we need to talk about Kevin

If I was to choose a book of the year it surely would be Lionel Shrivers ‘We need to talk about Kevin’. Some time in September I found out that she was giving a talk in the Queen Elisabeth Hall and bought a ticket and went there yesterday. Wow. 98 per cent of the audience were women and I guess that another 70% were American. As the room filled it resembled more and more a womens’ party meeting. Then Lionel Shriver arrived. She was wonderful. An intellectual with wit and a sparkle in her eyes, enjoying audience and the discussion which followed the reading. The reading was great and somewhat colourful. The discussion was very interesting. An American woman asked why Eva, the main character in the book hasn’t looked for professional help/therapy(‘I don’t know anybody who hasn’t looked for help!’) and Shrivers answer was that in America people don’t believe in simple tragedy and always look for someone to blame for, somebodys fault. I was reminded of 9/11, but this also applies for disasters like school schootings. Probably this arouses from the wish to keep control over situations. But what struck me more was the discussion about how motherhood changes a womans’ life, how she becomes a kind of public property. And then in a time of changing partners, the blood bondage with children tend to be stronger, lasting longer than what we call ‘love’. If you haven’t read the book, read it!

Posted by steffi at 8:16 PM
Categories: books

Comfort, Vanity & Teddy

An interesting aspect of teaching is that you get to know the fashion of childrens' names some 10 to 18 years ago. In Germany there are a lot of Kevins(hopefully not alone at home!!!). To me many English names have a nice sound, but when you translate their meaning into German…well; and then imagine you have a child or friend you call ‘Annehmilchkeit’, ‘Behaglichkeit’, ‘Liebesgabe’, Trost’ (=Comfort), or ‘Einbildung’, ‘Eitelkeit’, ‘Waschtisch’(=American for Vanity)…school then gets some theatrical quality.

Posted by steffi at 8:14 PM
Categories: misc


Vor ein paar Tagen begleitete ich eine Gruppe 8klaessler in die Kirche zum Weihnachtsgottesdienst. Ich muss sagen, dass ich mich mehr amuesierte, als ich erwartete haette. Ein kleiner 8klaessler sang ein Solo und konnte die hohen Toene nicht ereichen(very sweet). Die Preisterin war jung, hatte einen schwarzen Rock mit tollen weissen Blumen an und die Musiklehrer nutzten alle moeglichen Geraetschaften und heizten die Kirche mit Trommeln ein. Aber der Hit war der Sportlehrer. Die Sportlehrer rennen den ganzen Tag in Shorts durch die Schule und die behaarten Beinde der Maenner bieten einen spannenden Kontrast zur Schuluniform und der gediegenen Kleidung der Lehrer(ja, ich trage ein Jackett, das ich mir extra fuer meine Lehrtaetigkeit gekauft habe). Aber dass sie(die Sportlehrer in ihrer, aeh- 'Arbeitskleidung' in die Kirche gehen war fuer mich schon erstaunlich und so lief ein Sportlehrer in Shorts den Kirchgang auf und ab wie ein Wachpolizist und stellte sicher, dass sich die Kiddies benahmen und ihre Hemden schoen in den Hosen steckten.

Posted by steffi at 8:11 PM
Categories: misc



Yesterday I had no wish to do any work and so I decided to go to central London and have a look at some art shows. I visited the Photographers Gallery in Covent Garden. David Peros' series 'settlement'  was on display there and I was fascinated in more than one way. You come from the buzzing center with all the people crazy with their x-mas shopping and then there are these photographs showing a life not only out in the country, but really out in the bushes; self made homes, resembling fairy tale accommodations of Robin Hoods friends. I have to say that I was touched and remembered my 'youth', when I was wandering around the forests with my friend Marita wishing we were Indians(North American type). A romantic feeling came up, some nostalgia and the question: could I live like that?

But of course I was in the center of London, I am a city girls and the photographers Gallery has found a new way to attract visitors: there is a cafe within the exhibition. It resembles a cantine, with big tables and benches just in the middle of the gallery. The prices are ok and so I sat within the exhibition indulging with a Latte and a great walnut and coffee-cake and contemplated the state of the world and my life in particular. In German we call that 'Weltschmerz' though at that moment it was not so much painful, but rather playful. Back at home I checked out some of the settlements ( eco-village , gen eco-village , diggers and dreamers ).

I once read a (bad)book, where the cover excerpt had lured me into bying it...

...sometimes you realise that besides the life you happen to live there is another one you could have lived as well...

Maybe I am no digger, but I surely am a dreamer-

Posted by steffi at 12:44 PM
Categories: art



Als ich gestern aus Deutschland zurück nach London kam fühlte ich mich wie eine Hundertjährige nach ihrer rauschenden Geburtstagsfeier. Ich war übers Wochenende in Dresden gewesen, wo ich meine Installation ‚wenn’ im Kunsthaus Dresden  aufgebaut habe. 2 Tage non-stop Papierflieger an Nylonfäden an die Decke heften. Danach hatte ich deutlich einen Knick in der Optik uns sah überall Nylonfäden. Anlass der Aktion war und ist die Ausstellung ‚Schweizer Krankheit’ und ich bin wohl definitiv eine Patientin. ‚Schweizer Krankheit’ ist eine Bezeichnungfür Heimweh aus dem 17. Jahrhundert. Meine Installation ist bis zum 5.2. in Dresden zu sehen-

Posted by steffi at 11:05 PM
Categories: misc