Yeah, embarrassing, isn't it.
I just read a short story that I was working on over a year ago. It is a very personal story, one that I don't even know whether I can ever give it to the person that is involved. On the other hand, it's a really good story.

I was wondering how you cope with using material about your personal experience. People you know become characters (even though they will be different). In my first book, I used practically my whole environment. Parents and friends said they could clearly see themselves in it. Back then I didn't really think about what they thought of my depiction. That has changed.

If you witness something really funny happening, would you use it in your writing, even though the person that it happened to might read it someday? After all, you do use different names.

One week and a bit to go until the A-Z challenge. (You can find a nice little picture and a link on my notepad sticky note on the left)

I have thought about so many ideas, but I'm unsure yet about which letters to sort them to. Just to explain for newbies, although it's hardly likely that anyone in the part of the bloggosphere hasn't heard it yet, the A-Z challenge is a month-long blogging challenge, hosted by
There are 26 letters in the alphabet (in English) and you have 30 days to dedicate one post per day to each. Easy peasy.

So far, I have the A-poem planned (need to work on it though), then a series about my ride back to Germany on my motorbike (we'll see how creatively I can combine this traveling experience with writing), and last idea goes to: a multi-post elaboration on the a Hollywood practice called "The Heroes Journey", which I think is highly advisable for writers to at least know about. It's the knowledge of conventions that enables us to alter and experiment with them.
So, what are you ideas so far?
I hope to see you there soon.

This was wonderful blogfest with so many exciting entries. Thrilling to host it.

Now it's time for the winner. Below you find the 10 best entries that included "art". All entries were great, but the nature of art is restricted. That's why we have only one winner:

The $20 voucher for CSNstores goes to:
Laura from Daily Dodo

Here is her entry:
Read this as if you are at my funeral
And faced with the crowd of mourning strangers
With tears in their eyes,
Hold in your mouth the art of their final memory
Of me.

Read this as though we lie together,
And in the long summer grass I reach across
To hand you this scrap of love from my pocket.

And here are the nine secondary winners!

Donna Hole:
Music and art have always been a part of my writing. I listen to music to set mood, or just as background noise to block out all other distractions. I look at pictures or movie excerpts to set a character personality or scene setting.

JC Martin:
“What is that?”
“A herd of horses racing through the plains.”
“Horses!? They look like a pack of mutant rats.”
“Hey, art is in the eye of the beholder.”
“That can’t be art in anybody’s eyes.”
“Picasso’s work was misunderstood in his time too.”
“Shh…Mrs Dempsey’s coming.”
“Keep working, boys. Adam, I love your horses. Great abstract art.”

Her pen
drips ink form the art
of her heart as it spills
its questions into a book
she’s reading hoping
to gain a closer look
at the One who gives all
because He was and is
and is to come always
from the vast canvas
of His wisdom revealing
the passion of His cross–
true justice bleeding grace.

The art of brevity is a misnomer.  The history of art spans a long stretch of time.  And the range of variety within the arts is broad and as infinite as the mind will allow.  How can art and brevity even be used side by side?  How can a windbag like me expect to be brief?  Me?  Sixty words? Hmmph!

I look up at the deep blue sky,
covered in mountains till half,
I look inside the deep dark woods,
A Cow feeding it's Calf.
Then I take a drive out by the river,
What a clear reflection of a bullock cart!
Admit it, if you need inspiration,
Nature is the purest form of art.

It's shy.
My art is shy.
It lurks in the corners of a dusty brain...
Smiling to itself in that sly way.

Sometimes art takes a tumble to the other side
Just to see it's little shy friends.
They visit, compose...
And share those timid and colorful plans.

Then pop! And blurt!
Bursting out of the mind...

What can I do to help reach this goal?
Will my simple words tip the scales?
I am stepping up and helping out.
Do not want to be why this goal fails.

