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 🙂

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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!


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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,


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Writing: done. Editing: in progress.

25. Juli 2016 at 23:10 (Blog) (, , , , , , , , )

It is done. I have completed the last chapter of my first novel written in English today. So please let me introduce to you:


The River of Recollection

Two women – sisters/strangers – invite the reader to join them on their journey between sanity and insanity, truth and lie. In the course of five days, they revisit their real and imagined memories, they lose loved ones and find new friends. They try to flee from reality until their past finally catches up with them.


Now the hardest part starts for me: the editing of my eleven chapters plus epilogue. I’ve received tons of great feedback from The Baked Potatoes which I will include into my work in the next few weeks. Subsequently, I’ll try to find a publisher or if that is too hard an agent or if that is still too hard at least an editor who helps me to refine my writing so the agents and publishers will give my manuscript a fair chance 😉

Wish me luck and if you have any tips or recommendations on how to get published, fire away in the comments. Cheers! 🙂

PS: The short story mentioned in the last blog post will have to wait for a few more days…

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Sign of Life

28. Mai 2016 at 22:04 (Blog) (, , , , , , )

It’s been awfully quiet on my blog and because there are still people dropping by now and again – cheers, you guys! – I want to take a moment to explain why there is so little going on here.

In the past five months,

  • I’ve completed my master’s thesis and have taken my last university exam (for now).
  • I’ve travelled far, far away to celebrate that.
  • And I’ve written at least half of the novel that has been haunting me for years. My special thanks goes out to my writing and feedback group, famously known as The Baked Potatoes. I wouldn’t have written so much without you and am sincerely grateful for your interest in and help with my novel!

I can’t quite say where my blog is headed to right now. I’m sure it’s not blog heaven, but I can’t promise that there will be a lot of new stories appearing here soon. I am rewriting one story at the moment that I’ll publish soonish. However, I am kind of consumed by the two main characters of my novel, who you’ve already met in my last Christmas story – Clara and Marlene. Without wanting to take too much away I can say that in my novel, they won’t be kids anymore. As their story is rather complex, I need to stay with them and concentrate on them for some more time. Maybe I can present some outtakes here that won’t be featured in the novel, but as the story is still developing, I’m not sure how much I can share at this point.

I kindly want to ask you to bear with me – I value you greatly as my readership and can assure you: There will be a lot more to read in the not so remote future!

Cheers, Marie-Thérèse / MT

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Gedicht #1

29. September 2015 at 18:29 (Blog, Gedichte) (, , , , )


So viele Berührungen
haben wir geteilt
aus schmerzlicher Ferne.

So viele Blicke
haben wir einander geschenkt,
Rücken an Rücken.

So oft haben sich
unsere Lippen getroffen,

im Nichts

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Mein erstes (Bilder-)Buch

4. April 2015 at 17:18 (Blog) (, , , , , , , , )

Meine Mama hat vor kurzem mein vermutlich erstes (und einziges?) fertiggestelltes „Werk“ gefunden, das ich so mit acht, neun Jahren verfasst und illustriert habe. Anbei die Fotos mit kritischen Kommentaren der gealterten Autorin/Illustratorin 😉

(Einfach auf das erste Bild klicken, um die Foto-Galerie größer anzuzeigen.)

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Daily Prompt: If You Leave

13. März 2014 at 01:23 (Blog, Posts in English) (, , , , , )

“Life is a series of beginnings and endings. We leave one job to start another; we quit cities, countries, or continents for a fresh start; we leave lovers and begin new relationships. What was the last thing you contemplated leaving? What were the pros and cons? Have you made up your mind? What will you choose?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us CROSSROADS.”

