Rediscovering Roots: Grounding Oneself in Dörrmorsbach

The pandemic has brought us back to square one, and the routine of lockdown is taking its toll. Nails are in dire need of a refill, lashes are falling out, and nobody seems to care about the quarantine fat. Berlin is still nagging for “the clubs,” but the creeping feeling is that the population is becoming increasingly numb. Protests are common, but they’re losing momentum, and nobody really expected the pandemic to be over after just four weeks.

In this state of mind, watching a show on Netflix becomes a bizarre experience, and we find ourselves asking, “Why are they shaking hands and standing so close together WITHOUT a face mask?” It’s hard to believe that there was a time before masks and disinfectant sprays.

Amidst all of this chaos, a wonderfully honest project has fallen into our lap, and we are excited to share it with you. Julius Rueckert, one of our talented young editors, has written a book filled with inspirational photos, a playlist, and a collection of poems. Julius did what most of us did; he went back home, like a plant that follows its trunk back into the dirt to its roots.

Do you remember the article I wrote about how tough the quarantine period was for me? If not: read it here again.

He found an old Olympus Digital Camera from 2007 in the attic of his parents’ house, and out of boredom, he decided to use the forced free time creatively. That’s when FRANCONIA DREAMS was born. As he took photos of the unimportant, self-evident things from his childhood, he realized that the environment in which he grew up was not so normal and ordinary as he remembered.

Julius describes his homeland as ‘cinematic and absurd,’ with a quarry, clubhouses, and a unique curiosity from his youth: his grandfather’s poultry farm. But it’s not a fattening or slaughterhouse. His Grandpa raises all sorts of poultry for shows and exhibitions – pheasants, various ducks, and peacocks.

Throughout the book, we feel a wonderfully light melancholy and nostalgia, like a Sofia Coppola film. The female lead in Lost in Translation, played by Scarlett Johansson, served as the muse for several magical illustrations in FRANCONIA DREAMS.

Julius’ friends and family also contributed with their feelings and processes. Julia Hebeisen’s poem is one of the most striking works. For our part, we found it to be classic isolation behavior. It’s an art to allow oneself to subconsciously and consciously take a lot of time and space for irrelevant things.

The book also includes Léonie Schwind’s recipe for her delicious ‘After Break Up Sex -Curry.’ It’s funny and reminiscent of a chat with a friend. What makes this book unique is the ease with which it conveys that no matter how we feel, everything is normal and unique at the same time. It’s okay to be creative, but it’s also okay to give in to boredom and watch the grass grow.

As humans, we always have the urge to move forward without reflecting on what is happening around us. We don’t always know whether what we’re striving for is better than what we currently have, and that’s just the selfish nature of humans. But books like FRANCONIA DREAMS can help us reflect and remind us of the importance of our roots and history.

The different works are underlined by a fairytale, dreamy playlist. Find it on Julius’ Spotify.

And it is precisely this ease, in my opinion, that makes the book’s charming twist. It’s clear to understand that no matter how you feel, for whatever reason, everything is just normal and unique at the same time. It’s okay to be creative, but it’s okay to give in to boredom and watch the grass grow.

We humans always have the urge to move forward without reflecting on what is actually going on around us. Without knowing whether what we are striving for is actually better than what we currently have. Such is the selfish nature of humans.

The zine is available as limited print issue via @juliusrueckert or @franconiadreams