Stefan Bachmann

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Tidbits and Interestings #6 – Good News Edition

 

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:

 

It’s meeeee. Looking snotty. In front of a barn.

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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Portmanteamsterdam

 

(A portmanteau of Porto and Amsterdam, to continue the tradition of having blog titles that make no sense.)

(Also, I went to Porto, and I didn’t go to Amsterdam.)

(Also, why didn’t you go to Amsterdam when you said you would, and your blog title says Amsterdam in it, ya weirdo? the intrepid reader asks. Well, intrepid reader: my brother and his girlfran went to Amsterdam a few weeks before I was planning to go, and Brother said the food was gross and the air was gross, etc. etc., and while I don’t really believe him, and I’m sure Amsterdam has lots to recommend it, I figured I would only go to Porto and then stay in Switzerland and work instead. So I did.

But Porto was a really pleasant adventure, too, and I’ll just tell about that.

 

The red drink in the background was called ‘Berry Nice’ and it tasted berry nice. Like sour gummy worms.

A list of Porto’s fine features:

 

 

 

These dead people have nicer houses than most live people. They also have garbage cans for when they’re out and about, walking their little ghost-dogs.

 

(*Google tells me he was there for a conference. I didn’t stop to ask. I saw the welcome banner much too late to do me any good.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

And you’re like “AHAHAHA, *awkwardly slides past them, because you don’t want to get arrested*. I think they just offer it to anyone who looks foreign/young/and-or-male, which in their mind seems to equate stupid-enough-to-buy-baggies-of-unidentified-substances-in-broad-daylight-on-the-street-in-a-strange-land . . . which actually would be my plan of action, too, if I were a Portuguese drug-dealer.

But enough about drugs, this is off-brand, I write CHILDREN’S BOOKS.

 

So pretty. Pretty bridge. Pretty houses. Pretty pyjamas soakin’ up the sun.

 

 

 

Bye. 🙂

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London Again

 

I went to London monnnnths ago, but never posted about it and now I’m swamped with graduation projects. . .

(WE GRADUATE IN FIVE MONTHS. *chews nails* I have to write at least 30 minutes of music, and work with a bunch of lighting and sound people, and it’s going to be a weird, modern sort of project. I’ll probably do a post about it when it’s further along, since graduating art college is an adventure, let me tell you. Also, I just sent a revision to my editor.)

Anywho, in November I was in London with several family members.

Here’s what we did:

 

Sister and I in Anthropologie. Sister is calm, I am a blur, no doubt RUSHING to examine a box of unicorn-detox-hand-towel-coloring-books.

 

 

On this topic, Londoners are really nice. I’m surprised every time I go, because while I love Zürich, and it’s my favorite, and I appreciate living in Switzerland more and more with every passing year, and there are lots of nice people in Zürich, it’s not a friendly city as a whole. It’s just not. But in London, ALL THE NICE PEOPLE were met and talked to.

 

Like this burgerrrrr, I will just live off this burger forever, please.

Some of it was less good. . .

 

These cupcakes look interesting but if you eat them you’ll realize they are vapid and dull, which is what happens when you eat writers, too.

 

A teaspoon of courage, a dash of despair.

We also had tea in celebration of a family member’s birthday. It was delicious and there was cotton candy in a mystery flavor that you had to guess.

 

 

I guessed blood orange. The waitress was like:

 

 

It was rhubarb custard, which, if you’re wondering, tastes like blood oranges. *passive aggressive smiley*

 

This is not how the Dennis Severs House looks inside. This is a candy store, and I lol’d at how part of its candy stock is American breakfast cereal.

Anyway, I love London. One day, I would love to live there.  Next week I’m going to Porto and visiting friends in Amsterdam, because I have semester break and need to spend some airline miles before they expire.

I haven’t been doing much on social media recently, and it probably seems like I’m blithely ignoring world events and don’t care about anything, but I do. The internet’s just not my favorite place to talk about important things.

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Prague / Updates / Misspelled Walls

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Oh, internet. How I do love abandon thee for vast quantities of time. This post feels a bit weightless in light of current events, but a reader emailed me last week and asked why I’m such a sporadic twitterer, and where were the blog posts like in the olden days, and helloooooo (except they were way nicer about it, BUT I UNDERSTOOD.)

