www.martinnaef.ch / 3: Briefe > To Barb und CG W., 16. Dezember 1991
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To Barb und CG W., 16. Dezember 1991

Dear Barb, dear CG! A Christmas-Letter of melancholy, worrieds, wundering Martin. I am sitting in my room - bedroom, study and living room in one -, enjoying the warmth that comes from the fire in the stove. I enjoy the room, which has become so much more like my home since summer, since I finished what we call a "high-bed", a balcony-like construction in my room - the same old room, that you know from the time you all were here: a wooden platform about 6 or 7 foot above ground, held up by an elegant metal bar extending from wall to wall in my room. I sleep on the platform, having just enough space to sit and move around confortebly  . Beneath the platform I can walk and stand up. I have thus increased my living space considerably ... - Well here I sit, enjoying this warm, confortable, almost luxurious room. Why am I melancholy, then, why sad, why in such a questioning mood?

It can't be my love life, that makes me feel so low. I have - as far as love is concerned - never been happier in life! I am not just saying this, because it sounds good: I also feel that it is really true! My relationship with Renzo - we met just about a year ago - makes me feel quite pieceful and content. There is much warmth and tenderness between him and me. Very little drama, crisis and dispear. I am surprised when I look at us, but I am really content and happy about it! - No. What makes me tired and melancholy is my work, I think. I am working at home most of the time, and I seem to miss regular contact with the outside, with others. Here I am: I should or could continue my work on the Geheeb‑Biography (still the old book-project, that you know off), I should or could continue my essay on free schools in Switzerland, their history and their present situation, I should or could contact the Schaffhausen Newspaper and offer them an article on an alternative art-program in Zürich or I could and should contact mister Suter from the "Sunday news" and ask him, what he thinks about the article on the voucher system in education, which I sent him last week, asking him, whether he'd be interested in publishing it in his newspaper. ... I could and should and would, if I had the energy and the believe, that all these activities make sense, that they make a difference to the better. But when I wake up in the morning and I know, I should get up, I have awful difficulties convincing me to do so ... - I feel pushed back and into a corner by the competitive pressure all around me: being forced to make some money, I decided to try to go into journalism a bit. After having deals with educational issues for quite some time I seem to have enough background to write about these things. It's not, that I haven't any success with my attempts to get into the newspaper business. But I feel, that I have to push myself and others all the time in order to get somewhere. It is a tight market, you might say, and I am not the kind of person, that just keeps going day after day, calling up people, telling them about my projects etc without listening to their reaction. Yes. The reaction very often is: we are not interested. We have no money, we have no space, no time, no energy ...

This  doesn't just concern my trying to sell clever utopian articles to some strange newspaper editors. This also concerns my efforts within the Swiss free school movement and the entire educational and political work I am trying to do ... - It concerns the little newspaper that I have started with some friends at the beginning of this year, it concerns the activities around the creation of an alternative school within the official Zürich state school, that I am involved in since about 2 years. It concerns the association of Swiss alternative schools, that we founded last year and and and ...

All over I wish, that people had more energy and more utopian spirit to try the impossible ... I hope, I look around, I plead and try to convince and at the end I am pooped myself ... While I'm writing all this, I remember a exhausting telephone conversation I had last Thursday with a guy in Luzern, I remember the unfortunate chaos we had in the administration of our newspaper etc. etc. ... To many details to tell and - obviously - also to many details to devours  easily. - I should work in an office with some other people, who are trying to promote similar things ... O o o! What a Christmas letter! .. There were periods this year, where I was full of enthusiasm and energy, but right now, this is obviously not the case! ...

Work, love -, what else? - This summer Renzo and I spent two weeks in what used to be eastern Germany. We've seen Eisenach, Weimar, Dresden and we spent a few days on the island of Rügen, the most popular area for tourists during the years of socialism. We've had many interesting talks about the changes, that people from eastern Germany went thru and still go thru. The way, the West Germans have walked into eastern Germany and the way they've taken over the country is, all in all, rather disgusting. Many people in the East and the West feel that way and they wish, that the speed of the change and the reunion of the two countries had been slower, in order to leave more space for discussion and solidary solutions. As it was and still is, it's pretty much always the westerners, who tell the dumm "Ossis", what to do and what not to do. The idea seems quite clear: we in the West are the big shuts. We've have everything under control! We may have some minor social problem here and there, but in general we have all the solutions that you guys need! This is pretty much the attitude of the Concorers and the helpers from the West! I would be quite happy, if we'd be able to slow down a bit, but slowing down is not in at the moment, I know!...

In November I spent 5 days at a international conference on "freedom in education" near Bonn, Germany. There were people from all over Europe, including eastern Europe. The conference was very interesting although there too it was quite obvious, that things do move only very very slowly (if at all!)... However. It was interesting to be there and feel, that there are quite some people around, who have similar concerns and ideas. It was exactly the thing, which I miss so often when I am here in Basel, working along for weeks and weeks without real exchange. Next year the conference will be held in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia, if the political situation allows for such a enterprise. There's also an alternative school gathering in Russia in two or three months. If I am able to find a sponsor (I myself am Absolutely broke right now) I might go there, too ...

... Christmas itself has not yet reached the shores of my thinking or feeling. In two days I will go into the mountains, to see some people in the "ecole" and to visit my parents in Reuti. This will get me closer to the sensation of Christmas, I think. After Christmas Renzo and I are planning to spend some days together. We don't know yet, what we are going to do. If we'd had enough money, we would have participated in a voice and body-workshop, but as it is, we may end up in Basel, doing little things day by day.

And you? What about your work, CG, and what about the bookstore? What about your private life? What about Shao San? What about holidays, Ocean, Friends, Europe, Travel, Happiness, Dreams, Ideals land Goals? ... What about writing letters to old friends?

I wish all you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year! - Love, hugs and kisses!