Sleeping Town

By Celina Marie Köhring

“The title of the artwork is “Sleeping Town”.
It is a take on my personal emotional experience during lockdown.

Celina Marie Köhring studies Design at Folkwang University.

Eternal Lovers

By Friederike Felderhoff

You are the one
I’m lit for
You are the one
I need
You are the one
to take over –
but I am the one
in the lead.

We stay together
Each moment
We stay together –
we kiss
we stay together
we stay together
in bliss

You are so dark
While I’m bright
In being divided –
We’re one
You are my lover
The Shadow –
I am your lover.
The Sun

Embracing Sparks

By Friederike Felderhoff

Only the pieces of a puzzle
Words –
Phrases and ideas
Places formed
In the back of my mind
Where they were lingering for years
With new approaches
And inspirations
Now come together
To form a story


By Tristan Schartel

He was out of shape. Maybe he should have listened to his online community and followed the new trend: fitness. But there was no time to reflect on whey protein shakes and weight lifting. He needed to run. Fast. Although every part of his body told him not to because his stomach was shaking the Mexican fast-food he gobbled for lunch.

“Stop, you bastard!” he shouted, gasping for air. Detective Pac was chasing one of the lead cyber criminalists in town whom he just knew by his online identity: {PROteus}. “Running won’t help you. Our whole squad is after you. Better stop now!” Pac shouted. He wanted to utter more, but there was not more than a squeak. {PROteus} was about 200 metres away, but he seemed to be in a better physical condition than Pac.

Suddenly, everything around Pac seemed to fade away. The challenging sprint through the streets of this rather ugly neighbourhood was too much. He tumbled on the sidewalk, feeling a sudden ache in his knees. His head slammed the ground. The detective noticed the shadow of {PROteus}, vanishing in the late afternoon sun and blacked out when he sensed the warmth of blood kissing his cheek.



The bold red printed letters on the TV screen angered him every time he jumped too far into the online world of his video game console. He had failed the mission to catch this criminal. Again. It was a new game, a mixture of detective story, shooter and survival, on first rank of the video game charts since… he couldn’t even remember. It struck into the gaming charts just like lightning. The producers created a marvellous masterpiece with an open online world. A second life. THE opportunity to start anew. Virtual.

He restarted at his last saved slot and tried the mission of persecution again. In the world created by big minds behind big screens he wanted justice and success. Pressing buttons on his gamepad, his mind was focused on the game. He wasn’t in his one-room apartment in Hunts Point in the Big Apple anymore. The game sucked him in so much that the dirty dishes, his stinky shirt and leftovers of a burrito on his kitchen table were not in his field of interest. He was in another world. Another sphere.

But suddenly, he heard someone knocking excessively. “NYPD. OPEN THE DAMN DOOR. YOU’RE ARRESTED!” someone was shouting on the other side of the door. The knocking got louder. “WE KNOW YOU ARE IN THERE. THE BUILDING IS SURROUNDED. THERE IS NO WAY TO ESCAPE. NYPD. OPEN THE DOOR. NOW!”

He needed a moment to return to reality. “They are here,” he thought. Panicking he threw the gamepad on the ground and rushed towards his desktop PC. He heard someone trying to open the door. There wasn’t much time left. He unplugged the USB flash drive from his computer and darted into the bathroom. The moment he shut the bathroom door he heard his apartment door burst open. “WE KNOW YOU ARE HERE. NYPD. YOU ARE ARRESTED!” He locked the bathroom door and opened the window which led directly to the fire exit.

Climbing through the window, he wondered if it had been the best idea to include the rusty fire ladder in his escape plan. Yet it was the only way to escape. He checked his pockets for the flash drive. It was still there. “In certain fields this tiny miracle is priceless,” he thought. “Not to mention its possible consequences for society…” He went down the ladder, finally reaching the empty side alley consisting of rubbish and a few stray cats. He knew the house was not surrounded. The local police surely wouldn’t deploy the majority of their staff for a simple arrest, especially not in this area where crimes were committed every five minutes. He sprinted down the side alley away from his place. Away from police. Far away from responsibilities running as fast as he could. He was out of shape. Maybe he should have listened to his online community and followed the new trend: fitness.

Aunt Marga’s Cherry Cake

By Elisa John

Aunt Marga was a terrible person. She was miserly and rude and my great-grandmother’s sister-in-law. And let us be honest, everyone knows that sisters-in-law are to be taken with a pinch of salt. According to my elderly relatives, my family rather celebrated than mourned her loss when she passed away. So, one could truly say that the name resemblance to Harry Potter’s aunt Marge is not without reason.

This is one of the two things I know about this infamous woman even though I have never had the pleasure (or the distress, depending on how one views it) of meeting her. The second thing is that she was the creator of the most outstandingly delicious cherry cake existing. In, well, loving memory of her, my family named this cake Aunt Marga‘s Cherry Cake.

