September 17, 2014
Having already published two books, Elisabeth Rank is constantly inspired by the people and places around her. “Berlin’s like a big book you can open up every day and read. It’s never been different, people came and people went away, people loved and people fought. And I always liked watching them, talking to them, listening to them and imagining their lives.”
I always told stories. Since I learned to talk. The next step was learning how to write. From authors of my favourite books, my mom and in school. I never went to a literary school or anything like that, but I read a lot. Like a lot lot. And I lived in Berlin. Berlin is the city where I was born and grew up. And at the same time Berlin’s like a big book you can open up every day and read. It’s never been different, people came and people went away, people loved and people fought. And I always liked watching them, talking to them, listening to them and imagining their lives.
I wrote my first book about what happened among some of my friends after I finished school. I needed a few years to discover that this story was worth telling. Because it was always in my head. Not as a story but as something that happened and changed so many lives, as something that people are afraid to talk about. I wrote my second book about a similar topic as well. Friendship, love, breaking up, being torn apart, saying goodbye. That happens every day.
Berlin as a big city is likely to be a place where people feel together and lonely at the same time, where people talk to each other or live next to each other without even saying “hello” when meeting in the hallway. Berlin is full of shit and full of love. Like every person in this world.
And I discovered that Berlin teaches me a lot. It taught me how to talk to strangers and how to run away from them when I was a kid. Berlin taught me that entering the subway with a smile on your face can change your whole day. It taught me that the best people might live so close to you and you won’t ever be able to recognise all of them. It taught me how to let the past live in the same city without being angry at it and it taught me how to reconquer streets, areas, neighborhoods.
Sometimes I am sad that some places are not as they used to be, that they changed. And at the same time this makes me remember that you are responsible for yourself all the time. It does not depend on houses, little shops or streets if you can remember a time in your life. It just depends on yourself and your ability to keep those memories.
Berlin taught me that writing is one of the most important things in my life because even when everything changes around me, I still have those words, those lines, those times. Writing never was a choice, and Berlin wasn’t either. I just did it, I just lived here. But I met the best people here who are always there for me and that’s also what Berlins freelancers and writers scene is all about. Helping each other out. Accompanying each other along the way. Inspire each other. And having each others backs.