About Me

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I am a dedicated and ambitious aspiring freelance journalist, blogger, and writer. My main asset is my international background - I was born in Germany, then moved to France, and proceeded to grow up in China - and the cultural open-mindedness inherent to such a life story. I specialize in opinion pieces, but am also well-versed in travel/event reporting, and writing general news stories. I blog regularly on my two pages, and have contributed to multiple online publications, including Gonzo Today, a web page dedicated to Hunter S. Thompson's "gonzo" journalism and his legacy. If you have any writing needs, I am the right person to talk to! I will be able to match the tone and style you desire, will work overtime to make you happy, and will deliver high quality content. You can find me on Facebook and LinkedIn as "Mark Linnhoefer", and on Twitter as "@markalinnhoefer". For work proposals please feel free to use the contact form on either of my blogs!

Friday, February 20, 2015

A day like any other

has been a rare occurrence these past weeks. I have been jolted out of my transfixed routine, and I like it. My move to China is set in stone now, and so there's preparations to make, lists to work through, people to inform, and money to somehow get, which is proving to be an all in all very tiring, but also quite fulfilling experience. I have also started to write an actual journal with a pen in a notebook, so that, if the internet ever breaks down completely, I'll have at least some of my thoughts and ideas written down and not lost for eternity. I am getting more and more into the idea of just realizing myself and my writing, and am getting more and more positive, as well as negative, feedback on my scrambled ramblings, which is really giving me the edge I need to push on; on the one hand I want to show the bastards still doubting me, and on the other hand I want to deliver the kind of quality those believing in me expect from me, so I'm generally striving to be the best goddamned writer I can be, which should be helpful on my quest to become a self-supporting journalist, writer, blogger, author, or someone of that ilk. 

But I've said that so many times by now, it's getting old, isn't it? You all know by now that I have some sort of manic, borderline psychotic obsession for writing, and that I intend to use that obsession to sustain myself financially throughout the rest of my life. I like to think that if I set my mind to something, I can also achieve it, and whilst I'm not deluding myself with dreams of money and fame, I do believe that I have what it takes to get a shot at the life of a self-providing freelancing writer, preferably journalist, and I have every intention of setting all hell in motion to get and make that shot. I know the life and work as a writer to be a very hateful one, filled with impossible deadlines, hard months, and borderline starvation at times; but I also know that there is no real alternative for me out there: I can't go back now that I've developed a taste for blood. I'm hungry now, I've been unleashed, and I won't restrain myself before I haven't gotten my name out there and my voice heard. Even if I don't make a dime, even if I end up on the streets, in jail, or in a loony bin, I'll keep on writing, and though I know I'm being a bit melodramatic right now, I really do mean the essence of what I'm saying:

“As things stand now, I am going to be a writer. I'm not sure that I'm going to be a good one or even a self-supporting one, but until the dark thumb of fate presses me to the dust and says 'you are nothing', I will be a writer.”  - HST