Now, if the chance of surprisingly finding a pit in one‘s slice of the cake (which means good luck) is not reason enough to love any cherry cake,  people will argue that it is more than easy to find good, if not excellent recipes for cherry cakes. They are everywhere – on the internet, on the cooking channel on TV, learned by heart and passed on from ancestor to ancestor by tradition and written in every second cook book in the forgotten piles of books in people’s cellars. The world does not need another recipe that claims to be the best out of them all, right?

However, this time, it is true; this cake is the best one. All these other already existing recipes might be lovely but not one of them holds the same message as Aunt Marga‘s Cherry Cake. This message is that even the worst things can turn into something great. The worst of human beings can still leave something good behind. Just like this despised woman blessed this world with the best cherry cake that now brings the whole family together whenever something is celebrated.

When looking at my recipe for the one and only Aunt Marga‘s Cherry Cake, there are exactly six steps that make this cake stand out from other people‘s recipes for any other baked goods. Some of these steps are debatable, some of them are not, but I can ensure that only by following these steps one can create a cake that truly lives up to the meaning of the message Aunt Marga‘s Cherry Cake stands for. Here are my inevitably essential steps to prepare and bake Aunt Marga‘s Cherry Cake.

List of ingredients:

  • 250g butter
  • 250g sugar
  • 150g flour
  • 100g grated chocolate
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • grated lemon zest of one lemon
  • one glass jar of pitted sour cherries (ca. 680g)
  • Firstly, one should separate the eggs into egg yolks and egg whites. Afterwards, one should beat the egg whites. The beaten egg whites should be folded in as the last step of preparing the dough. This is the only way to make the cake light and fluffy.
  • Secondly, after blending the butter and sugar, one should add the egg yolks.
  • Thirdly, grated chocolate, cinnamon, flour, baking soda and grated lemon zest should be added. Here, one should definitely make sure to not be lazy but instead to  use a real lemon and not any kind of lemon aroma. Only a real lemon can provide rich and authentic taste.
  • Fourthly, one should only ever use pitted morello cherries or any other sort of sour cherries. This is probably the most surprising step for most people. Actually, a lot of baking enthusiasts or enthusiasts of indulging in all sorts of cakes swear by using simple and fresh cherries because they are sweeter. But even if needing the remaining juice in the morello cherry glass was not necessary for the final step, the morello cherries would be the better choice. Cherries have a lower acidity as sour cherries. The higher the fruit acidity, the more suitable it is for any baking purposes.
  • Fifthly, one should bake the cake for 45 minutes in a preheated oven.
  • Sixthly, after the cake has cooled down, one should slowly pour the cherry juice that remained in the glass over the cake. This step throws off the majority of people who come across this cake. Most of them are afraid the cake will end up being a mushy shadow of what it could have been, had they just kept their hands off the attempt to pour cherry juice over it. However, giving in to that fear will make those people‘s cake be as dry as the desert. They will also end up with a cake that could never have a taste as strongly and a consistency as juicy as Aunt Marga‘s Cherry Cake. Also, the results of daring this step are always the first thing people compliment as soon as they try this masterpiece of a cake.

Anyway, the great taste and the message Aunt Marga’s Cherry Cake holds are not even what I love most about this cake. It is that this message can be applied to any bad situation. Whether it is a blessing in disguise, hard times that make one grow and learn, the one rejection that leads one to finding their dream job or an ongoing global pandemic that brings back all the bittersweet memories of the times I was able to eat cherry cake surrounded by my family – Aunt Marga‘s Cherry Cake and its meaning cover them all. And I know for sure that the meaning of this cake will also always be a silver lining for those who have not yet been able to find the good in the bad.

Why I Won’t Be a Bog-Standard Parent?

By Freya Pauluschke

My friends always describe my parents as “hippies” which is kind of true. Our family home is colourful, artsy and a bit greenie. We have a poster with the earth on it hanging on the kitchen door which says “Die Mietsache ist schonend zu behandeln und in gutem Zustand zurückzugeben,” in English “the rented property is to be handled with care and returned in good condition.” My mother is free-spirited and creative. She always wears colourful flower-barrettes in her long grey-white hair which she often pins up into a big bun and her sense of fashion is quite different from other mid-fifty-year-old mums. Meaning she sometimes wears a pink or purple tone-in-tone outfit, pink Converse Chucks with different coloured and patterned shoelaces or on another day she wears a black or grey outfit but not just a pair of jeans and a shirt, more edgy and grungy with leather boots and a velvet blazer. My father used to be cooler when he was younger but now, he can even be a bit square. He used to have long curly hair to the navel, do motorcycle tours in a leather jacket, paint his bathroom pink, and fly-poster for concerts. His hobby was making music and he was a steward at concerts and managed the checkout at clubs which means he was also the bouncer. I guess one could say my father and his friends were the people their parents always warned them about. Today my dad’s outer appearance seems quite common but deep inside he still has that unconventional attitude sometimes. One can say that both of my parents enjoyed their youth to the fullest.

