Tidbits and Interestings
Dec19, 2018 |
Filed in:Tidbits and Interestings
(The purple lemon socks will come at the end. They will have their moment. It will make sense. Sort of. Yes.)
Updates! I went to Switzerland a few weeks ago for some readings. It was very brief, so I’m sorry if I missed you. I’ll be back for a bit longer around Christmas, since my big ol’ family is going to be gathering in the childhood home before it’s absolutely GUTTED and rebuilt into a splendid modern contraption.
(Which will be sad. I mean, objectively, it’s probably going to become a much nicer house, but it’s centuries old and I’m going to miss its creakiness and drafty-ness and quirks and foibles, mice, spiders, towers of books, and random chandeliers.)
“No one cares about your trifling nostalgia, Stefan, get to to updating.”
A thing happened. You know Monster Middle Grade? The book I’ve been working for years and years, and is very dear to me? I’m shelving it. Temporarily.
Ok, Monster Middle Grade is too big and strange and unwieldy and is going on-hold and I’m hunkering down to finish another book these next two weeks to send to my editor, accckkkkk. I hope it goes well. See you on the other side!! 🗡️🐦👻🕸️🕷️🐦⛰️🏰☠️🐦💥🌔
— Stefan Bachmann (@Stefan_Bachmann) November 20, 2018
Monster Middle Grade will probably still see the light of day at some point, in some form, but it’s huge and complicated, and despite many, many drafts and rewrites it wasn’t really becoming less huge or complicated. It took countless hundreds of hours of work, 1 quart of blood, 2 gallons of sweat, and a liberal sprinkling of tears to come to this realisation, but such is life. And it will be for the best. And if you’re a writer, and a project isn’t coming together, or is coming together slowly, know that that’s so normal and every single writer friend you will ever make can tell you similar tales of woe.
The good news is, I wrote a different book this year and I love it, too and it’s with my editor now and we will see what comes of it!
In farewell, here’s Henty’s theme, the hero of Monster Middle Grade. It’s a false waltz in 4/4 time that was for the ending.
Also, here’s another wee piece unrelated to books that was written for no reason. The title is a reference to the musical act of holding a note across shifting harmonies to create a dissonance, which then may or may not resolve itself into consonsance.
A Berlin Story
And now for the purple lemon socks and a brief, silly story about REAL LIFE, aka having neighbours in Berlin.
So there I was, living my best life, cozied up in my apartment, when someone rings my doorbell. It was going on 10PM so I was like, “Who is this, and are they here to murder me?” because you just never know.
I didn’t answer the door at first. I wanted them to go away and leave me alone, and also not see me looking like an ogre in pyjamas and a blanket and the aforementioned purple-lemon socks. When the purple lemon socks go on it means that I’ve made peace with the day and want nothing more to do with anyone. Purple lemon socks mean I’m done. They’re SYMBOLIC.
Whoever it was did go away for a bit, and I was like “Yesssss, whew, avoided that murderer, well done, Stefan, you and your strategic murder-avoidance schemes.”
But then ten minutes later the doorbell rings again, so I peak through the peep-hole and there was someone outside who might well have still been a murderer, but who – superficially at least – looked like a normal person.
So I answered the door and was like “Yes, hello, it’s really late?”
And she told me a long, long story about how she had no wifi, and her flight was tomorrow, and she couldn’t check in, and something about kids and a grandma – because hello, emotional stakes – and could she just borrow my wifi password?
And I was like, “Sure, I mean, children and a grandma? This is serious, and she’s leaving tomorrow so it’ll be fine, and I AM A NEIGHBOURLY NEIGHBOUR.”
So I give her the password and she goes downstairs and I return to my nice lil’ Purple-Lemon-Sock-Life.
Three days later I come down the stairs and who should I find painting a Narnia-sized wardrobe in the stairwell but her and her roommate.
Her friend says “Hi”. I say “Hi.” Wi-fi Girl literally crawls under the wardrobe and does the Hoody-in-Mean-Girls things so I wouldn’t see her.
I saw you, Guilty McGuiltster.
So yeah, she didn’t have a flight to catch. She may not have even had a grandma. She just wanted the wi-fi password because free wi-fi. And maybe she was having a rough day, or was broke or something, I don’t know her life, but . . . I also would have given her the password if she’d just been like, “Hey, we have no wifi, can we borrow yours until it’s set up?” Why be a weirdo and invent a whole involved backstory?
What I’ve learned subsequently, though, is that when you google whether you should help your neighbour out with wifi the answer is actually “No”, because people are often terrible and you don’t know what they might do with it and it’s just not smart.
That’s not a very uplifting holiday story. But if there’s any good to be taken from it, maybe just don’t answer your door after 8PM? You and your purple lemon socks deserve peace and quiet.
