Friday, March 4, 2011

I AM a Daughter of Prussia

Guja, East Prussia. The land where my soul wanders

    All my life I have been aware of a hidden facet of my being, a sadness in my bones. It walked with me wherever I went. Even as a young child I was serious and introverted, more concerned with the world of spirit. Quite frankly, I hated being like that. I wanted to be more like other kids - laughing, uninhibited, funny. Now, after writing The Last Daughter of Prussia, I have discovered that the roots of my sadness were buried in the soil of my lost heritage. 

My mother, Owanta Von Sanden,
in East Prussia as a little girl

    See, I AM a Daughter of Prussia

    I carry the stories of my ancestors in my bones, but the beautiful thing is that writing has freed me from that heaviness of spirit. Perhaps, (at the risk of sounding new-agey) I came into this world with the task of giving a voice to the East Prussian people who fought their way westward through the snows of that last bitter winter in World War II. Maybe the Trakehner horses who carried those families across the ice wanted their whinnies turned into words. And maybe too, the Roma Gypsies of that province needed the world to know that, before they were slaughtered like the Jews, they danced there too

My grandmother, Edith Von Sanden,
an author from East Prussia

    I may be crazy, but I believe that people do have life tasks. Writers are not exempt. Spirits from other realms do talk to us if we are open to listening. Personally, I don't feel I had much choice - especially when they came around my bed at night, pulling on my pillows and my limbs. I fought them. I would shout at them to go away. Cry that I couldn't write a novel that encompassed their story. Still, I ended up following orders and what a gift it was, because when I wrote those final words  - The End - I felt at peace and I was able to laugh. 

My mother, and my two brothers, Cay and Frederik
 Even now, I laugh to myself because I think I grew up backwards. How can it be that by finishing a book I can laugh more than I did as a child?  

-Marina Gottlieb Sarles

 (c) All content and photos are the private property of the Gottlieb family, unless otherwise stated or linked,  and may not be used without permission.
(c) Privatbesitz Gottlieb Familie

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