Berlin: My Scarred Muse

When I traveled to Berlin back in 2009, I was mesmerized and speechless: the in your face street art, the bold and chic architecture, the playful, rebellious nature of its people, and the intentionally abandoned scars from a time in history when she almost fell entirely off the map.

I fell in love with the city at a young age, enthralled by its turbulent history and thriving culture. It was the only locale that came to mind when my husband dared me to write a novel. Although I wanted to write about a multitude of time periods, the World War II junkie in me prevailed, and Beneath the Satin Gloves was born.

It is the biggest challenge I have ever taken on, a delicious adventure.

I’ve always wanted to live in another time, and writing effortlessly granted me that impossible wish. Off and on for the past three years, I lived in the 1940s through the characters and plots in my head.

I love the idea of an intelligent character being uncomfortable, completely out of their element. To add a twist to my book, my main character is actually from present day, and wakes up in the past as a spy in Berlin. Therefore, modern elements and thoughts are incorporated throughout the story.

An excerpt from Beneath the Satin Gloves…

One lazy afternoon, spending quality time with her remote control, she flipped through channels and landed on a travel show discussing the gender qualities of cities. American cities, like Chicago, were masculine, embracing smart business suits, non-stop hustle and bustle, and snappy hamburgers. European cities, like Brussels, were feminine, encompassing tidy dogs, chic cafés, and lazy croissants swimming in artery-blocking cream.

Berlin was both feminine and masculine, eclectic sense of style mixed with undeniable assertiveness. Graffiti covered the walls in one eye-catching portrait after another, expressing creativity and attitude beneath its brazen messages.

It was estimated that ninety percent of Berlin was destroyed during World War II. Walking around that summer, she found bullet holes permanently embedded in different exteriors around the city. She often stopped and touched them, closing her eyes, feeling these scars as if they were her own.

Scars could never diminish Berlin’s spirit. There was no need to cover them up with unnecessary make-up, because they made the city who she was—a survivor.

Many would claim Berlin is not a romantic city, but I beg to differ. In my eyes, romance is defined by complexity, passion, and intrigue.

I am currently in the final editing stages. I would love to hear your feedback! What do you guys think of the excerpt?

16 thoughts on “Berlin: My Scarred Muse

  1. I thought it was very insightful. Never thought of looking at cities in that way, but I think you have the correct feel on the ones you spotlighted.I think of Berlin as having a sinister element to it. Keep up the great work, Meredith

  2. Having lived in Germany for half of my early teen years (9 all together) we were treated to a completely different perspective. Americans were really not very welcomed off base in the local stores, it was almost as if a store employee was assigned to every American (kids too) when we walked into a store with mother and each employee was like a loss preventative detective in modern times. We were in Germany when the Berlin wall was being put up and we did see it when we were leaving to come back to the states in 1966. We saw the tanks and airplanes that were left all over the countryside from the wars and we saw Ann Frank’s last house. I am probably way off course from what your reqeust but all of these play into what Germany is today I think. I love the excerpt and will watch for more.

    1. I totally agree that any country’s history, or anybody’s personal history for that matter, makes them who they are today. Thanks for your perspective, Margaret!

  3. I love this part in particular “Scars could never diminish Berlin’s spirit. There was no need to cover them up with unnecessary make-up, because they made the city who she was—a survivor.” Seeing the walls of Berlin as a face, or faces, is such a beautiful image. Good luck with the final edits!!!

  4. Your book sounds really interesting. Visited Berlin last year and really enjoyed it. It’s a unique place. I walked by that segment of the Wall still left standing. It was really moving and I took SO many photos.

    1. Thanks, Marney! Berlin is certainly one of the most unique places I have ever visited, and the wall is indeed moving and powerful. Just stopped by your blog, and it looks right up my alley. I’m looking forward to reading more from you. : )

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