Everyday Heroes

From his apartment window Thomas followed the movements of a young man lurking about the courtyard. The stranger stopped in front of a bicycle. Not just any bicycle. It was Anna’s white ladybike. Seconds later the bicycle was leaving the courtyard in the hands of an abductor. Thomas stood in disbelief. Anna must have forgotten to lock it. He had to act, and he had to do so in a hurry. The thief was already out of sight. Soon the ladybike would be lost among the countless bicycles of Copenhagen’s concrete jungle.

Thomas was a young man himself, but not a particularly brave man. Yet, there he was, fighting to pull on his Converse sneakers. Anna had done nothing to deserve this – except forgetting to lock her bicycle. “Damnit Anna, why do you never lock that thing”. Remembering that Anna was the victim, he shifted the blame. “No one should steal bicycles in the first place”, he reproached himself. She would be back from vacation in a few days. Meanwhile Thomas had promised to keep things in order. This situation caught him off guard. Sure, he would be forgiven, but would it ever be forgotten if he did nothing? Yes, insurance would cover the material loss, but there was more at stake. He had become involved as a silent witness. Obligated to the well-being of the ladybike. The abductor had pulled him into an unfamiliar vortex. Everything from Danish civil order to the equilibrium of Thomas and Anna’s relationship seemed to be at stake.

Off he went, racing his tired old bicycle up and down the streets of suburban Valby. The only bloody place in Copenhagen with hills. Panting, sweating – where the hell could it be? Searching the neighborhood using no precise method. His eyes flared like a mother whose child has gone missing at a playground. Almost wanting to cry out some name. Hoping to hear in response the ring of the ladybike’s bell. The distress call of an iron damsel in dire straits. In this frantic state of mind, he considered how to handle the abductor if he found him. This was all unchartered territory. He had read that one must display confidence while avoiding conflict escalation. So perhaps a straight face and firm voice coupled with non-aggressive body language? Or was aggression the right way to go? A quick punch on the nose and a kick in the sack, and then a swift escape. The problem was, he mastered none of these skills. He was an avid student of law, but by no measure a scholar of the streets. He would have to play it by ear. That is, if he found the ladybike and her hijacker. He became anxious as the trail grew colder.

And then, there she was. In the corner of a rundown parking lot, in front of the wooden façade of a greasy burger joint. Seven young men stood in a cluster while an eighth rode around them in circles on Anna’s bicycle. They were restless, loud, taunting each other, fooling around. Thomas’ adrenaline skyrocketed. What to do now? The young men had no idea who he was, but this seemed to be his only advantage. Should he call the cops – the protectors of good citizens? Better not. Anna’s bicycle would be long gone before the cops decided to show up. Drenching his mind for a solution he spotted a man in a small Volkswagen Polo.

Tap-tap. The driver-side window rolled down revealing a man with short blonde crewcut hair. His large face stuck itself forward meeting Thomas with an indifferent gaze. “Can you please help me? I… those men over there stole my girlfriend’s bicycle and… I don’t know how to get it back”, Thomas stuttered as he continued to explain his current predicament. The man said few words, but his expression had changed. Staring with bitter contempt at the group of young men he said in a cooled voice, “let me have a little chat with them”. The door opened and from one of the world’s smallest cars stepped out a colossus of a man. He bore a formidable physique, dwarfing Thomas by several heads and twice as wide over the shoulders. He started towards the young men in a mechanical stride, with Thomas following a few steps behind.

“What are you doing riding around on a ladybike?”, the giant demanded. Caught off guard by the sudden disturbance the young men faltered for a second before manning up. All of them now turning towards Thomas and his large associate. Ready to front. A small fellow with a quick tongue stepped up, “What’s it to you? We’re just hanging out. Not bothering anyone”. The man clenched his massive granite jaw. “Don’t play stupid with me or I might get offended. The bicycle belongs to him,” the man said pointing towards Thomas, who felt powerful in the company of his unlikely ally. The young men began muttering in unison and questioning all statements and facts. The Big Man stood unmoved, dismissing their feeble efforts with silent ridicule. On the street he was a professor and they were low grade pupils. “Give me the bicycle” he now commanded in a penetrating voice. The pack froze. Their bodies no longer defiant, they handed over Anna’s bicycle as if they had never wanted it.

Upon return to the shrunken vehicle, the man offered Thomas the ladybike with a self-righteous grin. Thomas returned the grin sheepishly with an over-excited expression of gratitude. Everything had worked out after all, he thought to himself. A few moments later he stood alone on the parking lot with his own bicycle and Anna’s. His protector was gone, and the young men began to move towards him. Time to vacate the scene. Holding onto the ladybike with one hand as he scampered onto his own bicycle, he set off with both in a graceful balancing act.

