One week after arriving. The worst piece of advice I got for Germany is that language isn’t a problem because everyone speaks English. You hear it all the time in the states. It’s not true.
The second worst is that people are reserved. That’s also false. I don’t understand them, of course, so I wish I could let myself believe that the strangers who approach me — usually asking for directions; I look like a local since I bleached my hair — are always being friendly. I’m too cynical to assume they’re not sometimes just judging me.
So, yeah, the language barrier is a problem. Matteo Pasquinelli says creativity is a rupture of semiotic planes and of course I want to create here, but it’s not easy to break into higher language dimensions when you have so little mastery of the simple ones.
Maybe as kids we become literate through semiotic breaks. Applying stress tests to consensus word-worlds to see how little conformity we can get away with. I was attracted to rule-agnostic writing before I accepted that writing for general audiences is mostly a law abiding thing. And also there’s a big heaving gap between art and expression. When my writing was at its most unintentionally surreal I wouldn’t have thought to call it so.
But there’s also poetry in the act of accepting one’s limits. I think I like broken German more than Germans like broken English
I took these next 2 photos in my home district. Appealingly ungentrified and unpopular with tourists, very pretty, but it smells like New Jersey. I have no problem with the rats in the river but wish I could better handle bad urban aromas and tobacco smoke — can confirm that German cliché
Tägliche Schmerz, and I’m not into recalibrating my senses. (All the USA stereotypes are true, like the smoke gets to me).
I think this first travelogue will also be the last one. Don’t really want to write about my real life, but posts about work forthcoming 🙂