Jan 30, 2011

Swiss Reds

I'm in a foul mood again.  I suppose you're not surprised, at this point.

I should be in a good mood, really.  I now have a grand total of two friends in Switzerland.  One at work and one who is as lost in this place as I am.  I went to the gym today, and followed my 7km speed training with half an hour in the jacuzzi.  I have plans for every night of next week.  My new hire hasn't run away screaming, yet.  I've finally booked myself on a holiday to Brazil with HH at the end of March.

All good things.



Roomie is back with his ex.  They're here now, hidden away and lovied up.  I hate them.  My ex still thinks I'm the best thing since sliced bread that he doesn't want a relationship with.  And he spent the night one room away, in my apartment, two days ago.  I hate him.  My boss thinks I have superhuman powers and can somehow transform decades of illegal practices into kitten-cuddling utopia between now and springtime.  Though who knows when spring will actually ever come.  I hate my job, and the lack of springtime.  My body is always hungry and constantly gaining weight.  Yup, hate the old body as well.



Crave chocolate.

You know what?  I don't want to list 5 things I'm grateful for.  I don't want to lift my chin up (although I suppose it might hide the doubles).  I don't want to put a brave face on or find some blasted silver lining.  I'm not interested in either buckling up or chilling out.

I am angry and frustrated and I want to punch somebody.  But because my mama raised me better than that, all I'm left with is telling you how much I want to punch somebody.  And it doesn't help.

What would help is somebody loving me back.  An agent thinking my book isn't shit.  My body deciding food is not a good substitute.  People choosing to walk the straight and narrow.  Switzerland becoming home.

For Pete's sake, I don't even have any Nutella in the flat.  How could you possibly expect me to cope?

Jan 25, 2011

Hello conscience

"Hi. I am your conscience. And right now, I'm telling you that it's time for you to BLOG already!"

That's the message I got from my conscience today.  And believe me, when your conscience suddenly starts talking to you, you stand up and take note.  You also find yourself wondering whether those mushrooms you pulled out from the back of the fridge last night in a half-hearted attempt to get your five-a-day weren't a bit funny...

So here I am, blogging.  But what about?

The problem with getting a job is that your life becomes a whole lot less exciting all of a sudden.  Especially if that job is in Switzerland.  And especially if you can't blog about your job because said job is so unique that as soon as you open your exhibitionist little mouth everyone would figure out exactly what it is you're doing.

Which would get you fired.

Although I suppose that would be something to blog about.

But until that happens, there's always the fascinating topic of the failed novel.  I'm up to ten rejections now (they come in slow and steady, like an IV drip).  I'm thinking I should publish the best ones and let you vote on which are the most insulting.  So far I'm leaning towards the personalized and delightfully constructive "Res, you write beautifully, but your characters and plot suck."


As for the agents who asked for my full manuscript, not a peep out of them since October.  Come on people, I wrote a 63,000-word basic Chick Lit novel, not War and Peace!

Okay, see?  This is why I don't blog anymore.  Because I just end up getting upset and ranting and raving and showing you my not-so-darling side...

I need some Gute Laune... can anyone catch me some of those?  (with a side of sunshine, please)

Jan 11, 2011

Rendez-vous manqués

Oh my God the frustration...

I just found out that one of my absolute favourite authors of 2009 / 2010, David Nicholls (author, entre autres, of the fantastic "One Day") will be doing a reading at the WH Smith on Rivoli and I won't be there!  Please, for your own sake and literary enlightenment, if you're in the neighbourhood on February 2, go see him.  I will leave it at your discretion whether you choose to tell David that a certain Little Swiss Miss is head over snow-booted heels in novelistic love with him.  Feel free.  Either way.

And in the meantime, read his books (there are - sadly - only three of them, so you have no excuse not to read them all).  Although be warned, when I recommended "One Day" to The Boy, he stopped three chapters before the end and cursed me into oblivion because things didn't turn out how he wanted them too.

Yes, well, things don't always turn out the way we want them to, do they?

PS: The Roomie and I just finished putting the sofa together.  He wanted me to point that out.  On the premise that a little free advertising for his ruggedly handsome IKEA-handy self never hurt.  So consider him advertised, girls.

Jan 10, 2011

It is Resolved

I don't do New Year's resolutions.  I'm just too chicken.  I mean, who wants to feel bad about themselves so soon into the new year just because they got overly ambitious while hungover (or still drunk)?

Nope, not me.  But I did use this weekend to reconnect with the old me that had gotten left behind in all the frenzy of the move.

