Thursday, October 13, 2011

Acknowledgments Along the Way

  I'm back after going through The Last Daughter of Prussia manuscript one more time, combing every line for edits, typos, backward quotation marks, and adding in a word or a sentence or subtracting both. The novel feels good to me now, really solid. I can't wait for you all to read it. But you have to wait just a bit longer.

My editor Joy Stocke and I getting ready for a yoga session after HOURS of work!

  I am so grateful to my editor and friend, Joy Stocke, for her skill and integrity and heart. I have been blessed. Really. And to my other editors, Kim Nagy and Libby Bako - I bow to their brilliance, enthusiasm and feedback. All three of these articulate goddesses work together to create a magazine called Wild River Review.

  Dear blog friends, if you haven't yet looked at this online magazine take the time to do it now. You won't regret it. It weaves a rich tapestry of art, literature, poetry, in depth reporting about current events, interviews, columns by and about contemporary artists, photographers and writers and much more. They have  published several of my articles and excerpts from The Last Daughter of Prussia.

Painting—Edith von Sanden 
  Naming these women reminds me that I wrote my acknowledgment page yesterday. I thought it would be difficult, but I had so much joy remembering the many friends, colleagues, strangers, spiritual teachers and family members who held a vision for this book right from the start and, who generously shared information but also supported me through the dark periods which weren't infrequent.

This angel holds the hope and vision that so many people held for me.
I had many angels helping me during the writing of this book.
I couldn't have done it without them.
Photo by Christine Matthäi

  The book itself required me to live, (quite literally, for the five years it took to write it) with my characters, in the bleakest of times, in winter, in war and in concentration camps.

The bleakest of times.
After researching this time period and the trek
I have to say I felt I lived it.
What must it have been like for those poor souls
who really fled over the ice and who died in the cold and from starvation?
 Or who were captured by the Russian Army and raped, shot, sent to Siberian prison camps.?

War - the bleakest of times when young men  (of any nationality) are sent out to kill or be killed.
Photo- (c) Gottlieb Family

Concentration camps - the bleakest, most hopeless of places
This is a photo of Robert Ritter (a Nazi camp doctor) arresting a Roma gypsy woman.
 Her face—the way she still looks hopeful that they won't take her  away—just breaks my heart.

Stutthof concentration camp in winter.
I visited this place for my research.
One is never the same after having been in a place such as this.
Photo courtesy of The Stutthof Museum Guide
  Yes, I did live with loss and death while researching and writing, but thankfully, I also lived with love and hope, with the dreams, faith and fortitude of lovers—Manya and Joshi—my main characters.

Photo (c) Christine Matthäi
  I lived with the heroism and loyalty of Trakehner horses and I lived with the beauty of East Prussia.

Fetysz Ox - The beautiful Trakehner stallion who inspired this novel.
 I bow to him - he is on my page of acknowledgements big time,
but he also has a high place of honor in my heart.

East Prussia - the beauty of this land takes my breath away.
Researching the the birds, forests and plants,
looking at the photographs my grandfather took was a pleasurable relief
 from the difficult reading I had to do.
I found that I could only research prison camps for a few hours a week.
Otherwise I fell into a deep depression.
Photo (c) Gottlieb Family.
  Back to my acknowledgments. Honestly, I have such appreciation and gratitude for the creative input, unconditional support, generosity and inspiration that many, many people so willingly shared with me. Somehow, even in the most difficult moments, I always felt the faith that friends and strangers had in the project. I  believe too that the spirit of East Prussia carried me along on my journey. In the words of author, Siegfried Lenz:

     A homeland is truly lost when one keeps silent about it or when no one remembers it anymore.

Until next time....

—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


  1. Thank you, as always, for posting this. I am so glad there is a way to follow your progress on The Last Daughter of Prussia, and on your writing process. And thank you for the shout out! xoxoxo

  2. I loved this posting.
    How did you come by the photo of the Roma gypsy who hoped to improve the outcome with her earnest, steady gaze? And the wonderful stallion.

  3. And the young boys pray for peace on earth, and the young boys pray. More live through battle than die, but none should die. It's an abomination, sinful, immoral, hideous. The youth are conscripted because they don't yet understand the power to say no.