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REBECCAH DEAN Posts

An Expat By Any Other Name

What does it mean to be an expat? That’s a question I mull over a lot. Besides the fact that I’ve been an (American) expat for nearly 20 years now, one of the reasons I think about this is because I’ve seen a real shift in what being an expat even means. Berlin has had a start-up tech scene boom for a while now which brings in people from all over the world who live and work in the city in an English-speaking bubble. The companies offer German classes between team building yoga flow and chill time at the onsite…

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You May Kiss The Ring

So I told the ladies in my writing group last night that I’m married to a German Count and the inevitable happened: “Wait, are you serious? You’re married to a Count?” I told them, as I always tell anyone when this comes up, “It’s really not as impressive as it sounds.” German aristocrats were stripped of their official status after the war, but they were allowed to keep their titles as part of their name. “It’s just a fancy name, nothing else.” As usual, they didn’t believe me. “So does this mean your two daughters are countesses?” “Well, yeah. Officially…

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A Few Gripes, If You Please…

So, as anyone knows who’s crazy enough to want to be a writer, a huge part of the writer’s life is rejection, rejection, rejection. I’m a pragmatic person who accepts this as part of the game, although I of course still dream big. Tin House has been looking at a story of mine for well over a year. Does that mean I have a chance at being the .0001 percent of writers they pull unsolicited from the slush pile, or are they just so backlogged they haven’t gotten around to rejecting me yet? Most likely the latter is true, but…

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“Forgotten Dreams” Published In Sixfold

So, my short story “Forgotten Dreams” was published in Sixfold magazine. Yeah! This is my first publication, and since I’m still such small potatoes, nobody really gives a crap about what I have to say. Except myself of course! That’s why I decided to be the goofball that I am and go ahead and interview myself. I had fun creating the interviewer personality. She enunciates so well (although she needs to work on leaving out the ums and uhhs). For some reason, I imagine she went to Wellesley. šŸ˜‰ Anyway, here is the interview but two things before you read/take…

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RIP Pheeps

My husband isn’t an animal person. Although I complain about this sometimes, deep down I know it’s a good thing because if he were an animal person I’d probably have a couple of goats in my living room right now. (Here’s your morning kale, Bleaty. Aww, thanks for the head butt. I love you, too!) Yes, I am most definitely an animal person and always have been. When I was less than two I followed a kitten into a sketchy part of Sacramento and got lost for a while. My mom freaked out of course, but what could I do?…

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R&R, Dick and Dad

I read about Ottessa Moshfegh before I read (very much) of her work and my impression was that she’s an arrogant and eccentric misanthrope. But don’t get me wrong: calling her this is not as harsh a judgement as it might seem. An “arrogant and eccentric misanthrope” is pretty much how I would describe myself back when I still lived in the US. (Perky blonde co-worker at one of my many crappy mall jobs: You’re so quiet. Why don’t you talk more? You should smile more. AEM me: Here’s an idea. How about instead I just punch you in the…

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Take Me Out To The Ball Game, Mother F’er!

My soon-to-be published story “Forgotten Dreams” is set in Berlin. In the feedback I got on Sixfold, one woman asked, “Why are all the Germans in the story so mean?” I told my husband and we both had a good laugh. If you ever spend any time in Berlin, you’ll quickly learn this is a city where strangers live to yell at strangers. Although there might be several reasons why this happens, the main reasons why a native Berliner might hit you with a hefty bout of Berliner SchnauzeĀ is because a) you aren’t following the rules, or b) you were…

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Performance At Bergmannstrassenfest

I performed three songs at BergmannstrassenfestĀ at the beginning of July. This is the third year in the row that I’ve performed there, but last year it rained (summer in Berlin can equal a bummer in Berlin, though not this year so far, hoorah!) and the year before Germany played a game in the European Cup literally five minutes before I went on, so almost no one was there. Speaking of soccer and being bummed, I was really disappointed to see Belgium kicked out of the World Cup last night. They played with such passion and were my favorite team this…

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Ode To O-Strasse

It’s funny how so much of my life has been defined by streets I eventually grew out of. The first one was Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, which I wrote about here. In a nutshell, I’m about twenty years too old for Telegraph Avenue, and a lot of it has been taken over by chains anyway. I still think Moe’s is one of the best used bookstores ever, but Cody’s is long gone.Ā  I also doubt very much I could stomach a slice of pizza from either Blondie’s or Fat Slice. Another street that once meant the world to me was…

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Pity Party Take Ten Or Something

Yes, folks, it’s pity party time again. Just got notice that I was not shortlisted for a story competition I really thought I had a good shot at. The magazine sent out the same form letter that I’ve gotten from them before, stating that my piece “really stood out from the rest” and that I’m “obviously a talented writer” and they felt “honored to read my work”, but it was still a pass. The first time I got this letter I felt really encouraged, but this time I realized it’s more likely just they’re “no thanks, but please don’t slit…

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