What does inspiration mean to you? Everyone needs a source of inspiration, no matter what you do. In my case, as a writer and storyteller, inspiration can be anywhere. This summer I decided to go on an inspiration hunt to a special place, where part of my family’s roots come from and the story of my third book takes place: Berlin.
This city is special to me for a few reasons: my grandfather was born here, and my sister has called it home for the past twenty years. As a young man, my grandfather enjoyed everything the city had to offer. Its vibrant night life and cultural scene were two of his favorite attractions. Personalities such as Marlene Dietrich and Albert Einstein frequented some of the same places he did. He was part of a generation which believed in a world with endless possibilities, where neither race nor religion were obstacles for success. Little did they know about what was about to happen and how it would reshape the course of humanity in the Twentieth Century.
My third book centers around the lives of three ambitious young men, during the early 1930’s. The three friends are deeply connected through their childhood experiences, but as adults they find themselves pulled in different directions. The story takes place the months before and immediately after Hitler’s ascent to power, when the city of Berlin was still the cultural, political and scientific heart of Germany.
I walked the colorful streets of Prenzlauerberg, Schöneberg, and Charlottenburg searching for a connection to those days and found many great examples of a time full of promise. I attended a traditional cabaret show run by a fascinating group of women. The owner, a tall, blonde beauty with mile-long legs and a charismatic voice, explained to me how she opened the cabaret twenty years ago and was still running it. Her show transported me back in time, giving me a rare glimpse into an art form that is going extinct.
Not much is left today of the Berlin from the 1930’s that my grandfather loved to talk about and remember. Yet, every corner I turned represented an opportunity to reconnect with him and his story. My mission to find inspiration was achieved!