Without a picture or a prompt
My mind is blank and scrambling
My heart felt wish as words are read
I do not sound like I am rambling

 “Keep the light on.”
He’ll never understand. “Because I’m afraid.”
“Afraid? Of what?” His fingers rest on the switch. His eyes narrow.
“Of that.” I point at the canvas on the wall. His art.
“It’s a painting,” he says. “That’s all.”
“No it’s not. It’s evil.”
“Yes. Evil. Look at the eyes.”

He slips behind another's eyes, wends his way through exotic mazes of thought, dreams another's dreams, takes strange words into his mouth and expels them, whole yet somehow changed. He skulks about the perimeter, always watching, dissecting;  taking them apart and cobbling them together into angels and monsters which only he can see. He is a voyeur. He loves art.

This has been a busy week with lots of things breaking mainly last week. Somehow that happens every two years in March. Remembering back, I can recall a TV breaking, a bike being stolen, another TV needing to be repaired and now the motorbike. Fate?

However, I'm in a really surprisingly stunning mood.
The blogfest was fun and I have had many really great entries. In a few hours (today at midnight, London time), I will not exactly let it explode, but it will come to an unfriendly end anyway.

So if you're still up for writing sixty words, post them quick or comment them on my blog. Remember, there is still a $20 voucher on the loose.
Today I really want to be a crime scene investigator. I should transform this into a story - my first hate crime novel.

Why this mood? Because I got ripped out of my dreams this morning by a loud banging on my downstairs window. First I wasn't sure about anything? Was I awake, was I sane, where was the ceiling?
Ages later, but apparently much quicker than I thought, I opened the window at the top of my bed and peeked down, where I found my awkward Polish neighbour in his non-shirt-but-huge-hairy-belly appearance.

He showed me with his hands and a few out-of-place words that someone had toppled my motorbike. Holy...
I was out, in my pants and down the stairs in no time. When I opened the front door my housemate suddenly stood among the kitchen door frame and made me jump. You see my heightened senses?

I found the bike, shattered plastic and one broken off hand bar. Makes about a few hundred bucks/quid/euro/pounds/dollars. And for what? Someone had intentionally overturned it, there is no other possibility the way it stood against the house. So now I want someone to investigate for me please and then report back to me, so I can write my best seller about how I catch the guys à la CSI.

What would you write a crime novel about?
So, the 60x60 entries are slowly coming in now, but I hope with all you great writers out there, we will have loads more until next week.

Remember, you can write any 60 words (does not have to be in sixty seconds) and you can post or comment them on here. Exactly one week to go and I have read some great ones already.

In the beginning of the week, I had some issues with the newspaper I am writing for. The chief editor is not showing up (only happens in a University newspaper where people don't know what they are signing up for), the sub-editor thus needs to get extra help from volunteers and together they change so much in each section that the individual editors get furious about the tampering.

Writer need to accept different opinions about their work and in business they also have to allow changes to get the best result. I wonder how much is too much?

Where do you set the boundaries? When would you refuse to let someone change your work or is anything fine as long as it sells?

So we have the first blogfesters in our midst.

You can still take part until next Wednesday. Write 60 words (if you can in 60 seconds) or write for 60 seconds including something with art. Post them or comment them on my blog.

I will collect 60 entries if we get that many and this will be our personal 60x60 writer's.

Don't forget, you can also win a CSNstores voucher for $20.

More info here.

Nahno ∗ McLein

PS: Thank you for Donna Hole for spreading the word and also thanks to my friend Hanna la Kiw for joining the A-Z challenge in April. Everything is so exciting.

So this is my first blogfest to celebrate the first magical number: the 50th follower.
I went to a 60x60 concert this week, which gave me the idea of this challenge. 60 composers each had 60 seconds to bring give a statement through music. Interesting, but hard on the ears and strenuous on the mind. All the acoustic and sonic beats. The presenter said this has traveled from music to video to drama and others.
So why don't we writers do it, too.

First, I thought we could each write 60 words in 60 seconds. Tried it, never had more than 47, though. So this is the new blogfest challenge:

To take part, you have to:
1. be a follower. (obvious one)
2. write a piece of 60 words that contains art in any form.

