September 2022: slowing down, festivals and democracy
I guess I can officially stop starting these recaps with an excuse for it being late and just embrace the process of writing them after the month is over. This time the last days of the month were consumed with anxiety for the Brazilian presidential elections, and next one will most likely follow, as we’re up for another round at the end of October.
Anyway, here’s a little round-up of September:
As I mentioned last month, letting go of my time at Klarna has been bittersweet. August was quite sad, then I overworked myself to get my team’s goals as close to done as possible before I leave, which was good on one side, but brought me closer to being done with it. I had to actively stop myself from doing as much and now I’m just trying to enjoy the time I have left. I’ve been going to the office more often, embracing the distractions and the fikas, and spending time with the amazing people I’ve been lucky to work with for the past 2 years.
There was a lot happening in Berlin this month. One of those things was the 22nd International Literature Festival, with several events and readings happening all over. I was lucky to see Margaret Atwood talking about her career and how she started writing The Handmaid’s Tale in West Berlin in 1984 on a German typewriter.
But by far, my highlight was being able to see Lauren Groff at the German premiere of her latest book Matrix. I haven’t read Matrix yet, but Florida was one of my favourite discoveries during the pandemic and it was incredible to listen to this woman talk about her thoughts and process. One of the things that stuck with me is how she writes several drafts and throws them away without reading until all she has left to write is the actual story she wants to tell. This way, according to her, her perfectionist self can’t get stuck in the irrelevant details of writing the perfect sentences and she can focus on distilling the content instead. She also wrote three books at once (Matrix + 2 to be published) and they’re all some sort of reconstruction of history with women as protagonists. Can’t wait to read them all!
My favourites were Olga (Elie Grappe, 2021), the story of a Ukrainian teenage gymnast that has to go train in Switzerland for her own safety when the Maidan Revolution breaks in 2014, which marked the start of the on going war with Russia, and Flee (Jonas Poher Rasmussen, 2021), an Oscar nominated animated documentary about a man that escaped to Denmark from Afghanistan in the 90s and is finally coming to terms with his own life story.
Listening to Lingthusiasm last month triggered me to rewatch Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016) for the 3rd time. It’s one of my favourite movies, but I had never taken the time to read the book. So this month I read Stories of your life and others (Ted Chiang), a collection of short stories, of which one inspired the movie. I really liked it and found his writing quite interesting and refreshing. Each story has a different writing style and theme, all a bit dystopian and weird, with a mixture of science and religion.
Finishing this one made me realised I hadn’t finished a book since June, which was a bit sad. I’ve never been one for abandoning books (even when I don’t like them), but somehow this year I’ve started more than 5 books that I haven’t been able to finish yet. I’m also struggling to get into A Field Guide to Getting Lost (Rebecca Solnit) which was my suggestion for the unread bookclub that is happening in October. Let’s hope I can finish it in time!
Fight for Democracy
This month ended in anxiety filled with excitement because on October 2nd we had the Brazilian elections. Unfortunately I wasn’t eligible to vote from Berlin in 2018, when Bolsonaro was elected, but this year I made sure to transfer my voting section in time. I know this is a September recap, but since I’m writing this after it happened, I just wanted to mention that it was an amazing experience to go vote at the Brazilian Embassy in Berlin for the first time and to see how many people were there to fight together against facism. We were very close to winning on the first round and although it’s extremely scary to see 50 million people still voted to keep the current government, I’m hopeful he’s gonna be out in January.
I’ll bring updates in the next recap. Until then, please keep an eye on us even if you’re not Brazilian! If we let them continue to destroy the Amazon, we won’t be the only ones affected.
See you next month!
Written on a Tuesday in October, 2022