Once again, the good Doctor has formulated the point I was trying to make a lot better than I could ever hope to. The above quote just expresses my exact sentiments: I don't actually know that my writing is any good, and I have no way of knowing if I'll ever make enough money with it to support myself, but I do know that I'm going to be a writer, whatever that means. Ha. It certainly feels good to finally being able to refer to myself as a journalist and writer, or at least to be able to say that I'm going to try and be one, which is now that I'm quitting my studies to chase that dream, actually the very least I can say about myself. And though I realize that there are many obstacles yet to overcome on the long path that lies ahead of me, I do feel a certain sense of victory lingering in the air, a certain sense of overcoming the odds and finally getting off-shore and battling the stormy winds of life out at sea with no lifebuoy on board, just relying on my own strength and knowledge. I am in the throes of an all-out writing frenzy that will probably keep me going until fate reduces my existence to nothingness, and maybe even for a little while after that. The problem is that I need to keep vigil over my manic streak that loves to manifest itself in what is admittedly my best work, but that is also quite damaging to other areas of my life, like human relations, meeting deadlines, and simply getting up in the morning, which all turn into insurmountable obstacles once I am back in that borderline psychotic mood that hits me every once in a while. Hm. Remember my previous entry? I should probably be very leery of writing about any 'abnormalities' in my mental health, for I fear that some three-letter-agency henchmen might come bursting through my door in order to get me pumped full of pharmaceutical poison and thrown in some nice padded cell in some asylum for the mentally ill. But I'm reiterating my last post. I was actually getting at the way that knowing I'll become some sort of writer has altered my perspective on a lot of things; I am doing much more to advertise myself as a writer, blogger, and journalist, and am taking every opportunity I see to get my name out there, which is slowly starting to yield some possibilities of writing work, which I think is pretty awesome! I have to say that back in school I would never have dreamed of actually trying to make a living with my writing; I had been told my writing is good, but to me it was always just an easy way to get good grades with little effort. Until I started to write my blog and get actual feedback by people unknown to me, that is. When I realized that the words I produce are apparently of actual value to some, I  also started realizing just how much putting words onto paper satisfies my inner-most needs. I was always a man of words come to think of it: back in grade school I knew how to convince teachers better than most others did, and even started working on a "novel"; in high school I was rapping - still do by the way - and actually part of the Model United Nations Debate Club; and now.... well now I am quitting my studies to become a journalist and writer. Many of you will have wondered by now why I choose not to write in my native language, German. Well, I can't really answer that question to be honest; I have always felt some inexplicable connection to the English language, and am much more at ease when formulating sentences in English, simply because the syntax and grammar comes easily to me. Now of course I am also working as a journalist for a German event-planning organization, so I naturally also write articles in German, but they don't work as well, if you catch my drift. English just has so many more synonyms and stylistic devices to offer than German. Hm. That's not entirely true either, there is some grand German writing, like Kafka, Nietzsche, and Goethe, that will prove the opposite, but I am for some reason much more proficient in the use of English vocabulary and rhetorical devices. It's weird, really. I think my focus on the English language in literature and film - coupled with the six years I spent living in China alongside American and British students - is to 'blame' here. I'm personally appalled by the miserable standard of English in German schools, and also by the fact that most consider their school-level English to be adequate in a professional context; don't get me wrong, I don't want to bash anyone whose English isn't perfect, not everyone is good at learning languages after all, but I do have a problem with people simply not recognizing that their skills aren't really up to par and in the worst case even getting all up in your face when you call them out on a mistake. It's not like I'm one of those condescending fucks that treat your every false utterance like a huge crime to their personal ethics, I'm usually very quiet and polite when telling someone about their errors, but even then there are some people who apparently just cannot handle being criticized at all and throw a real fit whenever I approach an erroneous aspect of their English speaking. Those are the same people that pounce on my every mistake to try and ridicule me, mind you. Which is obviously not working, for I'm well aware that I'm far from perfect; I know that I do have a certain knowledge of the English language that probably exceeds that of other non-native speakers not building their career on writing in English, but I also know that there are many errors I am still prone to, and so I am thankful for everyone pointing these errors out to me, for only by seeing one's mistakes learning becomes possible. Anyway. What I was getting is is that some people simply cannot admit their wrongdoings and are so entrenched in their egomania that they will never be able to actually learn anything; because you don't learn by supposedly doing things right and being praised all the time, but rather by fucking up and getting yelled at. You won't realize what not to do unless you've tried doing it, which is why I cannot understand how people can react so badly to criticism; it's understandable that you get agitated if a review of your work is actually insulting, but if someone calmly addresses some issues they feel compromise the quality of what you're doing, you should definitely listen to that someone. You don't necessarily have to implement what you're being told, but it is always advantageous to get a third or fourth opinion on whatever it is you happen to be doing in order to see either what you're already doing properly, or what you need to change in the way you're going about doing things. It just gives you some perspective on your work, and perspective allows you to look at your work from a meta-level, evaluating it more objectively. 
There's obviously always going to be a natural bias in the way you think about your own creations. As soon as you get feedback from others it pertains to gaining objectivity when evaluating your work though, and can so ultimately lead to at least partially overcoming that bias. Said bias is not necessarily positive though, mind you; I for one am almost always sure that what I have published is utter bullshit once it's online, but after a couple of days my regular sources for objective feedback usually tell me that they have enjoyed (at least most of) what I wrote, and that's the point at which I slowly begin to see that the piece of writing in question doesn't show an utter lack of quality content after all. The point being that my natural bias is a negative one, unlike most peoples' apparently, at least those of the people I have encountered so far: most of them tend to think that what they produce - be it writing, music, art, whatever - is top-notch and will revolutionize the whole world, and can only begin to admit that their production is maybe not as good as they had thought after they have been told so by multiple people. Both of these schools of thought hold their obvious pitfalls, but I personally would say that being negatively biased is better for your creative process to some extent; if you think you're doing worse than you actually are doing, you'll be more prone to striving to fully exhaust your potential capabilities, at least I know that I am, although there are some people that are so negatively biased that they either don't show their work to anyone or don't accept any positive remarks, at which point the bias is obviously an obstacle that needs to be overcome. With a positive bias however, you're more likely to produce lesser quality work, because you think that every shit you take is composed of solid gold anyways, which might make your mind resort to egomania at some point if your work isn't all that good and you're constantly being told so, because your disturbed ego won't be able to handle the criticism of something it considers to be perfect, and at that point you've become a mentally damaged asshole. This does not imply that you cannot have a positive bias towards your creations without being a dick about it, but it is certainly a pitfall of said bias to be aware of. Anyhow. This tangent about objectivity and biases suddenly came out of nowhere, didn't it? I was actually talking about the reasoning behind me using English instead of German for my writing needs; and well, there's the few reasons mentioned above, but the truth remains that I cannot really put my finger on my actual motivation for doing so. I just enjoy English. A lot. I solely watch American and British TV shows, I almost exclusively read American and British books, and am generally more versed in the English language than in any of the other languages I speak, and that is probably the main reason I chose English as my writing language: I can express what I want to the way I want to, using the words that do not only sound but also feel right in the context, and I am able to elicit the kind of associations I want to in my readers' minds, or at least I hope that I am. All I do know is that for my purposes and to the best of my knowledge I am using the right words at the right time, and am much more successful at doing so in English than for example in my native language, German, as weird as that may be to some. 

