Art is beautiful, but it’s a lot of work.

When I read the quote from Karl Valentin this morning, I had to think of us Harlequins and our Harlequin.blog. Because even small works of art are a lot of work.

For more than 3 years we have been writing,  inexperienced but eager-to-learn “fumblers in the dartk”, and have published a new text every Friday. Each author follows his own path. Some look at IT and change projects with their consulting glasses, others discover stylistic howlers in (real?) life and others philosophise about all the world and his wife. With time we have built a list of guest authors who like writing for our Harlekin.Blog.

We have achieved something that we have believed in from the beginning. Well, our little blog is no art, don’t get me wrong. But it does create work, a lot of beautiful work.

The 7 of us permanent authors meet regularly for a progress meeting, either digitally, or at a Harlequin’s home so that we don’t lose personal contact with each other and can seal it with a drop of good wine. Pleasure is important to us in everything we do. Since our authors live in different countries and thanks to travel restrictions due to Corona, virtual encounters unfortunately predominate at the moment. And, as befits the agile-minded, we follow a more or less strict guideline in content, time and structure. Before each meeting I have the same questions: What do I tell the others when I it’s my turn at the next meeting? What are the others interested in? What will move our project forward? And: Do we have enough articles “in the pipeline”?

Our editor – Yes, we do have one and she is essential for the success of the blog! – has an admirable way of always conjuring up new articles and new ideas out of our heads and hearts. With gentle pressure and loving consistency she drives us forward. I am glad that we have her.

In the book “A House with Many Rooms”, edited by Sophia Jungmann and Karen Nölle, we learn about female writers when they are writing. They are famous women writers I would not dare to compare myself in any way. But already in the preface I was overcome by the suspicion that all creative writers have to confront the same topics and issues. All following quotations are therefore taken from the preface of this book, which is really worth reading.

“When you write something, you have a lot to consider.”  Exactly! The most urgent questions for me are, after all, what interests me, what do I want to write about and can I reach readers with it? How do I express myself precisely and as briefly as possible? And with what words do I express “harlequinism”? I continue to practise…

“To be enticed by the world of writing, the magic of storytelling, is something that both readers and writers know.” So true! Every Friday morning, I look forward to the new Harlequin text. I watch myself carefully as I read it. I often hear my colleagues speaking as I read their contributions. We all write from our hearts, unadulterated, authentic and recognizable. And some of my colleagues surprise me again and again with their courage, their humour and their gift for making connections.

Some texts I already know because I have proofread them. Nevertheless, I only experience them completely in the format of our blog page and accompanied by photos. A small work of art.

“Difficult to grasp, but important is the issue of talent. Writers are usually gifted in several ways: with imagination, ideas, spirit, feeling for language, perseverance, discipline. They don’t talk about it; it seems to come naturally.” Did I mention that when we launched the blog, we firmly believed that we could succeed? Yes, exactly! But soon we noticed that each of us has varying degrees of one or the other talent. We have all experienced ups and downs in our writing process and we are still experiencing them.

There have been times when I personally wanted to stop, because I thought I couldn’t manage it. I can’t write. I have struggled with myself. And I know from others that they often wondered what contribution they could make in this creative circle.

The fact that we are all still together is a tribute to our team. With reason and heart, I would even like to say with altruism, we have time and again faced the dithering, doubts and apprehension. We have listened to each other, turned to each other and made the struggle of the individual a team task. No one is alone! By the way, this distinguishes us from writers who usually fight solo with their laptops and their creative minds. Impressive! Siri Hustvedt, for example, wishes “to be able to hear the voices inside her freely and form them without being censored…”. Yes, I wish for that too. We are helped in this by the peer principle, the recurring meetings in which we report back and a professional editing service as a guarantee of quality.

“A narrative,” Alice Munro said, “is a house with many rooms, and whoever enters its rooms will discover a new view from the window”. The Harlequin’s house also has many rooms. Meanwhile I look forward to working on and discussing a new text (room) for the Harlequin blog. I have sketched a lot of ideas, and I also look forward to the fight with my weak inner self to put flesh on the sketches. (I don’t know what yours looks like, my inner self resembles a lapdog I have persistently to lure with treats!!!) I am curious to see which rooms we will enter with the Harlequin in the coming years. For that I have one last quote from the above mentioned book:

“They cleverly play with the theme of seduction by imagination and in their own way they conjure up the conundrum around which so much written matter revolves – the unspoken, perhaps unspeakable, which provokes authors to write ever new texts and lures their readers”. I look forward to the baiting!

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