(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.
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.