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  • Writer's pictureKarl Koerber

New Horizons?

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

Sometime in the winter of 2014/15, I started working on a project I’d been thinking about for some time, a process that culminated some four years later with the publication of my book Through the Whirlpool in the spring of 2019. For me, that was a pretty big deal.

Because it was self-published, I had to also promote the book myself, an endeavour that took me a good distance outside of my comfort zone. Book launches, readings, an interview on the local cable channel—the kinds of situations that have always filled me with dread—became part of my shtick as author/publisher. Surprisingly, I even became marginally desensitized to the terror of standing in front of—if not a sea, then at least a small pond—of faces focused upon me, anticipating wise, entertaining or, at minimum, coherent words to issue from my mouth.

Then, along came the plague in early 2020 and (mercifully, I felt in my secret heart) put the kibosh on any live events. I haven't had the courage or motivation to try to organize any further readings now that “things have opened up again.”

Another aspect of my efforts to connect with readers who might enjoy the book was the launch of this website and blog, along with my Facebook “author” page. Beyond the hope of drawing attention to my book, these platforms have also given me the opportunity to explore more deeply some of the themes that arose while I was researching and writing the story of my family and the rise of Nazism in Germany. Apart from documenting the dramatic stories of my mother and father, I was also looking for understanding, as I wrote, of the human dynamics that enabled the Nazi cataclysm to unfold as it did, and the blog became a continued exploration of those themes, often in the context of current events. God knows, there has been no shortage of material these past few years, what with the rise of Donald Trump, the assault on the US Capitol, the anti-vax/anti-mask movement, the truck convoy fiasco and now the surreal and tragic attack on Ukraine by Vladimir Putin, whose Hitleresque persona evokes an eerie sense of déjà vu.

I've been tempted to respond to some of the recent events like the truck convoy and, of course, the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I'm finding, though, that my heart is no longer there. It seems that history just keeps repeating and humanity is powerless to move beyond the old paradigm of self-interest, chauvinism, militarism, aggression and war that has held sway for millennia, and I find myself wondering if maybe it’s just built into our DNA, and we’re fooling ourselves if we think that humans will ever live in peaceful coexistence.

Putin's attack on Ukraine, for example, and Hitler's invasion of Poland are uncannily similar despite the eight decades that separate them. The revelation of atrocities committed against Ukrainian civilians by Russian soldiers brings to mind the horrific rampage of murder and rape by Red Army soldiers as they swept through Silesia and East Prussia in 1945. (Coincidentally, my two most recent posts are in relation to books documenting those events.) It’s discouraging, I’m finding, to be constantly reminded of our collective inability to bring healing to our planet and, while I remain interested in the interplay of the personal and the political in relation to the unfolding human drama, I no longer feel as motivated to write and share my reflections on these subjects.

Not that I’ve given up on the human species just yet. There is a vast richness of creativity, imagination, compassion and progressive impulse at play on this planet we call home, and I have faith that the agency of love will live long and perhaps even prosper. But I’m ready for a change. I'm not sure what that will entail, exactly, but I do feel like I've written myself into a kind of a box here, and it's time to broaden my field of vision to include other interests, like my love of nature and photography, perhaps, or climate and other social issues, maybe even some personal reflections on life and aging—I'll have to see what moves me. I have also been working (at my own glacial pace) on another project that I hope to finish and publish if I live long enough, and I may occasionally post some snippets here.

For those who subscribe to this blog, I also want to say thanks for your support and feedback. I hope that my musings, whatever shape they may take, will continue to be of interest and worth the read.

Anyway … stay tuned.

Note: Here are the links to the book reviews I mentioned – A Childhood Under Hitler and Stalin by Michael Wieck and Yesterday's Sandhills - Wolf Children in Germany at the End of World War II by Rita Baltutt Kyle - two memoirs about life in East Prussia during the Second World War and the Red Army occupation in 1945. I should note that, sadly, the use of rape as a weapon of war or instrument of revenge is universal and not limited to any particular ethnicity or culture.

Also, Through the Whirlpool is now available as a Kindle e-book for the bargain-basement price of $2.99 USD ($3.83 CAD at today’s exchange rate) or, if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, it is available as part of your subscription.

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Ron Verzuh
Ron Verzuh
Aug 08, 2022

Thanks for sharing those thoughts, Karl. I look forward to reading more of your reflections. Ron

Karl Koerber
Karl Koerber
Aug 09, 2022
Replying to

Thanks Ron!

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