So, here’s a quick life update. I’m revising my next book. I wrote a thing for a secret thing that I can’t talk about yet but that is very exciting. School restarted. I’m prepping for my graduate performance. I went to Prague. I’m pretty busy.

It’s the weird type of busy where there are no tangible results, and it’s just nose to the grindstone, which I like, but I realise that unless you’re a close friend or family member it will just be like “STEFAN *hand clap* WHAT R U DU.”

That being said: I went to Prague a few weeks ago. I will probably move to Prague for a wee bit after military/graduation to work as an intern. This will be an ADVENTURE.

Here are some Prague pictures:

 

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Hello, bird, thank you for being in my picture, you look great.

 

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When I was growing up in the Very Old House in Zürich, there were some photographs of the very old house a hundred years ago; it used to be completely covered in ivy, and I remember thinking that was pretty fantastic. I asked my parents why the house was bald these days and my parents said ivy was actually bad for the plaster and could weaken the structural integrity of Very Old Houses or something, and so they’d had it all taken off when we moved in. Kid-me was gravely disappointed. I still want to live in a house like this, that just kind sits under a heap of ivy with windows blinking on from time to time. (The house in the picture above I found somewhere in Mala Strana. It was DROWNING in ivy.)

 

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Do not take advice from walls that forget the “F” in self. (Also, the tiny, faint quote in the top right corner for you, like, five people who have read Monster Middle Grade.)

 

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Dutch angle, because I was trying to avoid brightly-hatted tourist heads.

 

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Or maybe just “Darya and Elias for as long as is convenient” because the local authorities are going to clip these locks at the end of the year, soooo. . .

 

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Prague has the best streetlamps, second only to Narnia probably.

And that’s that! I’ll try post a few more times before the end of the year. Also, I’m going to London today for a family thing and I know I blog about London all the time, but if anything wildly interesting or delicious-tasting happens I’ll do another one.

Hope everyone’s well-ish. Bye. 🙂

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London / Oregon / Tidbits and Interestings #5

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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!

 

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This seems like a Harry Potter house, no? Like, a house that doesn’t actually fit, but was kind of squashed in there by magic.

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.

 

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Red Raincoats.

 

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When you leave your plates in the sink too long.

 

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Dolls are scary.

 

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Ok, this sculpture is amazing, do we all agree? Look at that veil. Turning something as solid and non-transparent as stone into something that so clearly implies transparence and lightness is pretty much magic, I would say.

 

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That poor brass band. Poor brass band got squashed.

 

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Canopic jars. Practical for holding small lunches, car keys, internal organs. . .

 

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My feelings exactly, little clay pot.

 

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Our hotel had this solemn convocation of birds overlooking the court.

 

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Herman is a happy potato, obviously.

 

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What IS this?

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!

 

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A non-shrimp burger. But still delicious.

 

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Found myself in the wild west for a few seconds.

 

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County Fair, bein’ all cute and stuff.

 

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As oppose to success *without* houseplants, which, let’s be real, is not even possible.

 

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Pie for breakfast. 🙂 The best pie. My non-existent photography skills do not do this pie justice.

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.

 

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I would be a Swiss cow, if that were an option when choosing what to be. They have nice views.

I also met a pig, back in Switzerland. I thought you should know.

 

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His name is Napoleon and he is plotting the downfall of capitalism. Poor Boxer.

And now, Things!

 

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Hope everyone’s hale and happy. 🙂 Bye.

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Trains / Planes / Florentine Machines

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Italy post! I hadn’t been to the more southern parts of Italy in a lonnnnng time.

I went as a kid, saw Pompeii, basically fell off the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast in a bus, visited every museum ever, wandered around the Vatican while my mom argued with a cardinal (true story; and probably a funny one, had ten-year-old me bothered paying attention . . . Since ten-year-old-me was dumb and didn’t, here’s the gist: we were visiting the Vatican, Mom was chatting with a cardinal who she had met due to a mutual acquaintance, and since we’re not catholic I’m assuming she disagreed with him about everything and let him know.)

