Berlin, on a rainy day in October. „In summer you’re heaven, in winter you’re hell“, goes a popular German hip hop track.
Days like these are perfect for just getting lost in a good book, a well-told story. We’re meeting the author Linda Rachel Sabiers in her adopted hometown Berlin.
In this fast-paced, ever-changing metropolis with all of its historic footprints, each day bears new and interesting stories – big and small. It’s the everyday stories that Linda Raher Sabiers finds most enticing.
She lets us in on her daily life as a writer, shows us her neighborhood and favorite café, and she tells us what she does when writer’s block hits her. We’re meeting am incredibly talented and inspiring Linda Sabiers, whose passion and profession are one and the same.
You’ve been living in Berlin for quite some time now. What makes this city so inspiring to you?
Berlin is like a huge outdoor museum. There is hardly a neighborhood that didn’t host a famous character from the fields of literature, music, dance, visual arts or theatre over the last 200 years. This is especially true for Charlottenburg, the “Old West” of Berlin and my home for the past 6 years. It’s like you’re walking through a century of literature that has shaped our whole culture. The whole city – with all its places and people – is an inexhaustible source of inspiration.
Many of your texts are indeed about life here in Berlin. How would you characterize the Berlin lifestyle?
Berlin boasts a unique diversity of people and has a truly rich history. After all, many decisions on our nation’s future have been made here and are still being made today. I am especially interested in the Weimar period, Germany’s Golden Twenties. It seems to me that in these few years between the wars, people knew what was about to come. Sex, love, cabaret, mafia, culture and dance on every corner. Even today, you can still feel the spirit of this era in many places.
What inspires you more: exciting, unusual events or those day-to-day situations that are written by everyday life?
My inspiration is definitely everyday life. It could be two public order officers walking along the street, talking in that typical Berlin accent. Or the bus driver of the legendary M29 bus – the chaotic line between Grunewald and Neukölln. If you’re a writer, you won’t starve here. And if you do, you must be going through life with your eyes shut.
Can you tell us some more about your work as a writer, columnist and author?
I sway between typical writer clichés and total abnormality. I often sit by myself in one of the city’s countless cafés just writing whatever comes to mind. Very often without a plan, I just write down what I see. I publish many of these verbalized snapshots of the moment on my Facebook page, without editing. If I can’t get any words out, I usually do my laundry – for as long as it takes for new ideas to come.
What makes your job so unique to you?
Well, since we all have completely different heads, writing per se is a very unique thing. Every writer writes what he or she sees, hears and feels. When I describe the moonlight, ten other authors can do the same in twenty different ways. Being able to make a living of something that fulfills me, feels unique, too. I’m very grateful for that.
So it’s more of a passion than simply a job?
"A passion. Unconditionally."
Especially in creative professionals, one can get stuck from time to Probably all creatives know the feeling of being stuck from time to time. What brings you back on track when you’ve run out of inspiration?
I often start reading when that happens. I look at what “the others” are doing. And how they are doing it – their thoughts and ways of putting things. Sometimes, I then stumble upon a word that spins my thinking in a new direction; and the machine is up and running again. If that doesn’t help, I leave the house and look at people.
When you observe the city, you cannot go without noticing chewing gum. You actually wrote us a story about DasKaugummi. Chewing gum and cities – how do they fit together?
As long as you don’t step into one, chewing gum is great, and I can’t imagine life without it. There’s still something easy-going about them; after all, they’ve been representing coolness, freedom and relaxation since the time of the American occupancy – especially in Berlin. I chew gum to relax, when I’m bored on the subway, or to freshen up before a date or a meeting. Many chewing gum flavors bring back memories of my childhood, as soon as the taste hits my tongue. Today, my expectations of a great chewing gum are different, though – pretty much in line with the Berlin lifestyle: I like gum to be non-artificial, uniquely flavored and with a stylish packaging. My little story is about chewing gum and – how else should be – people.
Finally: Which DasKaugummi flavor do you chew when you’re ready for a change?
Elderflower & Mint. My absolute favorite!