But I have come across an unspeakably tasteless atrocity that needs to be brought to everyone's attention: the shooting at Chapel Hill, N.C.. Some guy shot three young Muslims, allegedly because of a "parking dispute", according to local police. Whatever his reasons may have been, I do not care to be honest. It is saddening and sobering that everyone is so hellbent on connecting religion and xenophobia to this case, when all that really counts is the family and friends of these poor souls that were shot, and of course that the judicial entities bring the guy who did it to justice. But what I see are things like a Facebook group dedicated to "saving Craig Stephen Hicks", and one post in that group defends this guy with the disgusting argument that what he did was something that "most infidels would love to do!" and a comment on that saying "I hope that this is just the beginning and [...] people will follow his example"... Well. I seriously hope that that is some sort of very dark satire. Because I could not emphasize how fucked up that would be otherwise. Here's a guy that shot 3 people, and just because these people happened to be Muslim, there are now some racist fucks defending his actions. If a Muslim had happened to shoot three Christians, these same people would be condemning these very actions. Fucking hell, this world has bred some messed up personalities. And naturally the media coverage for this tragedy has been rather meager; it's just not as interesting or scandalous to see Muslims being shot by White people, apparently, as sickening as that realization is. And it does not fit into the media created image of the evil Islam either, so of course it descended into the footnotes of the newscast instead of being the headline it deserves to be. Isn't it gruesome to see just how political the medias' decision whether to cover a story in-depth or not has become? It's pathetic, really.