Again, I couldn’t resist the daily prompt 😉 http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/daily-prompt-if-you-leave/


If you leave I won’t cry
I won’t waste a single day
But if you leave don’t look back
I’ll be running the other way…

Those are some of the lines of a song called “If You Leave”, originally performed by “The Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark”. These lines are the soundtrack to my running away. I’ve loved this song since I’ve first heard it. It was in a dark cellar, lit up with candles and some disco lights, filled with hot air, dancing and the smells of beer and cigarettes… It was a grand night for a young fellow like me, who had only been to a few parties which had always ended much too early and without the kiss of my current heartthrob. But this time, I would stay till the end, till Sammy’s mom would come downstairs in her pyjamas and would ask “who’d like some coffee?” like there was nothing wrong with partying the whole night long.

Sammy’s mom was one of the coolest moms in town, if not in the whole world. She was divorced, but still got along quite well with Sammy’s dad. She had those crazy curls that used to curl away from her skull in every possible direction. Sometimes she used to joke that in her last life she had been Medusa and her curls had been snakes. She really liked to joke around with us young people, she was never judgmental and never ever did she tell us to go to bed or to keep the music down. Sammy’s mom died two days ago – I considered going to the funeral. It’d be good to see Sammy again, after all those years. But home is an awful lot of kilometres away from where I am now. And let’s be honest: I guess nobody would like to see me again after all, it’s been too long.

Yeah, right, it wasn’t my fault what happened in the course of that evening. I was young, I was drunk and a little crazy. I guess Sammy’s mom understood me, because she got teenagers really well. She understood that I couldn’t watch while old Ryan here came awfully close to taking away my girl. I mean, she didn’t know that she was mine – but then she knew. Violence is a bad way to show your feelings. I know it now, but sadly I didn’t know it when I was sixteen and drunk. Let’s put it like this: Old Ryan may have lost a tooth and cracked a rib, but well, I guess that’s not as bad as crushing all the knuckles of your right hand, like I did. I couldn’t write for two months and there were exams coming up, so that wasn’t a piece of cake either. Well and for Jeannie… She never spoke to me again, she just shot me icy glances across the room.

But Sammy’s mom was cool. She took me aside and didn’t say one word of reproval. She was all like “love’s tough” and “don’t drink and strike”, but without the motherly tone. Coolest mom ever. Unfortunately, my parents weren’t as cool about it, but that’s another story.

However, the song was one of the few things I’d be glad to remember of that evening. And these four lines described exactly how I’d leave each and every of the girls that were to be mine in the course of the next years. I liked to be cool about break-ups. After getting involved too much the evening I hit Ryan, I toned my feelings down a notch. I didn’t get emotional anymore. In every relationship, after some months, I started to feel crushed. Not quickly and painfully crushed like my knuckles had been when they had met Ryan’s face and chest. No, it was the slowest process of crushing I had ever experienced. My soul was chucked into a vice that slowly, oh so slowly, got tighter and tighter. I couldn’t move and I couldn’t breathe and worst of all – I couldn’t think clearly. The only thought that occupied my mind was “leave… leave before you lose your heart”. And so I did. But leaving felt no better than being left behind, I couldn’t cry and I kept running, running until I felt safe and lonely once more.

And then I met Sammy’s mom again. She didn’t look well – I hardly recognised the woman who was so in love with life despite all the bad things that had happened to her what with her husband cheating on her and Sammy not being the easiest of kids to raise. I kissed her on the cheek that felt like parchment and not like the rosy skin she had had before. Her eyes were tired and instead of her curly hair she wore a flowery headscarf. “The doctors here are the best”, she told me, “but it’s hopeless. I knew it from the start, but I promised my loved ones that I would keep trying, keep going on. It’s hard, the chemo’s sucking up all of my energy… But you can’t run away from the challenges life bears for you. Do you understand? Make mistakes, say stupid things and hurt people you love… But just don’t run away without apologising.” She made me put two fingers together and hold them up like I was Jesus Christ, blessing some bread and wine and say “I swear”.

I don’t know how she did it, but she always found the right thing to say at exactly the moment I needed to hear it. I wish I could have said something that changed her life as much as she changed mine – at last, my running song is just reserved for Sunday morning workout and not for leaving my girlfriends.