For a moment he was moving away from a dark horizon towards a magnificent sunrise. And then he crashed. He was shocked and caught under his trusted iron steeds. As he heard the mocking laughs of his pursuers Thomas desperately pulled himself up. The game had changed. Hunter had become hunted, and hunter had left the apartment without considering this crucial part of the operation. The hungry hyenas closed in on him. With a bicycle in each hand Thomas started in no particular direction. His right leg limbering from the crash. There were no people on the streets. On grey Sundays people stay behind walls. He was alone. If the pack ran, they would catch him in no time. For the moment they seemed entertained tiring him through pursuit. In the heat of this mounting pressure he felt his mind react. What he lacked in physical conditioning he made up for in resourcefulness. A MacGyver, without the great hair, relying on his unconventional problem-solving skills to save the day. He scanned the surroundings as he clutched to the ladybike’s handle. Anna’s embedded presence in the iron ladyhorse had a soothing effect. As the young men drew closer, Thomas spotted a lifeline. A scrawny shoe-gazing man in his mid-twenties.

“I know this is going to sound strange”, Thomas gasped, catching his breath before he continued. “But I need your help! Those men are chasing me, and I can’t escape with both bicycles. Please ride one of them home with me?”. The shoe-gazer looked up with surprised eyes. As he glanced past Thomas he saw how the young men were almost upon them. “I-uhh” was all he managed to reply. His mind came to a grinding halt under the weight of the moment. He was a thinker, but there was no time to think. Realizing the other’s deliberation Thomas breathed a heavy sigh. It seemed inevitable that he would lose both bicycles. But then, just in time, the stunned face of his unlikely savior turned from deliberation to determination. “Quick, hand me a bike!” the man yelped. “I am Simon, by the way”, he politely found the time to add. As the pursuers saw their prey trying escape, they launched at them. Thomas and Simon jumped onto the bicycles and put all their weight into the pedals. Suddenly two hands clawed into Thomas’ right arm. For a second, he was a goner, but then with an unfamiliar burst of strength he ripped loose and slipped away. Leaving the young hyenas howling in discontent.

They were free and racing down Valby Bakke. Two beaming faces on wheels, both cherishing a profound sense of some new wonder feeling. As they reached the end of their journey, they each thanked the other for their own reasons. The weight of the experience had set a mark, remolding them in discrete yet definitive ways. Their edges and cuts now that much more noticeable. Themselves assured that they could be sharp if need be. Thomas double locked the bicycles and climbed up the stairs to his apartment. He grabbed a cold one from the fridge and threw himself in the couch, letting go of a deep and content sigh. What a day.

Author: Corbin Entz

Corbin Entz is from Copenhagen, where he studies social anthropology. Having just returned from fieldwork in California he decided to live in Vienna for half a year before finishing his thesis. He is here to write, even though he hasn’t really written much before. A now or never sort of thing.

Open Mic Night: Travelling

The sun is finally shining, the air is warm, and the trees are blooming.  And we are all thinking about where we will take our summer holidays.  We have decided to follow the trend and make this month’s open mic about travelling in all of its forms.  

For the April 19, 2018 edition of our get together, the theme is Travelling.  We will be looking forward to hearing your stories, songs, poems, stand up comedy, and other  creative enterprises in which people take a vacation, walk through their neighbourhood, visit a new planet, or go on an epic journey to deliver an esoteric personal item to a fairy.  This is not an inclusive list, we wanted to give you a few examples to get you started on your way!

This month will be hosted by a community member.  If you are interested in hosting our open mic night email us at Write Now or at Creative Cafe, or come and see us during the break, we are very nice people, I promise.

The Details

We meet in the basement of Cafe Korb.  To cover the cost of the venue, as this is a collective effort, we ask you to contribute €5 to €10.  Performances start around 19:00, and run for approximately two and a half hours.  However, if you are interested in performing 18:45 is when sign up starts.

Creative endeavours featuring the theme Travelling will be given preference in the performance order.

As this is a joint endeavour between Creative Cafe and Write Now Vienna we have a number of performers.  We ask that you stick to these rough time guidelines so many people get a chance to participate.

  • poetry (max 5 minutes reading time)
  • short story (max 2000 words)
  • novel excerpt (max 1500 words)
  • song (max 5 minutes)
  • stand-up comedy (max 5 minutes)

We will be publishing the best selections from the evening right here on our blog.  Keep checking back for the latest literary endeavours and to learn about new authors on the scene.