My sister and I had a quite independent upbringing. We learned how to cook on our own very early and were always included in any handcraft stuff my parents were working on, for example building my bed, fixing a flat tyre, cutting a hedge or felting coasters. In contrast to students who were driven to school every morning until 10th grade by their parents I wanted to walk alone to elementary school after a few days in first grade. No matter what others might think of us we were always told to be ourselves.

There is one thing that sets me apart from my friends and a lot of people, mostly girls and women: the fear of being alone at night outside in the dark. I am not afraid to walk home alone at 3am, not even if I have to pass a district or street which is known for let’s say being criminal, intoxicated or just homeless people. I always asked myself why I am not afraid of walking home at night through the dark streets like all my other friends. I believe the reason is that my parents used to clarify what I should do when something happens to me in emergencies from early on. Another important reason is that my parents never caused me or my sister to be frightened. I am sure that there are many mothers who will pay the cab for their children or offer to pick them up instead of letting them walk home alone at night. My father always says: “See how you manage to get home on your own.” I always did and I still do; this is their way of parenting. He never drives me anywhere unless the destination is far away and hard to reach by public transport or I have a lot to carry. I am not one of those kids who could always rely on their parents to pick them up from a friend or from school although they could have easily walked the 15-minutes-way. Our parents always supported my sister and me in what we wanted to do. There has never been an unhealthy amount of pressure to achieve. As long as we were happy with what we were doing, they were too, and I think that is not self-evident.

I grew up without a TV and I still do not have one. My childhood consisted of playing outside in the woods or on the streets of my neighbourhood. Unlike other children around me I got a mobile phone late at the age of 14. When I see kids and teens today, I am shocked by their behaviour and attitude towards mobiles. Especially, when I see a mother with her four-year-old child in a buggy. She is on her phone, maybe calling someone and not paying attention to her child. But in fact, the kid does not even need her attention because it stares at the screen of another mobile, playing some game at full volume. I think such situations are very sad to watch because I have the feeling that those kids are growing up in the wrong way. Parents should interact with their children. These young kids get used to a surrounding of stupid mobile phone games and absent parents. I think they do not discover their real environment enough. Children should play in nature and come back home full of dirt and holding an earthworm in their hands. They should have the freedom to stare at foreigners, noticing anyone who looks different from whatever they had seen at home and ask openly for example why the, for adults obviously, pregnant lady in the tram has such a big belly. Kids should walk around with a curious glance and enjoy the adventure of a long train ride by watching these beautiful yellow rapeseed fields rushing by.

One might say that the upbringing of my parents influences the way I want to raise my own children and yes, that would probably be true. But still, I do not want to be exactly like my parents, I definitely also had my difficulties with them. Nevertheless, I strive to not be a bog-standard mum. I want to be a carefree but not a careless parent. I want to have an amicable relationship with my kids, but I do not want to be the “best-friend-mum”. I do not want to be a square with a mania of cleaning my all-white-plain-and-minimalistic-decoration house because that is just boring, unloving, and impersonal. I want to have a Villa Villekulla with self-made art by the whole family hanging on petrol blue, pink or mustard yellow walls. I do not want my kids to grow up with a lot of technology because I did not either and that did not cause me any harm. But I want to watch independent, intellectual, and aesthetic films with my children. I want to do dance-afternoons to old songs my parents used to jam to. I will not be a bog-standard parent.

When the Uterus Cleans up After a Failed Surprise Party

By Katharina Kalus

On a night of board games, childish laughter and deep talks, a friend of mine kindly acknowledged that he imagined menstruation as the uterus tearing down carefully selected decorations for the upcoming event of raising a little wonder of a human being. He sounded sad to think about failed surprise parties and the uterus’s vain but time-consuming effort that goes unacknowledged. Indeed, the uterus does tidy up after a failed party, but nobody specifically asked for a celebration and there is no surprising effect, since the party gets thrown month after month. The uterus seems to be a possessive and annoyingly persistent organ which does not take no for an answer and keeps causing biologically female bodies pain and an overflow of confusing hormones.

Even though I was very glad to hear about my friend’s attempt to dive into the world of blood flows, his way of turning the menstruation cycle into an amusing story causes false assumptions of the opposite biological gender. It is not a saddening story of a uterus being misunderstood. It is a serious matter of a monthly, painful, emotionally draining, and physically tiring cycle that should not be underestimated.

