Editor’s note: Corina, the blogger behindÂ thisistopa.wordpress.com, was perhaps the first person to welcome LeipGloÂ to the cybersphere, by leaving a friendly comment on our page. Since then I’ve been following her blog and really enjoy the mix of creative veins she brings in: photography, food, writing, lifestyle and entertainment tips always with her very particular touch. I also read there that she’s fascinated with a particular group of Native Americans, and was intrigued to find out more (I wonder if this is not uncommon in Germany?) I invited her to share a little of the behind-the-scenes of topa with our readers, along with her interests, motivations and wanderings, and this Q&A was the result. Â
CORINA AND TOPA
Q:Â Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
A: Well, my name is Corina and I prefer going by my first name only. I was born in 1975 in Leipzig/Connewitz, and I grew up and spent most of my time living in the Innere Westvorstadt (aka Kolonnadenviertel, Bachviertel, WaldstraĂźenviertel), which is the exact neighborhood I am living in today. There have been several and also quite serious thoughts about moving to another city or leaving the country. But until today I never came around to realize that, ’cause I haven’t found that perfect spot on earth that equally feels like home. I also experienced all of the changes this city went through after the wall came down in 1989, so I sometimes feel like just staying here is fine ’cause I am sure this band will tour Leipzig or that kind of shop/restaurant type surely will be open soon. I have studied Ethnology in Leipzig, Educational Studies in Halle and Journalism in Berlin. I am a journalist and educationalist working as a free editor and writer. I also sometimes create audiovisual events for the two artist networks I co-founded.
Q:Â When did you start the topa blog, and why?
A: I started topa in April of 2013. Until 2013 I had been very busy being an Electronica DJane for about 13 years. When I decided to (temporarely) end this journey, I felt like I would love to spend my now free time with a completely different but also creative thing: writing. I was sure I wanted to write a children’s book since that was something I wanted to do for years. But since I am a person that is often asked for restaurant/location recommendations or any creative idea by friends and family members, I was thinking a blog featuring these topics could be a good idea.
Q:Â What would you say are the purpose and main highlights of your blog?
A: Well, there was no purpose in the beginning and I got very confused myself what I wanted to do and say with this blog. But over the time it turned out to be a platform where I share the things I create and the things I observe other people create. So it’s all about creating, art and culture and with the focus on anything â€“ in my opinion â€“ not mainstream but subculture, underground and if possible minimalism. It also is about Leipzig in context with other cities and cultures and about its nature, and since I am a person whoÂ gets easily lost and overstimulated, this blog and its sections named after our senses help me stay focused on the things that are important to me and hopefully to my readers as well.
Q:Â What is your target audience, and how has the public’s reception been towards your blog?
A: Actually, first of all I write for myself. I also still write for these people, friends and family, that brought me to blogging. I also write for my close friends living in another city or abroad missing Leipzig and its people and the things to do around here so much. I like to tell them a bit what’s going on and what’s new and fun. But I also write for people interested in the little nooks and hidden things that may never get to be in the big spotlight but are as cool and fun and precious as the big ones. And then it is great when I meet a friend who says he followed my restaurant tip or enjoyed listening to my set over and over again or really loves my drawings. I also made a few new friends from far away through blogging, which wasn’t a thing I expected or went after, but is pretty cool though.
Q:Â Where does your audience view from, mainly, if you are measuring it – are they living in Leipzig and Germany or do more of them live abroad?
A: Well, there was a time when I checked the stats but after a while I got the feeling it had too much of a potential influence on me and my writing. So I stopped it for good. I don’t know where the main audience comes from. But wait, just for this interview, I can have a look â€¦ Ok, they are from all over the world but most readers are from â€¦ tada â€¦ Germany (which is a surprise to me since I write in English).
Q:Â Why do you write your blog in English rather than German?
A: That is a good question. First, I think, it helps me keep some distance, ’cause for me writing is telling pretty personal things and I am actually not a chitchat kind of person. Then, I simply love the English language and when it comes to art or artists it’s a common language. I also have many artist friends living all over the world so English always was the language of our communication.
Q: Have you ever lived abroad, and/or do you plan to live abroad at some point? What are some of the places your travels have taken you, and/or that you’d like to travel to?
A: No, I never lived abroad but I would love to. But I am not sure yet where and when. Well, I travelled a lot and I of course went to all the major cities like London, Paris, New York and of course I fell in love with them. But travelling always has been the most enjoyable experience when it was combined with the visit of a dear friend. It’s the best when you feel welcomed and are shown around by a local and then it’s all about spending time together and not so much making big sightseeing tours. But there were two places I went to that I will never forget, Wendake in Quebec/Canada, because it is an independent Huron Indian Reservation, and the most hidden village Slowiensko in Poland, a trip that really was a thrill.
Q: How international and welcoming to international people do you feel Leipzig is at the moment? Do you have a lot of international friends?
A: Well, I myself have a lot of and also very close international friends and I love the inspiration and influence that come with such friendships. But I actually don’t care about where someone comes from, I only care about the person and whether we can get along or not. When I think back I always experienced Leipziger as some kind of shy or self-involved people. Maybe they somehow felt like they were being run over by all of the changes after the wall came down. When I look around and also look at my friends or people that are artists or club managers or event creaters/organizers I see that most of them are not from Leipzig. They came here a long time ago, moved here from the suburbs, from other cities or countries, saw the city’s potential and stayed. Most of them are very welcoming people, many of them are very involved in Leipzig’s cultural scene and very supportive helping refugees these days. But I think the majority of the common and long-established Leipziger I know sadly are not open orÂ welcoming at all.
Q:Â On your blog you mention an interest in the Sioux people. Can you remember the moment you became interested in them (was it a movie you saw, a poster, a trip you went on, etc.)? How does your interest in the Sioux shape your life, hobbies and blog?
A: I don’t remember the exact moment I became interested in the Lakota people (which is one group of the Great Sioux Nation), but I remember that I wanted to know more about them after I went to the Midwest of the US for the first time and when I began studydying Ethnology in the late 1990s. Since then it has had a big influence on my life. I am not a religious person, but I feel deeply connected to nature and anything natural and original. The Lakota (and many other American Natives/First Nations) had a holistic culture and society of hunters and gatherers and some of the elderly people still living today can remember very profound things from that time. It’s a knowledge the majority of Europeans lost a long time ago but I think it is still in our DNA and could be helpful for living a more mindful and healthy life. The Lakota (as well as other Indian Nations) suffer from an ongoing genocide in very cruel and almost unbelievable ways you don’t learn about in the news. To prevent that somehow and to raise some awareness for these people, I started to reflect aspects from their culture on my blog. I also started learning the Lakota language this year.
Q:Â What are some of your favorite things to do and places to go in Leipzig?
A: Well, I could start with naming locations but that would be an endless list. But one thing I really love to do is exploring public places when there is no one else around like in the very early morning hours. Then you get a chance to really feel the very soul of Leipzig.