This time Rome was very different and less enchanting, which I’m chalking up to me being dull and old and less enchant-able. I adored Rome the first time I went, and my memories of it are still some of my favourites, but this time I just kept noticing how crowded it was, how everything caters to tourists, and how some tourists treat the city like it was built to amuse them, giving the Pantheon star ratings and such. Hello, the Pantheon doesn’t care whether you think it’s a one-star visit or a four-star visit, Sally from Topeka.

Someone else called the Quirinal Palace “a less impressive version of the White House.”

 

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It’s literally twenty times the size of the White House and centuries older. You flatter yourself, sir. . .

Anyway, Rome was not my favourite, and it’s probably not a good idea to return to places you have fond memories of, because it just won’t stack up. That said, I loved Florence – had never been before – and Venice I liked even more than last time. Italy is so hot in the summer, but Venice was cool and had a nice sea-breeze and was just being its usual dreamy self. We ate crab gnocchi, and gelato, and I wrote on the pier and it was great.

Here are a billion pictures!

Rome

 

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Walking from the train station to our hotel.

 

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P is for Purple Pantaloons.

 

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And pasta.

 

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And Poloppeums.

 

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Are you, thoooooough?

 

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Countrymen! I do not understand how the Swiss Guard survive in those costumes and don’t just squelch out of their stockings in heaps of melted flesh.

 

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I love this shutter. I would want to own this shutter except it belongs to the pope.

 

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Gelato from Giolitti, which is where we went so many times last time I was in Rome and which I was determined to find again. It’s very popular now with lines and a mark on Google maps and everything.

 

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Flavour of the week.

 

Florence (aka, where we ate all the food)

 

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Look how pretty! I loved Florence. I want to go back in the winter, when I will no doubt love it more.

 

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Lobster linguini. It was kind of not very good, alas, but most of the food we had in Italy was scrumptious.

 

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Healthy options.

 

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Florentine Machine. We didn’t ride it. Unconscionable, I know.

 

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Petal sorbet!

 

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Little squids. I ATE one of these, and if you know me, you know that’s momentous, because I don’t normally eat things that look like Finding Nemo characters.

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We found a little bakery around the corner from our hotel and it was the besssssst. And ridiculously cheap. And this little lemon tart was my favourite. It was not sour at all, just a really mellow, delicious custard. Would eat all day if this bakery were around the corner in Switzerland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Three Carabinieri. But also, is the person in the pink shirt dying?

 

These next pictures are all from the Uffizi, which if you go to Florence is so worth seeing. The lines are endless but goooooo. Once you’re in, you’ll be happy.

 

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This part of Botticelli’s Primavera used to TERRIFY ME. Look at that creepy, dead-skinned person jumping out like a freak.

 

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“Hey. Hey, look. I got a jar. Paint me ten-foot-tall portrait of me pointing at it with an air of mild ennui.”

 

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In one draft of A Drop of Night, the butterfly man looked like this.

 

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Sunsets and suspenders.

Venice

 

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Cannaregio, which is the prettiest part if Venice and the best place to stay. I find. 🙂

 

 

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Secret gardens.

 

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Pier forests.

 

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Accordionist. And a knee. See the knee peeking cautiously around the corner?

 

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The happened right in front of the Bridge of Sighs, OH THE IRONY. In Venice, they cart things through the narrow streets on special wheeled contraptions that can go up stairs and across bridges, and sometimes the contraptions topple over, which is what happened here.

 

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Blood-red, beetle-black.

 

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Venice is the easiest place to take pretty pictures.

 

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The pierrrrrrrr. Our hotel was right on the edge of the city facing Murano and the north, and its pier was pretty and quiet and perfect. I would just want to live on that pier. This picture does not do justice.

 

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And that’s that! I just got back from a very short trip to London, but I’ve done so many London posts, I’m not sure I’ll do one this time. I’ll see if I got any good pictures. Hope everyone’s well! Bye! 🙂

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Art College and Updates and Italy Travels

Hii! 😀 *shouts into the echoing abyss* I haven’t blogged in months. (But also, the old blog, Scathing Jellyfish, is still getting thousands of pageviews despite being no updates, so perhaps the secret to successful blogging is being lazy and never posting? In which case I shall be the MOST SUCCESSFUL.)

