Hello panel, I am Daniela Renelt aka DasNuk. Wow, me, competing!
The last competition I took part in was a children’s drawing challenge when I was 10 years old.
The local bank organized the event and the first prize was a savings account with 10 Deutschmarks.
We Germans really know how to motivate, don’t we?
The required task was to draw a picture of how we imagined the future of the world to look like.
I always enjoyed drawing despite my lack of talent, and the desire to be a winner overruled any doubts about my abilities.
Unfortunately, those other kids were fierce competitors; they ambitiously illustrated polluted earths, dumpsites in space, abandoned cities with grey skyscrapers, thus showing off mathematically accurate renditions of earthly continents and star constellations.
The majority of contestants painted a gloomy picture of how they (or their parents: I wasn’t quite sure) saw the future. It dawned on me then, that they already knew something I didn’t about the importance of having a sinister view on life.
Great. No one ever told me that I would have to draw the apocalypse to be taken seriously.
And I never thought about asking my parents for advice either.
They would have told me to think about something for myself or not to enter the competition at all.
Huge bummer, those two.
I just drew without any help. The result was dreadful, even for my standards.
There were bird nests that looked like tennis balls stuffed with giant eggs in trees like mushroom clouds, and people like, or better yet, not like anything remotely resembling the human race.
They were the backdrop for the giant medieval castle prominently towering over the entire scenery and at least as unappealing, if not worse.
It looked like it was drawn by a 5 year old.
Imagine my surprise when the bank called some months later to inform me that I had made it to the Top 12. The pictures were printed as a calendar and my drawing represented March 1991.
Sometimes, I still wonder what kind of person this juror might have been, the one who picked me, the retro rebel. I imagined a middle-aged woman with a hat and smudgy glasses, someone who liked to read Harlequin romance novels much more than spending time with her family.
But I never asked.
It is the writer’s way of thinking that kept me from finding out, always listening inwardly for a resonance to any curious question about life.
That’s what I still do.
Sometimes writers have to say ridiculously self-important things.
That’s what I still do.
So, why would you pick me?
The theory is, that me not being a native speaker gives my writing an interesting spin. It’s the emotional disconnect to this language that allows me to open up my luggage and let the world have a look inside.
There are half-eaten granola bars stuck to my panties.
Darn, I just skid marked these!
I was so cocky. I thought they would seriously fall for my innate German charm.
Well, they didn't.
They liked Mama Bolognese and Daddy v. Autistic Cat.
Oh, don't listen to me. I'm just a jealous bitch.