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Daily Prompt: The Heat is On

10. März 2014 at 20:07 (Blog, Posts in English) (, )

Do you thrive under pressure or crumble at the thought of it? Does your best stuff surface as the deadline approaches or do you need to iterate, day after day to achieve something you’re proud of? Tell us how you work best.
Photographers, artists, poets: show us PRESSURE.”

That’s the challenge of today’s “Daily Prompt”: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/daily-prompt-heat/. I’ve already written a story inspired by a Daily Prompt once (https://loveanddeathandeverythinginbetween.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/daily-prompt-now-you-see-me/) – so let’s try another one.


The deadline has become a dead end for me. There is no way I can avoid failing – the clock ticks off the seconds as I am slowly despairing. The task I have been given is too hard for me. Living up to everybody’s expectations is not only painful, but it’s starting to take its toll. My hands are shaking, my mind is racing and my heart is thumping too fast. Panic wells up inside me, the panic I have tried to conceal for so long is starting to gush out of the constraints my mind has tried to build up around it. After all this time, it feels the same. It is a sensation of simultaneously falling and having already hit the ground. Fear and pain combined in a way that only exists in nightmares. You wake up screaming or crying, with your heart racing and so much fear inside you – but then you start to breathe again, to think again and to know that it has only been a bad dream.

But this is not a dream. It’s the sad reality that has hit the dreamer after years and years of too little consideration. I thought it would all work out in the end. But in half an hour’s time, the alarm will go off and I will get up and I will leave everything behind that I know and love. My beautiful wife, my beautiful baby, my beautiful home. I can only hope that someday, they will understand that I left to protect them. That my time is up – I’ve had my share of luck and now it’s time to go.

I made a deal with the devil, you know. And now he comes to deliver my one-way ticket to hell. I never wanted to borrow any money to build this life I have been living. But as the devilish bank accountant told me, I would have years and years to pay him back, I believed him. I believed that in ten years’ time everything would be better. That I would be able to stay for more than two months in the same job without being crushed by the responsibility and panicking. That I would be able to make my wife and daughter happy. That I would be able to lead the life I had always wanted to lead.

Today, the police will come and arrest me, because I never paid anything back. I didn’t pay the money back and most certainly did I not pay off the emotional debts I have piled up on the backs of my family. But if I go now, they will be happier than I can ever make them, if I go to jail. They won’t feel the obligation to come and visit me. They won’t have to see my face ever again. They will be able to hate me, because I was a coward who ran away.

They will lose everything, but they will not lose hope. My beautiful wife will find another man, who brushes away her tears. And my beautiful daughter will grow up to become an astute young woman who will never hook up with such an idiot as her father has been. I’m doing them a favour, it’s the first and last favour I have ever been granting them.

I kiss my sleeping beauties good-bye as I leave to pay my bills the only way I can.

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“The Hunger Games” – closer than we think?

13. Dezember 2013 at 01:18 (Blog, Posts in English) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

As my German-speaking audience knows, I hardly ever post anything personal on this blog. I have my reasons for doing so, but today, I want to share my thoughts with you and potentially with a crowd of English-speaking folks too.


I’ve just come home from the movies. My friend and I watched “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” – the second part of a fictional book written by Suzanne Collins, which has been turned into a film. Basically (for those of you who don’t know the plot), “The Hunger Games” is about some courageous young people who fight against being oppressed by the system. And with fight, I mean really fight. Twenty-four of them are set in a deadly environment, every year – an environment, where it is not only hard to survive, but also necessary to kill the other “players” in order to ever get out of this nightmare. The game is broadcasted to the inhabitants of the country, who are being threatened and oppressed and hurt and killed, if they don’t conform to the system (or just because the guards feel like it).

When I left the cinema hall, I was a little bit overwhelmed by all the images that had etched their way into my brain. And not just because the film was dramatic and fascinating – but also because of one other fact.
“You know, this could also happen to us. It’s not that unrealistic – and perhaps not that far away”, I said to my friend as we were walking to the metro station.
“Just think of all the surveillance we’re under…”, she said.
“And somehow it reminds me of the big reality shows, where there is scripted reality, intrigues and made-up drama”, I replied.