 

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Me, in my preferred outfit, expressing my preferred sentiment.

Anyway, this will be a rambly, update-y post before summer begins and interesting things happen.

 

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I’m in Rome right now. I said a few blog posts ago that I wasn’t going to do much travelling this year, but an American cousin is doing the obligatory Europe tour, so I’m going to London and a few Italian cities with her, and then to the US briefly. I cannot say no to London, and I can also not say no to eating inordinate amounts of gelato in Italy.

– I had a ton of finals these past few months which is mainly why I haven’t been on social media much. (That, and the fact that the world is being particularly sad and crazy lately, and I just don’t know how to deal with it half the time.) I passed the tests, though, (yay!) and will be heading into my last year of college this Fall. Very excited for that. Mostly excited to be done. Even though once I graduate I’ll probably be like “Adulthood is rubbish and I’ve been duped and would like to be a sheltered art student forever, please.”

And my college will throw wide its doors and say “Why, yes, just enter for two more years for a master’s degree,” which I’m not 100% sold on doing, because I think it’s a bit silly to presume you’re a master of art just because a college gave you a piece of paper. Like, no. Sit down.

Speaking of schools and masters: I was walking through the master student’s exhibitions this year, which is where the master graduates display their graduate work. And which I’m not bashing at all, btw, despite the above statement. The ones I saw was very cool. But I was mostly interested in the people.

The audience was about evenly split between suburban families looking around in bewilderment, wondering what in the world they had unleashed upon society with their Hellspawn Artisté Children, and the other half was intelligentsia in flow-y clothes who were probably thinking the same thing, but that would be super awkward to admit so they acted like they get everything.

Which is funny because all the Hellspawn Artisté Children are looking at the intelligentsia like “You’re 90 years old, and you can’t possibly understand my youthful fire,” and the intelligentsia get bitter and are like “KIDS THESE DAYS,” and really everyone just desperately wants to be a part of things, or at least a part of the people who are not a part of things. It breeds all the drama, let me tell you.

For example: one time a toilet with a fluffy pink seat was set up in the lobby of the college WITHOUT A PERMIT. *gasps all around* I think in response to some sort of new rules from the school board. And that caused drama and firings and school-wide email chains, which all the uninvolved students followed blithely, despite not having a clue what was going on.

I don’t know what the pink toilet meant exactly but there’s a running joke that if you don’t understand a particular piece of art, it signifies world peace.

So, leaning tower of rubber tires topped with windshield? World peace.

Vomit on the steps? World peace. (Or alcohol poisoning, but like, who are we to judge the artist’s methods?)

That fluffy pink toilet? World peace for shoaaaaaah.

– In non-school-related news, Cabinet of Curiosities will be returning this July!

 

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Tina Fey is very excited about this and is leaving work to refresh her Cabinet of Curiosities page, which she keeps on favorites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We took a long break because we’ve all been busy with different projects. But now we’ll try another round, and new weird stories will be posted this coming month!

Anyway, I hope everyone’s doing well! 🙂 I’ll blog Italy adventures soon.

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Ta-da!

KMgyp

 

So, I just moved everything from the old Scathing Jellyfish blog to here, along with all the posts and comments. The formatting is a nightmarrrrrre, and I’m not sure I’m going to have time to go through all the old posts and make them look lovely, but also, random people popping in will be like, “What even, Stefan?”

So I might.

But anyway! This is the new blog! Where I will be posting all further posts. Also, if you want to browse the old posts in proper formatting, they will still be up on Scathing Jellyfish. For posterity. Or something. And here, too, but possibly with glitches.

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A DROP OF NIGHT – Book Birthday!

*dashes onto blog* It’s here!

A Drop of Night took three very lengthy years to write, and if you read it you’ll probably be like “Uh, why did this popcorn-y book take three very lengthy years? It’s not Proust.” To which I would say:

 

 

It was just a different sort of project for me, I think. It was written and re-written and re-written again during a pretty weird time, aka the last rage-y bit of my teenage life and the beginning of college. I’m proud of the book, though. I’m glad I wrote it.

