of Vienna where I really felt at home. Sure, I enjoyed living at the students‘ hall for nearly five years, too – but it was always clear that this was only an in-between solution, a temporary home to my temporary life as a student.

Meidling was where the concept of eternity felt closer to me than ever. And Meidling was where I had to realise that sometimes, forever is not the best option – even if it feels tempting to choose what you know and love over what you don’t know and are slightly afraid of. But if happiness has forgotten your address, you have to go and look for it yourself.

I’m not going to be far away from my beloved Meidling and it will always stay close to my heart. But still, I’ve crossed a border, entered a new territory, a new life. Leaving Meidling constitutes the end of an era for me.

In the last few weeks, I’ve often stopped to take a picture – because beautiful moments pass so quickly and I want to appreciate them before they fade away. Life is beautiful after all, wherever it may lead you and whatever obstacles you have to overcome. Here’s a little photo story of what Meidling looked like to me. And it’s my goodbye to this beautiful district – goodbye, Meidling!

 

Permalink Kommentar verfassen

Beauty Sleep Mode

17. Juli 2017 at 00:36 (Blog)

Yes, the blog has been asleep for a long time now. And it will probably take some more time to really wake up again. But the good news is:

There’s one page on this blog which has been receiving some writerly attention. After a pause of four (!) years, I’ve written five new (love) poems in the past few months. You’ll have to see for yourself, but I think they’re getting a liiittle bit better concerning the rhythm (I literally have no idea what I’m doing here and some of the poems are also really songs in my head, but what the hell). Here’s where you can find them:

Thoughts on Love (Love Poems)

A short explanation to why the blog is sleeping

As you might know, I wrote a book. A whole book. The first round of editing mentioned here took me quite a while (who knew that editing was so much less fun than writing itself?). But at least it made the story balloon to a respectable length of over 50,000 words. I’m trying to enter a few novel competitions this year and also a few flash fiction ones. No luck so far, but at least I feel like I’m doing something to push my book and personal boundaries. When the last (unsuccessful?) judging phases are over, the flash fiction will feature on the blog as well.

Also, I’ve lately started my first job as a full-time journalist (yay!), so I’m writing a lot more than before, which is great, but makes me not want to write a lot in my free time as well (or start editing round two, ugh). But once I’m accustomed to this new lifestyle, I hopefully will find some fiction writing energy too 🙂

Cheers for dropping by,

MT

Permalink Kommentar verfassen

Inter-sect-ion

31. Dezember 2016 at 14:08 (Posts in English) (, , , , , , )

When it all came down to putting a price on my belongings, I realised there was incredibly little of real value – value others could see and appreciate – in the things that were important to me.

What would anyone do with the chipped heart-shaped stone that my friend Veronica gave me when my boyfriend of seven years broke up with me?

Or the lamp which hadn’t been illuminated with a light bulb for ages, because Michael was the only one to know where to get these special bulbs?

Or my dearest book, which had fallen into the bathtub when I had been soaking in the warm water after a far too long day? It was dry now, but creased and crinkled as the skin on my toes had been when I got out of that bath.

„You could at least take some of the things with you, you know?“ My mum said. „I don’t need all this space anyway.“

„Yes,“ I replied, „but that’s not the point. The less I leave behind, the easier it will be for you to move on.“

These talks were, of course, not true. But I knew that leaving random stuff behind – stuff my family would investigate, ask friends about and find out the meaning they had for me – would make it infinitely harder for them to forget me. And taking anything else but money, my clothes, laptop and some of my jewellery with me would be outright stupid.

I would not need anything of Earthly value anymore. I would get so much more in return, if I could scrape the money for the journey together.

I scribbled numbers of varying values on little scraps of paper and pinned them to furniture, books, stacks of dishes and kitchen machinery.

They would wait for me with open arms and care for me in a way my family never could.
They would provide everything I was missing now.
Marriage.
A husband.
A religion.

Permalink Kommentar verfassen

Next page »