On my way home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that society is really, really fucked-up (if you’ll excuse my saying so). And it wasn’t all that surprising that, when I came home and googled the background of “The Hunger Games”, I read that the author was inspired by a reality show and footage of the invasion of Iraq. Maybe my thoughts aren’t all that new, as I realise now, but all the same, I think it’s important to be aware of how close we are to all being a part of a big global game – without even realising it.

Think of how our system works. We are not only being monitored, as my friend pointed out – decisions are made for us, we are being put into positions in which we didn’t choose to be put. Think of the War on Terror – how little people had a say in deciding if it should take place or not? If millions of soldiers, civilians and so-called terrorists should die? It’s clear that this has nothing to do with a game, yes – but it is, like “The Hunger Games”, a means to appease the public, to prevent them from starting a riot, perhaps also to prevent them from starting to think for themselves.

Think of Edward Snowden. I don’t know if he is a hero of modern society. I only know that he is persecuted for revealing information that wasn’t ever intended to be made public (at this point, also think of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks). What does this tell us about the society we live in? Yes, there might be the freedom of speech. But apparently not for all of us. And once again, there are very few people who decide that Snowden and Assange are to be treated as traitors, not heros.

And then of course, there are reality shows. One such show in particular is on my mind, since I haven’t watched too many of them: “Germany’s Next Topmodel”. A bunch of girls is competing against each other, to win the ultimate prize: The opportunity to become a super model. Throughout the challenges, the girls are being humiliated. They are shown in their worst moments: Crying, in fear of giant spiders or snakes with which they have to pose for a photo, shivering with cold, being in pain because of the extreme work-outs or shoes that just don’t fit, or being told that they absolutely suck at being a model. And then, there are the dramatic moments, which aren’t real but made up. The reality in these shows is said to be scripted, they are saying one thing to one girl, another thing to the other one – and voilà, there’s some drama for the audience. I used to enjoy this drama too, I’m not better than anyone else when it comes to the power of light entertainment. But it wasn’t long before I realised that these shows left behind a very bitter taste in my mouth. A cruel game is played with the girls, a game where they are being constantly thrown out of their comfort zone – and which isn’t about helping someone to become a super model but about showing the audience how fun public degradation can be. (Please correct me, if I didn’t grasp the concept of these shows.)

I don’t really feel capable of writing about what happens in the poor countries on our planet. The kind of exploitation that must take place there, to keep up the lifestyle of the people living in the rich West (myself included). I don’t know how this could ever be changed, how we could get to be part of decisions instead of being overruled, and somehow I don’t really believe that political activism and going to demonstrations could solve that (really big) problem alone. I wouldn’t suggest a riot either, at least not one of those where once again there is violence instead of the possibility to peacefully tell your fellow human beings what is important for you.

I wouldn’t ever allow myself to say that I have a solution for making the world a better place. But I allow myself to give you this advice: Be aware of what is going on around you. Question decisions that are being made for you – and teach your children to do so. Stand up for your rights and for the rights of others, if you have the opportunity to do so. If you are in a position where you hold power over others – be it as a member of the police, a politician, a doctor or a soldier – act humbly and remember that those for whom you are making decisions are human beings too.

“The Hunger Games” was a warning for me, a warning that society is weak, when its members are not aware of what is happening around them. People fall all too gladly for the great leaders, as history has tragically shown. It might not be as comfortable to think for yourself and to be responsible for what you are doing. It’s always easier to let others do the hard work. And of course, not everyone has the chance to think for themselves – when you are in extreme poverty and don’t have access to food and education, you have other problems than to think about what is wrong with society. But you people who are lucky enough to sit in front of a computer and read this: Think twice. If we go on with not questioning what is happening around us, „The Hunger Games” are not at all as far away as you may think.

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