Some things! (I will update and add to this as the week progresses.)

Buzzfeed picked A Drop of Night as one of its books to read for Spring 2016.

Epic Reads has it on their list of most anticipated books for March 2016 and it’s gotten some nice reviews.

– On Adventures in YA Publishing I answer the question “What is your favorite thing about the book?” (They’re also running a giveaway for a hardcover.)

And here is an interview I did with them where I talk about how long the book took to write, and what my writing rituals are, and what my next book will be.

– Since I don’t think I’ll be going to the US this year unless I absolutely must, if anyone sees A Drop of Night at a bookstore and has a moment to tweet me a picture that would be amazing. 🙂

Also, acknowledgements – the acknowledgement post I wrote for The Whatnot still applies 100%, but since this book was much more circuitous to write than TW: thank you so much to my agent Sara and my editor Virginia for being the best, and for reading the manuscript way too many times, and for not firing me. Thank you Lois for being a brilliant copyeditor. Thank you Gina, Katie, Sylvie, Martha, Tim, Paul for designing the fantastic cover, the HC International people who are great and organized the readings in Zürich. In short, thank you everyone at Greenwillow and HarperCollins who do so many things for so many books. I’m really, really grateful to be published by you.

Thanks also to my dear family and friends, especially the three friends to whom this book is dedicated.

And that’s it! I have a lot of other thoughts, but they don’t really matter at this point, so OFF YOU GO Weird YA Thing, and I hope you find your crowd. And of course I hope you – dear blog readers – like it, and and leaving reviews absolutely anywhere is the best thing ever, and awesome, and thank you, too, because obviously you are the main factor in this whole book-writing shenanigan. 🙂 Thanks a ton for reading.

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A Drop of Night – Zürich reading!

See the Oranges of Doom in the background? If you’re one of the six people who read the earliest drafts of the book, youuuuu … have probably forgotten by now about Oranges of Doom. But they were there. Causing doom.

(There is only one orange in the new version. P. 35, historical flashback: “We continued to chatter mercilessly. We would not cease. And after a while Mama began to weep, putting her hands to her ears, and the orange lay on the table, a knobbly spiral of peel, the rich flesh within hacked to bits.”)

YOU GUYS. I’m doing one reading for A Drop of Night, in the most excellent English Bookshop in Zürich. I know most of you who read this blog are not in Switzerland, but if you are, come, please, oh, please? It would be awesome to see some familiar faces there. Solo readings are usually terrifying, unless you adore being the center of attention, which … I don’t. So if cool book friends are there it’s just better, ya know? 🙂

Also, if you guys are Zürichers you may have heard that an absolute breach of human rights is happening and The Bookshop is moving into the upper floors of the German bookstore and being replaced by a Zara. *burns everything* This will be in May I think? I mean, they’re not closing, so that’s cool, but it still feels sad, because nobody needs Zara and everybody needs books. They’re such a great bookstore, and I’m happy I get to do one more event in their current location.

The reading is on April 2nd, 2016, at 18:30 (6:30 PM) at The Bookshop Orell Füssli on the Bahnhofstrasse. If you came you would be awesome, and I will sign books and answer questions and such-like.

Some more things:

– I got finished copies! They’re hyootiful and shiny. Greenwillow makes the loveliest books. Here are some more pictures.

Foil type! 🎶”How they shimmer, how they glimmer, those butterflies.”🎶
This is the back cover. A questionnaire our heroine Anouk fills out pre-palace expedition:
– I also sent off my next manuscript! IT’S SO LONG. I’ve reverted into full-on shivering-in-corners until I hear back from my editor, and I fear I’m going to have to cut 40,000 words and I’m already fortifying myself for this, but wherrrrrre will I cut them?
Dat apple.
– Here’s a song I’ve been listening to on repeat since the beginning of time, aka, January. It’s very relaxing, and slightly melancholy, and apparently about the 1940’s movie industry in Sedona, Arizona.
Good, no? Hope everyone’s well! 🙂 Bye!

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