Oh dear oh dear… there is a call for papers on visuality and intermediacy in literature at Zurich University… deadline is 28th November, and I’m thinking about submitting something in the direction of the paper I am planning.

That would mean there are 38 days left to send in a decent draft. The conference is on January 30th/31st, so that would technically leave me time enough to actually write the paper. Sounds doable.

Hmmm. I’m not sure whether I should use my plans for an essay on fantastic architecture for that. I’ve been carrying around the thought for quite some time now, but I feel like it’s meant for something else.

Maybe I’ll try to come up with something about intermediacy in the Discworld franchise.

Or I could be really sneaky and recycle parts of my MA thesis about Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast books.

Again, I’ll keep you (and myself) updated about this adventure…

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To be published!

Well, those were short 4 to 6 months. I have received an e-mail from Mythlore yesterday stating that they are going to publish my essay on Pratchett and Tolkien! This trip to the US has just become even sweeter in retrospect…

I will keep you updated about when exactly the essay is going to appear in Mythlore journal.

Oh, and the presentation yesterday also went well. It was rather weird talking in German about what I normally work on in English, but professors and students seemed to like it. Now to start with plans for my next essay on fantastic architecture (I hope my two semesters of art history will be sufficient to tackle the topic) and write, write, write…

Out of the box

I feel like I’m running in two directions. There was a mail in my inbox from Mythlore magazine, and they are considering publishing my article on Pratchett and Tolkien – in 4 to 6 months, I should know more.

And almost at the same time, I have sent off my thesis summary to my professors with the feeling that there is either a horrible typo somewhere or that I should have written even more (but 9 pages ought to be enough, right?).

Not-so-busy times, confusing times. But still good times.

Yes. Time for my midnight tweet, and then off to bed.

Pieces Form the Whole

That moment when you see one sentence that does not fit and then find a spot to insert it that fits nicely: Priceless.

I realise again and again how important flow is to writing. You have to zone in – don’t ask me how, it just happens when you’re not looking – and then you just keep going, keep writing, no matter if it sounds like rubbish now. Bearing one of Neil Gaiman’s rules of writing in mind, what seems brilliant now might be rubbish later, and vice versa. What counts is that you write.

So do not worry about perfection. Perfection is an old advertisement lie, a plastic word with shining teeth that has nothing to say except itself.

Because it is much more interesting to explore the spots that do not fit.


Hey y’all. My presentation on Pratchett went well – so well, in fact, that I can repeat it in a week at a meet’n’greet day for literary critics of our Uni. Now I’ll just have to translate my slides from English because the German seminar launched the whole event and I don’t want to confuse them any more than necessary.

Apart from that, next week’s lesson includes The Light Fantastic and the first half of Witches Abroad. I’ll still have to figure out how to squeeze in so much content into two hours.

Oh, and my new summary of my methodology and theoretical background is also due in a week. Once again, busy times, good times… this time with Adorno and Lyotard to follow me around. (Memo: Ghosts of postmodernism past and present?)

Going gothic

William Beckford’s Vathek is a very strange book and thus a perfect addition to my ideas concerning my next article…

To give you a little insight if you haven’t read the book, here are a few scenes from the novel:

- The main character Vathek builds a tower of ginormous height to study the stars at night. Besides being an observatory, it is a vertical labyrinth filled with mummies, rhinoceroses’ horns, snake oils, trap doors, dead ends and numerous other dangers and findings.

- Later, he kicks a merchant in anger who turns into a ball tumbling through the palace. Vathek advises everyone to join in, so a kick-the-merchant-turned-ball game ensues throughout the city until said ball-merchant drops into a valley. To appease the merchant, fifty children must be sacrificed by throwing them into the valley as well, so Vathek enacts a contest pretending to find the most beautiful boy.

- Vathek falls in love with a girl who fakes her own death to escape only to re-encounter him immediately thereafter and falling in love with him after all

- Blue fishes are coerced to talk and act as oracles, but after one question answered they do not feel like answering any more so they are released again

Perhaps more than anything else, Vathek is an excellent example of how good pacing works. The book is less than a hundred pages long, but it feels like an awful lot is going on all the time. I haven’t found any boring passages – some are laughable, others wildly colourful or dreamlike.

And now I just have to find all of its architectural notions that I have read about in secondary literature…