First, I went back to the gym.  I found a gym in the centre of town, one of those gyms that is so expensive and luxurious you really do have to go (heck, sometimes you even want to, but mostly for the hammam).  It was only after having done serious damage to my credit card that they told me towels were extra.  Towels are extra?!  Sigh... only in Switzerland.

Nevermind, I had a great 5km run on the treadmill, surrounded by the city's gorgeous young things.  Damn, I forgot how great it felt to exercise!  Sadly, this realization was followed 24 hours later by a similarly intense realization of how sore your muscles get after the first workout you've had in months.

The other good old habit I got back into?  Writing.  I have now officially started my next novel.  But this time, I'm doing it all differently.  Instead of starting with a full story (complete with a beginning, most of a middle, and an end that isn't one) I am starting with close to nothing.  A character or two.  A vivid scene I came up with one insomniac night a few weeks ago.  God only knows how, or if, these things will come together to form a novel.  At the very least though, I should have something resembling a short story.

Wait, so you think it sounds like I made resolutions? No, really.  If you don't write it down, it doesn't count.

What do you mean I just wrote it down?

Jan 3, 2011

That's a Wrap

Hey, look at that, two posts in one day!

Usually I like to spread the love a bit, but I realized I hadn't done the "2010 recap" post and, like Christmas cards, that really needs to get done before Epiphany (ah, the irony) so let's get started.

I'm back with the parents now and feeling like a properly unemployed writer.  Well, mostly unemployed, really, because all the traveling is kind of getting in the way of the writing.  First there's New York (cold, brrr...) then Namibia, South Africa and Australia (warm, aah...)  I return a happy bunny.

OK, that's it, time to get serious.  Now that the half marathon is out of the way (good god why did I do that to myself?) the book needs to be priority number one.  So I focus, head to the South of France, and hammer out the pages.  By the end of it I have come to two thirds of the novel and the unpleasant realization that I am not over my exes.  Not being able to get over one ex is unfortunate, but not being able to get over two?  That's schizophrenic bordering on downright disorganized.

The final push on the book.  I'm determined to get this done before the summer, dammit.  And then I'm moving into my newly purchased flat so no time to get all Austen, must instead be interior decorator extraordinaire, sort of a Martha Stewart meets Philip Stark.  It's all rather stressful, really.

After nine months of being willingly unemployed in the midst of the biggest economic crisis since the 1930s, it finally dawns on me, MBA-graduate that I am, that finding a job is going to be hard.  Especially in Paris.  Especially with my insane CV that doesn't seem to make sense to anybody unless they're Picasso (I have a very cubist CV - nothing is quite what or where it should be).  And so I send out applications for random jobs, including one in Switzerland that makes my friends laugh when I tell them.

Turns out the random job was just random enough to be perfect for me, and there I go, signing on the dotted line and throwing away my Parisian life.  There's just enough time to wrap up the edits on the second draft of the novel and send it off to agents before I pack up my newly-purchased flat (or rather, leave everything as is because I'm in denial) and drive off into the sunset (although that's not entirely correct, geographically-speaking, Switzerland being to the east - but who ever drives off into the sunrise?)

Oh dear Lord, here I am and I don't know what I'm doing.  I have no friends, I have no clue about my job, and it's freaking cold.  But hardship makes a girl grow stronger, or something like that, so I pick out a little flat next to some prostitutes, climb every mountain to work in the morning and think of some of my favourite things like chocolate (and put on three kilos).  Julie Andrews eat your heart out.


There are a lot of rules in Switzerland.  Rules about where you can park your car.  Rules about what kind of tires your parked car should be wearing.  Rules about where you can cross the road and when and under what circumstances.  Rules about what days you can take out your garbage.  And which type of garbage bag they should be in.  Rules about doing your washing (not on Sundays).  And lots of other rules that I haven't figured out yet and will therefore be fined heavily for in order to teach me a lesson.

So it makes sense that there should be rules in the trams as well.

Don't smoke.
Don't be poor.
Don't play the guitar.
Don't saw the seats.
Don't put your feet up.

Wait a sec, what was that last one?

Don't put your feet up.

No, not that one, the one before it.

Don't saw the seats.

Right.  Of course.  You certainly wouldn't want anyone to be doing that in the tram.  It would get messy.  And there would be less places to sit if half the seats were sawn off, now wouldn't there?

And don't be poor?  Well, that doesn't apply just to the tram, that's a general leitmotiv of life here in the land of cheese, chocolate, Rolexes and secret bank accounts.

Although strangely, if there was one thing you could actually afford on a budget in Switzerland, it would be public transportation....