To end with, here’s the only picture I have of me and said socks, taken at some point where I apparently thought it was a good idea to wear them in front of other people. Also, shout-out to my leg looking like a deformed Christmas ham, we love a good angle.
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Jun05, 2018 |
Filed in:Tidbits and Interestings
I’m done!! I did it. It was an experience. I was going to do a big post about the ordeal, but since I’m still technically a member of the army until I’m 30-something and don’t have time to get in trouble over snarking about it, I’m going to wait to tell delightful tales about things like. . .
- That time our scariest sergeant made me sing the national anthem solo in front of our entire platoon (I’m not a singer by any stretch of the imagination.)
- What tear-gas feels like (it hurts)
- Shooting pistols in temperatures so cold our hands cracked (fun fact: the ordinance gloves they give you make your hands colder)
- That time our sergeants were feeling particularly humane and we had to lie facedown in the gym and literally sweep the floor with our bodies.
I feel so accomplished.
I never posted the pictures from my Japan/South Korea/Hong Kong adventures from last year! I might still do that. In the meantime, I went into the mountains for a bit after military and it was dreamy and here are some pictures. I read books, hiked with the parents, stayed in a castle, ate good food, saw many tiny butterflies which are so tiny they didn’t make it into any pictures. . . .
I had no time to write during military, alas, so it feels very nice to get back to it now. I’m rewriting Monster Middle Grade for the 7th time, and as they say, SEVENTH TIME’S THE CHARM. (Do they say that? They should.) This book feels like an enormous puzzle and sloooooowly the pieces are coming together, and it’s thrilling.
I’m off to Berlin for a while. I have a little garret and notebooks and pens and my laptop and music work to do, and I’m very much looking forward to it.
I’m doing one public book thing between military and moving away, and here it is, this coming weekend! It would be lovely to see you there. 🙂
Musik: Linda Vogel
Weiterer Autor: Hansjörg Schertenleib
And that’s that! Farewell, friends. 🙂
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I haven’t done a Tidbits and Interestings in a whiiiiiile, but I have lovely news!
First bit of lovely news:
I’m super honoured to say that I’m one of the 39 authors picked for the International Hay Festival for Literature in Aarhus 2017, which according to them is a selection of ‘the best emerging writers under 40 in Europe.’ That’s very kind. This was just announced at the London Book Fair, and I’m pleased-but-also-surprised because I spend most of my life in the uni library with earphones in, so how do they know I exist? BUT ANYWAY, I’ll be going to Denmark in October 2017 for the festival, and there’ll be an illustrated anthology out this May in both English and Dutch with a newly-written short story from me called The Honeybee Cemetery.
I’m especially happy because I remember getting the email saying I was on the longlist, and I had to send a sample of writing that was going to be judged by people like Matt Haig, and I was like: “Matt Haig is very famous. I don’t know what Matt Haig likes to read. What if I choose something he hates and in one fell swoop my writing career ends forever?”
So I labored over picking a snippet, and you know how when you think about things too much you make poor decisions that make no sense? So I ended up sending a piece of an obscure short story I wrote for Cabinet a few years ago, which . . . was probably quite weird and morbid. But then I got picked, so I’m very grateful.
Another nice thing:
A Drop of Night‘s paperback is releasing in the US this week! Kirkus called it ‘bizarre and hugely suspenseful’. Publishers Weekly called it ‘pulpy’. xD So, if you want some bizarre and hugely suspenseful but also pulpy French Revolution-y thriller adventures, you can now have them for cheaper.
(Publishers Weekly also called it ‘polished and engagingly snarky’, though, so at least it’s polished and engagingly snarky pulp. *pats self-esteem delicately back into place* Also, here’s a deleted scene if you are inclined toward reading deleted things.)
More nice things:
Switzerland’s Friday Magazine picked me for their 30 under 30 innovators and artists. I’m very flattered, thank you.
Also, I’m in Zürich’s Who’s Who of 2017, which cracks me up, as I’m sure there are much who-ier people in Zürich, but thank you anyway.
Current Favorite Music:
This song is from the 50’s, and I don’t know what ‘ticky-tacky’ is but it’s my new favourite word. Also, I love that they used a Theremin in the orchestration. (You can hear the Theremin right at the beginning and throughout. It sounds like a very sad, muted violin.)
And that’s that! I’m very grateful for all this good stuff, and for the people who suggest me for these things and read my stories and talk about them, and for my agent and publishers. Thank you, truly.
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This summer ended up being much more travel-y than I was expecting, which is HARD, I know, let’s all have a moment of silence and form a healing circle. But in all seriousness, I was super happy to get home and sort myself out.