I can't get more into this topic now though, maybe I'll do a separate post about it or something. Just do your own research, you've got my thoughts about the issue already. I'm getting really tired, it's 4 AM already, and I am not even remotely done with all the writing work I still have to do; there's a translation still to be completed, there's this blog post, and there are five interviews in my notebook waiting to be compiled into full articles. And most, if not all of it won't be done prior to tomorrow evening, simply because my concentration is dwindling at an alarming rate right now, and so tonight I won't be able to actually select the songs that will appear below...

The Mamas & The Papas - California Dreaming
-> Great, classic tune. I love the guitar play, the lyrics, and the voices. It's just one of those timeless evergreens that you only come across a few times in your lifetime. A song that stays with you wherever you go, and well, it's just beautiful music, so... Enjoy!
Simon & Garfunkel - The Sound Of Silence
-> Wow. Goosebumps slowly creeping up my spine and slowly but surely encompassing my entire body. Blood rushing to my head, a little dizziness coming on, and then the realization of the inner beauty of the words that flow with the stream of music, hitting me with the might of a hammer but with the subtlety of a feather. "But my words, like silent raindrops fell and echoed in the wells of silence...". I can't stress enough how amazing this song is, so... Enjoy!

Knife Party - Give It Up
-> Awesome! This is some great, energetic Dubstep just the way I like it! Great, Reggae-like intro that slowly morphs into an eargasm-inducing build-up ultimately leading to a great drop that coerces your limps to start jerking around to the beat! At this point I would once again like to recommend the "MA Dubstep" YouTube channel, they feature some really amazing tracks on there from time to time, and are definitely a good source if you like that kind of music! Enjoy!

Music Predators - Adventure Time (Condukta Remix)
-> Well, MA Dubstep doesn't fail to amaze me! Epic remix of a great song! I love the build-up, the melodic parts, and the drops that keep getting a bit heavier and adding a little more crunch to the bass each time they come around, it's just an all in all great song in my opinion. And for those of you wondering, yes, I have just discovered this song because I was still browsing the MA Dubstep channel after posting the last tune. As I said, it's a great source for this kind of music, and this is a great example to prove just that, so... Enjoy!

Afu-Ra feat. Gentleman - Why Cry
-> Now this is what I call music! Afu-Ra, who is part of the Gang Starr Foundation, a great, underground rapper, together with the German reggae sensation Gentleman on a great, peaceful, anti-system track that has a great message and spreads awesomely positive vibes! This song is truly a legendary piece of art, so... Enjoy!

Jedi Mind Tricks ft. Young Zee & Pacewon - Design in Malice
-> "They're no longer Christian! They no longer follow Jesus! They follow the devil, one hundred percent!" Which is extremely true on a meta-level; those claiming to be extremely religious nowadays are those acting in complete opposition to the values most, if not all religions preach. Anyhow. This song is fucking awesome, and Jedi Mind Tricks are pretty great in my opinion. Vinnie Paz might overuse some topics and not be the very best Enjoy!

Let me start this paragraph by saying that I am really sorry about the delay in publishing, but, as I have explained in the first paragraphs of this entry, a lot of things are happening in my life, and I am doing a whole lot of writing work for a number of different people, which is really taken a toll on my creativity, and so, because I don't want to dump low quality writing on you either, I need a bit more time to finish the posts for this blog, find music, and make everything ready for publication. But I will keep doing my best to continue posting at least twice a month on here, and hopefully entertaining, educating, and providing an interesting read for you guys. I am really happy that this blog still has the 20-40 people reading it regularly, and I do wish to attract more readers in the future, so if you guys would be so kind as to inform your friends of this blog's existence, I'd be extremely happy! I might actually do some sort of contest in the not too far future, maybe a writing contest, or just a lottery kind of thing, and there will be a prize in form of a nice book or something like that! So, look out for that, I'll be announcing the details sometime soon!
Anyhow. I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed this rather belated entry, that it has taught you something, or at least caused you to rethink a few things, but you know the deal...