Scholarship in Upstate New York

My scholarship at the Ledig house was in September, we had a lovely time full of late summer sun, read leafs on the trees and cool nights on the terrace. The writers promised to keep in contact, but after four weeks we all went back into our lifes and never saw us again.
My time ended with the anual summer reading and we were all asked to read something of our work. I wondered, who the hell would come to listen to stories from people, that write in a different language. Would I do that in Berlin? No chance. But I was wrong, the evening came and with it dozens of – mostly elderly –people from around. Those are the folks, I thought, that live in the houses with the big gardens which no one is allowed to step on. These are the ones who could have been shooting me if I would have done it. The men wore baseball caps and the women looked like the good mothers of American art house movies that had a deep and sometimes very dangerous secret. The house was full oft hem, it seemed that the whole disctrict had shown up, they were sitting on all the chairs and standing in all corners and doors. They were nice and I still wondered why they showed up. They were without any doubt not able to understand a single word of us.
The reading session took at least one hour, on of us after the other presented our texts, and the folks ins front of us – most oft hem in winter jackets – were sitting and listening without moaning. A gentle writer from Finland read in Finish, a woman who looked als if she came from Transilvania, but was from a former communist country, I can’t rembember the name, read in her mother language. A Chinese woman read in Cantonese or Mandarin, who could tell, and a Swiss poet gave a performance in Swiss German that even I had difficulties to understand. I was the last one to read, I read the first pages of my first book, which tells stories of an average German man under the influence of women. He grew up in the 80s and tried to make the women in his life happy – his teachers, his mother, his girlfriends. They told him that men are evil creatures, who start wars, torture nature and children and try to dominate the women of the world. And while he was trying to be different and gentle, open minded and cooperative he forgot who he was and what he wanted.
The audience was listening and I had no idea, what they were hearing as it was all in German. I finished and the audience applauded gently like before and while we all went out to the garden, an old man whispered, ‚how do you know my wife so well?‘ I smiled and followed him through the door and then I understood why all these people were such a nice and attentive audience – a buffet was build up under the trees, it was huge like the smoregasboard for the Swedish king and his whole family. There was soup and saussages and sandwiches and wine and beer and water and everyone lined up in a queue like school children. They talked with their neighbours and friends and ignored us completely. When the had finished they took off and we were alone again. We drank the rest of the wine and the beer and had a very funny night, even without the Americans.

Geschrieben 2014 für das Ledig House, New York, NY.