I got back from the US recently, which was one long panic attack for basically no reason. Well, maybe some reasons. (Like listening to crazy presidential candidates scream 24/7 via radio/ads/your private telephone; someone should report them for noise pollution.) But no specific, blog-worthy reasons. Oregon is gorgeous and full of good food, and good people, and I’m always happy to be back. And there were no airport shenanigans either! (In fact, PDX has the nicest TSA. For real. JFK, GET YOUR NOTEPADS. We got selected for extra security scrutiny because we’re lucky like that, and the guy who patted us down basically told his whole life story and asked how the fishing was in Lake Zürich. 😂)
But I’ll start at the beginning! London!
I’ve done tons of London posts in the past, so this time I’ll just do some pictures of the Victoria & Albert Museum, which I had never been to before and which is fantastic. I do very much recommend it, if you find yourself in London. It felt like it had a wider variety of displays and subjects, so especially if you’re traveling with multiple people with varying interests, it’s a way better bet than the British Museum. It had sculpture and paintings and jewelry and costumes and furniture and libraries and curiosities and all the interesting things. I loved it.
I also met up with Emma Trevayne, which is always lovely. And then I went to all the galleries. Walked lots of miles. Ate much good food, including a shrimp burger. (Shrimp burgers, I have discovered, are the best invention since non-shrimp burgers. If you see one, get one.)
And then it was off to Oregon!
And then it was back home to Switzerland! Whenever I get back here I wonder why I even travel in the first place when Switzerland is so pretty and perfect. And then a day or two later I want to be traveling again, but seriously. So, so pretty.
I also met a pig, back in Switzerland. I thought you should know.
And now, Things!
- Cabinet of Curiosities has re-opened its creaky little door and thrown wide its musty windows, and my new story is up! It’s called Red Raincoats, and it’s really dark, but I couldn’t figure out how to make it not dark after the starting point, so. . . ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Also, wonderful stories by Katherine and Emma are up from the past few weeks, go read them! Welcome, welcome!
- I’m trying to post more often on my Soundcloud, for fun and practice. There’s something a bit insulating about just writing for teachers, so hopefully I’ll be uploading more often there in the future.
- I’m working on the Monster Middle Grade BUSILY. I have revision notes from Awesome Agent and Awesome Editor, and as usual, they are much smarter than I am, and as usual I wish I could have realized all these things *before* they had read it. But oh well, I love this story, and these characters, and I love working on this more than I’ve loved working on any of my other books.
Hope everyone’s hale and happy. 🙂 Bye.
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May02, 2016 |
Filed in:Tidbits and Interestings
Hiiiiiiii, so this is an in-between-post because life has been busy, and by life I mean college. So we shall do a Tidbits and Interestings, wherein I will list up my current favorite things, and then I’ll do some actual blogging shortly.
Current favorite art:
I’m really into video game concept art right now, which is weird because I don’t actually play video games. This is from a game called Bloodborne. It seems to be mostly about gallons of blood and viscera, and I could never, eeeeeever play it because I would vomit all over the screen. But the art is cool and inspiring and I love the mood and the light and the Gothic atmosphere. Would read if it were a book. *holds out hands to universe*
Current things I need to tell you ’bout:
- I’m probably not doing much travel this year. So “(Insert Exotic Local here) Adventure” posts will be fewer than the last few years. I want to finish a book this summer and work on some music projects and I just feel like I need to buckle down and not wander about. I *might* have to go to the US in the summer, even though I really don’t want to. Who knows. Nothing’s planned right now.
- I have all sorts of music up on this site! There’s a new music page, and some pop songs I wrote for A Drop of Night, and more over on Soundcloud. For example, here’s a musical version of the “Two Dead Boys” poem, which my sister sang and I banged out on the piano a few days ago, because WE THOUGHT IT NEEDED MUSIC. We devised this melody in a minute flat and recorded it on a dinky handheld mic. Sound experts will despair. But I thought it was fun, and I love the poem. It reminds me of Alice in Wonderland and is vaguely sinister, and both those things = always a plus.
- I read the most wondrous books recently. I highly recommend you pick them up if you get the chance. One is by my Cabinet of Curiosities buddy and writer-of-wonderful-prose Katherine Catmull, and it’s magical and dreamy (and speaking of Cabinet, Claire and Emma have multiple books out this year, too, so keep your eyes peeled) and the other is by Jonathan Stroud who I have been a fan of since reading his Bartimaeus trilogy as a kid. His book features all your Halloween favorites (so like, ghosts and haunted English mansions and a sentient skull floating in a jar of fluid) but somehow manages to be not-at-all-ridiculous due to really great writing and world-building. I think you should read them.
And that’s that! I will do some actual blog posts once the worst of my finals are over.
Hope everyone’s well! 🙂 Bye.