3. Check for I'm, don't, It's - they count as two words.
4. post it on your blog or comment it here (don't forget link to post)
5. When: Sunday 6th - Wednesday 16th of March
6. spread the word if you can (extra points)
The winner of the CSN voucher will be announced on the 20th.

If we can get 60 pieces together, I will post the best ones as our own 60x60 collection.
If anyone manages to write decent 60 words in 60 seconds, this will be honoured of course.

And now to the prize:
CSN Stores has amazing online stores, where you can find everything from great cookware to beautiful bedroom furniture to chic lighting pieces! So the winner gets a $20 (£25 or 15€) voucher.
For UK, Germany, USA and Canada.

Have a look at these to decide if you like something:
Nice arty book shelf from CSNstores
So here is my little piece. It's a poem that came out of the second round I tried to write for 60 seconds.

Why people hide art, I don’t know

The secret parts of people’s work
is often reined by an unseen wart
that shrouds all meaning.

I love art, don’t get me wrong,
it’s just so hard to hear the song
in every distinct form.

I vote to consolidate the different parts
in firing warts and rupturing the walls.

Now it's your time, have fun.

I'm so excited.
In celebration of my 50th follower, I want to host a blogfest. My very first I have to add.

CSN Stores has even asked me to use one of their $20 gift vouchers as a give away. How could I say no to that? (PS: voucher works in America, England and Germany)

So please come back tomorrow and I will put the details of the blogfest in my next post. It should be awesome, for I have a great idea that develops something I have seen today for music, and I'm pretty sure we writer'can do just the same and be amazing, too.

Be prepared for the 60x60 Blogfest from Sunday 6th to Wednesday 9th of March.

And thank you all for following again.

My University in Leicester, UK, is hosting a one-week event called Cultural Exchanges (10th anniversary). There are workshops, readings and performances of renowned artists and celebrities. Something I wouldn’t want to miss.

It started off with the reviewer’s perspective of Guardian theatrical reviewer Michael Billington. Very inspiring. He can use the word “hell” in non-blasphemous ways; his choice of words is immaculate.

Today, a dance performance. (see video below)
Not exactly, it was Gabi Reuter’s ‘performing arts’ performance with three partners. Such an honour to see the world premier of “Tourist”. Especially since she works internationally, currently in Nottingham and Berlin (my hometown again, we’re everywhere).
Her show, presented by the international dance centre Dance4, is an abstract tourist experience with alien languages, slow motion and cunning themes. I overheard a visitor saying, “It’s abstract, so don’t put any meaning into it.” Some younger performing arts students didn’t quite get that and thus were disappointed, saying reluctantly, “I didn’t understand it.” Personally, I thought it was a truly artistic view on a tourist feeling misplaced.

Others were also fond of the interpretation. The start was strange and dreary with its total sound eradication whereby it was easier to focus on someone’s stomach growling (not mine). Quickly it became clear that the introduction was necessary to get the feeling for the abstract world, otherwise the alien language with only a slight resonance similar to English would have felt out of place. After the comical insertion of props such as a sky-diver’s outfit, a ranger’s costume and the recurring sliding-into-the-scene alpinist, the presentation became more interactive; then finally with the play on voices, sounds and indiscernible objects it turned into entertainment.
The characters made fun of each other, used echoes as special effects and made the empty stage into a full visual movie via their reactions. The end scene ended with a story in English, describing the imaginary way through a black wall in the background and travelling with the key word “behind” back to Nottingham. Very powerful for residents of the area. My favourite twist was the underlying criticism about English semi-detached houses of one of the foreign performers: “You know, these things you have here in England.”

The rest of the week will include events such as creative writing presentations, a romantic-comedy conference and what I anticipate the most, a 60x60 concert, meaning that 60 composers from around the world each play for 60 seconds either electro acoustic or sonic art music.

Find more on Cultural Exchanges on:

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