Category Archives: travelling
I got another runner-up win in a WritersDomain writing contest!! It was a Harry Potter FanFiction contest, in honour of Harry’s birthday, which is today, July 31. I’d never written fanfiction before (turned up my nose at it, if I’ve got to be honest), but this one I couldn’t resist. I mean, Harry Potter …
And seeing as I was just there a year ago, at King’s Cross and the Platform 9 3/4 Store, that’s what I wrote about.
You can read it here: “Platform 9 3/4” – scroll down, mine is the third entry. On second thought, don’t scroll down, read the other two first. They’re really good. I might have to revise my opinion on fanfiction.
Life, the Universe, and Platform 9 3/4. Alohomora!
Botanical Beach, Vancouver Island, BC. I’m happy.
So this happened today:
“Hey, Angelika! Congratulations on being a runner-up in the WritersDomain travel writing contest!”
Eeeep, I got a win in another contest!! My winning piece, a 1000-word travel writing story, tells about the Schillerplatz, a plaza in Stuttgart in South-West Germany.
Take a look at the first few lines, and then read the rest of it here!
“Schillerplatz” by Angelika M. Offenwanger
The last time I saw Schiller, they had put him in a box. Oh, no, not the kind that leaves you six feet under. This one was a skeleton of scaffolding neatly surrounding Herr von Schiller as he stood in all his brazen glory in the square next to the Stiftskirche in Stuttgart. The glory had accumulated too much verdigris and needed a cleaning.
I was disappointed not to be able to see the statue. Obligingly, however, one side of the box had been covered with a giant billboard-like photograph of the statue, so that by standing in the right spot and pointing the camera just so, one could get the illusion of having taken a picture of the Schiller statue in front of the Prinzenbau after all. The only problem was that the billboard photo showed a bright blue sky, whereas on the day we visited the skies were overcast; the illusion in my photo is imperfect.
But in a way, this is in keeping with the rest of the Schillerplatz, where the bronze statue stands surrounded by buildings that seem fantastically ancient. The Old Palace, massive with thick round ivy-covered towers, dates from the Renaissance. The Stiftskirche with its mis-matched spires, the symbol of Stuttgart, has parts going back to the twelfth century. The Fruchtkasten next to it has a magnificent gable that was added in 1596. Or rather, it once had a gable that was added in 1596. What the visitor sees today is the Fruchtkasten as it was rebuilt in the 1950s—as were the Stiftskirche, the Old Palace, and the Prinzenbau and Old Chancellery that flank the remaining two sides of the Schillerplatz. All the buildings around the Schillerplatz burned to the ground in a hail of bombs in 1944.
… keep on reading here…
Word on the Lake was, once again, fantastic. I came home with my head stuffed with info, my feet hovering about two inches off the ground with the sheer buoyancy of inspiration.
Here are a few snippets, visual, inspirational or educational (the latter paraphrased in my own words from what stuck with me):
Ian Weir (screenwriter and novelist): “Give yourself permission to write. A lawyer goes to school for about nine years – a writer should be allowed the same time to learn their craft.”
Gail Anderson-Dargatz (novelist, teacher, mentor):
“Being a literary writer is like being a concert pianist. It takes the same level of training, and practice – and practice…”
“Write crap.” (i.e. get the first crappy draft on the page, then go back and work it over)
“Most writers share character traits of being odd, anxious, fearful, observant, introverted…” (There was a huge long list on the whiteboard. I almost cried with relief at hearing that I’m not alone.) “Don’t let your fears hold back your character on the page.”
Jacqueline Guest (teacher, writer of historic novels for young adults): “If it’s character-driven, what’s driving the character?”
There was story after story of the presenters’ own lives, which was probably more inspiring than anything else. This was, after all, a writer’s conference – probably the most interesting group of people to listen or talk to you could imagine. It didn’t matter where you were – in a workshop, at lunch, chatting between sessions – at the slightest provocation people drop into telling stories. And they tell them well – boredom is not one of the invited guests at a writers’ gathering.
I came away encouraged, inspired, and energized (as well as exhausted – it’s that introvert thing, which meant that even a day later I needed a really long nap just to recuperate some of my energies). My mind was expanded, and so was my network – I reconnected with friends from previous years, made new friends, found new mentors to follow and learn from…
I can’t wait for next year’s conference. But meanwhile, I have some writing to do!
Life, the Universe, and Snippets from a Conference. See you there in 2019?