Re-Post: Writer’s Quote Wednesday ~ Erich Fried

August 2020

There have been many exciting blog events on WordPress over the years. Some are still going. Some had to go. This one I really miss:

June 2015

Sometimes it is quite disturbing to be bi-lingual ;-). Today I was looking for a quote from one of  my favourite poets: Erich Fried. I went on Goodreads, which usually has a vast collection of quotes and I chose one which I really like:

wie das Wort eigenartig
es fast als fremdartig hinstellt
eine eigene Art zu haben.”
Erich Fried

Well, you probably realised it directly: it is in German. I didn’t. Must still be my mother tongue then :-).

Ok, some words about Erich Fried just in case you don’t know him. He was an Austrian poet who lived most of his life in the UK. He is in English speaking countries mainly known for his marvellous love poems, e.g. my favourite “Es ist was es ist/It is what it is“. In German-speaking countries, he is more known for his political poetry and especially for his peace work.

This is quite ironic as his last name “Fried” is a short form for the German word for peace: “Frieden”. “Fried” would have been used for “peace” in the dialect I grew up with.

His translations of Shakespeare are just beautiful. I can appreciate this even more now that I live in Great Britain. And yes: He became even more important for me when I realised that he chose the same country to settle in than me even though due to much darker reasons.

But back to his quote, which is a little difficult to translate because the whole thing is a wordplay that does not really work in English.


how the word odd

makes it look nearly strange

to have your own way”

this is how you would translate it the right way, but if you translate it literally it sounds like this:


how the word ownway

makes it look nearly strangeway

to have your own way.”

Well, maybe that does not make it any more transparent, but maybe it makes you laugh a little. The point is though that writers are often seen as strange because they do their own thing and have their own way in how to shape their lives. This quote reminded me that even though it might look odd or strange to other people my way of living and of creating my life is necessary to be able to create art.

I hope this motivates you a little more to do things your way and maybe it also  motivates you to play a little with words and create some “ownways” and “strangeways” 🙂


Writer's Quote Wednesday title pic with The Bee Writes Logo

This post takes part in Colleen’s motivational “Writer’s Quote Wednesday“. Please head over and find some more inspiration!

10 thoughts on “Re-Post: Writer’s Quote Wednesday ~ Erich Fried

  1. I get it, the cart comes before the horse in German. 🙂 Now, I like this quote because it does point out that doing it our way is alright even if it is a bit odd. I actually like the poetic quality of the translation. Beautiful!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, there is a reason why they say German is a difficult language LOL. Thanks I think one can see that he lived in Great Britain and used English as well as German. I believe it gives your use of language a different quality.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The translation is what did it for me. Nice and lyrical, even a bit whimsical. I still get the quote though. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You know, you should do this challenge, Bee. Call it Writer’s Quote Wednesday and set it up as a challenge, like I did. Give them a week to get their quote selected and they can come up with a creative story, poem, or whatever else you would like to share about your quote. I bet lots of people would love this. Let me know if you create the challenge and I’ll join in. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Colleen, I love that idea but am not sure I can keep it up. I’ve started so many blog events and didn’t go through with it in the long run. But I keep it in mind and see how I feel once cancer is beaten 😇🙋‍♀️🐝

      Liked by 1 person

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