One of my favorite things is to explore. About four years ago I found myself single again (after 14 years.) That summer I took a trip to Berlin to visit my friends Claudia and Bettina. If you are following my blog Claudia Brieske is a brilliant installation and performance artist. Bettina StoB is a prominent German photographer who specializes in theater, dance and opera. Both are very well known and excellent artists.
So I decided to use my 10 days to explore a city that is rich in history and still has that european charm. It’s rapidly changing and there has to be just as many museums as New York. Lots of graffiti too so I felt right at home. The Germans found a brilliant way to capitalize on the Holocaust as well as the cold war. These two topics still hold my interest because I grew up in the shadow of the one and lived through the other. It was very interesting being on the european side as well. My experience had always been the New York American point of view of both. Now I was able to see how ridiculous the whole Cold War was from the German side. I went on a tour of a air raid shelter that just happened to be part of their subway system. Amazing. In the event of something actually happening, these places were useless. Almost laughable when you think about it. All the more reason not to drop bombs. As for the Holocaust, well that’s a bit more involved. It was amazing to find so many memorials on so many levels. Bettina’s wife Ann and I ventured over to the Hamburger Museum and watched a film about the Holocaust. This is a museum that is mainly modern and contemporary. While walking down the street will find small plaques embedded in the sidewalk with the names of jews or people that were carted away and sent off to the camps. There is also a memorial dedicated to lesbians and gays that vanished as well.
I enjoyed this trip immensely. I came away with the history and back story for The Z Factor. This was a wonderful surprise. Also put a perspective on the book. Although The Z Factor is a novel its basis lies on fact.
I have to say that I am concerned about Putins aggression towards the Ukraine and the possible threat to the rest of eastern Europe.
Anyway as it turned out it seems as if my divorce was a blessing in disguise. If I had not been single, I would never have had the freedom and opportunity to explore and develop this very important project that doesn’t just stop at a book.