Bring your stories, songs, comedic acts, novel excerpts, poetry, and whatever else can be written on paper and join us for a fun filled and supportive evening.  We hope to see you there.

Monday 23rd October – Open Mic and Social Meeting

Please join us for a fun filled evening of readings and socializing. Meet friends, or make new ones! This season we are very excited to expand our open mic to include stand up comedians and songwriters so if you have some material you want to test out on a fantastic crowd, don’t hesitate!

Come along and meet other creative people, take the stage, or simply sit back and enjoy the performances.

The open mic will be open for the following performances:

· poetry (max 5 minutes reading time)

· short story (max 2000 words)

· novel excerpt (max 1500 words)

· song (max 5 minutes)

· stand-up comedy (max 5 minutes)

Location: Café Korb, Brandstätte 9, 1010 Vienna ( 2 minute walk from Stephansplatz)

Date: Monday 23rd October

Time: 7.00pm to around 9.30pm

Cost: We kindly ask for between €5 and €10 contribution to cover the venue hire

For performers:

If you would like to perform on the night, please arrive at 6.45pm to put your name on the list. Please keep in mind the time / word count for performances.

We look forward to seeing you!

Open Mic monthly meeting – September 21st

Write Now is back after a lovely summer break. For the first time ever we offered a summer workshop, and a children’s workshop and we will definitely be doing both again! But for those of you who we didn’t see over the lazy hazy days of summer, we would like to welcome you to the first meeting of our new season. We are very excited to expand our open mic to include stand up comedians and songwriters so if you have some material you want to test out on a fantastic crowd, don’t hesitate!

Come along and meet other creative people, take the stage, or simply sit back and enjoy the performances.

This event is run in collaboration with Creative Cafe, Austria

With guest poet, Neil McCarthy

The open mic will be open for the following performances:

· poetry (max 5 minutes reading time)

· short story (max 2000 words)

· novel excerpt (max 1500 words)

· song (max 5 minutes)

· stand-up comedy (max 5 minutes)

The evening includes up to around 1,5 hours of performance with a break between.

Location: Café Korb, Brandstätte 9, 1010 Vienna ( 2 minute walk from Stephansplatz)

Date: Thursday 21st September

Time: 7.00pm to around 9.30pm

Cost: We kindly ask for between €5 and €10 contribution to cover the venue hire

For performers:

If you would like to perform on the night, please arrive at 6.45pm to put your name on the list. Please keep in mind the time / word count for performances.

We look forward to seeing you!

Two August Workshops with Kirstin Zhang!

Dear Writers, greetings from Canada.

Normally Write Now goes on a summer break but the amazing Kirstin Zhang wrote to me and said she would be in Vienna at the end of August. She proposed two wonderful workshops so I figured, why not, summer is an ideal time to get together and learn about the craft of writing. So be sure to mark August 19th on your calendar.

What’s especially exciting is that one of these workshops is for children – aged 9-12. This is our first children’s workshop and we can’t wait. Kirstin also works at the Steiner School in Edinburgh so we have no doubt that she will be a wonderful teacher to inspire this age group.

Both workshops will explore a sense of place in writing. As writers, we know it is essential to create a world on the pages that draws in the reader. Easier said than done, right? Through discussion and exercises Kirstin will unveil the mysteries of creating a world on the page.

Join us on Saturday August 19th at a lovely little workshop in the 18th district. You’ll be sure to come away with some tips and techniques, meet some like-minded writers, and afterwards you can take a stroll through the nearby Turkenschanz park or have a drink at the trendy Aumann Cafe.

If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me an email at kirsten.writenow@gmail.com

For more details on the workshops click here

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

Time Change for May 5th Reading with Novelist Ardashir Vakil

Hi Everyone,

If you are planning to attend the book reading with Ardashir Vakil next Friday May 5th at the Cafe Korb, please note that the start time has changed to 9 p.m. We apologize for any inconvenience but he’s flying in from London to Vienna late in the afternoon.

The event is free of charge and is sure to be an interesting evening, so do come along!

We still have one space left for his two-day workshop on Sat/Sun May 6/7,so if you are interested drop us a mail at office.writenow@gmail.com

Have a great weekend and hope to see you there

April 20th Monthly Meeting

Hi Everyone!

For our April monthly meeting we thought we would try something a little bit different. Instead of the usual open mic session we have decided to host an organization called Fear&Fail

Three participants will take to the stage and share their story of overcoming fear and failure, be it personal, or in business and what they learned from the experience.

