anke laufer

wort – bild – storytelling

About: Artist Statement (English)

K800_P1110159Landscapes, streets, houses, birdsong, a face glimpsed in a window, a certain smell, a lost toy in a garden. My stories originate from places and atmosphere. If I ́m lucky the story seed that comes flying falls on fertile ground and begins to grow.

I think I ́m a writer who depends very much on visual impressions and methods: I do use notebooks to jot down words or expressions that I want to keep in mind, but most of the time I use my camera instead. There is no plan or plot when I start writing, just a sequence of images. Moodboards and a lot of (bad) sketching and drawing help to deepen the atmosphere and the colour scheme of my settings. My characters appear when their stage is prepared. They begin to move and I observe them for a while. Then I ask them questions, and when I finally hear them talk in their very own voices the story begins to unfold.

Getting lost in the story is the part of my work I enjoy most. For me storytelling means slipping into different roles, changing sex and age, juggling with time and the intrusion of the uncanny and fantastic into everyday life. Working it out, I try to find the “dark glowing core” of the story and create suspense through structure. Most of the time I deal with current social and political issues – but wrapping them up, so I hope it is not too obvious.

As a storyteller I focus on short stories and novels, but I love and admire the work of poets. I try to use the best language I can possibly think of, so I do a lot of rewriting and polishing. This takes up a great deal of time: I am a slow writer, and sometimes find it hard to let my texts go.

Every time I try to express what writing means to me this quote by Mervyn Peake comes to my mind:

“As I see it, life is an effort to grip before they slip through one’s fingers and slide into oblivion, the startling, the ghastly or the blindingly exquisite fish of the imagination before they whip away on the endless current and are lost for ever in oblivion’s black ocean.”