Although not all human beings without a uterus think alike, some of them will probably dispute my claim that people with a menstruating body have to deal with certain disadvantages in life. Due to painful cramps and hormones that cause mood swings and unpredictable, emotionally driven ways of behaving or reacting, people call menstruating women moody bitches and other insulting terms. When they do, menstruating women are not being treated with respect.

A quick scroll through social media and statements like “periods aren’t that painful, pull yourselves together, women” or “my girlfriend forgot a tampon on my toilet – gross” of non-menstruating people are being presented. First of all, if a person does not have a uterus, they do not experience the actual pain of a period and, therefore, do not get to have a say in this at all. To keep it short: No uterus, no opinion. Everything else can only be claimed as pure exploitation of dominance. Secondly, to portray a tampon as gross indicates either the amount of ignorance or lack of knowledge some people embody regarding the topic of menstruation, its side effects, and hygiene products. I cannot fully blame said people for maintaining false assumptions since experiences and medical facts all around periods are not being talked about enough to replace them with the actual truth. Even in television commercials or internet advertisements for hygienic products, women on their period are portrayed as energetic human beings who want to conquer the world. The uncensored truth is, menstruating experiences are fairly individual and come in several variations. But if there is one thing menstruation does not accomplish, it is for menstruating human beings to feel the urge to conquer the world energetically. Instead, menstruation makes people want to dive into a warm bed and hide from all sorts of chores and tasks.

After all, to say it in my friend’s words, the uterus keeps up the good work of trying to make a home for a potential wonder of a new life, keeps hoping for a party, and continues to tear down all those carefully selected decorations after no baby takes up residence. However, I do hope that society will talk more openly about periods, blood flows, painful cramps, hygienic products, and all sorts of paraphernalia surrounding menstruation. Hopefully, this will help to raise awareness and educate those who know nothing about what it feels like dealing with a uterus, in order for menstruation to be understood as the natural phenomenon it actually is.

Recipes for Aspiring Writers

By Melissa Knox-Raab

For aspiring writers, few things could be better than miserable or even terrifying moments, moments like those many of us have experienced in pandemic times. Turning life’s lemons into lemonade is never easy, but here are five tips for aspiring writers:

(1) Keep a handwritten journal by your bedside and write in it when you wake up—especially when you wake up at four a.m.

(2) Carry around a little notebook to capture any thought you imagine you’re going to remember later—you won’t. A cell phone will do, but there’s something about the little notebook that inspires. David Sedaris has an amusing essay on this, on which he elaborates here.

(3) Write a set amount daily; 600-800 words is a good goal.

(4) Never judge what you are writing as you write. Dreams, rages, moments of despair—dump those thoughts in your journal. Enjoy whining. You can often turn a temper tantrum into an intriguing train of thought when you’ve cooled down.

(5) Borrow from writers who appeal to you in order to make something of that hodgepodge in your journal. Wordsworth thought of poetry as the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling,” but Coleridge, whose poetry often fit that description, offered another formula: “emotion recollected in tranquility.” I find both methods useful. The French writer Jules Renard remarked: “Look for the ridiculous in everything and you will find it.” He’s right.


You’ve got to keep up your strength while writing. Here’s a fun one. You’ll need a wok. All items can be purchased at the Asian store near the university at Viehofer Platz:

  • Rice noodles
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Black rice vinegar
  • Shao Hsing Rice wine
  • Spicy black bean sauce
  • Tofu
  • A chili pepper or two, depending on how hot you like your food
  • Crushed garlic—lots
  • Grated ginger—as much as you like
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Vegetables of your choice—bok choy and snow peas are some good choices

(1) Cut and drain the tofu. Place on clean kitchen towels and cover.

(2) Wash and slice vegetables.

(3) Sprinkle a little cornstarch over the tofu.

Put about two tablespoons of peanut oil in the hot wok. Add tofu as soon as the oil is hot; let fry on high heat for a few minutes and then turn over. When it looks crispy, remove and set on paper towels to drain.

Add a little more peanut oil to the pan. Stir in crushed garlic, grated ginger, and vegetables. Stir fry for a few minutes. Remove from heat. Add tofu.

Throw a package of rice noodles into boiling, salted water. Depending on how thick they are, they’ll need five to ten minutes. Follow package instructions. Drain, rinse, and add to the vegetables and tofu in the wok.

In a small saucepan, combine about a half a cup of the rice wine, a tablespoon or two of the black rice vinegar, a shake or three of the sesame oil, about third of a cup of soy sauce, several tablespoons of the black bean sauce, a chopped chili or two, and a tablespoon or more of sugar. Put on high heat, stirring, and when it’s just boiling, pour it over your rice-tofu-veggie mixture. Sprinkle on a handful of sesame seeds.