Writers are constantly challenged by fears and fails of different types – fear of sharing their work, fear of not ever finishing their book, attempting a to write a book several times and just not getting to the end, fear of exposing themselves in the writing process…

Come out and listen to these brave storytellers and go away inspired!

More information about the participants will be available soon so stay tuned!

Start time is 7 pm at the Cafe Korb (downstairs). The storytelling should be done by 8:30 to be followed by socializing.

Door fee is €5 to cover the venue cost.

Regular open mic will return at the May meeting.

Get Ready for 2017!

Writers! Write Now is back in action after a bit of an organizational break. We apologize for being quiet for so long, but we were busy getting things ready for 2017.

Join us on ThursdayJanuary 19, 2017, 19:00 at the Cafe Korb (downstairs) for the return of our monthly meetings. This will be the new location for our monthly meetings and many of our events. It’s cosy, with lots of seating, a small stage for the Open Mic hour of our meetings, and it is perfect for readings and all the exciting things we have planned.

Just a teaser of what’s to come! 2017 is going to be all about Storytelling. Everyone has a story to tell. The question is, how to tell it? Through our events and workshops we will introduce you to various methods and forms of expression from poetry to improv acting, to flash fiction, travel memoir, writing your own experiences into your novel and short stories, to traditional verbal storytelling.

What’s Your Story? This is our tagline for 2017!

So keep your eye on the website, and send us your email address (office.writenow@gmail.com) so we can keep you up to date.

Over the next few weeks we will be introducing you to some of our newest instructors, posting information about some super fun events, and announcing a writing retreat in Edinburgh!

Til then, keep writing! And don’t forget to mark your calendar for January 19th.

Never forget who you are – and never forget where you are

People from England, Hungary, India, Ireland, Jamaica, the Philippines, Nigeria and Scotland who ended up in Vienna talk about exactly what it’s like.

As part of this year’s Wir sind Wien festival, Write Now has organised eight readings by migrants to Vienna, describing their experiences and cultural journeys since arriving in the city. The readings will be held next Friday, June 10th at the Ankerbrotfabrik, Absberggasse 27, 1100 Wien.

How does it feel to migrate? How does it change your attitude to your new home, and the place you left? How do you retain an identity while becoming part of somewhere totally new? Do you need to, or should you just mix in? How do things like the job you do, the colour of your skin or your religion, get in the way?

Migration has changed hugely compared to movement from Africa, the Caribbean, the Subcontinent and Turkey into the big European economies in the 1950s and ‘60s. In many countries, such as the UK, two or three generations down the line, with people from all over the world having grown up in the same classrooms and workplaces, many of the questions have been answered, and the population at large feels that generally, the country is the stronger for having absorbed new people from around the world.

In many countries, though, it’s far less simple. As people continue to set out across the Mediterranean, how do those already in Europe and its new arrivals need to adapt to one another’s needs avoid to losing an entire generation of people to radicalism at both extremes?

As the literary partner of the Wir sind Wien event in the city’s 10th District, Favoriten, Write Now has brought together a group of eight ordinary people, from a range of different jobs and origins, to talk about their experiences of starting life elsewhere in the world and eventually landing up in Vienna, and where they really view as home.

The writers are a great mix: they started out in England, Hungary, India, Ireland, Jamaica, the Philippines, Nigeria and Scotland. They will read their respective pieces to the crowd at Magda’s Kantine, a café at the Ankerbrotfabrik arts centre site; there will be no stage, and the atmosphere will be informal; people will read their work, then open things up to the audience for questions. The readings will happen in two groups of four people, one at 4.00 pm and one at 6.30 pm. Other events (music, an artists’ initiative, etc.) will be held in the course of the afternoon.

The talks will also be backdropped by an exhibition of art by a Syrian refugee who contacted Write Now with his paintings. Highly professional, hauntingly memorable stuff. The talks will be humorous and insightful, there’s a performance by the superar orchestra, art happenings on the site and more – so come along on 10 June for a great afternoon!


Whiskey and Poetry Salon

Some very beautiful words spoken last night (St. Patrick’s Day!) at our Whiskey and Poetry Salon. A huge thank you to Neil McCarthy, the whiskey expert, and David Duffy the amazing man with a fiddle. Also thanks to the Irish Embassy and the University of Vienna for their contributions.

Don’t miss out next time! Neil will be doing another Salon on April 1, 2016 at Verein 08

And stay tuned for some video footage …