People of Character: Nowhere Man

DSC_1853Let me give it to you straight: Nowhere Man is a no-nonsense kinda guy. Not in a cruel, brutal way (although if you’re trying out a new haircut, or think who might have put on some weight, let me tell you now that his opinion is not the one you want to hear), but in a direct way.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s a kind man, but he’s a rare breed: the kind who assumes that, if you’re asking a question, it’s because you want a straight answer. And a straight answer is what he gives you every time, without disappointing.

Which means (quelle surprise) he’s not always great with people. But before you write him off as a heartless sociopath (which I assume is what you’ll do if you ask what he thinks of your new haircut or if you’ve been putting on weight), give him a chance and read on. Continue reading

People of Character: This Charming Man

DSC_1879Everybody knows This Charming Man.

Unlike Her, who’s mostly a literary version of someone’s alter ego (please don’t tell Her that – she’d kill me), This Charming Man is far more elusive. He is different things to different people, part prince charming, part regular guy. He’s stylish knowledgeable, attentive – but at times impossible to pin down (understandable, seeing as he didn’t have a mobile phone when I first imagined him circa 20 years ago). He comes from a good family (which isn’t always free of complication), and he’s sure of himself – which means he doesn’t have everything figured out all the time, and that’s still ok. Continue reading

… And then we were five.

DSC_1734

I wake up to the whirring of machines and blinking little lights. This, I declare to myself in my internal Alan Rickman voice, is becoming too frequent.

The smell lets it be known to me before I even open my eyes that I am, yet again, on a hospital bed. Unlike last time, I’m waking up knowing where and who I am. I also know I am in pain (this fact hits me hard immediately after I open my eyes). But that is entirely secondary. Continue reading

Writing by numbers

There is nothing more unnerving than having to write an outline for a story you’ve already started and (let’s be honest here) are struggling to finish. Happy-go-lucky, write-first-ask-questions-later gal that I am, I’ve just had to do that for the second time with the same manuscript.

IMG_3365I’m sure there were writers in the past (as there will probably be in the future) who could simply sit down, write like mad, edit, and one year later, have a phenomenal book published, immortalised, raved about, and so on. The type of writer that discovers an amazing story while writing it. I always told myself that if you plan a story from start to finish and then write it, you’re ruining the punchline – even if it’s just for yourself. So I decided that outlines were for other people. Besides, I had a plan: my plan was, once I reached 80,000 words, I was done. Easy, right? Wrong. Continue reading

Of Airports and other purgatories

With the end of the year drawing closer and closer, so does the possibility that I’ll have to be in a plane again.

Like many other people who hate flying and who enjoy grounded life, planes are obviously my least favourite places in the whole wide world. Airports and government buildings in South America are a very (very!) close second.

Airports, I feel, have become the place where good manners and elegance have gone to die. Where else can you expect to see people growing impatient, angry, anxious, before abandoning all resemblance of common decency and beginning to engage in line-cutting, foot-stomping and sometimes screaming? And all of this happens even before they ask you to take off your shoes at the security check – by which point, particularly during the holiday season, we’ve come to embrace the madness. Continue reading

About a boy

I always had a deep affection for children. I’ll probably never know where it comes from. But as far as I remember, it was always, always there. The desire to care for someone who is not yet capable of understanding how much danger can lie in connecting little chubby fingers to the electric socket on the wall. The desire to comfort them once they learn for themselves that this (among many, many other things) causes them pain.

And it’s exactly this affection and desire to comfort which cause me to shoot out of bed when I hear a cry in the middle of the night. Continue reading

First page, first draft. Here we go.

“The flight AL817 to London City airport will start boarding shortly.”

Anna closed her eyes and took another one of those deep breaths while clutching her book with already clammy hands and mentally cursing the plane, the airport, and indeed most of the city of Zurich. Seriously, why? Why go through this irrational, predictable agony every time?

I’m going to die today. I can feel it.

Her throat feels dry. There is a kiosk selling bottled water about six and a half steps away from her chair, but she feels her expensive high heels glued to the ground. Another deep breath. Continue reading